Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newport Daily Express Accused Of Stealing Competitor's AP Password

One northern Vermont newspaper has accused another of stealing a news wire password subscription and fraudulently inflating its subscription numbers.

In a suit filed in federal court, The Caledonian-Record has accused the Newport Daily Express, its parent company Horizon Publications, and former editor and publisher Ken Wells of stealing the Record's Associated Press subscription password. The newspaper alleges that Caledonian-Record's password was used by the Newport Daily Express in order to illegally download hundreds of Associated Press photos for its own use.

The lawsuit alleges that the Newport Daily Express downloaded 680 photos using The Caledonian-Record subscription between 2012 and 2016. In the suit, The Caledonian-Record say they pay $45,000 per year to the Associated Press, $20,000 more than a subscription without photographs.

The suit also alleges that the Newport Daily Express misrepresented its circulation number to advertisers as 4,500 when its actual circulation was 1,500. The Caledonian-Record says it has printed the newspaper for the Express on several occasions.

The lawsuit was brought under federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws.

"It's the statute you usually use and were created to be used primarily against organized crime, against Mafia. So it's an interesting application of RICO but I could see where maybe it's an organization that is allegedly participating in or doing illegal activity. There's a pattern of that activity because they're alleging that this happened over a period of years. And so it could apply," said Traci Griffith, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts at St. Michael's College.

"There are always fines that are associated with kind of taking material that doesn't belong to you and for a small publication to be hit with some pretty hefty fines that could be pretty detrimental." - Traci Griffith, media professor at St. Michael's College

The Caledonian-Record has asked for a permanent injunction prohibiting the Newport Daily Express from accessing their Associated Press account, as well as reimbursement for the cost of the subscriptions and legal fees.

Griffith said those financial penalties could be a big hit for such a small newspaper.

"They're looking at having to compensate the other publication for the material that was taken from them. That could be pretty hefty depending on how much they are alleged to have used or taken," she said.  "And there's always fines that are associated with kind of taking material that doesn't belong to you and for a small publication to be hit with some pretty hefty fines that could be pretty detrimental."

Ken Wells left the Newport Daily Express in 2016.

Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Latest Stories