Legal Q&A: Rerunning syndicated columns

Q: Is it OK to rerun syndicated columns that you originally paid for (for instance old Louis Grizzard columns that had run in our papers a long time ago)?

Taylor Smith
By SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith

A: Maybe. The ability to run (and rerun) syndicated material is governed by contract between the newspaper(s) and the syndication service(s) or syndicated author(s). Often the ability to rerun material will be part of the bargained-for exchange and will factor into the syndication fees associated with publication of the material. Reviewing courts will look closely at the language of these agreements so copies of these contracts should be preserved by the newspaper. 

Taylor M. Smith IV is a media lawyer who represents the S.C. Press Association and its newspapers. As one of our FOI/Legal Hotline attorneys, he is available to answer your open government, legal and libel questions. Call (803) 750-9561.

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