Researching Northeast Newspapers corporate history

Before placing our digitized content online, we have to exercise due diligence in our investigation of the copyright status of this material. Many of the titles in the collection were published by Northeast Newspapers, including the Highland Park News Herald & Journal, the Eagle Rock Sentinel, Lincoln Heights Bulletin News, South Pasadena Journal, and others.

In a previous post, I described our process of determining whether materials were in the public domain. However, we also needed to research who currently holds the copyright to these titles. It seemed well established that Wave Publications Group held the copyright, but I wanted to find out more about the how this change of ownership occurred. I constructed the following corporate history timeline. (The source articles are linked to here, or you can view them via our NELA Newspapers Zotero Group Library here.)

July 1991: Oran Asa sells Northeast Newspapers to Community Media Enterprises (CME),  which also owns Southern California Community Newspapers. (LA Times)

January 1993: Southern California Community Newspapers ceases publication of its 20 South LA community newspapers, but it’s “Northeast Newspapers subsidiary, which publishes under eight mastheads and includes the South Pasadena Journal and the Eastside Journal” remained open. Banks put chain up for sale. Publisher is Ric Trent. (LA Times)

July 1994: Southern California Community Newspapers becomes Urban Newspapers. (LA Times)

July 1994: Wave Newspaper Group enters into a joint agreement that combines Urban Newspapers, Northeast Newspapers, and Central News-Wave Publications. Publisher is Ric Trent. (LA Times and Editor & Publisher)

July 1998: Wave Community Newspapers files for bankruptcy (Pluria Marshall, Jr. and the Wave Community Newspapers. Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, 2001.)

  • Brian Hews = Chief Executive of Wave Community Newspapers (Pluria Marshall)
  • Arthur Nestor Hews = CEO of Wave Newspaper Group (LA Times)
  • Ric Trent = executive publisher of Wave Community Newspapers (Central News-Wave Publications + Urban Newspapers)
  • Dr. C.Z. Wilson = publisher of Central News-Wave Publications (Pluria Marshall)
  • Art Aguilar = publisher of Urban Newspapers (Pluria Marshall)

2000: Pluria Marshall, owner of Texas-based Equal Access Media Inc. considers acquiring Wave Community Newspapers Inc. (LA Times)

2000: Pluria Marshall acquires Wave Community Newspapers (Black Enterprise)

December 2004: Wave Community Newspapers Inc. (“the Wave group”) files for bankruptcy. (LA Times and Editor & Publisher)

Copyright research workflow

As noted in my last post on copyright, I have been researching ways to determine the copyright status of each title in our collection. Using these resources, I created this workflow for our new student worker, Aneesah, to use when investigating the copyright of a given newspaper.

NELA Newspapers: steps for determining copyright status

For publications from 1923-1977:

  1. Look carefully for a copyright notice on the material. Look at several copies of the entire newspaper at several regular intervals.

  1. If there is no copyright notice, it is in the public domain.

  1. If there is a copyright notice on publications from 1964-1977, they are NOT in the public domain. Copyright status is 95 years after the publication date. Note the date on which copyright will expire.

  1. If there is a copyright notice on publications from 1923-1963, you need to find out if copyright was renewed:

    1. Search the Catalog of Copyright Entries on the Online Books Page (UPENN). If you don’t find the title, it wasn’t renewed, it is in the public domain.

    2. If you do find the title, the copyright was renewed, and is NOT in the public domain. Copyright status is 95 years after the publication date. Note the date on which copyright will expire.

For publications from 1978-March 1, 1989:

  1. Look carefully for a copyright notice on the material.

  1. If there is no notice, find out if copyright was registered. Search the Catalog of Copyright Entries on the Online Books Page (UPENN).

    1. If it was not registered within 5 years of publication, it is in the public domain.

    2. If it was registered within 5 years of publication, it is NOT in the public domain. Copyright status is 95 years after the publication date. Note the date on which copyright will expire.

  1. If there is a notice, it is NOT in the public domain. Copyright status is 95 years after the publication date. Note the date on which copyright will expire.

For publications from March 1, 1989-present:

  1. All content is covered by copyright for 95 years after the publication date. Note the date on which copyright will expire.

[This workflow was created using Peter B. Hirtle’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States (Cornell Copyright Information Center), and Judy G. Russell’s Copyright & the Newspaper Article  (The Legal Genealogist).]

 

Copyright research

Newspaper advert copyright patent and trade mark

Newspaper advert copyright patent and trade mark

Today I found (via the U.S. Newspapers and Copyright page on the CNDC site) some amazing resources on newspaper copyright research. I plan to learn as much as I can about what is and isn’t in the public domain, and have my student worker assist me in researching the copyright status of specific newspaper titles and issues in our collection.

Copyright & the Newspaper Article. by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Circular 22: How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States. by Peter B. Hirtle at the Cornell Copyright Information Center