HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The newsonomics of telling your audience what they should do
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 26, 2009, 12:48 p.m.

Some confusing language in the GateHouse linking settlement

The settlement in the GateHouse/NYT Co. case has been posted, and this is one of those moments when it’s clear I am not a lawyer. We’re trying to get clarity from people smarter than us, and we’re discussing it over on Twitter. But here’s a preliminary reading of the settlement language:

GateHouse will implement one or more commercially reasonable technological solutions…intended to prevent [NYT Co.]’ copying of any original content from GateHouse’s websites and RSS feeds…which [NYT Co.] shall not directly or indirectly circumvent.

That sounds an awful lot like NYT Co. has agreed to stop harvesting headlines and ledes from GateHouse’s sites. But if that’s the case, why does there need to be a “technological solution”? Why couldn’t NYT Co. just agree not to copy “any original content”? At first I thought this might mean that the copying could not be automated (i.e., directly pulled straight from the RSS feed), but the “shall not directly or indirectly circumvent” language would seem to imply that hand-copying headlines would be verboten too.

The agreement spells out that NYT Co. will remove GateHouse’s RSS feeds from its aggregation tool (Point 2 in the agreement), and that all the past GateHouse headlines and ledes will be removed from their archives by March (Point 3). But then, in Point 5, there’s this:

Notwithstanding the above prohibitions, nothing shall prevent either party from linking or deep-linking to the other party’s websites, provided that the terms and conditions set forth in this Letter Agreement and in the Definitive Agreement are otherwise fully complied with.

So it looks like the upshot is that the Globe can continue to link to GateHouse stories all they want, but that they can’t use any sort of automated tool or the RSS feed to do it. They’ll have to have a human being manually creating the link — and that human will have to write a new headline and summary instead of using GateHouse’s.

To put it in the language of online-journalism theory, they have to shift a bit from raw aggregation to something closer to curation.

But that’s just my first take from some confusing legal language. We’re trying to get in touch with the lawyers on both sides. How do you read it?

POSTED     Jan. 26, 2009, 12:48 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     GateHouse v. NYT Co.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The newsonomics of telling your audience what they should do
At WNYC, a public radio station is getting more aggressive about telling people what to do: go vote, get more sleep, stay healthy. What happens when a news outlet starts talking about behavior change?
It’s time to apply for a Nieman Fellowship
It’s a chance to spend a year at Harvard strengthening both journalism and yourself. Application deadlines are approaching soon.
Here’s some remarkable new data on the power of chat apps like WhatsApp for sharing news stories
At least in certain contexts, WhatsApp is a truly major traffic driver — bigger even than Facebook. Should there be a WhatsApp button on your news site?
What to read next
686
tweets
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
496Controlled chaos: As journalism and documentary film converge in digital, what lessons can they share?
Old and new media types from journalism, documentary, and technology backgrounds gathered at MIT to share practices and discuss mutual concerns.
362Here’s some remarkable new data on the power of chat apps like WhatsApp for sharing news stories
At least in certain contexts, WhatsApp is a truly major traffic driver — bigger even than Facebook. Should there be a WhatsApp button on your news site?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
New West
Voice of San Diego
Arizona Guardian
El Faro
The Seattle Times
Time
InvestigateWest
CNN
The Daily
Demand Media
PubliCola
Newsmax