Lisa Williams reports that GateHouse Media — the Fairport, N.Y.-based chain that bought more than 100 community newspapers in Eastern Massachusetts earlier this year — has jettisoned traditional copyright protection in favor of Creative Commons.
In a guest post on Jay Rosen’s PressThink blog, Williams writes that the Creative Commons model, which allows third parties such as bloggers to copy and paste content for nonprofit use as long as they provide proper credit, is part of GateHouse’s aggressive move into the post-print, mostly-Web future.
A big part of that is Wicked Local, whose aim is to combine professional and amateur content. Currently available only in the Plymouth area, Wicked Local is expected to be the model for all of GateHouse’s community Web sites. I find this both promising and dangerous — promising because building community journalism around the idea of a conversation between professional journalists and the public is a compelling model for What Comes Next; dangerous because it’s potentially a way for media corporations to build their Web sites on the cheap. Williams quotes me to that effect in her article.
GateHouse went public earlier this fall, and Williams says the run-up in its stock price has already been so impressive that it is now the most valuable newspaper company in the United States. Williams’ conclusion: “GateHouse’s move towards open source, open licensing, and open conversations is the biggest experiment to date in whether a media company with open source ambitions can walk hand in hand with Wall Street.”