Rewriting An AP Story Just To Show We Can

from the come-and-get-us dept

Kevin Stapp writes "As I was browsing some news this morning I actually read one story all the way to the bottom (a rare thing nowadays). The story itself wasn't nearly as interesting as the Associated Press' Copyright notice at the very bottom:

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

It is the next to the last claim I found troubling. The AP apparently believes copyright allows it to claim that a news story can't be rewritten. That claim strikes me as rather far reaching because the majority of the story is simply restated facts. I reviewed each paragraph of the story (I'll simply number them here) to see which parts of the story are 'unique expressions' and which are simply statements of fact that are not subject to copyright.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-08-07-kennedy-shriver_N.htm

1. Fact. Simple biographical data

2. Fact. Quote from a family spokeperson

3. Fact. Information provided by spokesperson for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

4. Fact. News of strokes previously reported. Kennedy compound location is widely known.

5. Observation by the reporter so not a fact.

6. Fact. Simple biographical data

7 & 8. Quote from another news source so AP has no claim to it. If anything the quote is the copyright of eunicekennedyshriver.org,

8 & 9 Fact. Multiple sources can be found regarding Shriver's involvement with the Special Olympics.


Eight of the nine paragraphs of this story are factual information that could be obtained from multiple sources and yet the Associated Press claims copyright prohibits anyone from rewriting this story.

So here's my version of the story rewritten without the Associated Press' permission:

According to a press release from eunicekennedyshriver.org, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is critical but stable condition at a Cape Cod Hospital. Ms. Shriver is attended by her husband, children and grandchildren. (http://www.eunicekennedyshriver.org/press).

Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver was born July 10, 1921 and is a member of the Kennedy family. She is the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy. Senator Edward Kennedy and Jean Kennedy Smith are her only surviving siblings. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_Kennedy_Shriver)

Senator Kennedy remarked in a video interview that his sister Eunice always "strived to be the best" in a very competitive family. "She in many respects has made such an extraordinary difference in the lives of so many people...", he said. http://www.eunicekennedyshriver.org/videos/video/15

Ms Shriver is known for her efforts on behalf of the disabled and founded the Special Olympics which she serves as an honorary chairperson. http://www.eunicekennedyshriver.org/bios/eks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_Kennedy_Shriver

You can't copyright facts nor can you claim copyright limits anyone's right to restate the facts."


We await the AP's response.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    The AP's response will be to sue you and Kevin Stapp for copyright violations and for proving just how unnecessary the AP really is.

    Can't have people knowing they're not needed, now, can they?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    I don't know which is more childish: the attitude or the baiting.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      I'll agree the baiting is a little childish, but most problems are only fixed when people challenge them, look at the old lady who was too childish to sit in the back of the bus and helped spark a revolution.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        If you think this measures up, well, go for it. I just think it is the childish rantings of a grown man who isn't getting his way and can't seem to bait the AP into calling him an a--clown.

        Too Much Free Time indeed Mike!

         

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    •  
      identicon
      JJ, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

      Re:

      Yes, I agree, the AP's actions here are incredibly childish, claiming falsely that its against copyright to rewrite a story. Not to mention their attempts to threaten others for rewriting those stories. Very very childish.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

        Re: Re:

        haha. Obviously you don't know the concept of "standard copyright notice" on a website, appearing on every page after every article. Mike just happened to pick an item that could easily be re-written, as it contains only very basic information.


        Nobody is attempting to copyright facts, Mike is once again desperately trying to spin a molehill into a mountain. I expect links and perhaps 50 more slides at his next presentation about this one.

         

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        •  
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          DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Mike is simply posting, with permission, Kevin Stapp's article.

          If you can't see the details, don't argue the points.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The AP attempts to do just that, copyright facts, on a daily basis. Or have you not been paying attention? If you're going to troll properly, at least pick at something that isn't going to make you look a complete idiot.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 9:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yawn.

            They are copyrighting the story as a whole, as presented. Any "facts" or "opinions" that might appear ONLY in their story cannot be reused. You can write another story using the same facts (provided you can come up with the sources).

            Since you cannot copyright facts, the whole discussion is remarkably meaningless. LIke I said before, it is a childish attempt to bait AP into an answer, something that I would think would be below Mike and his friends to try.

            Can you smell the desperation because AP won't talk to them anymore? What ever will they write about?

             

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            •  
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              techflaws.org (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 3:38am

              Yawn

              "What ever will they write about?"

              Hopefully nothing that would invite you to comment on.

               

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            •  
              identicon
              hegemon13, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 7:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Any "facts" or "opinions" that might appear ONLY in their story cannot be reused."

              Wrong. Facts cannot be copyrighted no matter where they appear. Get YOUR facts straight.

               

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    BullJustin (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    You forgot one important part

    Copyright 2009 The People of the World. This material may not be restricted, protected, or withheld without written permission by a majority of the world populace

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

    Res Publica Non Dominetur!

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

      Re:

      Off topic, I know, but... Harvard Professor Henry Gates Jr. (yes, that one) was also in that advert.

      Classic.

       

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    SteelWolf (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Always AC

    I love how the people most insulting to Mike are the Anonymous Cowards. Such a fitting default name. The AP has been ridiculously shortsighted, childish, and determined to drive itself to irrelevancy as fast as possible. They deserve to be called out as many times and in as many ways as possible, before their misinformation campaign gets enough traction for Anonymous Cowards like yourself to start claiming AP does have some kind of copyright on facts.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      here is my name now bite me, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Always AC

      ALways AC? What, because I use "steelwolf" i am suddenly smarter?

      Puuuuleeez!

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Guy One, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:03pm

        Re: Re: Always AC

        Yup, smarter than you! 1 click got me his first and last name Michael Castello... not an AC at all.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Not Mike really not mike., Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Always AC

          That is assuming that the name matches the poster. I could put techdirt.com in my posts and claim to be Mike. WOuld that help?

           

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re: Always AC

        Don't worry, you're safe, even if you use "steelwolf".

         

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  •  
    identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    When did the Shills show up?

    IS it just me (and Always AC) or have a whole bunch of pro copyright, pro **AA, control good, freedom bad people started show up in the comment section?

    Welcome new found friends.... welcome I say.

    What motivates you I wonder?

     

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      DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

      Re: When did the Shills show up?

      You know, it truly is nice to have intelligent discourse with those who have an opposite opinion on topics.

      Key word: intelligent.

      Regardles of your opinion, when you start slinging mud, the only thing you accomplish is pissing people off (and yes I understand that sometimes that's the entire purpose).

       

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  •  
    identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    When did the Shills show up?

    IS it just me (and Always AC) or have a whole bunch of pro copyright, pro **AA, control good, freedom bad people started show up in the comment section?

    Welcome new found friends.... welcome I say.

    What motivates you I wonder?

     

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  •  
    icon
    Erik E. (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:52pm

    To AC

    AC said: "Obviously you don't know the concept of "standard copyright notice" on a website, appearing on every page after every article. Mike just happened to pick an item that could easily be re-written, as it contains only very basic information."

    Obviously you haven't read the news....... ever. ALL news stories outside the opinion pages are factual stories regurgitating facts and are therefore un-copyrightable. Mike didn't have to go searching for an article, any random article would suffice.

     

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      DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:35pm

      Re: To AC

      That's not completely true, either. If it were, re-broadcasting sports games wouldn't be copyrightable. Most news stories include some sort of interpretation by the reporter so they can legally copyright the whole story. F-ing loopholes....

       

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    identicon
    PRMan, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:53pm

    The AP article is better...

    Otherwise, I wouldn't have known that she had a series of strokes...

    You CAN rewrite it, but in this case you missed one of the 5 Ws, a cardinal sin of reporting.

     

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    identicon
    Urza9814, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Hmmm...

    So apparently when my high school english teacher told me that you have to rewrite things in your own words and cite sources they were encouraging us to violate copyright law?

    Yea, the AP is full of shit. If you can't rewrite things then scholarly papers as we know them would be nonexistant. You couldn't write a paper about anything at all without every bit of it being your own research.

     

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      DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Hmmm...

      It is perfectly legal to quote anything you want, anywhere you want, as long as you:

      1) quote it ACCURATELY (i.e. in the same spirit as the original)

      2) correctly cite the source

      If you don't do BOTH of those things, it's infringement and/or plagiarism.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Sad ramblings of a little boy looking for attention

    Pretty sad article Mike, I see you have to go to baiting AP to get attention since most of the comments seem to have turned against you.

    BTW to all the AC's out here, not once have I hidden my identity, and rarely do I ever agree with Mikee... Most of his articles do nothing more than twist the truth around to try to further his agenda of a free everything world....

    Can't wait until he turns hypocrite and starts suing others for copying his work

     

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    •  
      icon
      DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

      Re: Sad ramblings of a little boy looking for attention

      "...Mike, I see you have to go to baiting AP...."

      Michial Thompson, I see that THE FIRST THREE WORDS OF THE ARTICLE, "Kevin Stapp writes", were completely lost upon you.

      Again, if you can't see the details, don't argue the points.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

      Re: Sad ramblings of a little boy looking for attention

      Free everything? Most of what I have seen condemns, or at least cautions against most blind free offers. (Well physical free offers, and 'hey this is free, now give me something please'). Well who knew it was so easy to be mislead by reading the articles.

       

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      R. Miles (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 6:12am

      Re: Sad ramblings of a little boy looking for attention

      Most of his articles do nothing more than twist the truth around to try to further his agenda of a free everything world....
      Thank goodness my intelligence doesn't accept this rhetoric.

      I've yet to see you prove his articles are wrong.

      I don't agree in some cases either, but most of what he writes is dead on.

      Take the blinders off and quit believing the propaganda shoveled to you and you may just see it.

      Some of his ideas may be... unique, but don't discredit them so easily.

      To date: I've yet to see any distributor fully accept the internet as a tool, but instead uses it as a cash cow. When that fails (and it will always fail), they turn and blame it for their woes.

      This is fact, Michial. Not twisted truth.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    Mike I think they might have already cleaned up that article because I was only able to find 5 paragraphs(if you can even call them that) Are you sure your link to the USA today article is still accurate?

     

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      rwahrens (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      Yes, they did. Among other things, they removed the reporter's observation, per Mike's item #5. EVERY paragraph, most of which are simple sentences, now contain pure facts, certainly verifiable by Mike's links in his rewritten version.

      Nothing unique in that article now at all.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Steelwolf, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Please STOP abusing my copyrighted handle!!!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    I agree with you but, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Fact: Making your point in this way makes you seem childish and points to the fact that you are a schmucky schmuck.

     

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    Kevin Stapp (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    Missing

    Many of those posting comments criticizing Mike should instead direct those at me. I wrote it, not Mike. The purpose of this post isn't to bait AP but to highlight how the AP is attempting to stretch copyright to far beyond the intent of the law. You cannot write an article that is mainly a restatement of public information (facts) then claim copyright forbids anyone from rewriting those facts.

    The purpose of this post was to point out how media (not just the AP) is abusing (or at least attempting to abuse) copyright to limit competition and to assert ownership over material they to which they have no legal claim.

     

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      DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

      Re: Missing

      THANK YOU! I find it terribly ironic how several AC's tend to claim that this site does nothing but bash copyrights/patents/etc., and here they are bashing Mike for something that someone else said.

      For you irony junkies out there, this whole comment string should be a veritable feast.

       

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  •  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Bait away...

    So what? Let Mike bait AP. Will they rise (or sink) to the challenge? I doubt it.

    They're officially not discussing their policy anymore, so I would imagine this would preclude them from jumping into the fray.

    I would imagine they don't have many fans left at this point, much like other entities who have opted to maintain profits thru lawsuits. It would be entertaining if they did, if only to further the amount of cluelessness a supposed "higher journalism" entity displays in its pursuit of money for nothing.

    What are the benefits of the high road at this point? You obviously won't find the discourse there as AP has already proven it will play dirtier than anyone else in the field.

     

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    Alias (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:13pm

    Haw Haw!

     

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    identicon
    Another AC, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Some of you call it baiting

    i would call it making a pretty serious point regarding all the BS the AP has been stirring while up trying to bail out the of the titanic with a dixie cup.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Sean, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    It seems most of you don't even read the posts, so why come to this blog if you don't read the posts?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    The Idiot, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re: Michial Thompson

    Congratulations! Have a 'You miss the point!' award.

    Firstly, Mike was freely linked to the story by Kevin in this case.

    Secondly, the AP article clearly states that the facts included cannot be rewritten.

    And finally, Mike has never said free is always better; he has stated repeatedly that free is better as a part of a business model.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    John Croson, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    I see some parallels...

    to the music industry.

    The news industry has been suffering as of late, because of the blogosphere, declining readership, etc etc.

    If you as a webmaster want to syndicate news from these sources, you must first subscribe. Probably fair, since they do pay to have these stories created...but my syndication produces traffic to their site, which could produce revenue in the way of advertising dollars.

    Isn't it a bit like a recent request from an un-named musician to glean more from the radio stations that play their music?

     

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    Sheogorath (profile), Sep 1st, 2012 @ 6:39pm

    @ Steelwolf

    "Please STOP abusing my copyrighted handle!!!"
    That's impossible because we can't stop what we never started. Handles/names cannot be copyrighted because they're de minimis under that section of IP law. If you were to claim your handle as an unregistered trademark, however...

     

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