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AP goes after bloggers and faces public backlash

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 17 Jun 2008 1:50 User comments (10)

AP goes after bloggers and faces public backlash Like many traditional news agencies, the Associated Press has made it clear they're not happy about bloggers and forum posters copying from stories they own for use in a variety of places on the internet. For some reason they apparently feel the need to make an example of one site, the Drudge Retort, by sending DMCA takedown notices for 5 different quotes. The strange thing is each of the quotes they're demanding be taken down seem to be textbook examples of fair use.
Fair use, at least in the US, has always been something of a gray area. Rather than a right unto itself, it's actually a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Rather than being clearly defined in in a way that can be measured it's described as much by the "character" of the potentially infringing work as anything else, and primarily left to a judge to decide.

Just to show how complex an issue it can be, although the amount of text quoted can be a factor in whether something is fair use or infringement, it's possible for reproducing an entire article to be fair use, and also for a single sentence to be copyright infringement.

So what's the character of the quotes in question? In each case the text is provided for purposes of criticism. Ironically this is one of the clearer areas of fair use, and it seems obvious to nearly every observer that the AP has overstepped their bounds in sending the takedown notices.

But the question is a lot bigger than what happens on a single website. As the AP is finding out now there are some issues that seem nearly universal, not just among bloggers but in the general population. The right to present a text for basic commentary is one of them. It's done in blogs and on discussion boards and forums every day.

As public sentiment has clearly been against the AP they've attempted some damage control, even going so far as to volunteer to write their own guidelines for how articles can be used by bloggers and others. Unfortunately this strategy has two problems. The most obvious is that they don't control fair use. Obviously if copyright holders got to decide what constitues fair use it would all but cease to exist.

But a bigger problem has developed, and it may prove more dangerous for the Associated Press. A number of bloggers have announced that they'll stop using AP sources altogether, while others say they'll only use them as a last resort.The AP may get what they want, but to what purpose and what end result? How much traffic is generated by the links back to AP articles from bloggers, forum posters, and the like?

We may be about to find out, and it's likely to be an answer the people in charge at the Associated Press don't like.

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10 user comments

117.6.2008 3:36

This is funny..

It is called freedom of speech here in the u.s.a we have the right to talk about what ever we want and $%$%$ the Ap stupid morons they need to understand you cannot copyright all news story's it would be like me copyrighting the word hello and goodbye and then what we would we have a bunch of people saying good morning and up %$%$ i mean come on this has to be the most dumbest thing ever.

217.6.2008 8:29

An absolute overstepping of thier bounds.

AP they've attempted some damage control, even going so far as to volunteer to write their own guidelines for how articles can be used by bloggers and others
Silly people.

317.6.2008 14:07

With more and more companies making a statement then going into damage control after the backlash, it makes me wonder how disconnected their PR departments are with the rest of the world. I think a little more common sense and they wouldn't make stupid mistakes like this.

417.6.2008 14:27

It's almost like the AP has suddenly realized just how irrelevant it has become!

517.6.2008 14:49

So tired of these media whore bags getting scared over bloggers using their free speach rights that the media itself constantly touts. Eat a long one AP!

617.6.2008 20:56

"I like my self"

Please Associated Press don't use this, It's my quote!!!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Jun 2008 @ 20:59

718.6.2008 4:41

Could it be that the so called "news" outlets are owned by media groups? Think it could be?

I think maybe they are just leary of people enjoying the other articles written by real people rather than the actual ap articles. People are tired of the same items spewed day after day as "news".

News is supposed to be just that new not a dialy update of what star is doing what or who.

818.6.2008 11:46

I knew the AP had ties to big bisuness...but this takes the cake.....

919.6.2008 14:33

A classic example of the only problem with Common Sense--It is not too common

1023.6.2008 13:11

Good one BadCatt!

This is what you get when lawyers and salesmen running everything. A real news person would not be such a jack - ass!

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