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Settlement ends ‘rip-and-read’ controversy

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    NMU         OHIO         Copyrights & Trademarks         Aug 10, 2000    

Settlement ends ‘rip-and-read’ controversy

  • The (Toledo) Blade settled its lawsuit against a local radio station accused of reading the newspaper’s articles without proper attribution.

A settlement agreement approved in early August puts to rest a simmering legal battle between The (Toledo) Blade and a local radio station that had been accused of misappropriating the newspaper’s stories.

In a lawsuit filed in September 1999, the Blade alleged that WSPD-AM and its morning disc jockey, Mark Standriff, violated the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, among other laws, by reading the newspaper’s stories on air without proper attribution. As part of his broadcast, Standriff would read portions of Blade articles on air while making comments about the articles’ subjects. Standriff’s slogan for these segments was, “I read the Blade so you don’t have to.”

In exchange for the newspaper dropping its suit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in Toledo, the radio station and Standriff promised to not read on air whole articles, to better attribute the Blade for the news items that are read, and to limit uses of the slogan about the Blade.

“It is improper for a news organization to palm off or misrepresent as its own the content of a news story produced by another news organization,” the settlement states. “If another publication or broadcaster chooses to use any portion of recently broadcast news articles produced by the Blade, or recently broadcast news stories produced by an electronic medium, proper, accurate and fair attribution to the source for any such news items should be provided every time.”

The settlement, which was approved by Judge Ronald Bowman Aug. 1, requires the parties to use arbitration in the event an attribution problem arises in the future. The settlement’s scope is limited only to the issue of fair attribution and does not affect the parties rights under copyright, trademark or other law, it states.

(Blade Communications, Inc. v. Jacor Communications, Inc.; Media Counsel: Fritz Byers, Toledo) BB

© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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