New York Times sends legal threats to blogs

Scott from Apartment Therapy sez,
Apartment Therapy New York received a DMCA take-down notice from the NY Times demanding removal of a long list of blog posts containing images from the Times (in posts about relevant Times articles).

We love the Times and write about them (and link to them) frequently. We are shocked & disappointed their first contact with concerns about our use of their images (in posts about their stories!) was a threatening letter & DMCA takedown notice to our ISP who have warned us they will disable our servers if we don't comply with the NY Times request.

Pop quiz: You're a troubled media dinosaur struggling to find your way on the Web. What steps can you take to actively discourage people from linking to you, thus reducing your pageviews and revenue?

DMCA Take Down Notice: The NYTimes Goes to War & Wants to Shut us Down (Thanks, Scott!)

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  1. As expected, traditional media still doesn’t get the Internet. Looking forward to the day when the old newspaper regime falls for good and new media takes over.

  2. Now, I’m all for the rights of bloggers BUT I think the tone of this is a bit harsh.

    If you are “You’re a troubled media dinosaur struggling to find your way on the Web,” maybe you might want to stop people who are using YOUR content for their own financial gain?

    Newspaper content gets linked and used all over the place. The papers are the ones paying for the journalism, other people are just copying their work for free.

    Right now if the newspapers go, a vast portion of the bloggosphere goes with it. So how about we don’t demonize them for protecting their legal rights, and we move ahead?

  3. Stupid by the NY Times.
    The new media will be wide but shallow and underinformed. Amateurs aren’t for everything.
    You can’t support newsgathering on internet advertising revenue.

    /end of my contributions to the 15th thread on the subject this month

  4. Ceronomus, I agree with balanced and reasonable thinking on issues like this, and don’t automatically fell into the “enforcing copyright is bad” stance. But from what is known so far about this, it’s a pretty silly move by the NYT. Yes, the blog in question includes pictures from the NYT. However, they are talking about NYT content and linking directly to the NYT. If they were just ganking the pictures and not giving any credit, then I’d support the take-down move. But they’re not, and their posts can only help the Times. In my opinion, of course.

  5. If anyone wanted to know what the news cartel would look like from a few posts down… this is it… suing everything with a pulse in the futile attempt to keep information from spreading across the internet… and failing.

  6. DCulberson, it seems that, from the related blog post, the NYT is cracking down on everyone that is appropriating their content, not just picking on one blog. Heck, with the sheer volume of people leeching their content, one blog like the above mentioned could easily have just ended up on a list handed to the lawyers. I’d love to see what the response from the NYT is, if any.

  7. In this instance I support the NY Times 100%. Why?

    Apartment Therapy doesn’t just take one photograph and summarize a story and link to the Times, it actually takes ALL of the photos from a slide show on home furnishings, for instance, and puts them on their site, essentially stealing the content of entire articles and reposting them without permission and eliminating the need to go to the NY Times website to read the full article. The Times isn’t the only site Apartment Therapy steals from. It’s very unprofessional.

    I pointed this out on Apartment Therapy a couple of years ago and my account was blocked from further comments.

    My guess is they had been asked nicely to stop before letters went out.

  8. I don’t think the issue is one of copyright, rather lost revenue. I’m a big fan of apartment therapy but I’m sure their CPM for advertising is much lower than the NYT’s. So when you have advertisers who can get NYT content on AT at a much better cost the company creating, not to mention paying for, the content really gets screwed and needs to protect itself.

  9. First, the NYT is not “struggling to find its way on the web.” It’s doing just fine on the web. I’m surprised – or not – that Mr. Doctorow asserts otherwise.

    Second, Apartment Therapy publishes like 100 posts a day. Understandably, many of these posts are flimsy. In many cases, it pulls several images from newspaper sites and posts them on distinct pages to create a slideshow. This is not promotional use.

    As a regular reader of both sites, I wish AT the best but these are not cut and dry matters. AT is ad supported, just like the NYT.

    Also, the knee jerk here is strong.

  10. It’s what you would expect in nature. The Times is like a sick or wounded animal being assailed by other animals…it strikes out at any perceived threat, real or imagined.

  11. I have a real problem with them going ahead and targeting bloggers. Many newspapers seem more than happy to steal stories from blogs, use images from MySpace, Facebook etc claiming that the information is now in the ‘public domain’ if it is on the internet and that they can use it.
    Yet, according to that logic the moment a newspaper is printed it is in the public domain also so why shouldn’t the bloggers use the image and link to the story?
    There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy at work here.


  12. AT provides a summary of news stories, this gives the reader an option to choose which stories to skip. A reader may follow some links if they desire more information, but AT is receiving ad revenue using the content nyt paid for regardless of click through.

    Without AT users would be forced to view the nyt front page to get the summaries. If anything I think AT is reducing nyt page views, by giving users the snippets they give them the option of not clicking. I would have to see real data before I believed AT was increasing page views.

  13. same as hulu/boxty and others, there are business/tech people who are thinking (and doing) that the best way to deal with the downturn is to try and vacuum up all of the traffic that touches them and bring it in-house. not sure it’ll work or if it will balkanize for the worse, but it’s what seems to be going on these days.

  14. Apartment Therapy New York received a DMCA take-down notice from the NY Times demanding removal of a long list of blog posts containing images from the Times (in posts about relevant Times articles).

    Here’s a solution that’s been popular ever since 1995 — before the DMCA:

    Host your webserver in a convenient jurisdiction. i.e. outside the reach of the DMCA — outside of the United States.

    Everything is legal somewhere. So wherever you need to operate your internet service, host it there, wherever that is (i.e. offshore).

  15. It might just be me, but I’d bet that the majority of people visiting Apartment Therapy are there for the pictures. Random catalog pictures, architecture pictures and NYT pictures, but pictures nonetheless. In fact, most of Apartment Therapy (and I don’t mean to pick on them) is other folks content. It’s a linkdump. And, internet users are relatively text-ignorant (meaning they ignore it): only if they see something pretty do they look to see whats going on in the text. So if photos are the number one draw, followed by the information easily found within a link (ie page title, author and source), it only makes sense that the NYT, who pays for all the pretty images and titles and authors, would feel like they’ve been wronged by someone else stealing their content. And really, it’s not just linking to the content; sites like Apartment Therapy assume that something greater is on one side of the link that is worth linking to. What sites like Apartment Therapy don’t understand is that while many artists and designers are looking for exposure, the ability to link to other media promoting the same exposure does not justify the second publications means. In other words, if Apartment Therapy wants to publicize artist X by publishing a NYT photo of artist X’s work they successfully undermine the NYT’s work in order to fit their own means. The pictures are the NYT’s big draw, they can’t afford to loose them.
    Unfortunately this goes in the face of what sites like BoingBoing and Apartment Therapy do. The fact that Cory called the NYT a dinosaur is evident of not the age-gap between the internet and newspapers, but the increasingly discordant views of what both mediums hope to accomplish.

  16. I am so sick of hearing people like BONNIE (comment numero uno) going on with:

    “As expected, traditional media still doesn’t get the Internet”

    This has little to do with the internet. This has everything to do with the fact that people are using Photos/Images from NYT that they have no right to. In many cases, the NYT doesn’t even own the photos and is only allowed to publish in paper and web site.

    This is NOT about linking, or excerpts of articles/blogs.

    Answer this question: Does any of the NYT stuff come under Creative Commons? Anyone? Care to guess?

    No.

    If NYT was publishing your photos/images from your blog would you not be ticked off? Would you not have a right to tell em to cut it out? I think so. Whats the fundamental difference here?

    Could the NYT have handled this better – that part is surely up for debate.

    Lets not cry Boo-Hoo every single time someone enforces their rights. Lets keep it to the real cases like the whole AP/Farley thing.

    A little common sense people. Don’t be part of a mob. Sit down, relax, and use that mind for once.

    1. If NYT was publishing your photos/images from your blog would you not be ticked off?

      I’d be dead chuffed, personally.

  17. As expected, traditional media still doesn’t get the Internet. Looking forward to the day when the old newspaper regime falls for good and new media takes over.

    I look forward to this day as well. Especially when people start to realize that a huge amount of the new media’s “research” involves taking articles written by people in “old media” and rehashing them.

    I also look forward to the day when I have to scan 100 different blogs just to find any information about what happened at a shooting in the Mission or anything else that requires someone to actually physically go to the place news is happening, ask questions and record it.

    Sigh.

  18. It’s what you would expect in nature. The Times is like a sick or wounded animal being assailed by other animals…it strikes out at any perceived threat, real or imagined.

    Plus five insightful.

  19. Come on people:

    http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/EFF_bootcamp_DMCA.pdf

    They could contest the takedown notice
    “#8: Notify Users About the Counter-Notice Procedure. Section 512(g) of the DMCA allows users to send counter-notices when their material is improperly targeted by a DMCA takedown. If the service provider and the user have complied with the requirements of the counter-notice, the service provider may restore the content after 10 business days.”

  20. Could it be that apartment therapy needs it’s own
    shrink?
    The sampling stealing generation says it’s OK
    until they get their creative work stolen, glad this old artist will die from natural causes as we get more “modern” and with haste bury the old dead media and it’s creator’s.

    Just think if you live long enough this too
    will happen to you and you won’t have youthful
    ambition and it’s verve to help you survive and
    the world will be at greater population and
    greater competition for survival, good luck and
    may Buddha bless the old gray lady,sniff,sniff.

  21. The most confusing aspect of this article is that the NYTimes just launched Times Open ( http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/timesopen/ ) which includes APIs for every single piece of their content – unfettered, unabridged, unrestricted. From what I can tell, they also made no stipulations about people making money from the content on their own projects (if that is in fact what this DMCA is arguing).

    I am positively perplexed. Sounds like another case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. So disappointing. :(

  22. @26 If you read the terms of use you’ll find it’s far from unfettered and unrestricted.

    But this doesn’t matter since AT just went in and took the pictures without using the API. Using one picture is fair use, using all of them probably isn’t.

  23. Yup! I just realized that in my next life
    I wanna comeback as an Intellectual Property attorney, sniff,sniff.

  24. The sooner the NYT dies a fiery death, the better. It isn’t some bastion of liberal views, but a wall to hold back any thought more-left-than-this.

    1. BDewhirst,

      You seem to have it in for the New York Times. Did you have a bad experience with a rolled up newspaper?

  25. “If NYT was publishing your photos/images from your blog would you not be ticked off?”

    Since several news agencies including the NYT have been accused of using images and content from blogs(sans permission)and other websites without the permission of the interested party I don’t see why the NYT is throwing such a hissy. As stated earlier their standpoint was that it was online and hence open for public use.

    A case of do what I say and not as I do much?!?

  26. In this case I say Apartment Therapy are in the wrong. All the images appear to be nicked straight up from the articles they link-to!! If this were done with the text, people would be up in arms.

    There is a very big difference between what Apartment Therapy does, and what a site say like NOTCOT.org does, where one MUST go to the original site to see 99% of the content.

  27. As much as I like BoingBoing, I think you’re quite wrong here. The NYT pays its photographers actual salaries. It buys them health insurance. It doesn’t take long chunks of someone else’s work, put it between blockquote tags and pat themselves on the back. They actually call people. They do some actual research.

  28. This is what happens when you let lawyers run around off-leash. There are far better ways to do this and accomplish the same ends. The truth is that the NYT does deserve to control their content, but they could be much gentler than a cease and desist as the opening round.

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