Newscode. A bill to protect news for twenty-four hours was at one time before Congress, but was never passed. There is, therefore, no copyright protection for news as such, but the general copyright of the newspaper or a special copyright may protect the form of a dispatch, letter, or article containing news. Thus the New York Herald copyrighted without question Dr. Cook's Arctic dispatches, and the question as to the copyright by the New York Times of Commander Peary's dispatches describing his dash for the pole hinged solely on the question of ownership or authority to copyright, as set forth in a later chapter. But any such copyright could not prevent publication by other newspapers of the news that Cook and Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole, at stated dates and under stated circumstances, though their own form of statement of the facts could not lawfully be copied except within "fair use."
In 1892 Justice North in the English Court of Chancery, in Walter v. Steinkopff , said that " although it is sometimes said that there is no copyright in news, there could be copyright in the particular form of language or mode of expression by which information is conveyed." The English courts went further in two actions brought by the Exchange Telegraph Co., 1895-97, ill the first of which Gregory & Co. were restrained from using information furnished to subscribers first as unpublished matter before publication, second after publication because of copyright on the publication, and third as " unfair competition." In 1902, in Nat. Tel. News Co. v. West. Union Tel. Co., the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals protected news on ticker tapes, and in 1910, in Press Assoc, v. Reporting Agency, the English Chancery Division protected election reports on the last-named ground alone.