GateHouse Media filed a lawsuit Monday against the New York Times Co. alleging copyright infringement after the NYT-owned Boston Globe frequently posted links containing headlines and the first sentences from articles on GateHouse’s community news sites.
–View the Document: The 25-page lawsuit [PDF]
-View the Document:Â Request for an injunction [PDF] to stop the Globe from posting GateHouse links. [UPDATE 12/23, 10:02 p.m.: A judge denied the temporary injunction]
–View the Document: 35-page support document for the injunction [PDF]
–View the Document: Affidavit by GateHouse Media Metro Editor-in-Chief Gregory Reibman [PDF]
–Your Town Newton, one of the Boston Globe’s community sites that sparked the lawsuit. See the news links in the center content gutter.
The lawsuit, if successful, could create a monumental chilling effect for bloggers, news sites, search engines, social media sites and aggregators such as Topix and Techmeme, which link to articles, display headlines and use snippets of copyrighted text from other sites. Initiatives such as the NYTimes.com Times Extra, which displays links to related articles from other sites, could be shut down for fear of copyright lawsuits. It could lead to a repudiation of one of the fundamental principles on which the Internet was built: the discovery and sharing of information.
In its complaint, GateHouse called the article links “deep links” because they do not link to the home page of the site. The “deep link” language in the complaint is meant to invoke cases such as the https://journalistopia.com/flirt-for-free-women/, wherein a motorcross news site was successfully prohibited from deep linking to a competing site’s streaming video file, which bypassed the site’s advertising.
From a technological standpoint, Your Town Newton’s article links would https://journalistopia.com/dating-online-free/. However, that does not necessarily mean the links are a violation of salt lake city hookup. The links to the articles, which contain local gay meet, are rather different in nature from the links to streaming audio and media files in the Supercrosslive.com case, which were unable to contain advertising.
GateHouse’s assertion is that the Boston Globe community site’s use of the headlines cannibalizes GateHouse’s content and causes it financial harm because readers gather news from the links and snippets on the Globe’s site rather than visit GateHouse’s sites. Although not explicitly stated in the complaint, this means GateHouse likely believes the loss of readers from possible increased use of the Globe’s site will not be offset by the readers brought in by its competitor’s links.
If GateHouse were to have its way with its deep link argument, it would create a legal precedent that makes the act of linking to a copyrighted article illegal. It could mean a crippling of sites such as older dating agency and the Drudge Report, which can bring in enormous amounts of readers while being primarily built upon links to someone else’s expensive-to-create content. But, if enforced, it would also cut off the voluminous flow of readers who arrive to news sites via search engines and aggregators. That, too, has an effect on the bottom line.
In the end, we could see a long list of media companies flinging short-sighted lawsuits at each other, while suicidally pushing their content into black holes guarded by copyright law.
[UPDATE 12/23]: Here’s some commentary on the lawsuit from other media bloggers:
–How the GateHouse suit looks from both sides – Media Nation
–GateHouseGate – Mark Potts
–A danger to journalism – Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine
–Gatehouse sues NYTCo over aggregation: But do they have a point? – Tish Grier
–Aggregation aggravation – PaidContent
–Dying Newspapers Suing Each Other For Content Theft – Silicon Valley Insider
By BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » A danger to journalism December 23, 2008 - 12:26 pm
[…] says: If GateHouse were to have its way with its deep link argument, it would create a legal precedent […]
By Tish Grier December 23, 2008 - 12:54 pm
you may want to check out Dan Kennedy’s post on this issue. Dan knows the Boston newspaper in a way I don’t think anyone else does, and his thoughts on this (he also broke the story) raise some important points.
By Danny Sanchez December 23, 2008 - 1:17 pm
Thanks for the heads up Tish. I’m going to post an update soon with more commentary and will include Dan’s.
By A link too far? | Kiesow 7.0 December 23, 2008 - 2:32 pm
[…] GateHouse Lawsuit vs. New York Times Co. has Dire Implications A Danger to Journalism GateHouse: O hai, internetz â€” we r fail […]
By End of Blogging at B12 Solipsism December 24, 2008 - 3:29 am
[…] [From Journalistopia Â» GateHouse Lawsuit vs. New York Times Co. has Dire Implications | Danny Sanchez] […]
By GateHouse: O hai, internetz — we r fail December 24, 2008 - 10:17 am
[…] But surely this is the way the Internet works, you are saying to yourself. And so it is. GateHouse apparently doesn’t like the way the Internet works. That puts the company in the same category as the World Newspaper Association and forward-thinking types like Chicago Tribune owner Sam Zell, who have repeatedly criticized Google for linking to news stories from its Google News search engine, or the Belgian newspapers that sued Google over similar tactics. All of these groups are trying to turn back time, to play King Canute with the rolling wave that is the Web, instead of trying to find ways of using that wave to their mutual advantage. […]
By GateHouse Media takes on the New York Times Company | Daily Loaf December 24, 2008 - 8:25 pm
[…] have free speech and fair use advocates burning up their keyboards, perhaps with good reason. In a blog post on Journalistopia, Danny Sanchez writes: The lawsuit, if successful, could create a monumental chilling effect for […]
By Gerd Kamp December 28, 2008 - 4:15 am
Fortunately in Germany there is a supreme court ruling from Sep. 2003 (the so-called paperboy ruling) that deeplinking (together with headlines and ledes) is legal
By Howard Owens: “They would probably win on that one” » Nieman Journalism Lab May 17, 2009 - 9:52 pm
[…] GateHouse filed its original complaint in November, the company was roundly criticized across the blogosphere for pushing back against the culture of linking that has come to define online […]