Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The New York Times Slaps Another Web Wrist

new-york-times-building-300x200Just in case any of you Web publishers haven’t picked up on it yet: The New York Times (NYT) would like you to stop using the stuff it pays to produce.

The Times is still struggling to figure out how to adapt its business model to the Web era. But it seems to have have embarked on a campaign against after sites that lift too much of its content–a strategy that chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. alluded to in a speech last week.

The Times has already had reached out to aggregators Newser, the Huffington Post and Silicon Alley Insider to complain about various incidents. In the case of Newser, it sent a boilerplate letter threatening legal action.

The latest example: Apartment Therapy, a New York-based design/consumption blog network, says the paper has sent it a takedown notice, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, demanding that the site remove “all the pictures we’ve blogged from them in 2009.”

In a post, co-founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan complains that the Times doesn’t understand that his sites reprint the paper’s photos because they think they’re great.

“We’ll fully admit to loving their pictures, but we’ve been very conscious to never take too much from them, only blogging a visual “taste” of an article and then pushing readers to get the rest on their site. In other words, our editorial policy has been to quote, not appropriate, just like we were all taught in high school.”

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis declined to comment.

I can already hear the blogosphere getting ready to denounce the paper for “not getting” the “culture” of the Web, where everybody reposts everyone else’s work, and everyone in the “link-based economy” benefits. But like the Newser incident earlier this year, this one seems pretty clear: The paper doesn’t want other people–or at least commercial sites–using its photos without permission.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle