AP Finally Launches NewsRight… And It's Righthaven Lite?

from the really? dept

A few years back, the Associated Press announced plans to try to DRM the news, with an announcement that was mostly astounding for its technical cluelessness. It took nearly three years, but the project (now officially spun off from the AP — who is still the largest shareholder) has been announced as “NewsRight,” and is being described as an attempt to get bloggers and aggregators to pay up for “profiting” off the work of the AP or the other newspaper partners of NewsRight (including the NYT, McClatchy and others). Of course, the devil is in the details, and no matter how many details I read, this whole thing still doesn’t make any sense at all.

At best, it appears to be Righthaven Lite. It doesn’t sound like they’ll totally pull a Righthaven, where their first move is to sue, but rather (from the various vague descriptions) it sounds like NewsRight will be going around simply trying to get blogs and aggregators to buy a license. But here’s the thing: on what legal basis? That’s the part that’s not clear. Much of what blogs and newspapers do is simply not infringing (even if the AP likes to pretend it is). There may be some extreme cases where there is infringement, but most standard cases seem like classic fair use. And that’s where it gets worrisome that this turns into a legal shakedown — whereby sites are pressured to pay up just to avoid a legal fight, no matter how strong the legal position of these sites might be.

But, much more to the point, nothing in this plan appears to be about adding value. That’s the key way to determine if a business model is heading in the right direction, or if it’s really just someone trying to “free ride” on the work of someone else. NewsRight appears to be the worst kind of free rider, honestly. They’re not adding any value — they’re just demanding people pay up to avoid a negative cost (the legal threat). Also telling? The company admits that half the staff is… lawyers, and that appears to include the company’s CEO. When your 11-person company employs multiple full-time lawyers, you’re not innovating. You’re abusing the law. This seems like a complete disaster in the making — and not because “information wants to be free.” But because NewsRight doesn’t appear to provide anything of actual value to sites. All it does is carry a big stick around and say, “pay us if you don’t want to get whacked.” I’m sure some sites will pay, but it’s difficult to see how this adds anything of value to the world.

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Companies: associated press, newsright

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Comments on “AP Finally Launches NewsRight… And It's Righthaven Lite?”

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fogbugzd (profile) says:

This reminds me of the situation where the Belgian newspapers sued Google to have them removed from its aggregation. Google obliged. Then the newspapers were upset because Google was no longer driving business to them.

If AP wants bloggers and others to pay up, then the bloggers and others will probably just ignore AP. There are plenty of other news sites.

I wonder how long it will take AP to start suing people for ignoring them. Or, how long it will be before bloggers and other news sources expect AP to pay up on the same terms that AP is demanding.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

When in doubt, sue.

I think this will become entertaining as we have seen AP lifting content from others wholesale.
Given AP demanding there be a system that benefits only them, the law will take a dim view of them pretending it doesn’t actually say that when they are the defendants.
Like the MPAA/RIAA who violate the same laws they demand are needed.
Are corporations really this myopic to think that when you can see it to someone else, it will never happen to you?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Each section of the content industry, is a closed room, it doesn’t allow any sort of input from external sources. Each section, music, news, video, books, of content, is closed off from every other content sector. You will see each sector doing what the previous ones did before, just at different times, and in slightly different ways. The AP is in the worst possible position in this transition to digital media …

They are the middle men, of the middle men.

Steve Ross says:


Charging 46 cents a word for quotes like the AP tried before will not stand as soon as they are taken to court. The good news is it should help to clarify fair use issues soon after such litigation.

Understandably, taking full articles is another matter, but sending valuable traffic via an opening dek from millions of blogs should clearly be fair use.

letherial (profile) says:

I must say, that’s wonderful timing with SOPA getting traction.

Politician doesn’t like the other partys view point…its now easily solvable, contact AP friend, AP friend gets content pulled cause its ‘copyrighted without a license’. Court battle may happen but by that time, it doesn’t matter…

With unlimited finances, and censorship ability, we got our self a nice little banana republic in the making. We will make china so proud.

Cynyr (profile) says:

Legal grounds.

Hmm this bit wasn’t thought out.

At best, it appears to be Righthaven Lite. It doesn’t sound like they’ll totally pull a Righthaven, where their first move is to sue, but rather (from the various vague descriptions) it sounds like NewsRight will be going around simply trying to get blogs and aggregators to buy a license. But here’s the thing: on what legal basis? That’s the part that’s not clear.

Well on the basis that the $500 license will be cheaper than a court case for most. Doubly so if you include missed work and travel expenses.

Your standard “legal blackmail” tactic.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Sigh...

Someday someone will decide to get a copyright on the sunrise and sunset, and make everyone pay a royalty for looking at them.

Already done, more or less. Someone else already owns the Sun. Maybe you can get a users license for a nominal fee… or prepare to be sued!

Spanish woman claims she owns the sun – and now plans to start charging ALL users

Perhaps she needs to work on her “intent to occupy” portion of it first. Someone should start a collection to get her launched to her new dwelling as soon as possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Director rapes Kim Novak LoL

Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: “I feel as if my body – or at least my body of work – has been violated by the movie.”

The statement was headed by the words: “I want to report a rape”.


That because the director of the movie The Artist (2011) dared to make a homage to Alfred Hitchcock, by using scores from the movie Vertigo (1958)

That right there is why no artist should ever ever have a say on how things are used after it is released to the world.

Mr. Bad Example (profile) says:

They're completely clueless

I was one of the folks who sent this story in to Techdirt last week after noticing a short announcement in the business section of the McClatchy Company’s flagship newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. Now, since McClatchy incurred massive debt a few years ago in buying out what remained of the old Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, they’ve been bleeding money and slashing costs-mostly by cutting content and employees. At the Bee, they’ve gone from nearly 50 local writers to less than a dozen full-timers, the paper has literally shrunk in both length, width, and number of pages, and there’s only 5 or 6 local stories a day (the rest coming from newswire sources). All of these changes have been excused away to their customers as “improvements”, although no one is fooled by that. The Bee has independent sales reps inside the doorway of local supermarkets trying to flack their rag, and the things people say to them are pretty right on…”Why would I pay to see a story that I watched last night on TV?”, “What happened to your paper…it used to be good?”, etc.
My biggest question-how many writers, and how much enhancement, could the Bee alone have benefitted from with the $300,000 that McClatchy is already committed to spending on this fiasco in the making?
I asked the same thing in the comments section of the Bee. In fact, I did so two days in a row, since for some reason the operators of the Bee’s website saw fit to delete the long list of negative comments on this story for at least 3 days in a row…
The people in the executive suite at the corner of 21st and P Streets in downtown Sacramento need to go back to the business school they supposedly graduated from and either ask for their money back or re-take a few economics classes.

JayTee (profile) says:


What is quite hilarious is the final lines of the Washington Post article here:


which says:

“Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.”

And then immediately underneath this statement are a selection of social media sharing buttons to “redistribute” the content to your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc…



DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

SOPA does not go far enough. The real way to prevent any and all forms of infringement is to simply not allow hyperlinks.

That prevents linking to infringing material. Google would become a nice safe place instead of the rogue web site it is now.

If nobody can legally provide hyperlinks to infringing material then no infringement will be possible. All piracy will be instantly stopped. It will be impossible to download infringing content if nobody can post a hyperlink to it.

Similarly, if we made it illegal to tell anyone where to buy illegal drugs, then the war on drugs would instantly be over and done.

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