Friday, December 2, 2011

Daily Reaps Rewards of 1st A. Airport Newsrack Case Win--If Only Travelers Read Newspapers...

New gates at Terminal 2 (Concourse C).Image via Wikipedia
Travelers strolling the concourse at Raleigh-Durham (N.C.) International Airport enroute to their probable delayed flights may not notice the newspaper boxes for The New York Times, USA Today and The Raleigh News & Observer, which is too bad, because the newsracks cost the Raleigh Durham Airport Authority nearly $1 million in legal fees.

The News & Observer reported this week that the fruits of its six-year legal battle with the airport authority--coin operated vending boxes--are now in place in Terminal 2 and other locales for iPod-wearing passengers to ignore. A First Amendment suit was filed in 2004 against the airport authority after it said that newspapers only could be sold at airport shops that were not always open for early and late travelers to patronize. (See "TUOL" post 3/15/10.)

Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in The News and Observer Publishing Co., The Durham Herald Co., The New York Times Co. & Gannett Co., Inc. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (Case No. 5:04-cv-00639) sided with the plaintiffs in noting that the First Amendment protects the distribution, as well as the content, of newspapers, rejecting the defendant's aesthetics, congestion and security arguments against news vending machines.

The afore-named newspapers, and the Durham Herald-Sun, which is expected to go the vending machine route imminently, will pay the airport authority $12.50 per box monthlyrent, according to the News & Observer story.
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