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
    Chiropetra, 20 Jun 2008 @ 3:05pm

    A pedicure with a tommy gun

    The Associated Press has never been composed of the best and brightest -- at least not in the 40 or so years I've been dealing with them.

    In fact the AP reporters in the local bureaus used to make jokes about the total cluelessness of the New York staff. (Having been one of those reporters I have my own fund of stories.)

    The practical result of this is that bloggers won't quote the AP any more. They'll go to the original sources. Most AP content is in fact originated by "member" newspapers, not AP reporters. The stuff that is from the AP reporters is for the most part eminently dispensable.

    So once again the AP loses from self-inflicted injuries.

    In fact the only thing I can think of you'd need to quote the AP on would be for a story about how inept foreign correspondents were coopted by "stringers" and "sources" to feed a mountain of false and slanted news stories to US readers in Iraq. Believe me there is a LOT of scope there for quoting AP stories as the AP was one of the worst offenders.

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