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GateHouse Media Lawsuit: Don't aggregate our headlines and post snippets of our stories

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, GateHouse Media Inc. asked a judge to stop the New York Times Co. from linking to GateHouse articles on’s new local advertising-supported “Your Town” sites, claiming its new practice of grabbing headlines from GateHouse Web sites constitutes copyright infringement. publishes headlines, the first sentences of many stories and deep links to GateHouse Media articles. GateHouse claims its sites are losing money because people are visiting the individual story pages instead of the home pages of its sites. It wants to block the Times Co. from aggregating its content, receive compensation for losses, punitive damages and reimbursement for legal fees.

While GateHouse might have a point accusing the Times Co. of copyright infringement by reproducing sentences of their articles, some statements in the complaint about the practice of deep linking are pretty much nonsense, e.g. "The user receives no warning or notification that it has been transported to an unaffiliated third-party website, thus exacerbating the potential for confusion as to the source of origin of the repotage and information displayed on the infringing website."

In its response, the NY Times mentions emails from GateHouse officials pointing out that identical activities are clearly fair use. Howard Owens, GateHouse’s director of digital publishing, wrote (page 19): "Also note that headline, a few graphs and a link back to our site isn’t a Creative Commons issue, but a fair use issue, and they would probably win on that one."


So here is a deep link to a web site that hosts the complaint: Deep Link to Techdirt! Please note: I'm not affiliated with Techdirt. There will be no further warning that you will leave my web site by clicking on the link. You are all on your own! And please also visit the homepage of Techdirt.


A lawsuit by Agence France Presse (AP) against Google News for aggregating headlines and posting excerpts of news articles posed similar questions, but that case settled before trial. Google also struck a licensing agreement with The Associated Press (AP).





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