Forbes reports that the New York Times has asked Twitter to close an account that tweets a link to every story on the Times’s website. The Twitter feed, FreeNYTimes, allows users to do an endrun around the NYT’s impending paywall. At the end of the month, the Times will start charging a fee to access its digital content. However, users will be allowed to access up to 20 articles per month without having to pay a monthly fee. The Times will allow users to exceed this limit if they link in from other sites, such as from blogs or Twitter.
The Times claims that the feed is in violation of its trademark rights. The twitter feed uses the Times logo, and Forbes notes that the company uses the Times’s own API to automate the process. Trademark infringement requires a likelihood of confusion.
As of this writing, the account is still up. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
UPDATE: FreeNYTimes has made a couple changes to further avoid any confusion. It now refers to itself as “NOT New York Times,” and it describes the feed as the “Unofficial NYTimes API feed.”
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