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This is the LabSpaces site blog. You will find news and site updates here or posts on press or other coverage of the LabSpaces community

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Friday, May 2, 2008

I got an e-mail from the director of EurekAlert on Friday, Patrick McGinness. I was inquiring about advertising on their website and as it turns out, the lady who runs the advertising was out of town. Patrick answered my e-mail instead and informed me that he thought I was in violation of their site usage. Here's his e-mail to me:

I took a minute to visit your website, however, and came away a little confused as to what it is. On the surface, it looks like a science news site, which is something we typically wouldn't accept advertising for, given that we're a science news service ourselves. If that's not the case, and if you can explain the site a little more to me, that might be helpful.

I also noticed that you are using EurekAlert! as a news source for your science news headlines. This is certainly allowed, as long as it complies with our usage policy. The way you are currently using our content doesn't fully comply, though. Specifically, we require that you link to our content directly, like your site currently does for other news sources, instead of cutting-and-pasting our content into your pages. In addition, the credit should be listed everywhere as "EurekAlert!, a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science". Please visit our usage policy language at for more details. This language refers specifically to our RSS feeds, but the policy also applies to general usage of our content.

Thanks again for your interest in EurekAlert!. If you have any other questions, please let me know, or contact Jill Grigg directly.

Patrick McGinness

Now, the part of this exchange that confuses me is that I don't use their RSS code for anything. I go to their web stie, pick the press releases I think are interesting, and then republish the material on my website. I thought this was ok since:
1) These releases are freely available from each respective University (I highly doubt ANY of these universities would argue against free PR and the dissemination of their news)
2) Most other press release houses have similar guidelines, such as ICT results (A European press release agency) and Newswise (EuerekAlert's competition), of free posting as long as credit is given to them and the source of the release
3) I previously contacted EurekAlert's communication officer about republishing their press releases and this was his response:

If you wish to publish, broadcast or distribute a press release from EurekAlert!, you are welcome to do so, free of charge, provided you credit "EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS" as well as the institution that posted the press release (the posting institution is listed in the upper left-hand corner of every release, beneath the contact information). A link to is also appreciated. You may not use press releases in a way that implies a relationship with, affiliation with, sponsorship of or endorsement by EurekAlert! or AAAS.

I don't think the statement above is very hard to understand. I think I'm doing everything according to those guidelines, but if Mr. McGinness is right, then it looks like I along with the big guns, PhysOrg, ScienceDaily, and Bio-Medicine are going to have to find a new clearing house source (Or just eliminate crediting EurekAlert and get permission directly from each University...)

I'll keep you posted on what's going on with this story. I e-mail Mr. McGinness back 10 minutes after he sent his message and haven't heard anything yet. Hopefully he's just confused about the policy, but you'd think the director would be on top of things like this...

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