Pentagon Buys Domestic ‘Stars & Stripes’

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(AP) The U.S. Department of Defense has bought the independent version of the Stars & Stripes, putting the rights to the veterans’ newspaper under a single owner for the first time since World War II.

The Defense Department, represented by Indianapolis attorney William Gardiner, bid $85,000 in a Pittsburgh bankruptcy auction Tuesday to buy the trademark, archives, and Web site from a bankrupt Internet start-up, which bought the newspaper two years ago.

The purchase settles decades of debate over which version, the independent U.S. version or the government-owned version distributed overseas, is the successor to the paper first published during the Civil War.

“It was creating a lot of confusion,” said Thomas Kelsch, publisher of the government owned Stars & Stripes.

Since 1942, two versions of the Star & Stripes were published in tandem under a deal that gave the federal government free rights to the Stars & Stripes name as long as that paper wasn’t circulated in the United States.

The newspaper was started in 1861 by an Illinois unit under the command of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant who overtook the offices of the Bloomfield Daily Herald of Missouri and used its equipment to publish a newspaper.

The paper stopped for 12 years after the war before it was reborn as the National Tribune under the management of some of the editors of the first Stars & Stripes. Its staff covered military malaria outbreaks during the Spanish-American War, and the paper was renamed the Stars & Stripes in 1942.

Pittsburgh-based IServed.com, an Internet company whose site had military content, purchased the U.S. commercial version of Stars and Stripes in May 2000 from the National Tribune. The paper reorganized as Stars & Stripes Omnimedia Inc.

The domestic paper drew fire from the overseas edition for quoting tributes to the Stars & Stripes staff from former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman John Shalikashvili and U.S. Rep. Stephen Buyer, R-Ind., a Gulf War veteran.

Kelsch had accused the Internet company of using the Stars & Stripes trademark to make a money on the overseas newspaper’s reputation.

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