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Gatehouse suing NY Times

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I thought this day would be coming and now it is here.

    The web world likes to argue fair use, but I've always thought that was shaky ground to build a business model on. Gatehouse might not have the deep pockets to fight the Times, and you can already predict the nerd reaction — the news is free, man!
    It might not happen this time, but eventually, and it will be ironic if it is the Times taking on Google, but eventually a media company will challenge and win a fair use fight.
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I don't really get it, but I'm not surprised that this is coming up.

    If they were copying the text of stories, that would be one thing. But driving eyeballs to their site with links; I don't get the problem.

    We're linking to the Rob Parker column off the Marinelli news story today; I can't believe the Detroit operation minds.
  3. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    I'm assuming that it's the way in which the Globe links to the stories that is at issue here, not that it does link to them at all. Might be an interesting test case that could establish acceptable parameters for doing so.
  4. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    But we're not in direct competition with the Detroit News.

    I assume the problem GateHouse sees is that people go to the Boston Globe site FIRST and if the reader likes the GateHouse headline and "verbatim snippet" he or she sees, they surf on over to the GateHouse page. If they don't like it, they don't go to the GateHouse site.

    In a way — albeit very small — the Globe is circumventing readers from the GateHouse sites first, thus decreasing the coveted "hits."
  5. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I think that's the problem as well.
    Get in the habit of going to the Boston Globe site, since it includes everything, you can make it a one-stop shop, and if you see something interesting at a Gatehouse paper, you can click on it and then leave.
    You don't get people staying on the site. You don't get people commenting and you lose the people who would hang around and browse, since they have already seen an index of everything you have done.
    Plus Gatehouse took technical steps to stop them and they worked around it and then asked them twice to stop and the Boston Globe continued with the practice.
    I think Gatehouse has every right to be pissed.
  6. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    The Freep linked Parker's apology today. First time I have seen them link a Detnews article. Ever.
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Simply put, the Globe is trying to offer blanket coverage of the minutae of a large metropolitan area without spending the money to send reporters to cover all those town council meetings and whatnot.

    I don't buy the "directing eyeballs" argument. That revenue, if any, is a pittance compared with what Gatehouse is spending to produce all those stories, even if it is paying stringers $25 or $50 a shot. The fact is that the Globe is not spending a penny to produce that content, yet is deriving some benefit in a parasitic way rather than employing stringers of its own to cover the news in those towns. If there is any benefit for Gatehouse in this scenario, it pales compared with what the Globe is getting for free. While I am no fan of Gatehouse and a huge fan of The New York Times Co., I hope Gatehouse wins this, in or out of court.

    As for SF's point, of course the Detroit papers aren't going to complain. They've been conditioned to believe they are getting some financial benefit from this situation, although it's doubtful that they really do. Just like newspapers have been conditioned to believe that partnerships with local TV and radio stations (who have minimal news-gathering operations compared with the local paper) benefit the newspaper. In what measurable way, exactly? It's been awhile, and these "synergy" arrangements do not appear to contribute to the bottom line enough to have stopped the current freefall.

    There is far too much sharing going on (often without consent). It's time news organizations started defending their proprietary content as just that. This is a good step. You want a Web site that includes news from Detroit? Well, either ask AP to send something or station your own reporter there.

    Back in the early 1980s I worked for an SE who was gifted but a bit of a dick. A larger paper 100 miles away called to get some high school scores and he said, "Have your circulation department remove those news racks from our county and you can have as many scores as you want. Otherwise, you can pay kids to call them in like we do." And he was absolutely right. The content producer, not the user, gets to determine who is a competitor and who isn't.
  8. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Great post Frank. I never thought of the "getting something for free" aspect. So that's two reasons GateHouse has to be pissed.
  9. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    My friend says "there are hundreds of sites that are that do this. It would be completely impossible to sort it all out. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be, just that I don’t think any judge in his or her right mind is going to be like “yeah, let’s tear the internet up.” There’s simply no way you can police who can and cannot link to an article on the internet."


    Will this case get tossed simply on the fact, by what my friend says is, "too much work"?
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Do courts need to worry about the entire Internet below the Supreme Court level? Or is this, initially, a dispute between two companies engaged in a battle for local turf? I would think that if, as alleged, security measures were taken by one party and the other party used workarounds to breach that security, it would appear to be premeditated theft.
  11. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    True Frank. But it sets a precedent, no? Could it swell to something much bigger?
  12. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    Fair Use is a tough thing to litigate---legal precedent weighs heavily in favor of the user.
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