Why Is The NY Times Threatening An Aggregator For Accurately Indicating NY Times Stories?

from the damned-if-you-do...-damned-if-you-don't... dept

The NY Times was just recently involved in a intellectual property fight with newspaper publisher Gatehouse Media, over the use of Gatehouse headlines and ledes as part of an aggregator it had set up. Apparently, part of what the NYTimes learned from this episode was that it should go after other aggregators using questionable claims. It’s now threatening the site Newser for using a small version of its “T” logo to link to stories from the NY Times. It’s pretty difficult to see how this is trademark infringement. Using a small logo hardly implies endorsement. It’s just accurately labeling where the news is from. It’s difficult to see how that’s “confusing” at all. This reminds me of a point made recently by Eric Goldman concerning the AP’s “hot news” lawsuit, where he notes that aggregators are put in a tricky position: if they don’t properly attribute the content, they may face a copyright infringement lawsuit, but if they do properly attribute the content, they may face a trademark infringement lawsuit. Isn’t intellectual property great?

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Companies: newser, ny times

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Comments on “Why Is The NY Times Threatening An Aggregator For Accurately Indicating NY Times Stories?”

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13 Comments
John Duncan Yoyo (profile) says:

So if they use small plain text they are fine, but if they use a recognizable symbol for the Times to point to the Times they are infringing by driving traffic to them.

They need to beat some sense into their lawyers. Perhaps a short contract permitting the use of logo and a token payment for the Aggregator for driving traffic to the Times website.

Fed up with Big Media says:

Re: Re: Re:

Fair Use does cover this sort of thing. however THe Times, or the Associated Press or Gatehouse or whoever will still file the lawsuit and the usually much smaller competitor will have to find the money to defend it.

The American legal system is so screwed up in that you only have rights if you have hundreds or millions of dollars.

tim says:

online freedom union

Why doesn’t someone set up an online freedom union, which could be joined by all sorts of sites whos purpose is to aggregate and make available existing content, then, as soon as one of them gets hit with a ridiculous charge like this, all the others would post a few stories on it, and promptly block all stories from the offending company.

result would be huge amount of negative stories and impact, and reduced traffic throughput.

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