AP Summarizes Other Journalists' Article; Isn't That What The AP Says Violates The Law?

from the that's-odd dept

Marcus Carab points us to a rather horrifying story about a family suing a funeral home after the funeral home put their grandmother's brain in a bag of personal effects and sent it to them. Yikes. But, ignore the story itself for a moment (if you can). What was interesting from our point of view was that the story was written by the Associated Press, and it's basically a rewrite of a story from The Albuquerque Journal. Here's how the AP points this out:
The Albuquerque Journal reported on the lawsuit in a copyright story published Wednesday.
Now, there are a few things odd about this. First... it's an odd phrase to use: "in a copyright story." Nearly all news stories are covered by copyright, so why even mention it?

But what I find even more amusing is that if you look at the AP report, it's basically just a quick blurb rewrite of the Albuquerque Journal story. It's only 125 words, and just summarizes what the other paper wrote. Why is that amusing? Because that's exactly what the Associated Press has been claiming bloggers unfairly do to it -- insisting that others simply rewriting its stories in short blurbs are violating the "hot news" doctrine. Apparently, that doesn't apply when the AP does it itself?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:39am

    No, what bloggers do is use AP's 25 words or 50 words. Re-summarizing the news isn't the same as just copying the story outright, now is it?

     

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  2.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    newspapers...

    do not want the laws to apply to them! They want their own interpretation of the law. Besides they consider bloggers to be the scum of the earth.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:47am

    commenting on a comment of a summary of a summary, mmmmmm.

    "No, what bloggers do is use AP's 25 words or 50 words."

    -doubtful so much, now that they are ungoogle-able

    and reporting on what has been reported isnt exactly "hot news".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:47am

    commenting on a comment of a summary of a summary, mmmmmm.

    "No, what bloggers do is use AP's 25 words or 50 words."

    -doubtful so much, now that they are ungoogle-able

    and reporting on what has been reported isnt exactly "hot news".

     

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  5.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    "The Albuquerque Journal reported on the lawsuit in a copyright story published Wednesday."

    You should put an (SP) next to the use of "copyright." It obviously (well at least to me) should be "copyrighted story." It certainly was not a story about copyright.

    When I first read it I assumed it was your error. But since it's in the original, you should make that clear.

     

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  6.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:53am

    Re:

    Heck, think about it this way: How does Mike's story start?

    Marcus Carab points us to a rather horrifying story about a family suing a funeral home after the funeral home put their grandmother's brain in a bag of personal effects and sent it to them.

    The original story?

    Members of a New Mexico family are suing an EspaƱola funeral home after they found their grandmother's brain in the bag of personal effects given to them after her death.

    Do you see the difference? Mike is writing his own summary of what a story says, the second one would just be a copy of how the story starts. One required actual effort, the second one required the ability to do a copy / paste.

     

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  7.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    No, what bloggers do is use AP's 25 words or 50 words.

    Well, assuming that the entire article is only 25 or 50 words long, that would be a clear case of copyright infringement. Please note that AP did not invoke copyright infringement, they instead used a so-called "hot news" doctrine. They are trying to say that the actual wording in irrelevant, and it's the *facts* about the story they are attempting to "own".

    Now that you have been educated on the matter, do you see the amusement Mike sees? No, probably not. The AP says the facts of a story (a woman's brain was sent back in her personal effects) that are protected by this doctrine, and then they turn around and do *exactly* what they say bloggers can't do.

     

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  8.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    Re:

    You should put an (SP) next to the use of "copyright."

    Or Sic if you really want to get fancy. :)

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    I applaud your ability to suck and type at the same time.

     

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  10.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, you're right. Sic. Thanks!

     

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  11.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Theory

    "First... it's an odd phrase to use: "in a copyright story." Nearly all news stories are covered by copyright, so why even mention it?"

    Just a theory, but doesn't it kind of seem like the AP thinks that as long as they mention that the article their summarizing is copyrighted that there's no problem. As if they're saying, "look, what we're about to reprint is copyrighted, people, so it's protected....got it? PROTECTED! So don't reprint it on your damn blogs. Now, here is a reprint of the afore mentioned copyrighted article..."

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    Re:

    No, what bloggers do is use AP's 25 words or 50 words. Re-summarizing the news isn't the same as just copying the story outright, now is it?

    No. That's incorrect. The AP has specifically called out sites like Newser that re-summarize the news.

     

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  13.  
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    Newspaper guy, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Ummm, AP Member...

    Guys, the Journal is a member of AP, which happens to be a co-op. In simple terms, the AP and it's members all have usage agreements in place that allow something like this. A newspaper can take an AP article and do with it what they want, and the AP can take a member's newspaper article and do with it what they want.

    Happens all the time.

    Not news.

     

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  14.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    hypocrites

    So far almost every agency that has complained about copyright infringements (and are in favour of more stringent copyright laws) have been caught red-handed at violating copyright laws.
    The MPAA made multiple unauthorized copies of a movie, AP has infringed on this story. I'm sure there are examples within the RIAA to be found as well (can't remember one of the top of my head)
    Hypocrisy is no stranger to these people.

     

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  15.  
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    pookito, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    copyrights

    That is what I think, correct me if I am wrong, This is not a big deal, to summarize, as long as you give proper citations. If anyone copies anything from anywhere proper citations should be given. If this is not the case, then there is a problem, if AP is still pursuing legal actions after proper citations are given, then I think the problem is really Big.

     

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  16.  
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    pookito, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re:

    Gotcha I get it now. thanks for the explanation, it made the situation clearer to me. :D

     

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  17.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: hypocrites

    How long do you spend cleaning your glass house each week?

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: Ummm, AP Member...

    Guys, the Journal is a member of AP, which happens to be a co-op. In simple terms, the AP and it's members all have usage agreements in place that allow something like this.

    Then why not just use stuff from the story, rather than point out that the story is covered by copyright?

    Not news.

    To you. To others... seems like it is.

    Thanks for contributing.

     

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  19.  
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    DH's love child, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Re: copyrights

    That's really nice in theory. Stories get written without proper attribution ALL the time by both 'professional' journalists and by bloggers.

     

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  20.  
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    Newspaper guy, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Ummm, AP Member...

    Unless it's a breaking story that they don't have time to rewrite, they almost always retool a story. I have no idea why, but it probably has something to do with trying to standardize styling and formating across the hundreds of member papers they have.

    Sometimes they start with a retooled story, then they have someone actually go out and report the story. Once they do that any reference to the original paper is gone.

     

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  21.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: copyrights

    They (The AP) want you to pay to quote more than 4 words.

     

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  22.  
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    Bubba Gump (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    No, what bloggers do is use Ap's 25 words or 50 words. Re-summarizing the news isn't the same as just copying the story outright, now is it?

    (see comment #1 from
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20100107/0251577648.shtml)

     

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  23.  
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    Bubba Gump (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, I apologize for simply copying TAM's comment. I suppose I should have re-summarized it.

     

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  24.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: hypocrites

    You've got it backwards, little guy. Those people who push for stronger IP laws all the while ignoring current IP laws when it suits them are the ones living in a glass house and throwing stones.

    Really, dude. Even your snarky (?) comments are getting pretty lame. Time for a break?

     

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  25.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    Re: Theory

    I actually saw it as more of a hamfisted attempt at "fair" quoting. Perhaps, given all their bluster about blogs quoting them, someone in the organization noticed how hypocritical they are and made an ill-advised attempt to demonstrate that what the AP does is different somehow, even though it's obviously not.

     

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  26.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: hypocrites

     

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  27.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Ummm, AP Member...

    I don't think you understand the broader terms of this debate. Nobody is claiming that rewrites shouldn't happen or that the AP is somehow stealing - in fact, the overwhelming majority opinion at TechDirt is that we need MORE sharing, retooling and reworking of content. And yes, it's obvious that the AP does this all the time. That's why it's hilarious to hear them whine and moan about people quoting tiny snippets of their content, which they do on a regular basis - and their hypocrisy is why this is news to people who read TechDirt

     

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  28.  
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    Newspaper guy, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Ummm, AP Member...

    Don't get me wrong, I think they've gone overboard with their draconian use rules.

    However, in the case you're mentioning here, there is already a contract in place between the two entities which allows for exactly what you're saying is hypocritical. It would be hypocritical if their was no agreement in place or if they took a Reuters story and did the same thing to it.

    In the case of bloggers, etc, there is no such agreement, however I'm sure they would be more than happy to negotiate something.

    Again, I don't think AP is moving in the right directing, but faulting them for something they are contractually allowed to do isn't a very good argument for your case of fair use.

     

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  29.  
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    Gunnar, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    The Associated Press generally has an agreement with newspapers subscribe to its wire service that allows the AP to rewrite the subscribers' news articles.

    As for the odd phrasing, it looks like a brain fart on the part of the AP staffer who wrote the article.

     

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  30.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re:

    And yet, Mike's version says so much more and takes the information in a much different direction? See how that works? How discourse progresses on the web?

     

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  31.  
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    Comboman (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Ummm, AP Member...

    Guys, the Journal is a member of AP, which happens to be a co-op. In simple terms, the AP and it's members all have usage agreements in place that allow something like this.

    Then why not just use stuff from the story, rather than point out that the story is covered by copyright?

    The wording is somewhat odd but that's how they decided to do it. I'm no fan of the AP and they've done some douche-bag things in the past, but in this case you've accused them of something they didn't do Mike. AP is authorized to use content (summarized or verbatim) from the Albuquerque Journal, so there is no hypocrisy in them being upset about unauthorized summarizing of AP stories (even though that unauthorized summarizing is likely fair-use).

     

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  32.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The point exactly. It's that signal to noise ratio thing again.

    Mike's presentation creates signal.

    Just quoting the story creates noise.

    The signal to noise ratio on information is key.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Re: Usage

    This may have been intentional. The word "copyright" is often treated pretty oddly from a usage point of view; writers will bend over backwards to avoid appending endings and such, especially in the verb form, and add will words before and after to adjust the meaning. Wait... I know... let's consult the AP Style Guide(R)(TM)...

     

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  34.  
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    Bill Dodder, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    The Albuquerque Journal Pays To Allow AP to Rip Them Off

    The Albuquerque Journal quite litterally pays the AP for the privelege of having the AP rip off it's content.

     

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  35.  
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    Ragaboo (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Those were my thoughts exactly. Maybe an intentional misspelling to get people off the scent? Haha

     

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  36.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But copyright restrictions limit signal and noise. It all becomes remarkably quiet when everyone is claiming ownership over facts and words.

     

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  37.  
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    Bill Dodder, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re:

    According to the AP sumarization of their articles isn't ok.

    There has been significant mention that AP routinely takes summaries from others while denying others the same right. AP has a history of threatening and suing under their "Hot News" theory.

    AP claims that it robs them of a quasi-copyright that they have on facts.

    Nice huh.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    not an engineer are you?

     

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  39.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 3:38am

    Re: Re: hypocrites

    It's like this:
    people who, in the media, are against smoking in public places getting caught smoking in a public place.
    You call that hypocrisy.

    So now we have people who are always complaining about 'the pirates/content thieves' and they are being caught doing the exact same thing that they are accusing those 'pirates/content thieves' of. (please note the quotation marks, I don't think that piracy==theft.)

     

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


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