Meltwater and the search engine defense. More recently AP sued Meltwater and prevailed on its infringement claim. Meltwater argued that it functioned like a search engine -- an argument that had worked successfully in other fair use/search engine litigation and scanning/search engine lawsuits. But Meltwater differed from search engines like Google because it was a paid subscription service. It also failed the fair use test because its service cut into AP's clipping service revenues and because it sometimes copied up to 60% of articles. (One possible takeaway: don't mess with AP!)
Fox News and TVEyes. A related case involved a TV clipping database, TVEyes, that made it possible for users to search news broadcasts using keywords, then view a portion of the curated news clip containing those keywords. A district court determined that the storage, indexing, excerpting, and reproduction of the clips was a fair use. The court emphasized that the purpose of the database was unique and transformative, and dismissed the “very small possible impact” of lost revenues for Fox.
Bottom Line Dept. As this informative (slightly outdated) article explains, the type of aggregation (there are a few variations) may make a difference as to whether your app qualifies for fair use. It also explains the disfavored concept of hot news. In any case, we must repeat our fair use mantra: no matter what we say, only a court can determine what constitutes fair use.