AP Claims Copyright Over Manning's Request For Pardon

from the really-now? dept

The Associated Press, which does not have the greatest history when it comes to respecting fair use, has posted a copy of the letter that Chelsea Manning sent to President Obama, requesting a pardon. If you haven’t read the letter, it’s worth reading. Here’s a snippet:

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy – the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps – to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

But what struck me is that the AP page, which is nothing more than a reprint of Manning’s letter with a single sentence explaining what it is at the top, contains a massively overbearing copyright notice right beneath the letter, which is an extreme form of copyfraud:

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

Nearly all of that is bullshit. The copyright on the letter does not belong to the AP. And, yes, the work can be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed within the confines of fair use. It’s a shame that the AP is so aggressive on copyrights that it’s even claiming someone else’s work as its own — in a case where the AP itself is certainly relying on fair use for the right to publish the letter in the first place.

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Comments on “AP Claims Copyright Over Manning's Request For Pardon”

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28 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

From the really-now? dept

?an extreme form of copyfraud?

It’s ?an extreme form of copyfraud? when the AP issues a DMCA takedown notice.

Until then, it’s kind of a yawner.

Truth is, when I clicked to read more here, I was expecting to read about the AP issuing another DMCA take-down. I’m not sure that I’m disappointed to find out that isn’t what the story is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: From the really-now? dept

The problem with the AP take down notices under the DMCA is generally that they overreach and don’t recognize any fair use of their work.

The problem with this is claiming copyright over something that demonstrably is not their work.

I would view false claims of copyright as more extreme, myself. As it stands, there is at least some chance that they could submit a valid DMCA notice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: From the really-now? dept

at least some chance that they could submit a valid DMCA notice.

How could they submit a valid DMCA notice on Manning’s letter?

Obviously, I don’t mean how could they submit a notice ?I was expecting this story was about them taking that action? but how could it be valid?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The notice that seems to raise the hackles of the author here is standard filler associated with all of the AP’s articles.

That doesn’t make it appropriate. Just more egregious.

By no means does its appearance represent an attempt by the AP to claim rights in the letter,

Then it shouldn’t have the notice on there implying the exact opposite.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it the real world where general rules of universal applicability must be promulgated for assisting a workforce, virtually all of whom never step foot into the office of legal counsel, the application of copyright notices is often one such general rule.

The law is never perfect, and such imperfection is recognized within its structure. Notices is one such area where some legal slack is provided. In the perfect world this issue would never arise because those applying notices would be legal experts. Alas, perfection is an impossible goal, and for those here who expect such then they miss an immutable frailty of persons.

Had the AP laid a formal claim to the letter as a work for which it retained the full panoply of rights, attribution would never have been mentioned. If one is inclined to dismiss explicit attribution, then it seems to me that such a person is inclined to uses “opportunities” such as this as a reed, no matter how slender, to denigrate copyright law in general. IMHO, this reed is about as slender as they come, its diameter being sub-nanometer at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“is standard filler associated with all of the AP’s articles”
– Oh, well that makes it ok then.

” By no means does its appearance represent an attempt by the AP to claim rights in the letter, “
– Yeah, right.

There was an effort not long ago where certain media conglomerates wanted to be given all rights to whatever content they broadcast or otherwise publish. What happened to that, is it still a thing? It was called something like broadcast rights. For example, if they were to broadcast a picture of Grumpy Cat then they would all of a sudden be awarded copyright on all uses of same. Or maybe I am not remembering this correctly.

DB (profile) says:

Automated addition of copyright claims is pretty common in computer programs.

An egregious case was /bin/true in Unix. It can be implemented as an zero-length file, but was originally implemented as a single blank line. Almost every commercial Unix took this empty file and tacked on a copyright notice. Some had up to five notices.

I always hoped that there would be a court ruling that such blatant automated blind copyright claims made all similar claims invalid. Copyright is only properly applied to creative work. An mechanically added claim is the opposite of that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Clemency For Chelsea

Not sure what gender nouns to use.
this individual has lost It, fortunately for the Military
Chelsea kept it together for the trial, At times the press is dim-witted but If Chelsea was present as chelsea at the trial, after all the laughter the question would be asked, How much pressure was put on chelsea, 3 years of solitary confinment, probably a 24 hour suicide watch. No privacy.

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