Blown To Bits

Two Newspaper Items of Note

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

First, the Chinese Internet censors are back to work following a bit of a break to buff the country’s image during the Olympic games. As of a few days ago, the New York Times web site became inaccessible from inside China. The press couldn’t get a comment from the government, but in the past, it has said that other countries regulate the Internet too. (Thus equating child pornography with the New York Times. Oh well, that’s what totalitarianism is about.)

And second, Gatehouse media, which publishes some suburban newspapers, has sued the New York Times because (the site of the Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times) was linking to some local stories in the Gatehouse publications. Just listing the headlines, with live link to the Gatehouse publications’ original stories. The legal issues are several — see this good analysis from the Citizen Media Law Project. It’s hard to think that what the Globe is doing is not well within “fair use” from a copyright standpoint. But either way, strategically it’s a head-scratcher. The Globe is steering traffic to the sites of obscure suburban newspapers almost no one reads. As the eloquent David Weinberger asks, why would those papers want that stopped?

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