So much for the personalized news magazine. Zite, an iPad app that launched earlier this month promising to take information about your likes and dislikes from your Twitter account or Google Reader and turn out a “magazine” filled with content aimed specifically at you, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from legal counsel for media companies including The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Getty Images, National Geographic and this blog’s own parent company, Time Inc.
The letter calles the application “plainly unlawful,” and accuses Zite of “[damaging] our businesses by misappropriating our intellectual property” and depriving websites of traffic and advertising revenue. “We do not know your intentions, but your actions harm our companies and the broader media and news industry on which your application relies for its content,” it goes on to say, before calling for an immediate cessation of IP infringement.
Zite’s CEO Ali Davar responded to the letter in a phone interview with All Things Digital’s Boom Town blog, saying “It’s a bummer that they did this, but we expected it,” and explaining that Zite will comply with the complaint by switching the content from its current mode to one where links will point the reader to the original source content online. He also left a blog comment on the Boom Town blog post, adding:
Zite’s goal is to work with publishers, not to be antagonistic. The few publishers that have contacted us regarding the reading mode view we have complied with their requests and simply switched over to web view. We’re talking to publishers right now to find a win-win for them monetarily and to at the same time preserve the great user experience.
The cease-and-desist letter can be found here. How long before similar apps and services such as Flipboard, Instapaper, and Readability get their own, I wonder?
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