Monday, July 11, 2005

This Means War! (Legally Speaking)

Derrick Gingery wrote in last week's FW Business Weekly of my current "spat" with MediaWatch. I didn't have a chance to read the paper, so I was unaware of the article until a FWMN reader pointed it out to me this morning.
Competing blogs create friction

Is there room for more than one media critic in this town?

Fort Wayne MediaWatch, the established Web site that serves as a watchdog and critic of local print and broadcast media, was joined in May by Fort Wayne Media Notes, another blog with a similar focus.

Recent postings on Media Notes indicate its creator, Nathan Gotsch, is not happy with MediaWatch. Gotsch was wondering whether MediaWatch creator Rich Reynolds was trying to kill his site.

Since Media Notes began, MediaWatch has created seven blogs with titles indicating they are Fort Wayne media critic sites. Several of the Internet addresses are similar to the Media Notes address. Many of the blogs have only one posting, and some have not been updated for several weeks.

Reynolds said when Media Notes was created, personal problems developed between him and Gotsch, and MediaWatch staff acquired the additional Web site addresses. Reynolds said the two have known each other for several years, and the new blogs were registered before Gotsch revealed he was the creator of Media Notes.

At first, Gotsch had posted under a pen name. Gotsch said the two sites are not at war per se.

“Am I afraid that they are going to destroy Media Notes or Me? No,” he said. Reynolds also said he is in the process of trademarking the phrase Fort Wayne Media Notes. But he said MediaWatch welcomes the competition.

“We’re not going to participate in a blog war with Nathan (Gotsch),” Reynolds said.

The MediaWatch Web site is at www.mediawatch.homestead.com and Media Notes is at fwmn.blogspot.com
I spoke with Derrick for this article, and I'm pleased to report that he quoted me warmly and accurately. There is one thing I want to clarify, however, which I think was murky due to my failure to discuss it sufficiently in my interview rather than any negligence on Derrick's part.

The reason I was wondering about MediaWatch's intentions is that they created two blogs with the same name as mine, Fort Wayne Media Notes. I was aware of them creating other blogs with similar names and addresses, which I didn't have a problem with -- I don't think any FWMN readers are going to accidentally got to Fort Wayne Media News and mistakenly think they've reached this blog. But when they started several Fort Wayne Media Notes blogs of their own, I thought that went over the line of friendly competition. I didn't ask them to shut down those blogs, however; I only requested that they take the MediaWatch logo that I created years ago off their website and faxes. They were (and are) welcome to come after me, but I'd prefer that didn't occur underneath my own logo.

I didn't know, until reading Derrick's article, that Reynolds planned on trademarking "Fort Wayne Media Notes," but I'm not surprised. (Though that doesn't sound like something someone who "welcomes the competition" would do.)

And now there's this, from mediawatch.net:
Access to all MediaWatch sites is password protected as we prepare litigation against a media blog in town.

If you want access, drop a line to rrrgroup@juno.com or call us at 260-637-9810, and we'll try to comply with your request.

Rich Reynolds
Director Fort Wayne MediaWatch
A media blog in town? Hmm...wonder who that could be? I just hope that when Reynolds sues me, he doesn't accidentally file against one of his own Fort Wayne Media Notes blogs by mistake.

See you in court, boys...

UPDATE: Here's an interesting comment on my first FWMN post, back in May:
Nicely done this blog of yours.

We now don't have to worry who will take Fort Wayne media to task if and when Rich Reynolds passes on (later than sooner we hope, giving you time to establish yourself -- which should happen imminently considering your well-written and sensible take on a few things already).

Christopher Jay
Assistant Director
FW MediaWatch
posted by RRRGroup



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