Settlement details are now online

I’m getting ready for class, and so will not be able to comment in any detail on the settlement terms reached between GateHouse Media and the New York Times Co. And it’s hard to know what the agreement (PDF) is going to look like in practice.

But my gut tells me that, by agreeing not to aggregate GateHouse content automatically for its Boston.com Your Town sites, the Times Co. will shift more to a blogging model, compiled by actual human beings, rather than robotically posting headlines and ledes from GateHouse’s Wicked Local sites.

“To put it in the language of online-journalism theory, they have to shift a bit from raw aggregation to something closer to curation,” writes Josh Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab. I agree — I think that’s exactly what we’re going to see.

One interesting aspect of the agreement is that the Times Co. says it will not interfere with any technological fix GateHouse attempts to implement in order to stop it from “scraping” its content.

“Gatehouse had not previously established a barrier to prevent such scraping of its stories,” writes Robert Weisman of the Boston Globe.

But in GateHouse’s legal complaint, the company charges that it “implemented certain electronic security measures” last November, which were quickly defeated by Boston.com.

More to come, I’m sure.

5 thoughts on “Settlement details are now online

  1. O-FISH-L

    Is Josh Benton the ultra-liberal who appeared on Beat the Press on Friday? If that panel was a scale, you’d all fall off stage left, like when too many children favor one side of a see-saw. Makes one pine for the days of Bob Zelnick and Michael Graham, both apparently not liberal enough to be invited back.

  2. NewsHound

    We shouldn’t even know about this. Rick Daniels should have made a phone call to his successor at the Boston Globe, the two should have met for lunch and after a couple of meetings and phone calls both sides should have been big enough to figure this out without expensive phantom judicial assistance.

  3. Ani

    What strikes me about the agreement letter on first read is that technology is the tail and the deal about what can and can’t be done is the dog. Which may be perfectly obvious, but I do think it’s interesting that the party with better technology is prevented from wielding that advantage here and the party whose technology doesn’t work as planned is protected from disadvantage here. If I read the thing right. It interests me because it often seems to look in other contexts as if the leading edge is what can be done with the best technology.

  4. Greg Reibman

    Of course we asked first! We sent a cease and desist on November 19, 2008 asking them to do exactly what Newshound suggests. We followed that with the second letter on Dec. 2.

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