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AP Says Drudge Retort Excerpt ‘Matter’ Closed; No Official Policy Announced

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Hard to believe that all of the discourse (public and private) on how the AP handled the way its material was being used by the Drudge Retort boils down to this for now — a non-response response following the usual pattern of trying to shut the door after the horses are not only out of the barn but on into the next county. Here’s the full text:

“In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on Thursday. That information was aimed at enabling Mr. Cadenhead to bring the contributed content on his site into conformance with the policy he earlier set for his contributors. Both parties consider the matter closed.

“In addition, the AP has had a constructive exchange of views this week with a number of interested parties in the blogging community about the relationship between news providers and bloggers and that dialogue will continue. The resolution of this matter illustrates that the interests of bloggers can be served while still respecting the intellectual property rights of news providers.”

11 Responses to “AP Says Drudge Retort Excerpt ‘Matter’ Closed; No Official Policy Announced”

  1. I question whether Associated Press actually has much say in the matter. These are the reasons:

    (1) Much of the material Associated Press runs is taken from its member newspapers and publications. As soon as the member generates material, "Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created," according to the Copyright Office Thus, with material picked up from members, the original copyright rests with them, not Associated Press.

    (2) Associated Press would be able to acquire the original copyright from the member source, but it takes written documentation and registration with the copyright office. It's unlikely, however, that the Washington Post is going to transfer all of its rights in full.

    (3) Associated Press would be able to "share" the copyright under transfer rules, but it must have an agreement with the original author to do so. Just asking to use and redistribute the material shouldn't be sufficient.

    **(My broadcast organization is a "subscriber member" of the Associated Press. Here is the total sum of all our membership agreement has to say about AP's right to use my material:

    **"Subscriber shall, without cost to (AP), promptly make available to (AP) …. all information original to the Subscribe in all forms gathered by Subscriber that is spontaneous in its origin, for use in news report(s) of AP and its subsidiaries."

    **That's it. No request to "share" copyright.

    Associated Press may place the copyright notice on material I and other subscriber members turn over under our agreement, but it is meaningless. We've simply granted them a license to use it, not to share in the copyright.

    I may place a copyright notice on any material I get from an associate and I may do it forever. But it has no meaning. Thus, the Associated Press notice on material picked up from the Washington Post similarly has no meaning.

    The Copyright Office has no means or authority or desire to enforce the notion of copyrighted material. It is the concern of the original author who may, or may not, call on a trespasser to cease and desist.

    My conclusion: Member subscribers of Associated Press have not taken steps to tell their press association to stop "pretending" to have the copyright authority over material they supply AP. But that's OK. They still own the copyright anyway. It cannot be taken away. By the same token, AP has oversteped in claiming rights they do not have.

    All of this tempest about bloggers has been nothing more than "selective harrassment."

  2. Bill Enator

    Does anyone else feel that the AP is more than a little disingenuously about this? Another issue is that the AP has attempted to bury the issue and flooded the web with the headline " AP, blogger resolve dispute over copyright".. Considering that the AP walked away without resolving the issue again …disingenuous.

  3. Staci D. Kramer

    this is the full text I received from AP last night, posted within minutes of receipt. it's the same text that Rogers included in his post this morning.

  4. I second Bob's request. As a working journalist chasing the story, it would be nice to have some sort of attribution. Did the AP release the statement to you? Where was it released? Who is doing the talking, an AP spokesperson?

    Thanks for a quick reply.

  5. It must have taken them all night to draft that non-statement. Talk about wanting to save face at the expense of saving face. Just say your sorry. The only people to whom you want to reach are the very ones who will not buy this explaination.