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Summary:

The AP is spoiling for a fight it can’t win. It started last week when the news organization took exception with the linking and excerpting…

imageThe AP is spoiling for a fight it can’t win. It started last week when the news organization took exception with the linking and excerpting practices at the Drudge Retort (not the Drudge Report), a liberal social news site run by longtime blogger Rogers Cadenhead. You can see some examples of the posts the AP wanted taken down here, but basically the posts contained nothing unusual: a headline and a fairly short snippet from the actual article. No surprise: the move prompted a major blog-borne blowback.

Following that, AP VP Jim Kennedy told the NYT that it regretted its “heavy-handed” approach to the Drudge Retort and that it would “rethink” its attitude towards bloggers. Ok. But from there the AP’s goals are pretty unclear. Jeff Jarvis characterizes the AP’s back-and-forth stance as a “policy ping-pong game”. Kennedy says they don’t want to sue bloggers, but they’re not withdrawing their take-down demands. He says they don’t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere but that they want blogs to use short summaries, rather than even short quotations. Basically it comes down to this: the AP doesn’t want blogs to convey the news in the article; it wants readers to go to the article. The next step: developing guidelines for blog linking and summarizing. Apparently it plans to meet with the Media Bloggers Association, but if it thinks that group somehow represents or holds sway over a lot of bloggers, it will be sorely mistaken.

The AP’s ambivalent attitude was clear when I interviewed AP CEO Tom Curley last year. While talking up the web 2.0 ethos of free-floating content, he also balked at what some would consider fair use: “If you want our content, we expect to be paid for it

  1. Hey, I have now developed my own policy regarding AP content: it doesn't exist. AFP and McClatchy have better quality of content anyway, so why should I ever even link to AP again? They cut off their own nose to spite their face.

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  2. Has anyone ever dealt with them before? They are one of the worst ever!

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  3. The Pot Calls The Kettle Black? the AP is the worst when it comes to this. They routinely use the news and content of other organizations, many times without permission. When I was a reporter for a local news paper we would get calls all the time from the AP asking what happened.. Low and behold we'd see the news article from the AP with the "as told to AP" disclaimer. When we called them they claimed fair use and news facts can't be copyright.

    This is a business issue. The AP doesn't care about Fair Use they want cash.

    Also I wouldn't classify Moreover.com as the same issue. Moreover simply scraped news and sold it as their own. This isn't the same issue.

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  4. What's interesting about the approach is it's based on benefiting from the links without giving anything in return.

    If networked discussion is altering the way people interact with news the surest protest is to exorcize one’s blog from direct links and let page ranks logic do it’s work.

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  5. The Associated Press is trying to play both ends against the middle. They cannot claim that others are violating copyright when the AP organization has a history of quoting from content that they find on blogs without requesting permission themselves. The past week of bad press and the additional press that will undoubtedly emerge after their Thursday meeting with the bloggers' organization was entirely avoidable had they been thinking long term about the changes in the news industry.

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