From the Legal Hotline (877-NEWS-LAW)

Home delivery ban, impounded livestock notice and more in today’s Legal Hotline recap.

Q. I have a question concerning statue 50.011 advertising legal notices in Florida, where it specifies that 25% of the words need to be in the English language–does that mean the ad itself or newspaper content?

A. I read the language to mean the newspaper itself must contain at least 25% of its words in English.

Q.  I need a cease and desist “nastygram.” It seems there is a new website/social media platform that has been stealing our content and images. They take our stories, rewrite them, and then use our photos. The website seems to be run by a local realtor.

A.  You could send them a short letter/email requesting they stop. Here is succinct language you might use.  If they continue to use your material, send the language via express mail, return receipt requested.  Let me know if you have any questions.

The [newspaper] is the owner of the copyright in certain published articles and images as well as the trademark and design of certain marks, which it has been using since _______.

It has come to our attention that your company has been using such [newspaper] material in connection with one or more realty sales websites that you use to promote your business.  The use of this material constitutes copyright and trademark infringement. Further, simply rewording the articles in a non-transformative way still constitutes infringement. The consequences of such infringement are significant.

We hereby demand that you cease and desist from using, copying, or displaying [newspaper] copyright material, including articles (reworded or otherwise), images and marks.  Please respond to this email by _________ to confirm that you have ceased using this material.

We would prefer to avoid litigation over this matter but reserve all rights and remedies available under law.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Q.  A small community in our circulation area is considering an ordinance that would ban home delivery of our paper.  We deliver several hundred papers there and only have a handful of do-not-delivers on file, so there has been no problems there except for one complaint from an outlier who does not get the paper.  The public hearing is coming up. Do you have any “ammunition” we can rely on to show that newspapers carry valuable and constitutionally protected information?

A.  See page 28 of the NAA manual. The case law in support of free delivery is cited.

Also see the story about a recent New York case at this link–

Q. Our local sheriff has been using social media sites as a way of notifying the public of livestock animals that have been found and impounded by his office. If the animals are not claimed within 3 days, he then sends them to a local livestock auction company and they are sold to the highest bidder. In the past he has run legal notices alerting the public that the animals were confiscated and would be available for auction if not claimed. Has something changed where he is no longer required to run public notice?

A. It looks like the sheriff has discretion to use his website if the animal is going to be offered for adoption or disposed of. But here the livestock is going to be sold at auction so it appears a newspaper notice should be provided pursuant to para. (1) of 588.17.