I tend to see it as a public interest law (i.e to promote the progress of science and useful arts) at its core, and not property law, there are still people who should be busted for violating the exclusive licensing agreements associated with this.
Case in point, the Hartford Courant, which has taken to using articles from the smaller local papers without attribution:
Newspaper editors and reporters across the state are noticing a new trend: their local coverage is being copied daily by the Hartford Courant.
In most cases The Courant has been attributing the reporting to the newspapers being copied, which include the Journal Inquirer, The Bristol Press, The Herald of New Britain, the Register-Citizen of Torrington, and the Waterbury Republican-American.
In some cases The Courant appears to have lifted information from the other papers in its entirety without any attribution. But either way, editors say, the Courant is using for free and making money from a product other papers pay to produce, and they want it to stop.
It appears that someone at the Courant has taken it to a high enough level that the Journal Inquirer has sued them for plagiarism, which means that the Courant is not taking stories and writing them up, but taking stories and pasting them up.
If they had been accused of just taking the stories, it would be under a separate bit of case law, it involved Hearst and wire service stories during WWI, but I could not Google it, so this is unbelievably lame.