Associated Press v. United States

326 U.S. 1 (1945)


The publishers of more than 1,200 newspapers are members of D. D is a cooperative association incorporated under the Membership Corporation Law of the State of New York. D collects, assembles, and distributes news. The news is originally obtained by direct employees of D, employees of the member newspapers, and the employees of foreign independent news agencies with which D has contractual relations. Distribution is through interstate channels of communication. The bylaws prohibit selling news to non-members and allow members to block non-members from obtaining membership. P filed a bill for an injunction against D charging that they had violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. P alleged that the by-laws violated the Act. D claimed there were genuine disputes as to material facts and that the case, therefore, should have gone to trial. D alleged that it did not have a monopoly, as other comparable services were available, and that individuals should be free to determine who they wish to associate with and to whom they sell their products. D claimed the public suffered no injury as it could read D’s news from other member papers. The District Court held that the By-Laws unlawfully restricted admission to AP membership, and violated the Sherman Act. It issued an injunction. The District Court found that the By-Laws in and of themselves were contracts in restraint of commerce in that they contained provisions designed to stifle competition in the newspaper publishing field. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.