The AP declared this week that it intends to go after online publishers that use its content without authorization. But as it tries to execute on that, the AP is clearly venturing into some not-so-familiar waters. Witness the following exchange between the AP and a radio station in Tennessee.
According to a blog posting by the manager of WTNQ-FM, the AP contacted the station after it had embedded a video from the AP’s official YouTube page on its website. It asked the station to immediately take the video down. The manager, Frank Strovel, was surprised to receive an email from a regional radio rep at the AP that said: “I noticed you are posting our video content without a license and have to ask you to remove the AP video content from the site ASAP. If you would like to know more about our web services, please contact me.”
It is the exchange that followed the initial takedown notice that suggests the AP may not be as well-versed in the web world as it should be. As is fairly widely known in the digital-media circles, when an official YouTube partner (and the AP is likely one) posts a video to the site, any other publisher can take that video and embed it on their own site. In return, the creator of that video (in this case the AP) gets a cut of any ad revenue that YouTube reaps from the video. This is spelled out pretty clearly in the paperwork YouTube provides its partners.
But when Strovel pointed out that the video was taken from the AP’s official YouTube page, the AP rep continued to insist that Strovel take it down. Ironically, after much back and forth, the AP told the station that it could use a player it provides to show AP videos — and may even be able to share some of the ad revenue. Strovel, understandably, was left scratching his head as to what the difference was between what the station had originally done and what the AP later offered as a solution, and why the AP was making such a big deal of this. (In the unlikely event the AP is not a YouTube preferred partner, it should know its videos can be embedded on other sites anyway without advertising when its creates a page on YouTube.)
In an interview with paidContent, an AP spokesman said there had been a `”misunderstanding” on the part of the AP about its online video service. He also said that the AP, in extending the station another video option, had been trying to offering “‘a superior service.”