I am working on a book that among other things analyzes news stories. In some cases I want to include the text of those stories in the book as examples. The problem, of course, is that these stories are copyrighted by the news agencies that wrote them and they will not give permission for them to be reprinted in a book under any circumstances.

Is it possible to sue the copyright holders who refuse to give permission and seek a declaratory judgement that permits fair use of the articles?

The alternative, publishing the stories and then getting sued by the news agencies for copyright infringement, is not something I want to do.

  • Both methods have the same result. Why would you want to pay up front if you might not need to, at all?
    – user4657
    Jul 26, 2021 at 2:01
  • 1
    @Nij ??? Are you serious? If I just print it and get sued I could hundreds of thousands in a judgement. In a declaratory judgement I risk nothing except legal fees. Duh.
    – Cicero
    Jul 26, 2021 at 2:49
  • How do you know for sure that "they will not give permission for them to be reprinted in a book under any circumstances"? Did you ask?
    – Greendrake
    Jul 26, 2021 at 4:19
  • @Greendrake Yes... and they threatened to sue me if I reprinted their articles.
    – Cicero
    Jul 26, 2021 at 4:22
  • A threat to sue is a very important detail. It should make sufficient "case or controversy" to greenlight a declaratory judgement.
    – Greendrake
    Jul 26, 2021 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


Assuming the U.S., there needs to be a real “case or controversy” according to the constitution to get a civil case before a court. That you would like the news publishers to license something and they don’t chose to, does not constitute a case or controversy.

In the last few years, in patent cases, judges have decided that a very mild letter from a patent owner inquiring about a potential infringer’s activity can pave the way for a declaratory judgement case but simply refusing to deal with you is nothing like that.


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