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.

Filed Under: associated press, copyright, fair use
Companies: associated press


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  1. identicon
    keystothekid, 20 Jun 2008 @ 10:54am

    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.

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