So, we weren’t joking. Counsel for TheWrap sent a cease and desist letter Wednesday to Patrick Spain, the CEO of Newser.
"We demand that Newser, LLC (“Newser”), and any agent or affiliate of Newser, immediately cease and desist using The Wrap as a source for Newser content. Newser is not following industry best practices, is intentionally misleading consumers/users at the expense of The Wrap and at the expense of other unnamed sources, and has effectually demonstrated no intention to allow consumers/users to logically and easily ascertain the source of Newser articles."
The letter from Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff states that Newser is violating TheWrap’s rights because of the following: "1) The Wrap generates and gathers time-sensitive information at a cost, including, without limitation, original stories ferreted out and reported by The Wrap’s full-time employees and paid contributors; (2) Newser free-rides on The Wrap’s sweat of the brow by publishing summaries of these stories without affording The Wrap appropriate credit and a prominent link; and (3) Newser is in direct competition with The Wrap. Newser’s conduct constitutes unfair competition and violates certain deceptive trade practices statutes."
Read the full letter here.
All we really want is for Newser to stop pissing on our leg and tell us it’s raining. Very simply: put in credit and links where they are missing. Add a Wrap homepage link to the source grid page. Make it simple and logical to get to actual Wrap content from that page.
These are basic best practices for sites that aggregate, including ours. If Newser can’t manage to do that, then it should stop using our content. This shouldn’t be a problem, after all: they can rely on those other 1,699 sources they use — unless those sources decide that they, too, would like to see appropriate credit given.
(By the way, I’ll be debating this issue with Michael Wolff on Howie Kurtz’s ‘Reliable Sources’ on Sunday on CNN.)