AP Exec Claims That Its Moves Look Stupid To The Untrained Eye... Not Clear On What The Trained Eye Thinks

from the so...-uh,-please-explain... dept

The Associated Press has been doing a ton of questionable moves of late, that certainly look like a clueless organization committing suicide -- but, wait! Jim Kennedy, who oversees strategic planning for the AP, claims that only "to the untrained eye, it looks like we're stupid." But, of course, he fails to explain what it looks like to the trained eye -- because most of the "trained eyes" we've spoken to also seem to think that the AP is being stupid. At best, the AP says: "We're looking forward to a totally new space where we have to get ready to do things in a totally different way. We're trying to be smart business people and we're trying to stay in business." But, that's not clear at all from its actions. In fact, it looks like the other way around. The actions aren't about understanding a new space or doing things in a different way. It looks like it's trying to claw its way back to the "old way" of doing things. And, contrary to what folks believe there, that's not the best way to stay in business.

Now, on top of this, the AP has released a rather hilarious FAQ, where it tries to define what it's doing. But, reading through the answers, you get a whole lot of nothing. It claims it's not trying to set up tollbooths, not trying to kill off links and not aiming this at bloggers. Instead, it says that it's (again) trying to prepare for a new way of interacting, and is looking forward to "cooperating." None of this is clear at all. Basically, it looks like the AP still thinks that it gets to define how news on the web will work. The folks there apparently don't comprehend how far past them the internet has already gone. They can try to "negotiate," but if it doesn't fit in with what people do online, it's not going anywhere. Once again, we're in a situation where the AP thinks it has leverage, and it's about to discover it has none.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 8:21am

    I love this one from the FAQ:

    10. Is AP trying to crack down on what many feel is fair use of news snippets?

    As a newsgathering organization, AP understands the importance of fair use. Fair use is a complex analysis done on a case-by-case basis. It defies easy generalization. The AP initiative is not about this; it is about making it easier for consumer to access and engage with news content in more robust ways.

    It defies easy generalization? So snippets of news are not fair use. Facts are copyrightable?

    And this AP initiative is not about hindering fair use rights? So shutting down sites that use snippets and links has nothing to do with fair use? Why, merely because the AP says so? This makes no sense.

    And this initiative is about making it easier for consumers to access and engage with news content in more robust ways. Exactly how does threatening an AP member who was using AP authorized materials in an authorized way make it easier for the consumer?! I really want the AP to explain how its actions made it easier for people to access news. Yeah, I know they "apologized" for their idiotic behavior, but they've never sufficiently explained it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    13-Apr-2009, Here lies the Associated Press. R.I.P.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    How did you get down to the tenth question? I couldn't get through the first one. And that's the AP? My middle-school son has better writing skills.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    I have trained eyes. I read all about this on Wikipedia.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Reuters, CNN, et. al.

    Reuters, CNN, and a dozen other news agencies are probably eager to see AP try whatever it is they seem to be trying. The big question is how big of a slice of the pie is each of the competitors going to pick up after AP effectively removes itself as a player.

     

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    Bruce_A (profile), Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Let 'em try

    Fine.
    If the AP can convince their clients that they deserve a premium rate so they can finance a voracious legal team to run around suing folks, that is certainly their prerogative.

    Personally, if I was a client, I'd start shopping...

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:30am

    Everybody here is so wrong!!

    They are so moving ahead with the next great thing!! Has no one here seen Associated Content?

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/

    They pay citizen journalists Dollars or near a dollar to have to write 500 words pieces for their website!! For them to sell. Come on admit it that is so Web 2.0. They will even pay you 40-50 cents for uploading 10-15 minute videos on gardening!

    AP = Already Pathetic

     

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    swag, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    We can bash AP as much as we like. But let's face it... the only financial difference between so-called old media and so-called new media is that the latter has venture capital to float it before it goes bankrupt.

     

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      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      The AP is not being "bashed" here because of their money or lack. They are being "bashed" because they are not able to understand that the market place has changed and for them to succeed in the future they need to change with it. Not kill those services that are actually driving traffic to their site and therefore making their content more valuable.

      And they are being "bashed" because they have made a lot of moves lately that anyone not in the old style media can see are not doing anything to help the brand.

       

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        Angela, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:35am

        AP Idiocy

        I get that the AP wants to protect its content, but what it's going to do is piss off bloggers, nonprofits, businesses and individuals who link back to stories.

        The AP saying it is going to get legislative and legal help for its "problem" tells me they want to get a law passed that says you must be a paying member to even view their content. That is simply stupid, but they have they money and power to do it - and lawmakers are dumb enough to pass it.

        I understand that people are abusing resources. Every day you can find someone who reprints an article verbatim, usually with no link back and sometimes with no credit to the original poster. It has happened since the first book was printed and will continue to happen, no matter the medium.

        This FAQ isn't an answer to that. It is a desk jockey's answer to a 20th century problem, with no clue that the world has evolved since the first printing press started pushing out pages.

         

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    I think I know where they may be heading...

    Check out this:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21136.html

    FAIR USE Excerpt:

    "The AP is working on methods to attach rights information to content as well as create new models for distribution and revenue, she said."

    Is it just possible that the Asshat Posse (AP) is thinking about going down the DRM road to nowhere?

    Goddammit, AP. Just face the truth. You are a "Wire Service" in the age of the Big Pipe internet and TERABYTES on the desktop. You are no longer needed nor useful. Your endless stories about driver-less SUV's running amok and killing people have no audience. Your blatant liberal political slant is obvious. Nobody wants to be BROADCASTED at by whiny, depressing liberals anymore. Today, you either engage in a discussion or you stay home.

    Why is it so hard for you to understand this??

    Do all your executives still have their assistants print their emails out on paper for them to read?

     

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      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 13th, 2009 @ 10:59am

      Re: I think I know where they may be heading...

      Good comment. People are now more than ever able to get their information from a lot more places then they could in the AP's glory days. And some people want to be able to form their own opinions from the information they gather rather than being told this is how you should think about this or that.

       

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    Random Person, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    "Once again, we're in a situation where the AP thinks it has leverage, and it's about to discover it has none."

    Very well put. I laughed a little on the inside.

     

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    Joyce Carpenter, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Question 11b

    11. Is this aimed at Google? At bloggers?
    No. It is not aimed at any one company or Web site. We are eager to work with everyone to achieve a fair solution.

    That answers the first question. Now about the other one?

     

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    Scott Rafer, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Catching rotten veggies instead of throwing them

    @MMasnick

    Let's attempt to make some suggestions here. The AP's current proposals/methods have been covered sufficiently.

    1. Can an arbitrary fraction of an article be set as a working Fair Use standard? 20%, 30%? Everything below that threshold is beneath notice and above it might later become a discussion?
    2. I'd like to see the AP publish a Top 5 (or Top 50) Offenders list. I think some transparency around who is doing the most scavenging would be illuminating to all parties. From there, I think we'd all understand the situation better.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Catching rotten veggies instead of throwing them

      The AP's current proposals/methods have been covered sufficiently.

      Translation: Please quit pointing out how stupid the AP is. You're embarrassing them!

       

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      Mike (profile), Apr 14th, 2009 @ 12:25am

      Re: Catching rotten veggies instead of throwing them

      1. Can an arbitrary fraction of an article be set as a working Fair Use standard? 20%, 30%? Everything below that threshold is beneath notice and above it might later become a discussion

      Amount is only one part of fair use -- and potentially a small piece of it. I'm not sure defining an amount solves anything.

      2. I'd like to see the AP publish a Top 5 (or Top 50) Offenders list. I think some transparency around who is doing the most scavenging would be illuminating to all parties. From there, I think we'd all understand the situation better.

      Well, we can look at who they sued: Moreover. They quote headlines and just a few words. So... I don't quite understand the situation any better. They seem quite upset with something that is obviously fair use.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    The AP and the Future!

    The AP has recently become aware that a group of people are working something called "Internets". The AP is watching this development closely to ensure that it gets in on the ground floor if this "Internets" thing ever catches on.

     

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    willard, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    AP suicide

    I run a small website where I frequently post links to news stores that I think would interest my visitors. As I interpret AP's statements they want me to pay to send them visitors who may generate revenue for them.

    Sorry, with gross income of $0 I doubt that I will pay them a whole lot.

     

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    Pete Austin, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 5:00am

    Can't have it both ways

    If AP is trying to hold Google responsible for links *to* AP content, then they had better stop disclaiming responsibility for links *from* AP content.

    "10. This Web site may from time to time contain links or pointers to Internet sites maintained by third parties. AP does not operate or control in any way any information, products or services on these third-party sites and AP expressly disclaims any responsibility for such third-party sites"
    http://www.ap.org/pages/about/terms.html

     

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    Scott Rafer, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    @Mike

    1. Amount _is_ only one part of fair use, but it's the part that confuses people the most. There's additional clarity with no losers if someone authoritative sets an arbitrary yardstick. The yardstick I suggested is incomplete as #2 brings up.
    2. Moreover got sued for syndicating summaries EVERY SINGLE AP story, while adding no editorial to it whatsoever.

     

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    Associated Content, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    AC does pay

    So, I am a content writer for Associated Content. I can tell you the whole "web 2.0" concept is here to stay. I've written over 3,300 pieces of content and have more than three million pageviews! Perhaps the AP should read, "What Would Google Do?" by Jeff Jarvis. Then they can learn how to be a profitable business when you allow control to be handed to your citizen journalists - and like it.

     

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    Scott Rafer, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Assoc Content

    @23 congrats. Can you share approximately how much you've made over what period of time? Is it a job or a sideline?

     

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