Sounds as if a troll can make a fortune in tiny settlements too small to justify hiring a lawyer to defend.
[According to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, The World's Gone Crazy:] "To demonstrate flaws in the patent system, in 2001 an Australian lawyer patented the wheel." There's a *lot* of folks using the wheel. There'd be a lot of tiny settlements flowing from that, enough to make a troll incredibly wealthy.
If I use an image of Mickey Mouse to pick on George Bush, someone may take it that I am implying that Disney (by virtue of the fact that Mickey Mouse "is" Disney) endorses the picking-on of George Bush.
Re "people assume that no one will ever out innovate it, and then fear that we're stuck with the dominant player forever"! You've left me wondering who those "people" are. I suspect most "people" have functioning brains, especially the folks who use iPhones. I suspect no one feared or assumed we'd be stuck with a dominant player FOREVER. That's patently ridiculous!
I'm confused, too. It's of course impossible to block links to AP stuff or to demand payola for links or to demand, even, accreditation. To enforce honor would take more web enforcers than web users. There are just too danged many computers!
Honor among thieves? I'd like "intellectual property rights" over the stuff I publish, too. Them's fightin words in the web world these days, too. Lots of flack against GoOgle and Facebook, as I recall, for trying to lay claim to folks' postings without fair permission.
Where do we draw the line? Fair use of our own postings? Fair use of AP? Eminent domain?