Zite, the app that gathers content according to a user’s interests and behaviors to form a personalized web magazine, has run into legal issues abound from major publishers such as Washington Post, Associated Press, Getty Images, Time and Dow Jones.
Yesterday, publishers sent Ali Davar, CEO of Toronto-based Zite, a cease-and-desist letter. They claimed copyright infringement and misuse of intellectual property.
Zite works with user behaviors, tracing patterns through authors read, length of articles consumed, Twitters feeds and oft-searched topics. Users can give a “thumbs up” to relevant content, and dismiss content that does not fit their interest.
Zite will often bring in entire article from original sources – and will leave out advertising. Publishers also claimed that there is false implication they are affiliated with Zite.
A week after the app was launched, Davar said there were no official partnerships with publishers yet – though he said many were in the works.
Davar says, “We don’t look at this as an adversarial situation. If the formal cease and desist we received from the big publishing companies yesterday was a one-line email from the world’s smallest blogger, we would treat it exactly the same: we would switch the content from reading mode to web view mode. That’s it. This is not our legal position, it’s just our policy. Zite is eager to work with publishers in a way that benefits everyone – most importantly end users.”