News Service of Florida files suit against SaintPetersBlog

If you do the news, you never want to be in the news.

But two of our favorite news sources are both in the news at the moment, and appear to be having a news fight.

One is the News Service of Florida, an outlet that offers content on a subscription basis, and allows media outlets who subscribe to publish some or all of its voluminous and high-quality content with proper attribution. CL is a subscriber, and often incorporates reporting from NSF into its own content. Other outlets that run NSF stories include The Tampa Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The other outlet is SaintPetersBlog, an independent blog run by savvy political consultant Peter Schorsch (and, per disclosure, employs former CL news and politics editor Mitch Perry as well as reporter Janelle Irwin, a close friend of this reporter).

NSF is suing SaintPetersBlog, claiming the site engaged in copyright infringement, Schorsch wrote Thursday.

The suit claims the blog engaged in "unauthorized copying and distribution" of NSF content accessed through its password-protected Web site.

Schorsch writes that the aggregation of and linking to NSF content for Sunburn, a daily rundown of Florida politics, is "at the heart" of the actual suit, but he writes that what's probably really going on has more to do with the shifting economics of how to function as a media outlet.

This isn't the first time a media outlet that is more-or-less competitive with Schorsch has gone after him. In 2013, the Tampa Bay Times published a scathing piece accusing him of making politicians pay him for good treatment on the blog with the threat of negative press.

But the fact that he hires real reporters who wouldn't stand for that shit leads us to a different conclusion for the most part — plus, he now discloses whenever he's writing about a "friend." 

Anyway, here's a written statement Schorsch posted about the whole NSF thing:

“The News Service of Florida has a copyright to its material, but it does not have a copyright on the news. Its accusations of me proactively accessing its material are baseless and — in this day and age of socially-networked news and search engines — ridiculous. I understand NSF is having financial problems, but striking out against me and my reporters is not going to solve them.”

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