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New York Times Sued Over URL Linking

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the can-you-sue-for-heat dept.

The Courts 74

Davros writes "GateHouse Media, which publishes more than 100 papers in Massachusetts, accuses the Times of violating copyright by allowing its Boston Globe online unit to copy verbatim the headlines and first sentences from articles published on sites owned by GateHouse."

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74 comments

Google says "take the deal." (4, Funny)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290257)

According to TFA, when this happened to Google News, Google settled with the complaining news agency.
I don't see NYT trying anything different.

Re:Google says "take the deal." (5, Insightful)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290273)

Also, I wonder who gets fired when they stop getting linked from the Boston Globe, and suddenly GateHouse pageviews drop by an order of magnitude.

Re:Google says "take the deal." (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290367)

From TFA:

Google got heat a few years ago for its Google News aggregation of headlines and summaries and settled a copyright lawsuit with Agence France-Presse last year. Google also is paying the Associated Press to use its content on Google News.

When you settle, you normally pay and promise to either NOT do it again or to pay for whatever you use.

Re:Google says "take the deal." (4, Informative)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290857)

Not exactly.

They settled the matter with authorization from google to use the full article, for a fee.

That is very diferent. ;)

Re:Google says "take the deal." (2, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291101)

Google should have just removed content and stop using the plaintiff as a source, it's not like there is any shortage of sources.

No wonder media companies go under (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290263)

This is EXACTLY why the majority of media companies DESERVE to go under. These idiots want to nail them for free links. What amazes me, is that by now, you would think that not only would they support this, but since the REAL cost of a news paper is the paper and the printing of such, they would get rid of it.
The major media companies could take ebookwise design and improve hardware (change USB to ethernet and wifi; change out the flash to something newer) as well as software (allow other formats esp. .txt and .html directly), then add the capability to do news (make it seek out their site for updated news) PROFITABLY (add ads geared towards the user; provide cheap subscription that does just several ads total while none prescription gets small ad /page) all sold for under $100. Then drop your paper within several years. The important item is having the reporters. If ny times was STEALING the story (and not just the title, then they MIGHT have a real issue).

Re:No wonder media companies go under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290409)

PROFITABLY (add ads geared towards the user; provide cheap subscription that does just several ads total while none prescription gets small ad /page)

Do you realize you are not consistent?

Even doing what you say, they need the readers to see THEIR adds, not boston.com's. So, boston.com should pay for each reader that reaches the article without seeing the adds.

If ny times was STEALING the story (and not just the title, then they MIGHT have a real issue).

They are not stealing the story, they are stealing the _traffic_.

It makes perfect sense.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291837)

They DO see their adds on those pages. What they did not see was the total sites web adds. What is happening is that the small media company is not the first page and they are upset about it. Rather than trying to outdo NYT, they are using the courts. HOPEFULLY, the courts reverse this insane policy.

So they shouldn't publish on the Web and (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26293363)

the problem goes away.

If they want to cite NYT material, the NYT can't stop them either. Apart from that, its English. There are only so many ways to express a concept before they are forced to reuse words and phrases.

"On pourrait essayer un autre language, mais cela ne vaut rien su on veut ètre compris."

Translated: "We could always try using another language, but it would be worthless if we want to be understood."

Of course they'll 'twinkle' out of existence like stars in a cold dark sky.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (5, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290603)

Some facts that might get in your way:

* Newspapers have experimented with specialty devices -- and premium/pay services -- for years. Doesn't work. Generalized computing devices and free services have flooded the marketplace and there's no turning back.

* Newspapers are already dropping print editions [yelvington.com] all over the country. Gatehouse itself announced yesterday that it's killing the printed Kansas City Kansan, and going online-only. I have yet to see a case in which this is anything other than a desperation move by a failing business. In the case of the Kansan, I think they only have 7,000 monthly unique users on the Web. That's not a viable business, regardless of what you might "save" by not manufacturing and distributing a printed product.

* Gatehouse's complaint -- and I've read it -- contains a laundry list of issues, some of them in direct conflict with one another. But there is one charge that isn't easily dismissed. The Boston Globe is essentially creating a derivative product to enter hyperlocal markets where it previously had no presence. Gatehouse points out that nearly all the links on the local Globe products are Gatehouse content. That may flunk the fair-use test. (On the other hand, that argument effectively puts Gatehouse in a position of claiming it's entitled to preservation of a monopoly.)

* Gatehouse licenses its content under a Creative Commons no-commercial-use provision. Defining what's commercial use is a big hairy mess, but it's not possible to argue that the NYT company is a noncommercial effort.

Other perspectives:

Mark Potts: http://recoveringjournalist.typepad.com/recovering_journalist/2008/12/gatehousegate.html [typepad.com]

Dan Gillmor: http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2008/gatehouse-v-ny-times-co-not-so-simple-after-all [citmedialaw.org]

Re:No wonder media companies go under (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26291833)

Whats going to be funny is when this whole 'internet' thing collapses and they dont have a solid paper to fall back on, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291891)

The specialized devices were expensive and were rented to the tone of 25-100/ month and then you STILL had to get a subscription. Instead, they need to SELL a low cost device that is geared towards reading, not towards simply pushing their own junk.

How many were reading Kansas City Kansan PAPER edition? How many of them will switch up to on-line? Saying that they only have 7000 readers on-line, while not saying what is paper version vs. how many will SWITCH once the paper is dropped is pretty worthless.

That last piece IS interesting and would be a real reason to sue. IOW, if they are simply serving as a gateway and produce nothing themselves, then you may have a point.

In the end, my statements still stand. These media companies are doing change HORRIBLY. They are managed by idiots that deserve to go out of business. The ones that will remain are those that adopt a similar way to what I suggested, OR something new altogether.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26293393)

I have yet to see a case in which this is anything other than a desperation move by a failing business.

If they're seriously changing their tactics, how is it a failing business? We still need reputable sources for the news and not the typical blogger. I know that this isn't always prevalent in news, but I prefer more fact in my daily news like we typically see in news reports than opinion typically from bloggers.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290863)

Christian Science Monitor starts in April 2009 (daily edition only). See here:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1029/p25s01-usgn.html

Re:No wonder media companies go under (4, Informative)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291681)

Windbourne, what the hell are you talking about??

1) Knight Ridder has always been at the forefront of trying new technologies, including that abortion of a partnership that was New Century Network (I suffered through the thing, and tried to convince the paper where I was running so-called "new media" efforts that it was a waste or resources). IIR, they also tried developing a handheld device so you could "read the paper on the subway." Newspapers aren't staffed or designed for R&D. Oh, and Amazon says the Kindle gives you access to online newspapers and magazines. I can't vouch for that as I won't pay ~$360 for a thing. Let me guess, in your opinion the high cost is the papers' fault?

2) The real cost of a newspaper is people, not paper. Paper is a _huge_ cost, but it's bought in such gigantic quantities by a chain (or in partnership with other papers if that makes more sense in the particular case) that it makes it cheaper than the cost of reporters, advertising folks, printers (and their union, which is a giant cost-suck) etc.

3) "This is EXACTLY why the majority of media companies DESERVE to go under" - This part of my response has nothing to do with logic, just pure sentiment, but does a statement like that apply to the auto industry? It "deserves" to go under? Take into account the workers and ancillary businesses tied to it (shipping, material suppliers, etc.) and your statement leads tomakes no sense. Neither "deserves" to go under, it's just that it most likely will ... I don't see a massive bailout of newspapers being offered by the government.

4) I'm assuming "prescription" is "subscription" but regardless, ad revenue is of course tied to how much a paper can charge for ads. Ad prices are based on the number of subscribers, and papers have to sell more than 50 percent of their print run to count as "subscriptions" (i.e. if you give away 51 percent of your run by leaving it outside of hotel rooms, then your number of subscribers is much less than the number of readers so have to charge less.) Your argument sounds like those often-heard on /. - "I pay for cable, why should I have to watch ads?" Why? Because that's the way the economy and business model works. Don't like it? Don't buy a newspaper. Plenty of other people are doing the same, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they have advertisements. (And, as an FYI - Sunday's newspaper is generally the most voluminous of the week because people want to see the advertising supplements. They depend on coupons, etc. And don't ask for a "citation" - In this case, I'm the citation; I've worked in newspapers long enough to know this subject. )

Re:No wonder media companies go under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26293191)

Nitpick here...

My experience working for the newspaper, is that editorial staff is the least of the cost. Most of it is printing and distribution.

Separating costs by raw material vs. labor/ people is not as accurate as breaking down by departments.

**
Perhaps we should adopt the UK model - charge people appropriately for the content instead of relying on advertising for revenue. The downside is that you may have to pay $4.50 for each newspaper.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292461)

IANAL but it would seem there are several laws that should be applied.

1) they complainant should have to show damages and free advertising isn't really damage.

2) If it's a public company the officers have to sign an agreement to act in the best interests of the share holders. This is clearly against their best interest.

Too bad the government works for big media. It won't change any time soon Obama or not.

Obama and all (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26295009)

What I find funny is that so many believe in Obama for solving things while others are blaming the man for everything. I have seen ppl who blame Obama for the Mumbai attack as well as Israel/Hamas stuff now. Then there are others who think that he will fix all the racial issues in America while others think that we will be in worse shape than Zimbabwe on Jan 22.

I feel sorry for the man. He has probably inherited the WORSE situation since FDR who inherited a coming nightmare from Hoover/Coolidge fame. Maybe even Worse. At this point, if he is able to help the economy, put in amendments to solve the deficit issue that we have (Balanced Budget Amendment) AND will go after the corruption that we have (put W, Cheney, Delay, Hastert, Stevens, Blagovich, Jefferson, etc in prisons and pass amendments to prevent the illegal actions that we have seen for last 28 years), I would rate him in the top 5.

Re:Obama and all (1)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300181)

Yeah he'll have a hell of a time if he doesn't end up assassinated.

If he were assassinated it would be the perfect premise for another authoritarian clampdown.
Whether you believe 911 was internal or external terrorism it was used to remove rights in the interest of corporate powers. i.e. RIAA

If Obama was assassinated then the minorities who generally have the good sense to be suspicious of government power would be the ones calling for more of this "security".

I'm on the fence about Obama either he is honestly trying to serve his country or else he's just another figurehead for those who would exploit their fellow humans for their own profit.

I think people are naive to think that there is a solution within the current system of government.

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

boohaha (1317513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26294463)

I agree with your sentiment it's ridiculous. However, this claim isn't correct:

the REAL cost of a news paper is the paper and the printing of such...

The real cost of producing a newspaper is actually the reporting/editorial side of things...

Re:No wonder media companies go under (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26295993)

Hmmm. My earlier post did not appear to make it. I have always understood the majority costs of a newspaper to be the paper and all the items with it (the printers, typesetters, delivery, etc). In fact, my understanding is that it accounts for something like 50-60% of the costs. Do you have some data that says otherwise.

X sues Y (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290299)

It's funny how you never seem to hear the follow-up story titled "X's lawsuit thrown out because it's utter nonsense".

When did unsuccessfully suing people become a marketing tool?

Re:X sues Y (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290335)

It's funny how you never seem to hear the follow-up story titled "X's lawsuit thrown out because it's utter nonsense".

This [the-injury...ectory.com] article strongly disagrees.

Re:X sues Y (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290521)

It's funny how you never seem to hear the follow-up story titled "X's lawsuit thrown out because it's utter nonsense".

This [the-injury...ectory.com] article strongly disagrees.

Um, the first paragraph of your link states

Some people will try anything to make a million. Ever thought of suing someone because they look like you? Check out this and other frivolous lawsuits for a laugh, but don't try them yourself! Frivolous lawsuits very rarely make it through the courts, and usually wind up costing the plaintiff.

(Bold added by me)

Pretty much matches the QP you quoted...

Unless there is a new definition of 'disagrees' now.

Re:X sues Y (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290879)

That's because they don't usually get thrown out.
A lot of them just get settled out of court.

Re:X sues Y (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291133)

Thats because its so much easier to just post the insane threats of lawsuits online. Most of the time, it ends there. After all, when you shine a light on cockroaches and their actions, they all scatter and run their separate ways.

Example A:
Caton Commercial [demystify.info] wanted to make threats of a criminal lawsuit, slander and copyright because of a domain that published their publicly available court appearances. The threatening letter was then posted Here [demystify.info] . Although it would have been amusing to hear the 'plaintiff' stand before the judge and try to argue the information of the very same judges county courthouse website, was ALSO subject to these threats. The information in question was published online by the county first.

Something tells me the lawyer who wrote it, and the company who hired the lawyer, really wish they could put that toothpaste back in the tube.

Long story short, some people dont think through their actions.

I dont think their intention when writing that letter, was for these threats to come up in the third spot on google, when searching for their company name - "Caton Commercial". Second spot, is the courthouse website publishing the same info.

Before they sent this letter, the courthouse link was not on the first page of results, or the second, or the third....

Re:X sues Y (1)

nutznboltz (473437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26293357)

Big corporations have to cover their @$$ while it's not worth the time to sue little guys who post links.

--------

Muni Bond Sales Drying Up as States Face $42 Billion Shortfall [bloomberg.com] ``The combination of the worst financial crisis since World War II and the collapse of the $330 billion auction-rate debt market will leave 41 states and the District of Columbia with shortfalls just as financing sources diminish.''

Well now they are sure to get noticed... (2, Insightful)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290307)

What's next? Suing over the article about the linking? This is completely absurd.

Re:Well now they are sure to get noticed... (4, Funny)

reset_button (903303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290359)

Good thing Slashdotters don't read articles. Otherwise we would be an accessory to linking an article about linking articles.

Re:Well now they are sure to get noticed... (1)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290395)

I read this great article in the paper but I can't tell you where to find it.

Re:Well now they are sure to get noticed... (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290469)

I had no idea Im a maverick.

Re:Well now they are sure to get noticed... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290607)

Good thing Slashdotters don't read articles. Otherwise we would be an accessory to linking an article about linking articles.

According to the RIAA we're still liable for "making available" the link, though there's no evidence anyone clicked it...

Re:Well now they are sure to get noticed... (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290507)

What's next? Suing over the article about the linking? This is completely absurd.

That, my friend, is defamation. We'll see you in court.

Fetch my thickest stick ...... fast (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290313)

and get your pitchforks in the meantime.




it's on again...

Fuzzy laws and common sense (5, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290425)

The problem with the "fair Use" doctrine of copyright it requires and assumes parties to be reasonable and conscionable. Once either party behaves unreasonably or unconscionably, it ends up in court.

The worst part it is a type of legal situation that can't be defined easily. It must be vague to be flexible enough for there to be "fair use" of material.

Since the media companies HATE everything about fair use (except when it applies to their actions, i.e. HIPHOP sampling and so on) they constantly try to whittle away at it with precedent, using egregious cases that are far more reaching than the judges suspect before they make their rulings.

Unfortunately, lawyers, like all corrosive elements, feed of decay and destruction. Even the "good" ones make a living off the evils, yes by fighting it, but still by engaging it.

We need to find a new way to deal with injustice. The courts belong to big business and the unreasonable. Most people never seriously do anything to harm another, yet the courts are making precedent on the exceptions and that is destroying freedom bit by bit.

Re:Fuzzy laws and common sense (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290435)

no, they attack sampling just as aggressively, then go back and cross-license everything with their cartel members, thus assuring NOBODY can make and market a mashup without signing a contract first.

Re:Fuzzy laws and common sense (0, Flamebait)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291619)

This is theft of material, pretty much plain and simple. Treating stuff on the web as a free-for-all and just republishing/redistributing it freely is fine as long as it benefits the person doing it. Nobody likes getting their stuff stolen and redistributed but most people on Slashdot can't see that far in front of their nose.

And as for a new way to deal with injustice, I think dueling needs a comeback. If you knew that offending someone, stealing from them or usurping their rights could lead to staring down a gun barrel people might think just a little bit. Maybe. Heinlein said it: an armed society is a polite society.

Re:Fuzzy laws and common sense (1)

metallurge (693631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292069)

So, let's work through this, in a common-sense way...

It's called fair use. It's called copyright law. It's called a limited monopoly granted by the state for a purpose. Very different from property rights, which are pretty plainly inherent. Creative works are simply not the same, under law, as land or cattle or something else physical.

It's not property, intellectual or otherwise. It's not theft, stealing, or material. That is all the language of property, which creative content is not. To use this language confuses the issue unnecessarily. It's (potentially) copyright infringement. Except it isn't.

Just because creative content is worth money does not mean that the copyright holder is entitled to control everything related to that content. For example, once a physical copy is made under copyright law, the copy is property, and treated with the respect that property has under law. Now, that physical copy also encapsulates the creative content, which remains protected by copyright law. But, so long as new copies are not made, the new owner ought to be able to do pretty much anything they want to with their copy. Lend it out, give it away, sell it.

Is a computer link physical property? I think not. But even if it were, is a very brief summary of content (even a physical summary like the old index cards in a library) not an essentially fair use? Even a for-profit summary like, for example, a catalog which lists products, part numbers, and descriptions? Would that not clearly, in principle, be fair use?

I am not a lawyer.

Anybody remember this guy? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290427)

Stanley Kamel
Date of Birth: 1 January 1943, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death: 8 April 2008, Hollywood Hills, California, USA (heart attack)

Stanley Kamel was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on January 1, 1943 and was raised in South River, New Jersey. He attended school at Rutgers Prepatory School in Somerset, New Jersey and graduated from Boston University School of Fine Arts in 1965. Kamel got his start in acting with bit parts off-Broadway before his big break into television playing Eric Peters on "Days of Our Lives" (1965) in the 1970s.

He played a lot of different characters over the years, and his face is well known to most. He had a recurring role as the unscrupulous psychiatrist, Dr. Graham Lester on "Murder One" (1995). He also had recurring roles on the hits "Melrose Place" (1992) and "Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990). Kamel was probably best known for playing Dr. Charles Kroger on "Monk" (2002) starring Tony Shalhoub.

On April 8th 2008, Kamel was found dead in his Hollywood home by his agents. He died of a heart attack. Kamel was only 65 yrs old.

Re:Anybody remember this guy? (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291335)

Nope.

Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (3, Insightful)

jddj (1085169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290455)

One could reasonably argue that copying verbatim headlines and first sentences in their entirity is fair use. I think it is, but that's a valid discussion to have. It's not about linking as much as copying the Gatehouse content and using it to label the links.

Boston.com's position as a competing entity (vs. Google's position as a search engine) lends credence to this point. Boston.com is essentially getting Gatehouse to write it's site's local content for them.

It's not as though the links were titled "Aritcle 7 from Gatehouse" instead of Gatehouse's actual title. The former case would indeed be about linking vs. about copyright.

otoh, Gatehouse ought to love having a megasite drive traffic to them. All I can imagine is that they're looking at their metrics and seeing people back right out. They ought to work on keeping those visitors once they get em.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291915)

> Boston.com's position as a competing entity (vs. Google's position
> as a search engine) lends credence to this point. Boston.com is
> essentially getting Gatehouse to write it's site's local content for them.

I can't see what is wrong with using the original headline and the first couple of sentences in order to show people what is at the other end of a link.

That helps people to decide if they want to visit that site - or not.

I think that is very much fair use.

It's no different from taking the title of a novel and quoting the first couple of sentences of the first chapter.

If that is sufficient to entice you to look further then the novelist has scored a page view from someone who might not otherwise have heard of that work; and might therefore end up with a sale.

I can't see how the author loses on this.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292103)

No argument from me that using the exact headline and first sentence makes the content much easier to use (I'm a usability professional, and it's what I'd recommend someone do if they're trying to make these articles easy to find - if they had a clear right to use the content, fair use or otherwise).

And as I stated, it looked a lot like fair use to me - but reading this thread further, it looks like the license that Gatehouse put on the RSS feed explicitly disallows exactly this kind of commercial use.

If we were talking about a GPL violation, everyone here would be up in arms supporting Gatehouse. What would be the fair use situation if Microsoft used the API and init methods of the Linux kernel (please forgive the tortured analogy to "headline and first sentence"), modified them and didn't offer the source back to the community?

Fact of the matter is, no amount of torrenting, joyous piracy or copy/pasting content on the web will make copyright laws go away. Open source software is one of the beneficiaries of these laws, as are both Gatehouse and the New York Times. If society decides the copyright situation needs to change, the honest thing to do is change the laws.

All I was saying about fair use was that it was that one might have a reasoned discussion about whether this is fair use - it's not a slam dunk either way.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292249)

> And as I stated, it looked a lot like fair use to me - but reading this
> thread further, it looks like the license that Gatehouse put on the RSS
> feed explicitly disallows exactly this kind of commercial use.

I wasn't aware that you could contract out of the Law.

And what has Gatehouse's own RSS feed got to do with someone else directly linking to Gatehouse's website my means of using the headline and the first few sentences?

I mean, anybody can link to anything on the WWW.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26293405)

I wasn't aware that you could contract out of the Law.

Of course you cannot. But this is exactly my point: if you aren't doing fair use (and it's valid in my opinion to ask for a court ruling on this), then you have arguably agreed to the Creative Commons license on the RSS feed you're consuming. Fair use and acceptance of the license are both covered under the law, so you're not contracting out of it either way.

I mean, anybody can link to anything on the WWW.

Yes, but as noted in my post above, this is not about linking. It's about using the copyrighted content to label the links. TFAs summary is misleading. Someone else in the main thread clarified that it is indeed about the license on the RSS feed, because that's apparently what the NYT is consuming.

Here's that license statement from the feed:

Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported), except where noted.

Doesn't look like Boston.com is attributing the feed either. And it's certainly not noncommercial. I stand by what I said: it looks like fair use to me (though it's looking less-so the more I find out about the actual situation), but it's reasonable to disagree with that position - and it looks like they'll do so in court

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26293739)

First off:
Nothing is being "consumed".

Secondly,
Even IF someone at the NYT became aware of the content by means of an RSS feed pushed out to the Internet by Gatehouse, there is no reason why that same information could not be obtained merely by someone surfing to that website on a regular basis and getting the relevant quotes manually.

IMHO, Gatehouse simply doesn't want people viewing the content on its website. The bottom line is that it shouldn't have even bothered pushing it onto the WWW if it didn't want people looking at it or quoting it.

This is most definitely a question of fair use, and I think Gatehouse is barking.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26294023)

First off: Nothing is being "consumed".

Secondly, Even IF someone at the NYT became aware of the content by means of an RSS feed pushed out to the Internet by Gatehouse...

Many portals and CMS presentation engines can consume RSS feeds and integrate them into a site. This is not at all uncommon.

For a portal or presentation engine to consume an RSS feed, or for a user with a browser or feedreader to view an RSS feed to which they're subscribed, they have to load it from Gatehouse's site. It doesn't get pushed into Boston.com's site or your browser/feedreader by Gatehouse. You should check into how web publishing works sometime.

We're pretty clearly into "more heat than light" territory here, and I have other things to do with my day off, so I'm pretty much going to stop wailing on this morbid equine now.

Re:Gatehouse has a few points, could use a clue... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26319155)

> Many portals and CMS presentation engines can consume RSS feeds and
> integrate them into a site. This is not at all uncommon. For a portal
> or presentation engine to consume an RSS feed...

No RSS feed is "consumed" as it is not destroyed or otherwise wasted or used up.

From Dict.org:

Consume \Con*sume"\ (k[o^]n*s[=u]m"), v. t. [imp. & p. p.
    Consumed (k[o^]n*s[=u]md"); p. pr. & vb. n. Consuming.]
    [L. consumere to take wholly or completely, to consume; con-
    + sumere to take; sub + emere to buy. See Redeem.]
    To destroy, as by decomposition, dissipation, waste, or fire;
    to use up; to expend; to waste; to burn up; to eat up; to devour.
        [1913 Webster]

    Syn: To destroy; swallow up; ingulf; absorb; waste; exhaust;
        spend; expend; squander; lavish; dissipate.
        [1913 Webster]

RSS = Copyright Violation? (5, Interesting)

FireIron (838223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290457)

I clicked through the links, and sure enough, it looks like they're suing over having their RSS feed aggregated...isn't the act of providing an RSS feed affirmatively granting permission fort others to aggregate the material contained in the feed for other sites and systems?

Re:RSS = Copyright Violation? (4, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290537)

If you look at a Gatehouse RSS feed, you'll see that it is clearly marked as copyrighted material and licensed under a Creative Commons "no commercial use" provision.

Re:RSS = Copyright Violation? (1)

FireIron (838223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290633)

They're also being aggregated by Yahoo News and Google News (type "Foxwoods" into either news search and you'll hit Norwich Bulletin stories). So this looks like selective litigation.

Re:RSS = Copyright Violation? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291159)

There's nothing illegal, wrong, or problematic about selective litigation - this isn't defense of a trademark. I still think the case is stupid, but you do NOT lose copyright if you don't defend it.

Re:RSS = Copyright Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290657)

Copyright is automatic so labeling it doesn't really matter. There have been numerous cases where courts have found implied licenses because the material was made available for use to others. You can bet the Time's lawyers will use that argument. It's also unlikely that headlines would be granted copyright protection due to the merger doctrine. This is the same reason why names and titles are not copyrightable. The summary however is probably protectable.

RSS feeds are not copyrightable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290795)

RSS feeds simply fail the test of being copyrightable works of authorship.

The first case to go to court will see the whole silly idea collapse.

Honestly, what do they teach in law school these days?

Re:RSS feeds are not copyrightable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290825)

Honestly, what do they teach in law school these days?

Double-billing 101?

My bad, that was a rhetorical question.

I generally click on the linked articles provided. (1)

I_Can't_Fly (1442225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290477)

You know you would think that getting linked would be a good thing as it would drive more traffic to the original sources site.....

Good lord, a vast amount of blogs out there pretty much copy/paste at will. I don't know about Fair Use, because the nature of this is commercial, but the NYT can do a good step by removing all links to the offended organization, and never do them the favor of driving traffic to them again.

Isn't URL Linking a form of Free Advertising? (3, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290501)

When someone links to your site you will get some visitors who wouldn't otherwise of stopped by.
By using the title and the first sentence, this (IMHO) is enough of a taster that people who were interested in reading more would then click on the link and read the whole story.
Unless:-
  1) The story is only 1 sentence long.
  2) you are a /. reader.... :-)

Surely the NYT can beat this because they are only using a very small part of the story. If I were a book or Film critic, I would be able to use verbatim a few of the words in the book or spoken in the film in my review so what is the difference here.
It is not as if they are using the whole article (or are they)

This is not the first case of this type and won't be the last.
As another poster put it, I wonder how much they have estimated they are going to lose when the NYT/Globe stops linking to their sites. Less hits means less pay/per click advertising revenue.
This is pure silliness if you ask me. They should be getting more people to visit their site not less.
Perhaps their Lawyers found themselves with nothing to do and felt thay had to be seen to be earning their fat/huge/obscene retainers?

And no it is not the 1st April

Re:Isn't URL Linking a form of Free Advertising? (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297235)

Not really, no. Imagine if you made a page that was just like the front page of the paper with more adds, and just linked the headlines. it's taking their content to make money, not fair use. it doesn't really matter if the links are creating pageviews if they are being directed towards low value pages.

Re:Isn't URL Linking a form of Free Advertising? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298741)

The Free Advertising argument is a false one, as it assumes that any loss of control that could conceivably be labeled as 'advertising' should be automatically accepted by the rights holder. The rights holder should have the exclusive right to determine whether they accept the 'free advertising' or not - in this case, they do not.

There's a Creative Commons Angle (4, Informative)

lal (29527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290583)

TFA doesn't mention that Gatehouse licenses content on their sites as CC by-attribution non-commercial license. The dispute here is specifically about the commercial use of content. It's a little different from the AP situation, where it appeared that the AP was going after everyone who linked to one of their articles. (Though, in practice, only commercial entities are worth the cost of a lawsuit.) Whether you agree with the Gatehouse position on the Globe's links, they're certainly not clueless. They have a strategy that allows pretty much unlimited non-commercial use of their content, while reserving rights to commercial use.

Poor Headline (0)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290593)

They're not suing for linking, they're suing for ripping off their material verbatim. I'm sure the New York Times wouldn't like it if I printed out copies of their newspaper and sold it for free.

Re:Poor Headline (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290661)

sold it for free.

Try giving it away instead and then see what happens

Re:Poor Headline (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290927)

Are you nuts? They would love for you to pick up the cost of materials and printing.

Did you think that the newpaper was their product? Quite the contrary, their product is the readers of the newspaper, which are bulk leased to advertisers.

Re:Poor Headline (1)

davidbk1 (1403567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291055)

++ The revenue from 2M readers is $2M daily. What do you think it costs to purchase materials, run the presses, and distribute the paper?

Re:Poor Headline (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26291711)

Actually, the revenue is a lot more complex than that. Newspapers are loaded with advertisements, and I can assure you that the dollar you spend on the paper is more than matched by the money advertisers pay to get those ads inserted. Also, keep in mind that the number of papers sold is not equal to the number of readers: newspapers are often given from one person to another, left on a bench or a subway train, etc.

Re:Poor Headline (1)

davidbk1 (1403567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292875)

Sorry that was my point, should have said revenue from actual selling of papers. They would give that up easily for free printing and distribution.

hypocrites (5, Interesting)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290821)

I work for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, and a Gatehouse site, The Batavian [thebatavian.com] , uses our headlines in their sidebar.

This is a boneheaded, hypocritical move by a desperate company - their market cap has dropped to about $2 million.

minusb 5, Troll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26292133)

whole 4as l0st [goat.cx]

Not "stealing" (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26292199)

This is theft of material, pretty much plain and simple.

How is that?

Treating stuff on the web as a free-for-all and just republishing/redistributing it freely is fine as long as it benefits the person doing it.

They weren't "republishing" they were linking to it with a brief synopsis of what the like points too.

Nobody likes getting their stuff stolen and redistributed but most people on Slashdot can't see that far in front of their nose.

It isn't "stolen" as no one is deprived of its use.

Re:Not "stealing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305285)

Yes, but in News publishing the headline is part (or hearing of something first) of their business model. It attracts customers. NYT could be effectively drawing visitors away from the smaller guy's web portal. I suspect maybe unfair competition / business practices will fall into this lawsuit.

a href?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26293001)

Only a group of Massholes could stoop to such a lowly position.

Complainant is a fool. (1)

Count_Froggy (781541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296497)

Let's see...
If the NYT lost such a case (not likely), what would the outcomes possibly be?
1 - NYT hires some junior reporter wannabes whose job it is to read articles on other sites, rewrite them without plagiarizing, and post as NYT material. The winner gets neither fees and advertising revenue. NYT gets the stuff cheap.
2 - NYT pays licensing fees for linking to the winner's site. The winner gets both fees and advertising revenue. NYT gets shafted.
3 - NYT goes to the winner's competitor(s) and gets approval to aggregate their material instead. The winner gets neither fees and advertising revenue. NYT gets the stuff cheaper than option 2, but probably more than #1.

To me, given the possibility that the NYT would win a 'fair use' case, especially since the stuff was on an open RSS feed anyway, and a cheap possible solution if they lose, the complainant is a fool.

And there I was ... (1)

Rockin'Robert (997471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298727)

thinking, "Not another:
a. hom-,
b. racist-,
c. gender-, or
d. age-
o-phobic lawsuit over civil rights violations and/or LIBEL?
RR

Gatehouse wants to double its impressions (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301517)

After RTFA, here's what I see: Gatehouse shows ads on the story pages, and they are getting paid whenever someone follows a link from Boston Globe and reads the story. On the face of it, their claim of copyright infringement is ridiculous. The excerpted material is small, and if someone wants to read the article, Gatehouse will make money.

Their problem is that they also want the homepage impressions. If someone goes to Gatehouse's site(s) instead of Boston Globe's site, and clicks through a story link, they will have seen two pages of Gatehouse's ads, not just one.

That their revenue model is inappropriate and unrealistic, is of course irrelevant to their lawyers. That's what they're doing so anything that threatens it will be resisted.

Furthermore, sometimes advertisers request ads to run on the home page only. So Gatehouse has some users who are never seeing a certain class of ads.

This is tricky. Papers need ad money or they will go away. But there just isn't provision in the law that somehow makes a special case of home pages (and it's hard to think up a way such a change could really be rationalized); that's just an ad industry thing, and it might even be a fleeting one (so much of monetizing the net is still kind of experimental).

Law shouldn't "legitimize" new/experimental ideas (e.g. treat home pages or links as a special case and protect them by infringing other peoples' rights) that don't really have any philosophical foundation and may even be obsoleted within a few years. (When the law does screw up these kind of decisions, you get crap like the DMCA, which not only took sides on the ridiculous question of DRM, but took the wrong side and ended up damaging both the technology and media economies. DMCA is a great example of the damage that trigger-happy impulsive government embracing of ephemeral nonsense can do. Passing new copyright laws that prohibit linking, would be even worse, IMHO.)

IMHO, Gatehouse should deal with the fact that users are choosing someone else's home page of links instead of their own. Make theirs better.

Or do what my local daily newspaper does: if the referrer isn't themselves, show a super-annoying interstitial. (Actually, as a user I really hate that, but I have the luxury of not working there and tearing my hair out, worrying about the finances.)

Likewise, advertisers should think twice about treating home pages as a special case, and running home page only campaigns. They should be buying ads where ever people are going to see them and soak into their brains. I'm really skeptical that home pages somehow make readers take the included ads more seriously. Home pages are some of the noisiest things out there; I'm surprised that they don't pay less than the "real content" pages.

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