NYTCo And Gatehouse Settle Aggregation Lawsuit; Boston.com Will Remove Ledes, But Linking Allowed

Update: Under the terms of the agreement the NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) will make sure all Gatehouse Media feeds that contain its original ledes and headlines are removed from Boston.com and its “Your Town” websites by March 1. But NYTCo site cannot be prevented from “linking or deep-linking” to Gatehouse’s web news. This is good news for the NYTCo, as aggregation has lately become such a big part of the NYTimes.com’s strategy. Plus, given its financial struggles, the company can ill afford to engage in a costly, drawn-out court battle.

Gatehouse’s reasoning: With aggregation and blogging having achieved a large measure of acceptance over the past few years, why did GateHouse pursue a lawsuit against the practice now? In its initial complaint, Gatehouse charged that Boston.com, both through advertising and its direct aggregation, was confusing readers about where the articles actually originated — despite the clear links back to its sites. But more than the use of its content, the publisher was frustrated that the links do an end-run around the ads on its homepage. And that’s something that could become a major issue for other small newspapers facing increased competition from hyperlocal news sites and dwindling ad spending.

Original post: The New York Times Company and GateHouse Media have settled the copyright infringement suit the latter filed last month, AP reported. No details were available about the terms of the agreement the two sides settled on. Last month, Gatehouse, which publishes 125 community papers in Massachusetts, filed suit in U.S. District Court there after items appearing on hyperlocal blogs on the NYTCo-owned Boston Globe’s site ran snippets from the company’s local papers’ sites. Gatehouse complained even though Boston.com’s “Wicked Local” sites linked back and credited Gatehouse’s websites. Calls to Gatehouse and NYTCo weren’t returned.

In its initial complaint, Gatehouse demanded that NYTCo close Your Town Newton, one of the Wicked Local sites, which Boston.com had created about two months ago.

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