Monday, January 26, 2009

Article: GateHouse Media lawsuit provides danger to online publishers

An article from Great Britain's Econsultancy notes the dangers GateHouse Media's lawsuit against the New York Times company has for online publishers:

Indeed it would. As services that 'aggregate' content have become far more prevalent on the internet and more old and new media outlets alike adopt the practice, a debate over the fine line between fair use and copyright infringement has emerged. At what point does copying headlines and story excerpts go beyond friendly promotion of someone else's content and become theft of someone else's content? There are arguments to be made on both sides.

Supporters of the practice make a valid point when they note that links from aggregators can boost traffic for the publisher whose content is being aggregated. But there can also be no denying that many websites use aggregation to become content destinations in their own right. And when it comes to SEO, I've personally heard complaints that popular aggregators which duplicate content sometimes appear higher in SERPs than the original publishers of that content, so an argument could be made that, in some cases at least, the practice robs original publishers of SEO benefits.

The trial is scheduled to begin today.

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