Associated Press v. United States, 326 U.S. 1 (1945), was a United States Supreme Court case on U.S. antitrust law.

Associated Press v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued December 5–6, 1944
Decided June 18, 1945
Full case nameAssociated Press v. United States; Tribune Company v. United States; United States v. Associated Press
Citations326 U.S. 1 (more)
65 S. Ct. 1416; 89 L. Ed. 2013
Prior historyCertiorari to the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York
The Associated Press violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting member newspapers from selling or providing any news to nonmember organizations as well as making it very difficult for nonmember newspapers to join the AP.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Harlan F. Stone
Associate Justices
Owen Roberts · Hugo Black
Stanley F. Reed · Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas · Frank Murphy
Robert H. Jackson · Wiley B. Rutledge
Case opinions
MajorityBlack, joined by Reed, Douglas, Rutledge (in full); Stone, Roberts, Frankfurter, Murphy (in parts)
ConcurrenceFrankfurter (in judgment)
Concur/dissentRoberts, joined by Stone
Jackson took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.



The Associated Press (AP) had prohibited member newspapers from selling or providing news (whether that news was supplied by the AP, or was authored by the member newspaper - called "spontaneous" news) to nonmember organizations as well as making it very difficult for nonmember newspapers to join the AP.

Originally there were three separate cases (Associated Press et al. v. U.S., Tribune Company et al. v. U.S. and U.S. v. Associated Press et al.) that were joined into one when heard at the Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court held that Associated Press had violated the Sherman Act. The bylaws of AP at that time, as written, constituted restraint of trade. The fact that AP had not achieved a complete monopoly was irrelevant. The First Amendment did not excuse newspapers from violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. News, traded between states, counts as interstate commerce, and thus makes the issue relevant for the Sherman Antitrust Act. Finally, Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests (326 U.S. 20).

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