Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.
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City Pages

After the Twin Cities media and arts communities absorbed the shock of City Pages' abrupt closure, another surprise came: the website would soon go dark.

Longtime City Pages reader Ivan Stegic leapt into action. Using his expertise as CEO of Minneapolis-based web developer company TEN7, he made a copy of the entire City Pages website. 

He bought a domain name specifying it was an archives site, and was ready to pay $10 a month to preserve it for anyone who might want to read the alt weekly's coverage, ranging from investigative reporting, thorough "Best Of" the Twin Cities compilations or, as former editor Jay Boller tweeted above, local angles that only City Pages could do justice. 

Within five days, the site recorded 1,700 unique users, Stegic said. 

"I got so many people grateful for what I had done. Everybody said thank you," he said. 

But over the weekend, Stegic says he received via email a "cease and desist" letter from an attorney for the Star Tribune, alleging he didn't have the required license from the company to post the City Pages trademark, as well as that he was violating the site's terms of service by creating a copy, he said. 

The letter did say the Star Tribune was interested in working with him to find a way to preserve the archives, he said. 

"Star Tribune Media Company certainly has not rejected the possibility of working with you," he read from the letter, "It is important you not get too far over your skis." 

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Star Tribune chief marketing officer Steve Yeager did not provide an explanation for, among other things, what the company meant by this. 

However, he did say: "Unfortunately, Star Tribune’s effort and motives regarding this have been mischaracterized online.

"These things take a little time, but before long we’ll be able to share our plans for preserving City Pages’ legacy. I can confidently say that anyone who wants to access the City Pages archives will be able to." 

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The company also has yet to explain what potential options exist for the archives, Stegic said. 

"I respect their copyright and intellectual property rights, which is why I took it down," Stegic said. 

Monday, the Minnesota Reformer reported that Yeager told them the Star Tribune is working to  “secure the legacy of and accessibility to the long history of City Pages," which includes discussions with Newspapers.com and the Minnesota Historical Society. 

This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available. 

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