Local MugSHOTS plagiarizes KARE-11, Fox9, Des Moines Register, City Pages, and more

Categories: City Pages, Media
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Local MugSHOTS reprinted content from Fox9, KARE11, City Pages, and more.
About eight months ago, a publication called Local MugSHOTS began appearing at convenience stores and gas stations around the Twin Cities.

The dozen-page tabloid collects scores of recent arrest photos from law enforcement agencies around the metro. It's printed twice monthly, and sells for $1.

But City Pages found some law breaking going on by the publishers of Local MugSHOTS: It's plagiarizing copyrighted articles from local news organizations.

Not just publishing stories on similar topics. Not just interviewing the same sources. The Florida-based publication is reprinting--in most cases word-for-word--articles from KARE-11, Fox 9, The Des Moines Register, City Pages, and more, offering no attribution to the source of the content.

"Yeah, you can't do that," says William McGeveran, a University of Minnesota law professor who reviewed several of these articles at City Pages' request. "Copyright law-wise, if it's direct copying without permission of really substantial portions, that's copyright infringement, and not fair use."

For example, compare an article from a recent Local MugSHOTS side-by-side with this screenshot of a December KARE-11 article:

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A scan of Local MugSHOTS (left) next to a screenshot from KARE 11's website (right).

Every single word is the same except for the time reference in the first sentence and KARE-11's copyright notice at the end.

This is not an isolated example. In an edition of the tabloid purchased this Sunday, at least 10 articles are lifted from other news sources.

Because Local MugSHOTS doesn't publish its stories online, it's much harder to detect the plagiarism. But almost every single story featured in the newspaper is stolen from a competitor in the Twin Cities, without attribution, in flagrant violation of copyright and common sense.

Here's another example where Local MugSHOTS plagiarizes a story originally published by Fox 9:

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Comparing this piece from Local MugSHOTS (left) to a December 12 Fox9 story (right) finds that they are word-for-word the same.

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