Beginning Next Week: InsideCounsel will become part of Corporate Counsel. Bringing these two industry-leading websites together will now give you comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of issues affecting today's General Counsel at companies of all sizes. You will continue to receive expert analysis on key issues including corporate litigation, labor developments, tech initiatives and intellectual property, as well as Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) professional development content. Plus we'll be serving all ALM legal publications from one interconnected platform, powered by, giving you easy access to additional relevant content from other InsideCounsel sister publications.

To prevent a disruption in service, you will be automatically redirected to the new site next week. Thank you for being a valued InsideCounsel reader!


Judge dismissed proposed class in copyright suit against LexisNexis, Westlaw

Judge Jed Rakoff eliminates group of lawyers who didn’t register their works

In February, two lawyers sued the popular legal databases LexisNexis and Westlaw, saying they violate lawyers’ copyrights by reproducing their legal documents. Earlier this week, Manhattan District Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed some of their claims.

In their suit, lawyers Edward White and Kenneth Elan claimed LexisNexis and Westlaw were responsible for “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works created by, and owned by, the attorneys and the law firms who authored them.” They said the databases’ parent companies, Reed Elsevier and West Publishing, respectively, didn’t have permission from authoring lawyers to publish their legal documents, and that the companies have raked in “huge profits” by selling access to the databases.

White and Elan sought to represent two classes of lawyers: those who have obtained copyright registration of their works, as White has, and the vast majority of those, such as Elan, who haven’t registered their works.

On Wednesday, Judge Rakoff dismissed the proposed class of lawyers who fell into Elan’s camp, saying “completing registration or pre-registration is a prerequisite to filing a claim.” He also said the group can’t seek an injunction or a declaratory judgment that LexisNexis and Westlaw broke the law.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit isn’t dead. Neither of the two legal databases has moved to dismiss the claims of White’s proposed class of attorneys who have registered their legal briefs.

Ashley Post

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.