This has been an issue brewing for sometime in a number of different platforms, but it seems it’s finally come to a head. It’s not particularly a sports issue, but it’s certainly going to effect how blogs, especially those on major media websites, go about their business.
Gatehouse Media, a company which owns, according to Boston.com, 125 local newspapers across Massachusetts, is suing NY Times Co., owners of Boston.com and The Boston Globe, for copyright infringement relating to their hyper local aggregate news websites. (Think Google News with a local flavor)
You can read The Globe’s report, published on their Boston.com website, by going to this link. You can read GateHouse media’s filed complaint by going here, courtesy of Media Nation. MN also has linked over to the coverage of the issue by the Center for Citizen Media, who is doing phenomenal work unravelling the issue.
The suit relates to the practice by The Globe of reprinting the headlines and ledes of stories from newspaper websites owned by GateHouse, then linking to the full story. Essentially, it’s suing them for doing what blogs do every day.
Blogs, as I’m sure you’re aware, collect links from media sources across the web with their headlines and short excerpts in order to direct traffic there. The problem lies largely in the fact that these links usually shoot right past the front page of a website, where a person might see other articles they’re interested in and where the highest-grossing advertisements usually are.
GateHouse certainly has cause for complaint, but whether it’s enough cause for a judge to find in favor of them remains to be seen. This isn’t a legal battle that will be over quickly, though, and it’s not one limited to just these two companies.
The unseen third party here is actually Google, whose Google News site does exactly what the Globe’s hyper local web portals do, but on a larger scale. Depending on how this all plays out, the lawsuit could have far-reaching effects far beyond Massachusetts.