Associated Press: Well, Now That That's All Done With…

from the hey,-wait-a-second... dept

The Associated Press “conversation” with bloggers keeps getting more bizarre. Yesterday, it met with the guy that Rogers Cadenhead from the Drudge Retort asked to represent him in dealing with the AP. This was the guy that the AP falsely suggested was going to help them set up “guidelines” for bloggers. That was never true. He was merely there to represent Cadenhead’s side of the story. And the result? A statement from the AP saying that the matter is now closed. Seriously. No details. No “conversation.” Just wiping its hands of the whole thing:

In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on Thursday. That information was aimed at enabling Mr. Cadenhead to bring the contributed content on his site into conformance with the policy he earlier set for his contributors. Both parties consider the matter closed.

In addition, the AP has had a constructive exchange of views this week with a number of interested parties in the blogging community about the relationship between news providers and bloggers and that dialogue will continue. The resolution of this matter illustrates that the interests of bloggers can be served while still respecting the intellectual property rights of news providers.

Let’s unpack this a bit. First off, and most importantly, I’m quite happy that the AP and Cadenhead have worked out their differences. It’s never any fun to be on the receiving end of a legal threat — and the most important thing of all was making sure that the situation was settled. However, the rest of the AP’s statement is troublesome.

First, for an organization claiming that it wants to be a part of the conversation (and some have noted that “conversations” rarely begin with a legal threat), never actually coming out and talking in public seems quite problematic. So far, the public communication from the AP has been (1) identical cut-and-pasted comments on a number of blogs, (2) a couple of quotes given to reporters, (3) possibly some private discussions with unnamed bloggers, and (4) a private meeting with a representative for the Drudge Retort. There wasn’t a single attempt to have a public discussion. There’s no explanation of the resulting “agreement” or how it might impact other bloggers who quote the AP. There isn’t even a single indication from the AP that it recognizes why so many people are upset.

That’s not a resolution. That’s denial.

Update: Rogers Cadenhead has posted his thoughts on the discussion with the Associated Press, and while he does seem relieved that his involvement is now cleared, he doesn’t seem optimistic about the future:

If AP’s guidelines end up like the ones they shared with me, we’re headed for a Napster-style battle on the issue of fair use.

In other words, so much for the “conversation” that the AP has supposedly been having. It still won’t acknowledge what fair use clearly allows and it still won’t admit that it was wrong — or openly discuss its position in public.

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Comments on “Associated Press: Well, Now That That's All Done With…”

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ehrichweiss says:

fight fire...

We need to use anti-AP style licensing for our work/comments. Non-commercial use is free but commercial use will require a per-use license. Trust me, when they have to start dealing with their own failed policy from our perspective, they’ll stop playing this game. If they refuse there’s the DMCA and civil court that lots of bloggers will be able to use to spread their defenses out so thin they’ll wish they’d have just given their articles away for free.

AP, it’s time that you realize that you’re nothing more than a news aggregator like Reddit, Digg, etc. and you can be bypassed and made irrelevant in the Information Age. Good luck tilting at windmills.

keystothekid says:

Re: fight fire...

I agree completely. If they start attacking bloggers it wont be hard to fight back, if we all do it on as small a level as possible. They’ll spend so much time, money and effort worrying about settling all the legal debates that they’ll end up digging themselves a huge financial hole.

I’m all for fair use and the fight against plagiarism. I’m also definitely for supporting the journalists and writers who do the actual writing. But I feel as long as a blogger doesn’t copy and past an entire article and gives credit, things should be fine. You’re allowed to quote all sorts of books; text books, fiction, nonfiction…as long as you give credit where credit is due.

I definitely do not want to see the AP die. But if it keeps treating everyday people like this, that will change.

Bill Enator says:

AP Leaves More Questions

No question that the AP’s making a strategy move .

At AP’s annual meeting they name
iCopyright Named Licensing Agent for Reuse of Associated Press Content Published Online

AP has determined that they consider to be fair-use to be exactly four words. More than that and you pay $12.50 – $100. This is pretty hypocritical considering that AP journalists help themselves routinely to much more than four words from blogs and websites in the name of “fair use”.

AP takes this a step further and under the license pricing and terms of use for iCopyright they place language that raises eyebrows and limits free speech.. Pretty unusual for an entity that lives and dies by freedom of speech protection.

iCopyright License Excerpt:
Derogatory and Unlawful Uses: You shall not use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to the author, the publication from which the Content came, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or depicted in the Content. You agree not to use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to or damaging to the reputation of Publisher, its licensors, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or referenced in the Content.”

I think that any reasonable person would see a strategy in play and is very much at odds with rights they flaunt daily.

AP is large and may not be a monopoly in the strictest sense, perhaps oligopoly or cartel is a better description.

Is the AP behaving ethically and morally? Are they being a good citizen? Many say they’re not.

AP’s strategy and behavior raises lots of questions and concerns:

The Poynter Institute on it’s blog asks: AP v. Bloggers: Hurting Journalism?

Pajama’s Media Asks: Is the Associated Press Good for America?

Perhaps the question we need to ask is: “Is the AP evil?

Chiropetra (user link) says:

A pedicure with a tommy gun

The Associated Press has never been composed of the best and brightest — at least not in the 40 or so years I’ve been dealing with them.

In fact the AP reporters in the local bureaus used to make jokes about the total cluelessness of the New York staff. (Having been one of those reporters I have my own fund of stories.)

The practical result of this is that bloggers won’t quote the AP any more. They’ll go to the original sources. Most AP content is in fact originated by “member” newspapers, not AP reporters. The stuff that is from the AP reporters is for the most part eminently dispensable.

So once again the AP loses from self-inflicted injuries.

In fact the only thing I can think of you’d need to quote the AP on would be for a story about how inept foreign correspondents were coopted by “stringers” and “sources” to feed a mountain of false and slanted news stories to US readers in Iraq. Believe me there is a LOT of scope there for quoting AP stories as the AP was one of the worst offenders.

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