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?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:10pm

    Pick one.

    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.

    Pick your poison.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    Yes, it IS great but only if you have enough lawyers and money to make all the rules go your way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    John Duncan Yoyo, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Pick one.

    How about a third option: just don't bother linking to companies who love lawsuits, and linking to someone who knows just a tad bit more about technology than a bunch of old farts?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:29pm

    Re:

    How about "no"? Because I'd think Fair Use would cover this sort of usage of a company logo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    tim, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    philippe naylor (profile), Feb 26th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    Re: online freedom union

    this union would then just end up carrying out these kinds of actions to serve their own ends and not 'freedom'
    put a bunch of people together to fight for a cause and they end up looking after themselves - it is human nature

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Scott, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 12:56am

    Just boycott 'em

    They charge you to read their website anyway. Welcome to the 21st century. I'll get my news from a new media source and to hell with the Times. Why don't they just belly up or become a gossip rag?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 1:23am

    Re: Pick one.

    I'd like a patent infringement suit, with a side of arsenic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    jb NYC, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 2:17am

    The NY Times is about to go belly up. This seems like a desparation move. I for one would love to see them fall. I don't know why anyone reads the lefty publication anyways. That's what they get for being biased.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Fed up with Big Media, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 4:27am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    FunkyMunky, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    FARK

    Just wait until they try this with FARK (if they haven't already). The negative reaction from that would be immense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Fed up with parasites, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 12:07am

    Why?

    Should the NYT give away its content for free? Away from long tails, can anybody explain why? Away from news agregators that just "quote", who is actually gonna pay for credible information generation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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