The News Service of Florida files suit against SaintPetersBlog alleging copyright infringement

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

The News Service of Florida, an online media concern that focuses on state government and politics, has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Extensive Enterprises Media, L.L.C., the parent company of SaintPetersBlog.com and “Sunburn,” have infringed upon its copyright through the unauthorized copying and distribution of NSF’s works.

In a 43-page filing with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, NSF explains its subscriber-based business model and how it provides content to news organizations throughout the state.

Alleging that we have “gained access” to its password-protected website, NSF contends that SaintPetersBlog then makes “minor revisions” and have “usually within a day or two of publication … redistributed the work and their own reporting.”

Such action threatens the “very survival” of the News Service of Florida, the lawsuit contends.

At the heart of the matter is the highlighting and aggregating of and linking to NSF material in the email newsletter about “what’s hot in Florida politics” — Sunburn.

Actually, what’s really at the heart of the matter is NSF’s reportedly declining subscriber base, which is increasingly turning to advertiser-based online media organizations for the latest news.

At one point, the relationship between News Service of Florida and Extensive Enterprises was a mutually beneficial one, with EE paying for not one, but three licenses of NSF’s material so as to be able to publish more of NSF’s content on Extensive Enterprises’ various outlets.

But the relationship between News Service of Florida and Extensive Enterprises took a negative turn after we accused NSF publisher Ruth Herrle and editor Jim Saunders of not giving proper attribution for several stories originally reported by SaintPetersBlog. Since then, NSF attempted to block my acceptance into the Florida Press Association, while some of its reporters have made derogatory statements about Extensive Enterprises, SaintPetersBlog, and Sunburn to third parties.

The threat of News Service of Florida bringing a lawsuit has hung in the air for several months.

(For other media outlets looking for a quote from me for any story they may write).

“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.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.