Publish public notices outside of paywall so public can access

166

Send your questions to Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, skey@hspa.com or call (317) 624-4427.

The following questions were submitted by Parke County Sentinel (Rockville), The Republican (Danville), The Liberty Herald:

Publish public notices outside of paywall so public can access

Q: We have a few questions regarding the changes to public notice law from S.E.A. 332.

  1. If we offer to post and archive the notices for the local government entities do we need a separate website or could it be done on our current website?
  2. Do these new regulations apply to the public schools as well?

A: You could use your newspaper website, but do put the public notices outside any paywall so the public can access at no cost. The government entity would just declare your website as the location where the public normally received news about that government entity.

(It’s up to you whether you try to negotiate any fee for providing this service for them..

Yes, this public notice legislation applies to public school districts.

Public notice advertising law outlines what defines a newspaper

Q: I can’t find Indiana’s definition of a newspaper. I know we have to delineate how much space we have in each issue for ads versus news for the postal service, but I can’t find what exactly defines a “newspaper

A: Here’s the statutory definition under the public notice advertising law at :IC 5-3-1-0.4 “Newspaper” defined Sec. 0.4. As used in this chapter, “newspaper” refers to a newspaper:
(1) that:
(A) is a daily, weekly, semiweekly, or triweekly newspaper of general circulation;

(B) has been published for at least three (3) consecutive years in the same city or town;
(C) has been entered, authorized, and accepted by the United States Postal Service for at least three (3) consecutive years as mailable matter of the periodicals class;
(D) has at least fifty percent (50%) of all copies circulated paid for by subscribers or other purchasers at a rate that is not nominal; and
(E) has had an average circulation during the preceding year of at least two hundred (200), based on the average paid or requested circulation for the preceding twelve (12) months reported in the newspaper’s United States Postal Service Statement of Ownership published by the newspaper in October of each year; or
(2) that:
(A) is a daily, weekly, semiweekly, or triweekly newspaper of general circulation;
(B) has been entered, authorized, and accepted by the United States Postal Service as mailable matter of the periodicals class;
(C) has at least fifty percent (50%) of all copies circulated paid for by subscribers or other purchasers at a rate that is not nominal; and
(D) meets the greater of the following conditions:
(i) The newspaper’s paid circulation during the preceding year is equal to at
least fifty percent (50%) of the paid circulation for the largest newspaper with a periodicals class permit located in the county in which the newspaper is published, based on the average paid or requested circulation for the preceding twelve (12) months reported in the newspaper’s United States Postal Service Statement of Ownership published by the newspaper in October of each year or based on the newspaper’s initial application for a permit from the United States Postal Service.
(ii) The newspaper has an average daily paid circulation of one thousand five hundred
(1,500) based on the average paid or requested circulation for the preceding twelve (12) months reported in the newspaper’s United States Postal Service Statement of
Ownership published by the newspaper in October of each year or based on the newspaper’s initial application for a permit from the United States Postal Service.

Former employee needs to seek permission to republish paper’s content

Q: Union County is having their bicentennial this year and we have been creating a book to commemorate the occasion. We believe a former employee may also be writing his own book, which may include much of what was written in the Liberty Herald or other publications of ours.

He has not sought permission to use the newspaper content. Is he allowed to do this?

A: Generally, the work of an employee belongs to the newspaper, not an editor or reporter. Since he was an employee of Whitewater Publications prior to your purchase of the newspapers, do you know whether there was any agreement the former employee and the former owner that gave the employee any control or rights to what he wrote? I doubt that would be the case, but if there was an agreement you can’t now invoke a copyright that was already given away.

Assuming, there was no previous agreement, the newspaper’s copyright holds. You could have your attorney draft a letter putting the former employee on notice not to publish content from the Brookville and Liberty newspapers without your permission.

He could try to defend himself from any legal action you would take under the Fair Use Doctrine. That would allow for some usage, but the court would take into account factors as to the impact on your copyright based on the publication of his book. Depending upon how extensive he would copy the original stories would be material for the court. If he’s using the original stories as sources of facts in a story, but rewriting the information and giving credit to the Liberty Herald for specific quotes lifted, it would be harder for you to prevail.

If you need an attorney with familiarity with newspaper legal representation, I can get you some names. You should be able to get a free consultation to run the facts by her/him to see what your legal options and chances of success are.

Send your questions to Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, skey@hspa.com or call (317) 624-4427.

Comments are closed.