Cost vs. Benefit In Tracking Down People Using AP Content

from the what's-the-value? dept

The Associated Press (surprise, surprise) is covering that the Associated Press has signed on with some new startup that will help them scour the web to find websites that use AP content without a license. This is presented by the AP as a thing that clearly makes sense for the AP to do... though, that's not necessarily true. Doing this costs money, as well as time and effort (and lawyers) to respond to those who are using the content in an unauthorized manner. Compare that to the benefit of the AP forcing random sites that probably don't get any traffic to take the AP story they copied down. It just doesn't seem worth it. If there's a really big site using their content in an unauthorized manner, it seems likely to come to the AP's attention pretty quickly anyway. The small sites that this type of service will probably turn up aren't really costing the AP anything because they'd never license the AP content in the first place. So, if you look at the cost-benefit, you have to wonder how this could possibly make sense for the AP.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Eric Goldman (profile), Jun 1st, 2007 @ 8:39pm

    This Will Be Done Cheaply

    It may not cost very much. My understanding is that the technology sends takedown notices automatically to identified targets, whether the targets are legitimately infringing or not. So AP will turn into a spambot just like the others sending 512(c)(3) takedown spam. Eric.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jun 1st, 2007 @ 10:53pm

    Well, then they can just use another news service.

    Look - when I surf for news, I don't really think much about where I read it. If I go to Joe Blow's site and read an AP article, I most likely will go to the AP's website and read it there. Usually getting lost in other pages on their site now.

    They should consider it free advertising, but whatever.

    Just like the RIAA - happy to sue someone for a dime.

    But that brings up another question - if the news quotes something I say - without my express permission, can I send them a cease and desist order?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Davis Freeberg, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 12:04am

    Just A PR Stunt

    Sometimes the cost of sending out the notices is worth it, if you can convince your customers that you are doing something to prevent the dilution of your brand. AP is worried that with the papers cutting back, that they'll pull subscriptions. Given the competition with the blogs, online media, and the gazillion other things that are driving us from print, it's a real problem for the papers, if the content they are paying big money for, is ending up on splogs littered across the internet. Even if AP never gets a cent, the move is worth it, if they can convince their customers that they are getting semi-exclusive premium content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 12:46am

    So, if you look at the cost-benefit, you have to wonder how this could possibly make sense for the AP.
    Sometimes it's not about the money but just the joy of doing it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 12:58am

    well at least they recognize its there responsibility to protect there content and there not suing google or some other site for linking to there content.

    besides if more ppl start using there method this technology will progress and eventually will get cheaper (I think)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Fred Flint, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 5:54am

    Cornflakes, Aisle Four

    What does "use AP content" mean? Obviously you can't just copy the story onto your web page, especially without attribution but does the word 'use' include links to AP content?

    How about quoting information from an AP story and commenting on it? Is that OK. None of this is properly explained in the original news story.

    If we're going to get to the the point where can't link to information that's available on the WWW without paying someone or we'll all get sued, what use is the WWW?

    ....talk about killing the goose that laid the golden egg!

    Someone should tell these dickheads the Internet was invented to share information, not to greedily wall it off into tens of millions of tiny little 'castles' and then sell it off piece by piece to the serfs who can afford to be the highest bidders.

    I'm beginning to really, really hate large corporations. They're taking something as magnificent and important to all mankind as the Internet and turning it into a grocery store to sell boxes of corn flakes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    noflachik, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 6:16am

    Re: there vs. their

    Did you do it on purpose? Using there and their correctly is not difficult, yet I see it so frequently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Brad Eleven, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 7:36am

    Why not make deals instead?

    If they can cheaply find "offenders", why not inform them of proper use of their property, e.g., quote from & refer to source site?

    Oh, wait, that's right... the AP doesn't have its own source site. I presume that AP was given this choice at some point, but balked at the cost + the possible reneg'ing of deals already made with previous customers.

    The Internet has already changed the world; what we are seeing is the catch-up cycle. Sometimes it's stunningly innovative, but for the most part, it's greedy lawyers making it worse than it already is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    John Cirigliano, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 8:05am

    AP Attributor

    Attributor service is so much more about how the content is being used than license fees.

    Intelligence about how content is used enables content feedback from site publisher channels that are closer to their users than AP could possibly be.

    Content benefits and the ultimate user benefits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    v brown, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 10:51am

    can't be stopped

    The RIAA tries, the software alliance tries, and now the AP tries. This can't be stopped. They should all be happy with their list of legitimate clients, as the thought of paying for licenses never crosses the mind of bootlegers. Does this make it right? Of course not, but lives are not being lost.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Re: This Will Be Done Cheaply

    If it is an automated system, then how many false takedown notices will it send out?
    From my understanding, when you get a takedown notice, you only have two options. Option one, remove the content right away. Option two,hire a lawyer to protect you. Ignoring the notice because you think it is in error is not an option. Who pays the legal costs of the people who get these notices when they are false? Seems like there should be a penalty for sending out false takedown notices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Newshound, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 12:57pm

    AP Is The Worst of the Worst

    When you need a definition of how bad the mainstream media is (MSM) take a look at AP. They have no equal when it comes to shoddy reporting, failure to check facts and conducting business like it's still 1955.

    That they would spend a truckload of money to catch a few dopers who still think AP is still relevant just proves my first statement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: This Will Be Done Cheaply

    Seems like there should be a penalty for sending out false takedown notices.
    But there really isn't. The law was basically written the way the industry wanted it. Now, if some regular non-corporate citizens start to get in on the act too you can be sure some federal judge will make a case law to stop that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    ir l33t, ur not. L8tr, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: there vs. their

    Using there and their correctly is not difficult, yet I see it so frequently.
    not if ur being kewl. (also avoid caps or use rAndOMly)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Michael McLaughlin, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 2:17pm

    RIAA DEJA VOODOOIE?

    The small sites that this type of service will probably turn up aren't really costing the AP anything because they'd never license the AP content in the first place. So, if you look at the cost-benefit, you have to wonder how this could possibly make sense for the AP.

    AP copies are not unlike the childhood collection, of anything, that gets tossed by your parents when you venture out on your own or the first time it catches your wife's attention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 3:13pm

    Bandwidth theft

    They do not have my permission to use my servers and my bandwidth to have a web crawler scan my content to test it against their stories.

    Where they are going to have trouble is that many reports on the same events are inevitably going to use the same words to describe the same events. If there is a direct quote from a participant they are going to use identical sentences. Indeed, it is possible that what this will wind up showing is that AP writers are copying the content from other sites to produce their own stories.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Roy, Jun 2nd, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Bandwidth theft

    They do not have my permission to use my servers and my bandwidth to have a web crawler scan my content to test it against their stories. I hope you're kidding... by making your website public you are allowing anyone to view your site, including web crawlers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Jun 3rd, 2007 @ 2:40am

    Not everything is about Cost VS benefit

    It's like saying that police shouldn't spend 60,000$ in order to catch someone who stole 50,000$. Some things must be done because they are the right thing to do, not because it's the financially right thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Sh0ha7, Jun 3rd, 2007 @ 5:40am

    Re: Re: Re: there vs. their

    lal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    zenlunatic, Jun 3rd, 2007 @ 8:07am

    Anything that the AP uses attorneys for will cost them lots of money. Attorneys cost lots of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Jun 3rd, 2007 @ 9:09am

    NOT TRUE.

    "Freelance" attorneys cost lots of money. There are people working and getting salaries at AP - legal department. This is why big companies like IBM, MS, etc... get into huge legal battles without thinking much - they have people that get paid salaries and specialize in the relevant niche to fight for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Arochone, Jun 3rd, 2007 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Bandwidth theft

    I hope you're kidding... by making your website public you are allowing anyone to view your site, including web crawlers.

    I kinda agree with you, but that statement you just made says that robots.txt should be ignored by all crawlers. I suppose it's legal, but it's not very nice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Jun 4th, 2007 @ 12:43am

    Re: Bandwidth theft

    Re the banning them from looking at your site thing - I think you're slightly off target with that one, be careful or you'll end up joining the dark side along with the Belgian press ;0)

    Good point re the plagiarised articles - I for one will find it interesting when the first wave of counter DMCAs come in, from sites who have had their stuff stolen by AP NewSloths, and didn't realise until the AP kindly told them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    afriedman, Jun 4th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    optimism

    it's sort of useless for text but it looks like the AP is doing this with a mind towards video content, which actually is worth tracking down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This