GateHouse Media v. New York Times Company

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

12/22/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Massachusetts

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
GateHouse Media, which operates more than 375 newspapers (in New England and elsewhere) and associated websites, filed a lawsuit against the New York Times Company in U.S. District Court in Massachussets, claiming, among other things, that... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

The New York Times Co. d/b/a Boston.com

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Location of Party: 

  • Massachusetts
  • Delaware

Location of Party: 

  • New York
  • Massachusetts

Legal Counsel: 

Mark S. Puzella, Richard D. Hosp, Parker H. Bagley, Ira J. Levy, Michael T. Jones - Goodwin Procter, LLP
Description
GateHouse Media, which operates more than 375 newspapers (in New England and elsewhere) and associated websites, filed a lawsuit against the New York Times Company in U.S. District Court in Massachussets, claiming, among other things, that headlines from -- and links to -- GateHouse content on Boston.com's "Your Town" sites constitute copyright and trademark infringement.  The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe, operates local sites — currently in Newton, Needham, and Waltham, MA — that aggregate local content from the Globe, area blogs, and other newspaper websites, including GateHouse's Wicked Local websites.  

On December 22, 2008, GateHouse filed an eight count complaint against the New York Times alleging breach of contract, copyright infringement, false advertising, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and unfair business practices.  On the same day, GateHouse also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

In a statement on Boston.com, New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said the company is simply doing what hundreds of other news sites already do -- aggregate headlines and snippets of relevant stories published elsewhere on the Web -- and believed GateHouse's lawsuit was without merit:
"Far from being illegal or improper, this practice of linking to sites is common and is familiar to anyone who has searched the Web," Mathis said. "It is fair and benefits both Web users and the originating site."

Update:

12/22/08 - Judge Young denied GateHouse's request for a temporary restraining order and set a hearing on plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction for January 5, 2009.  The court indicated that the motion for a preliminary injunction will be "collapsed with a trial on the merits."

12/30/08 -  Parties filed a joint motion (ordered by the Court) to set a trial date of January 26, 2009.  Fact discovery is to be completed by January 16.

1/12/09- GateHouse filed an Unopposed Motion for Ruling on Jurisdiction, arguing that the Court has jurisdiction over its copyright claims even though the Copyright Office has not yet issued a certificate of copyright for the works at issue.

1/16/09 - New York Times Company filed a Motion To Join Globe Newspaper Company, Inc. and Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc., and Leave To File Answer, Affirmative Defenses And Counterclaims including a proposed Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims.

1/21/09 - Court granted (without a written order) the New York Times Company's motion for joinder.

1/22/09 - GateHouse filed a proposed amended complaint.

1/26/09 - Case dismissed due to settlement.  The New York Times has posted a copy of the Letter Agreement between the parties.

1/27/09 - Rick Daniels, president of GateHouse Media New England, sent a memo to GateHouse employees describing the company's reasons for settling the lawsuit.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Copyright
  • Fair Use
  • Linking
  • Trademark
  • Aggregation
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Massachusetts

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Massachusetts

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston)

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-12114

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High