Web Copyright Lawsuit Could Cripple the Freedom to Link

Community outlet says big papers siphon off page views with mere snippets of info
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 2:50 PM CST
The New York Times building.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A local newspaper chain is suing the New York Times Company for pilfering its online content, and the case could dramatically change how news sites link, Danny Sanchez writes on Journalistopia. GateHouse Media says readers can glean enough information from the snippets linked by the Boston Globe and therefore don’t continue onward—depriving GateHouse of page views and potential ad dollars.

“GateHouse’s assertion,” Sanchez writes, is that the “use of the headlines cannibalizes GateHouse’s content.” But it’s the “deep link” complaint that “could create a monumental chilling effect” on the net. Worried about suits aimed at protecting ad revenue, the Web’s prodigious linkers could restrict themselves, cutting off “the voluminous flow of readers who arrive to news sites via search engines and aggregators.”