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Woot Asks AP To Pay Up For Quoting Woot Blog Post Without Paying [Updated]

from the a-bottle-of-awesomesauce-please dept

There are so many reasons to love Woot, including their recent awesome letter and video about their acquisition. But, even better may be that in today’s Woot offering, they mock the Associated Press for its coverage of the Woot acquisition, because the AP just happens to have also copied text from the awesome Woot letter. Now, that’s all well and good for most publications, but this is the AP that we’re talking about. The same AP that threatens bloggers for copying headlines and snippets. The same AP that insists it needs “hot news” to protect others from “free riding” on its work. And, most importantly, the same AP that has a famously ridiculous pricelist for quoting five words or more from an AP article.

It appears the folks over at Woot noticed this price list, and noticed that the AP report on its acquisition copied more than five words. And thus, the smart folks at Woot calculated that the AP owes Woot $17.50 for quoting Woot without permission (though, they’ll take buying today’s deal as payment instead). Of course, I would have probably added a “hot news” freerider surcharge as well. After all, people reading the AP story now no longer had any reason to go to Woot directly to find out the news. Hell, at least folks like us linked directly to Woot’s letter. But that’s far too neighborly a thing for the AP to do. Instead, it just quotes with no link at all.

Update: An apparently upset AP media relations person has contacted us to ask us if it’s a “slow news day” (answer: no, not at all — why do you ask?). Also, according to the AP, the article also shows that the AP spoke to Woot’s CEO on the phone, and that, apparently, makes what the AP did okay. If only I had known that the AP’s fair use quoting rates had an exception for “we spoke to you on the phone.” Unfortunately, I don’t see those exceptions anywhere. Perhaps I’m missing them. The AP would also like to remind us that it’s reporting on the oil spill in the gulf. No, I don’t understand this non sequitur either, but that’s how the email concludes. In the meantime, I’m still wondering if the AP paid Woot for the news of reporting on them. If not, isn’t the AP “freeloading” on the newsmaker? Or do the rules the AP sets out for everyone else not apply to the AP?

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Companies: amazon, associated press, woot

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Comments on “Woot Asks AP To Pay Up For Quoting Woot Blog Post Without Paying [Updated]”

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57 Comments
Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Ha! Seriously, why are those pushing ‘hot news getting paid for’ not seeing that it would go from zero to clusterspank in seconds flat?”

They are probably creating contracts that allow the “Old News Industry” to work as it always has in an attempt to prevent the blogs and new news types from using their “Intellectual Property”. Hot News is a slightly different historical repeat of the record labels attempting to stop file sharing and competition. It wont work and in the end will accelerate the downfall of AP, and the newspapers as they will have a “new Law on their side” to protect them. Fat lotta good it did the record labels.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Pre-emptive TAM

Let me anticipate the TAM response to this:

“Mike, there’s obviously more to this story than we’re being told. How do I know this? Because the story as it stands makes the big content provider look like a hypocritical asshat and since we know that’s not ever the case, one can only conclude that we’re not being told the whole story.”

Bruce Ediger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pre-emptive TAM

I personally believe two “Anonymous Coward” trolls exist.

The Troll Formally Known as The Anti-Mike: he/she/it/them does use punctuation, and capitalizes correctly. Writes in paragraphs and makes acerbic straw man arguments.

e e trollings: doesnt use punctuation, doesnt capitalize tends to post one liners predicting the disappearance of mainstream/major media due to unfair, immoral competition from file-sharing networks and “pirates”. Tends to believe in the absolute authority of lawyers.

Of course, the possibility exists that the same committee writes both trolls’ messages, as they both assume that RIAA/MPAA/AP/Big Book Publishers can do no wrong. I think the difference in style of argument (straw man for ex-TAM, arguments from authority for e e trollings) means that two different people, probably both male, write the posts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Pre-emptive TAM

In that case there are at least three. I work with one of them. He writes in a “lowercase with some small amount of punctuation” style. He also doesn’t believe a word he writes, he just likes to troll. I’ll probably get kicked when we go to lunch for outing him though.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Pre-emptive TAM

“In that case there are at least three. I work with one of them. He writes in a “lowercase with some small amount of punctuation” style. He also doesn’t believe a word he writes, he just likes to troll. I’ll probably get kicked when we go to lunch for outing him though.”

So he just plays “devils advocate” for the fun of it?

chocota (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Pre-emptive TAM

Ha HA HA you make laugh ’cause I think the same thing about “Anonymous Coward”. The first time I started to read Techdirt news, I like “Anonymous Coward” comments, but I got confuse about the Dual thinking in his comments, in favor and against whatever Mike writes in the article, so I got tired of it that I don’t pay attention to whatever comments He/she/They does/do. I think He/She/They hates/hate Mike

AJ says:

Well...

“Hell, at least folks like us linked directly to Woot’s letter. But that’s far too neighborly a thing for the AP to do. Instead, it just quotes with no link at all.”

To be fair Mike, I clicked on your link and it took me to the AP story. There in the first line is a link to both amazon.com and woot.com. They don’t link to the letter, but they did link to Woot. Still, they probably should have linked directly to the letter…… but at least it’s something….

AJ says:

Re: What the AP asks of us

How would that work?

They have…… “Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved”….. written at the bottom of the page. Can you Copyright something you copied all or in part without giving the original credit?

I must admit I’m a little confused on this…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What the AP asks of us

“How would that work?

They have…… “Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved”….. written at the bottom of the page. Can you Copyright something you copied all or in part without giving the original credit?”

If they did this, its a blatantly illegal copyright, and is far more heavily frowned upon by the judiciary than simple infringement (like file sharing). This is an illegal co-opting of not just a “copy” but the ACTUAL copyright of a work. This is not only highly illegal, but it can get you into all sorts of big trouble, and its also REALLY hypocritical of the AP to do this.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What the AP asks of us

People like the AP don’t get in trouble for that. For them, it’s ok to issue a quiet apology and move on (until the next time they do it in about a week). For the rest of us, we must spend 63 years in federal PMIA prison.

Seriously, are there any examples of serious meaningful penalties against a major media corporation for false copyright claims? I would like to see it if anybody knows, because I’ve never heard of it.

redwall_hp (profile) says:

Re: Re: What the AP asks of us

I’m too lazy to reread the AP article…

If they put quote marks around the verbatim quotes and properly attributed their source, no.

But if they didn’t, then that would be plagiarism. (Which is what copyright law is really supposed to protect creators from, rather then being used as a cudgel to prop up a business model.)

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What the AP asks of us

But if they didn’t, then that would be plagiarism. (Which is what copyright law is really supposed to protect creators from, rather then being used as a cudgel to prop up a business model.)

Copyright law is about copying, not attribution. An act could be plagiarism but not copyright violation, or vice-versa, copyright violation but not plagiarism. As far as I know there are no laws against plagiarism in the US.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

ROFLMAO

“and we think you’ll like how they help you shut out the irritating sounds around you (such as, maybe, people yelling about the actual meaning of “fair use”). We also think you’ll like how that second pair of Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones will allow you to have one set for home and one set for the office, especially since you’ll probably get sick of going through all the voice mails from your pals UPI and Reuters saying “HEY DID YOU SEE YOU GOT MENTIONED ON WOOT TODAY LOL GREAT BUSINESS PLAN NEWZ DUDZ!” The AP, when you just want to listen to music and drift away to some controversy-free happy place, we promise you, you’ll find the Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones will hit that sweet spot just right.”

Woot is a hoot 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

so back to the story.

woot makes the mistake of confusing when they are news from when they deliver information.

woot being bought out is news, straight up. the comments made in the official blog are essentially a press release, an announcement. ap quoted from that, not in whole but in very small part, as they might quote from any other press release or news conference.

it would be no different from one newspaper quote from another regarding it being bought out, sold, or what have you. it is news, plain and simple, about an infomation company.

the story, as written, is a news story, but the story itself is not “news about ap”. so someone copying it to another site would in theory be violating copyright.

what woot deserves from this is to specifically not get covered in the future. perhaps even amazon can be ignored for a while.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

no, you missed it again. ap isnt making news, they are reporting it. very different. woot is making news in this story, and thus it is open for reporting.

i know subtle differences dont got over well on techdirt, but come on. the difference is obvious, and more importantly, woot is just trying really hard to get coverage at this point. i would say that they have a website i would never visit as a result.

TW Burger (profile) says:

The Irony is Wonderful

It’s hard for me to understand how the old guard press fails to see that “Hot News” protection will soon be used against them. As they lose more and more market share and reduced revenue leads and to lack of resources, newspapers will need to “borrow” headlines from blogs and web news sites that have gathered, investigated, and reported current events and issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

“An apparently upset AP media relations person has contacted us to ask us if it’s a “slow news day” (answer: no, not at all — why do you ask?).”

I wonder if this slow news day doctrine applies only when others ask about the AP not paying up but it doesn’t apply when the AP asks others to pay up? Or maybe it only applies on Tuesdays.

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