If GateHouse Media succeeds in their lawsuit, this blog, and many others will have to cease existence. What percentage of blog materials is quoted, fair-use information from other sites? Just using B12 as an example, I’d say over 75%.
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: Request for an injunction [PDF] to stop the Globe from posting GateHouse links.
-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 Supercrosslive.com case, 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.
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.
No joke, if this lawsuit is successful, I will have to shut down this blog immediately, as will the majority of other news-related blogs. The risk of liability is just too great.Footnotes:
- well except for being mentioned in the Tribune bankruptcy as a debt-ridden newspaper company [↩]