TotalNews fights back

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TotalNews, the tiny Internet company slapped with lawsuits by three major communications companies for displaying copy from their Web sites within a frame on the Total News site, is sniping back at the corporate giants.

The company issued a statement on Monday claiming that the companies--Time Warner, the Washington Post Co., Times Mirror and Dow Jones & Co.--"want to write the rules for the Net" by alleging that TotalNews' technology is a case of copyright infringement and trademark dilution.

The company provides links to more than 1,200 news sources from its site. But instead of linking directly to a news site, TotalNews uses frames technology to display the site as if it were framed by the TotalNews site. TotalNews doesn't change the contents of the site it delivers, but the frame does in some cases hide some of a news site's advertising banners.

In its statement, TotalNews President Roman Godzich said, "it's amazing that the owners of Time, Newsweek and CNN feel threatened by a five-person company that started in a strip mall behind Lulu's Tacos in Gilbert, Arizona." The statement goes on to point out that the Washington Post and the Journal use frames technology to link to other sites.

CNN first threatened a suit against TotalNews last fall, after news of the company's actions appeared in Advertising Age and other publications.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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