Danny Sullivan does a great job calling out the hypocrisy of the Associated Press yet again. The organization, which has taken a very maximalist position on copyright, where fair use gets mostly ignored
, apparently had no problem scanning Sarah Palin's entire book into a computer
so that reporters could search it. Of course, this is no different than what Google is doing with its book scanning program (which, again, I still believe is a clear case of fair use). Yet, since the AP seems to take such a limited view on fair use (and has a habit of accusing Google of "stealing" content), it's amusing that it's now trying to defend its actions
by claiming that it was legal because it was for the sake of journalism, and the scan wasn't for public consumption. Except, of course, Google's book scanning isn't for "public consumption" of the entire work either, but so people can do a search to find the relevant tidbit of info within the book. The AP's statement on the matter is laughable:
"The book, purchased several days ahead of its on-sale date by the AP, was scanned after the first spot stories moved on the wire from New York so that staffers in bureaus in Washington and Alaska with knowledge of various parts of Gov. Palin's life and political career could read those relevant sections the next day."
Yes, you can understand why
they did it, and even why it seems reasonable. But that doesn't change the fact that it appears the AP made an unauthorized copy of the book, in violation of its own interpretation of copyright law. Funny how the law seems oh so different when it limits what you
can do, than when it's about limiting what your competitors can do...