AP: Others Who Use Our Work For Free Are Stealing… Now Who Wants To Provide Content To Us For Free?

from the double-standards-much? dept

The Associated Press has been going on quite the rampage over the past few months about all those evil online sites that are “stealing” its content, demanding that those who use its content absolutely must pay for it. We joked in response that the AP and other newspapers complaining about people “stealing” their coverage should actually be paying the people who make the news. After all, aren’t they really creating the “content”? That was meant as a joke, but sometimes you have to wonder if people at the Associated Press even realize the double standard they’ve set for themselves.

After all this complaining about others using its content for free, Valleywag points out that the AP was asking people to submit free accounts, pictures and videos of the train crash in Washington DC this week. Apparently “free” only works in one direction with the AP. If it’s outbound, it’s stealing. If it’s inbound… that’s reporting.

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Comments on “AP: Others Who Use Our Work For Free Are Stealing… Now Who Wants To Provide Content To Us For Free?”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“Valleywag points out that the AP was asking people to submit free accounts, pictures and videos of the train crash in Washington DC this week…”


And these free accounts, pictures, and video would be different than the amatuerish, slobbering blog writers that just can’t do the job as well as the AP does how exactly?

Hurricane says:

Apparently AP wants to use that amatuerish, slobbering blog stuff to pad their own reporting.

The point here is not who reports superior news or who has a more objective reporting; the point is that AP want to charge people to use it’s content but refuses to pay for content it wants to use.

That is the definition of hypocrisy.

Ryan says:

Re: Re:

Certainly there are clear elements of hypocrisy in the AP’s arguments for locking up their content, but I wouldn’t say that their actions here are hypocritical per se. They ask amateurs who otherwise would not get much exposure to voluntarily contribute their media for widespread dissemination. The AP, on the other hand, intends to commercialize their content by locking it up and does not consent to its general usage. It is more of an abuse of a flawed IP system than outright hypocrisy. however, this obviously provides great evidence for why the AP shouldn’t be allowed to legally lock up its content(when it consists of facts), and how IP restrictions are detrimental to the public instead of beneficial.

hurricane says:

I do not see the distinction.

AP does not want people freely using their content for their blogs/stories; even if they credit AP as the source. They want to charge for it’s use.

AP on the other hand is actively soliciting for content and is not willing to compensate the provider at all; after all it’s not like these people are going to get credit/recognition unless they truly have something spectacular to show. And the last place someone like that is going to is AP.

They are hiding behind the failed IP laws to be hypocritical. Because under the current law they can sue to prevent people from using their content for free but they are not legally required to compensate anyone for content they submit.

And not only that they are going after people who do not have the resources to fight back. I have heard AP reports cited on CNN and other national news programs. Are you going to tell me that AP is going to sue Rupert Murdock? So in a sense they are stifling new talent as news reporting is transition from traditional media to online content.

All around it’s pretty scummy and not a very defensible position.

RD says:

Hardly a surprise

“Apparently “free” only works in one direction with the AP. If it’s outbound, it’s stealing. If it’s inbound… that’s reporting.”

No “apparent” about it, this is how ALL big content/media/corporations see things. YOU, the individual consumer, are a thief, just by consuming…well, anything really. THEY, as gatekeepers of the great and powerful copyright lobbies, are the ONLY ones who get to benefit or profit from it. They are above reproach. In fact, if they had their way (And I have NO doubt this is being worked on behind the scenes a’la ACTA) they would REQUIRE you to turn over any and all “content” to them, even the ones YOU make, as they are the only ones legally allowed to have any (According to them) and you having any (or made any) are a thief.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: How long will it take...

I would lay odds that at the bottom of the screen below the submit button in text too small to read in 800×600, there are the words: any articles and/or pictures submitted to the AP will have all claims of copyright transferred to the AP. under no circumstances will the copyrighted material be reposed anywhere without the AP’s express written permission.

Or, you know, in big lettered legalese that you have to check before hitting submit. Ether way, I’d bet it’s there.

Overcast (profile) says:

“We joked in response that the AP and other newspapers complaining about people “stealing” their coverage should actually be paying the people who make the news”

Interesting concept indeed. So if they write a story about me – not that something that trivial would ever happen – but I should call them and demand royalties. That’s actually a good idea.

Hey – it’s good from start to finish.

I’m curious too – since you are on that subject – at various times in music, you may hear references to popular culture, objects and such – do the ‘artists’ pay those people/companies for using the name?

It’s funny how the new and other industries scream about this stuff, but when ‘Big Rapper MC’ (or whoever) talks about a certain car, cigarette, restaurant, etc – in a song – I wonder if the manufacturers are getting a cut.

Maybe they should go back and sue for all that – might help them to stay a viable business; if we are to assume that the new business model some organizations like the RIAA is using works.

dennis parrott says:

Your last paragraph spells out all you need to know about the copyright debates

Here’s the short and sweet of it…

ALL of the players in the “content industry” want to cast the debate such that ONLY they have real copyright rights. All us poor schmoe users will get the mere illusion of copyright rights. Only the “players” will be allowed to make money from “their” content (which some have outright stolen anyway… look at the swamp called the “music industry”) while we the users will have no ability to monetize our content and no real practical recourse to prevent the theft of out content.

No, they want us to fund their guaranteed right to ride a gravy train all enforced by a bought and paid for government.

Confidential to all my fellow “schmoe users”: we need to fight back.

Anonymous Coward says:


reporter walks up to a guy and says “What the heck happened” and stuffs a microphone under his nose. Are those comments and more or any less news? are they are more or any less free?

AP is just trying to get information as quickly as possible, to get as much of the story as possible, and they are paying exactly what they pay for other man on the street interviews.

If people are dumb enough to send in pictures for free, more power to AP for it.

“What would be fun is to submit a photo that AP uses then begin posting that photo all over the web. I like to see AP claim infringement for a photo they don’t own.”

I would suspect there is a bunch of wording on the submit page that would include transfer of the publishing rights to AP.

hurricane says:

Sorry stupid work laptop acting up….

What I wanted to say was once you submit anything to an entity like the AP they will more than likely make you sign a release for them to use it. Once you sign that piece of paper you no longer “own” the photo.

Which essentially mean AP can sue you for a pic you made and submitted yourself.

David says:


Here in the UK, I always carry a camera, like a lot of people, and used to get a few quid from the local paper for news-worthy stuff that I happened to come across in my work travels. Never been lucky enough to snap anything that was TV material but I see the BBC’s terms and conditions these days allow them to do more-or-less what they like with submitted photographs and, if I read correctly, for no payment, although the photographer retains copyright. Sounds a little odd to me.

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