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Sapa backs off on content deletion demand

Last week Memeburn broke news that The South African Press Association (Sapa) would be requiring any news sites that subscribe to its wire service to delete all their archived Sapa content. The organisation today clarified its position, saying that the requirement would only affect those sites who carrying a database of Sapa stories.

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As reported by the Mail & Guardian, those news sites which only have single Sapa stories as part of their archives will not have to delete those stories.

“At its recent meeting, the Sapa board became aware of a letter that has been sent to you by the Editor of Sapa regarding the deletion from all subscriber media platforms, archives, and storage facilities the content that had been supplied to you in terms of your agreement with the company,” Sapa chairperson Minette Ferreira said in a statement.

“After considering this letter, and although the action called for is in line with the agreements subscribers have with Sapa, the board feels that there is a need for it to clarify the situation regarding the Sapa content that has been supplied to you. What the intention of the agreement is, is that if a subscriber is carrying a database of Sapa stories, i.e. a detailed and substantial archive of content substantially in the format that it was sent by Sapa to subscribers, then this archive needs to be deleted.

Read more: Sapa: content deletion requirement not ‘devious or manipulative’

“The intention is not that subscribers delete content received from Sapa which has been published in single stories within their print or other products,” the statement said.

While the board has agreed that you need not remove the content unless it is held within an separate archive or database, it is important to note that content which includes Sapa copyrighted content, and in particular that which includes copyrighted AP, AFP and dpa content supplied through Sapa’s news subscription service has been sold to the recent purchaser of the Sapa assets including the archives,” Ferreira said.

The 77-year-old service announced that it would be shutting down in early February, although the decision to close up shop had been made as early as November 2014.

In its original letter, Sapa said that content “must be deleted from all subscriber media platforms, as well as archives, and storage facilities” by midnight on 7 April 2015.

The requirement would have had a seriously detrimental impact on the legacy traffic of the affected news sites, especially those which make extensive use of Sapa for content.

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