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Lawsuit Stops Headline Scraping 85

Stephen Larson alerts us to the out-of-court settlement of Gatehouse v NY Times, a lawsuit that attempted to stop the Boston Globe from linking to headlines and excerpting initial sentences from a competitor's Web site. At issue was the Globe's practice — barely distinguishable from those of Google News, Yahoo, and others — of linking to another news source's coverage of local news. The upshot is that the Boston Globe will stop the linking. No judicial precedent was set, because the case was settled before reaching a judge.
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Lawsuit Stops Headline Scraping

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  • This is ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by biscuitlover ( 1306893 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @07:31AM (#26620197)

    FTA, it sounds like Gatehouse see this as a copyright violation but, as several other posters have pointed out, the same thing goes on on news aggregator sites all the time. In fact most stories on Slashdot contain snippets from other sites. It's an unavoidable and very useful facet of the web

    This is yet another example of 'old' media not really understanding online practices. Most sites benefit tremendously from others linking to them - look at what happens with Slashdot. That is, unless the 'benefit' is so great that their server turns to dust.

  • Re:Web fundamental (Score:5, Informative)

    by dattaway ( 3088 ) * on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @08:58AM (#26620757) Homepage Journal

    I would give almost anything to have a blacklist of domains I could set while logged into google so that those never showed up in my searches ever again...

    Exactly what you are looking for, Google's customizable search engine: []

  • Lawsuit stops what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @09:08AM (#26620815)

    No judicial precedent was set, because the case was settled before reaching a judge.

    As it was settled outside the lawsuit, the lawsuit settled nothing. Also no precedent, so this is actually bad news.
    Now we still do not know what is and what is not legal. A complete lawsuit would have been better, be it for or against linking.

  • Re:Web fundamental (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ioldanach ( 88584 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:13AM (#26622513)

    This isn't really about the links, though, is it? On a news site, the effort required to identify a story and get the key facts right is a large part of the value of the site. If someone else can come along and copy the headline and intro, they've got most of that same value for nothing.

    I took a look at this when the first article came out. The plaintiff's site has an RSS feed. The defendant's site looks like it was aggregating the headlines and initial sentence or so of several locally relevant news sites' RSS feeds, displaying that, and linking the headline back to the originating site. Basically, exactly what you expect an rss aggregator to do.

  • by Anonymous Freak ( 16973 ) <> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @12:02PM (#26623397) Journal

    Unlike Google News, the Boston Globe is, itself, a news-reporting organization. Mixing their own stories with those from competitors can lead to confusion. I didn't manage to see the offending page before they took down their linked stories; but I imagine it was done in such a way as to have the original source difficult to identify.

    A pure aggregator service, like Google News, is different because it is rather obvious that ALL it is doing is aggregating. There is no 'new reporting' being done by "Google".

Put no trust in cryptic comments.