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 tosses copyright suit against LexisNexis, Westlaw

Lawyer claimed legal databases profited off his copyrighted legal filings

Legal research companies LexisNexis and Westlaw can breathe a sigh of relief now that a judge has tossed a copyright suit against them.

Last February, two lawyer—Edward White and Kenneth Elan—sued Reed Elsevier Plc-owned LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters Corp.-owned Westlaw, claiming they unlawfully profited by selling their legal documents in their databases. White and Elan sought to represent two classes of lawyers: those who had obtained copyright registration of their works, as White had, and those such as Elan, who hadn’t.

Three months later, Manhattan District Judge Jed 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.”

White then filed an amended complaint that dropped his class certification request and sought unspecified damages. Meanwhile, LexisNexis and Westlaw claimed they had a right to use the documents in question under the fair-use doctrine because they were generally available to the public through the Pacer filing system. Additionally, the companies argued that their use of the documents was “transformative” because they enhanced them to make them searchable and useful for lawyers.

Last Friday, Rakoff dismissed White’s suit, saying he would lay out his reasoning for doing so in a forthcoming opinion.

Read more InsideCounsel coverage of this litigation:

Judge dismissed proposed class in copyright suit against LexisNexis, Westlaw

Lawyers sue Westlaw and LexisNexis for copyright infringement


For more recent copyright-related coverage from InsideCounsel, read:

Technology: Ensuring ownership of contractor-created technology and other works

IP: Twitter terms of service do not provide “others” with affirmative defense to copyright infringement

7 open questions in the IP world

Canada passes copyright law updates

Libraries win in Google Books infringement suit

Ashley Post

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.