Lawyer Shutters Blog After Threat From Lexis

Until yesterday, the URL led to a blog on e-discovery law written by lawyer W. Lawrence Wescott II. Today, that blog is gone. Wescott took it down after a lawyer from LexisNexis threatened legal action over a claimed unauthorized use of LexisNexis cases. The blog was among the ABA Journal Blawg 100 honorees in 2007.

Before shutting down his blog yesterday, Wescott posted a notice titled simply, “Farewell”:

Lexis has informed me that I do not have permission to use their cases on this blog. I went back and looked at my original agreement, and it was in fact only for a year. It’s been three years since I started this blog, and it has been a good run. Therefore, I am shutting down the blog.

Wescott said that when he first started the blog, he contacted Lexis and was given written permission to post up to 1,000 cases for a year.

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  • This is a real shame. I wonder if anyone at Lexis actually put any thought into what they gained by shutting down this site. Certainly they could have offered to let the blog keep the posts that were already up and then negotiated something for the future or make a trade with the blog for some prominent ad placement for Lexis. Seems awfully short-sighted to me.

    For those, like me, that had enjoyed the blog, you can find the old posts (minus the actual copies of the cases) posted here courtesy of the Internet Wayback Machine:

    The analysis is still there and I can look up the cases myself . . . although I won’t be looking them up on Lexis.

  • I don’t understand this. Case law is not copyrightable. Lexis can own things like their head notes and summaries, but you can still post the court opinion without Lexis’s permission and write your own synopsis.

  • I take it the issue wasn’t rulings (which belong to the public) but case summaries. Is that correct?

    Hmmm . . . I wonder if Lexis Nexis actually registered that stuff with the copyright office.

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  • Is it even possible to have a deal for a year. Essentially he was stealing some one Else’s property for his own gain. Interesting to see what happens with future LexisNexis deals.

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