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April 06, 2009

AP to Step Up Threats Against Bloggers?

Associated Press, like most of the other major media dinosaurs, is trying to adapt to the internet and new media. The strategy thus far has been to intimidate bloggers and other websites which use AP's copyrighted content into taking it down or paying $2.50 per quoted word. Most folks just laughed their pricing scheme off, and rightly so.

(Although, there have been a few instances where copyright infringement was likely going on when bloggers reproduced whole articles or series of photos from AP. Don't do that.)

Since no one took them seriously before, AP is plotting a new strategy, one it probably hopes to sell to other dinosaurs as an additional service. The idea is to create a "a rights management and tracking system"--basically a search engine for copyrighted works--which will make it easier to go after folks who copy:

The AP, which has been facing subscription cancellation threats from a number of struggling US newspapers, also announced it will significantly cut the rates its charges newspapers for its news services.

The moves were unveiled at the AP annual meeting in San Diego, California, and in a press release by the New York-based news agency, a cooperative owned by more than 1,400 US newspapers.

In a crackdown on Web piracy, the AP board of directors said they were launching a "newspaper industry initiative to protect news content from misappropriation online."

"We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories," AP chairman Dean Singleton said.

The AP statement said the news agency would work with Internet portals and other partners who legally license content "and would pursue legal and legislative actions against those who don?t."

The "misguided legal theory" referenced by Singleton is the doctrine of fair use, something AP has been trying to sidestep for years. Last year I wrote a primer on fair use for bloggers, and it's probably about time to dust it off. If you're a blogger and wonder just how much use is "fair use" you might want to take a look.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:40 PM

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