The scope of copyright protection for case reports and case reporters has been the subject of litigation since the Supreme Court decided its first copyright case, Wheaton v. Peters, in 1834. Prior to the development of electronic technologies, the courts established a fairly consistent set of guidelines on which print publishers could rely. However, the development of electronic research tools raised new questions which the old guidelines did not address. With the founding of Lexis's online research service, and the later development of CD-ROM research products, West Publishing Co., the premier publisher of case reports, found itself in possession of a valuable commodity which previously was of little commercial significance - the page numbers in its print compilations.
The Creative as Enemy of the True: The Meaning of Originality in the Matthew Bender Cases,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol5/iss3/2