Stephens Media Suing Bloggers and Websites That Use Their Content

The owners of the Hawaii Tribune Herald, The West Hawaii Today, and Big Island Weekly is Stephens Media.  Many folks consider the Las Vegas Review Journal the “sister” paper to the Big Island papers and is owned by Stephens Media as well.

In fact the Hawaii Tribune Herald has a button linking directly to their site.

So now it appears that the Las Vegas Review Journal is suing folks who use content from their papers without permission and or linking to the papers online site *Update* I meant to say folks that  are not linking back to the paper.

It’s now brought lawsuits against 34 separate websites.

The publishers of a noncommercial blog about cats in Boston are among the latest defendants in lawsuits claiming website operators have been infringing on copyrights by posting Las Vegas Review-Journal stories without authorization…

…Friday’s suits bring to 34 the number of lawsuits filed over R-J copyrights since March…

Full Article: 8 more websites sued over R-J Copyrights; 34 total

So those of you folks locally who are thinking of setting up a blog or running a website… be careful who you steal from!  Especially here on the Big Island where our only real newspapers are all dominated by someone so ready to jump all over any one for any thing.

It makes me think Stephens Media is really starting to lose money fast and furious and it’s looking at blaming bloggers for part of that profit loss.

I’ve seen other sites that have mirrored my site before and I didn’t really think any thing of it before… I guess I’ll start having to be more careful about allowing folks using my content.

4 Responses

  1. Damon

    Firstly, just to correct something in your post – I don’t think anyone could ever be sued successfully for linking to an article. I think you need to re-read the article you, er, linked to!

    Andrew’s point is correct, you can’t just post someone else’s writing in its entirety which is what the defendants’ appear to have done. There is a fair use doctrine but it usually means you can quote small parts of an article to help establish your point, but you must always cite the source.

    As to your answer to Andrew, I don’t understand it. The advertising thing is a complete misnomer, it’s irrelevant. What I suspect is happening is that they are receiving press releases, sent to Stephens Media as well, and so of course they are free to publish the article – they are not copying an exclusive and copyrighted article from elsewhere.

    Tom

  2. Sounds like the defendants were publishing stories in their entirety, which is certainly a valid copyright violation. You can copy small parts of a story in your postings. Fair Use doctrine allows snippets to be posted, as long as they are part of the narrative and for editorial reasons.

    The copied section must not be a “substantial” portion of the original. A couple sentences, maybe a paragraph, more than that and you risk getting sued.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

    • Understood fully Andrew –

      What I have noticed though, is a few local folks who have blogs, Tiffany Edwards-Hunt and Wayne Joseph also write for the Stephens Media run papers yet they post that same content on their own blogs which have advertising on it.

      Are they then basically biting the hand that feeds them?

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