GateHouse Media Strikes Again: Claims Headlines, Ledes Are Covered By Copyright, Threatens Forum

from the they-never-learn dept

Remember GateHouse Media? The regional news company sued the NY Times for linking to it, claiming it was copyright infringement to include the headline and a brief snippet along with the link (you know, like Google...). Amusingly, it turned out that GateHouse Media was doing the same thing. Eventually the two companies settled, and apparently that's convinced GateHouse Media that complaining about such links is a good idea.

Via CitMediaLaw we found out that GateHouse Media has sent a cease & desist letter to an online forum, claiming not just that its stories are covered by copyright, but that its headlines and ledes.
We wish to advise you that the stories, headlines and/or ledes that you are copying are the copyrighted property of GateHouse Media... and that your copying constitutes infringement of GateHouse's rights under U.S. Copyright law. This infringement is not excused by links to the original stories or by indicating the name of the publication in which the content originated.
Of course, it's not clear that copyright law actually agrees with that. And, even if GateHouse is correct, this makes no sense whatsoever. It's not as if people reading the Masscops forums are doing so as a substitute for some GateHouse Media news sites. If anything, Masscops is sending traffic to them, and helping new readers discover GateHouse's sites. What sort of company turns down links and traffic? Not one that's long for this world...
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Filed Under: copyright, headlines, ledes
Companies: gatehouse media


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  1. icon
    Jeff Beall (profile), 29 Oct 2009 @ 6:30am

    I think that GateHouse maybe right on this one. They have a rather open TOS/TOU and is licensed via the Creative Commons, "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work". The issue is not that they are linking to stories on the site, but that they are basically doing a cut and paste of the entire story. This doesn't drive users to GateHouse but only serves as content for MassCops.

    Below is the GateHouse TOS for linking to the site.

    Unless otherwise prohibited under these Terms of Use, you are permitted to create hyperlinks to the content on the Website (including “deep linking” to articles or pages within site), provided that (1) the hyperlink text accurately describes the content as it appears on the Website, (2) no “scraping” of the content by any means (i.e., extracting content from the Website and reformatting it, aggregating it with other content or redistributing it other than in its complete originally displayed format), (3) under no circumstances may you "frame" the Website or any of its content or copy portions of the Website to a server, except as part of an Internet service provider's incidental caching of pages and (4) each page within the Website must be displayed in full (including all trademarks, branding, advertising and promotional materials), unaltered without any accompanying frame, border, margin, design, branding, trademark, advertising or promotional materials not originally displayed on the page within the Website. We reserve the right at any time in our sole discretion to revoke this permission generally, or your right to use specific links. If you have any questions regarding these linking policies you may contact us, or if you wish to link in a manner not authorized in these Terms of Use, you must get our prior written permission (see Contact Us below).

    Sounds fair to me

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