Can a source make your published scoop go away?
So you've got a juicy scoop? If you worked for a newspaper, it'd get set on the page, printed up and distributed throughout your circulation area. Once it was out, there would be no taking it back. If you worked for a TV or radio station, you'd sked it for air; put it out... and there would be no taking it back, either. But let's say you work online. You get your story and upload it. But unlike in print or broadcast media, online stories can be "taken back." If your website is hosted by an outside ISP, a letter or e-mail from an angry source might be enough to knock your story off the Web.
That's what happened to a blogger in Claremont, Calif. this month. The anonymous blogger who posts as "Claremont Insider" had found the salaries and benefits of city employees on the city's website. He published what he found in a Labor Day post on his blog...
Soon after...Google, which hosts the blog through its Blogger service, pulled the post, in response to a note from the city claiming that the salary information was confidential, which would make its publication a violation of Google's terms of service for Blogger. Claremont Insider followed up, disputing that public employees' salaries could be confidential information. The city came back with another argument, according to Claremont Insider. It claimed copyright over the images of employees' paychecks published on the blog. The blogger accommodated by publishing the data in text form, and Google allowed the edited post to stand.