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Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal

Abstract

The Eighth Circuit recently held that Mead Data Central infringed West Publishing's copyright by using page numbers from West's case reporters in its computer-assisted legal research system, LEXIS. Mead Data Central intended to insert West's page numbers in its case database so that LEXIS users could have pinpoint citations to pages in West's case reporters. The author examines the opinion in detail, concluding that the court's decision stretched copyright protection too far. The author maintains that the unfortunate result of West Publishing Co. v. Mead Data Central should be changed through judicial action or legislative amendment to the Copyright Act. In addition, the author suggests other remedies, such as inventing an alternative form for case citations to computer databases like LEXIS.

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