January 9, 2014 Last Updated 4:55 pm

Dow Jones files lawsuit against Ransquawk alleging that it republished its financial content

Lawsuit calls company a ‘pirate’ for aggregating content for its financial alerts

The parent company of The Wall Street Journal today filed a lawsuit against Real-Time Analysis & News, Ltd. which does business as Ransquawk. The lawsuit (PDF) alleges that Ransquawk “consistently republishes in text on its website, and by audio broadcasts (or “squawks”) to its customers, news originated by Dow Jones within seconds of Dow Jones’s initial reporting of the news – without Ransquawk doing any reporting, commentary, or analysis of its own.”

Dow Jones says that its financial news services are a competitive business and that producing and having exclusive possession of their content is financially important. But Dow Jones is alleging that “Ransquawk’s audio and text services are based on the systematic unauthorized reproduction and redistribution of news content published by Dow Jones, and undoubtedly other news content providers as well.”

The issue of aggregation of content is not nearly as controversial in the publishing industry as it ought to be. Many media executives, fairly new to the industry, are in fact pushing hard to add aggregation of content to their media properties bag of tricks. When done appropriately, one supposes that there is merit beyond the traffic building that comes from aggregated content. But the full appropriate of content, or in the case being alleged here, bits of information that have financial value, is a growing problem (and I’m certainly not commenting on the merits of the lawsuit).

Nieman Lab, which I believe first reported on the lawsuit, mentions that the issue of “hot news” is one that has a finally made some publishers take action against aggregators, referring to a case involving the Associated Press and the news monitoring service Meltwater.