International News Service

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The International News Service (INS) was a U.S.-based news agency (newswire) founded by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst in 1909.[1]


Established two years after Hearst-competitor E.W. Scripps combined three smaller syndicates under his control into United Press Associations,[2] INS battled the other major newswires. It added a picture service, International News Photos, or INP. The Hearst newsreel series Hearst Metrotone News (1914–1967) was released as International Newsreel from January 1919 to July 1929. Always a distant third to its larger rivals the Associated Press and the United Press, INS was merged with UP on May 24, 1958, to become UPI.

New York City's all-news radio station, WINS, then under Hearst ownership, took its call letters from INS,[3] as did the short-lived (1948–49), DuMont Television Network nightly newscast, I.N.S. Telenews.

Among those who worked for INS were future broadcasters William Shirer, Edwin Newman, Bob Clark, Freeman Fulbright, and Irving R. Levine, who in 1950 covered the outbreak of war in Korea for INS.[4] Marion Carpenter, the first woman national press photographer to cover Washington, D.C. and the White House, and to travel with a US President, also had worked for the INS.[5]

Universal Service, another Hearst-owned news agency, merged with International News Service in 1937.[6]

International News Service v. Associated Press

During the early years of World War I, Hearst's INS was barred from using Allied telegraph lines because of reporting of British losses. INS made do by allegedly taking news stories off AP bulletin boards, rewriting them and selling them to other outlets. AP sued INS and the case reached the United States Supreme Court.[7]

The case was considered important in terms of distinguishing between upholding the common law rule of "no copyright in facts", and applying the common law doctrine of misappropriation through the tort of unfair competition. In International News Service v. Associated Press of 1918, Justice Mahlon Pitney wrote for the majority in ruling that INS was infringing on AP's "lead-time protection", and defining it as an unfair business practice. Pitney narrowed the period for which the newly defined proprietary right would apply: this doctrine "postpones participation by complainant's competitor in the processes of distribution and reproduction of news that it has not gathered, and only to the extent necessary to prevent that competitor from reaping the fruits of complainant's efforts and expenditure."[7] Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote a minority opinion, objecting to the court's creating a new private property right.


  1. Donald Liebenson, "Upi R.i.p.", Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2003, accessed 11 May 2011
  2. Joe Alex Morris (1957). "Deadline Every Minute The Story Of The United Press - ARCHIVE.ORG ONLINE VERSION".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Weber, Bruce (2009-03-28). "Irving R. Levine, NBC News Correspondent, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-28. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. The Associated Press (AP): "Remembering Marion Carpenter: Pioneer White House Photographer Dies,", retrieved November 25, 2002.
  6. The Press: Mouthpiece Merged, Time, August 23, 1937
  7. 7.0 7.1 FindLaw | Cases and Codes

Further reading

  • Harnett, Richard M. and Billy G. Ferguson, UNIPRESS: United Press International--Covering the 20th Century, Fulcrum Publishing, 2003

External links