AP's New Policy: If They Speak To You, They Can Reprint Anything For Free?

from the am-I-reading-that-right? dept

So, you may have noticed the amusing little story we had on Woot's response to the AP for quoting Woot's blog post. The Woot blog post did a tongue-in-cheek mocking of the AP for copying its text, when the AP made a huge deal of bloggers doing that to the AP a few years ago. It was a fun post to kick off the week, and we figured everyone would take it in good fun. However, as you can see on the "update" to that post, we got a slightly peeved email from the AP's "Director of Media Relations" (who's been sending us a lot of peeved emails lately), Paul Colford, which started off with the classic trollbait comment that haters love to post as blog comments: "Slow news day?" Then he mentions that the AP INTERVIEWED (yes, he used all caps) Woot's CEO Matt Rutledge, as if that makes things okay. Of course, the "interview" (sorry, INTERVIEW) is at the end of article and consists of: "I'm really excited."

Apparently, in the world of the AP, if they get you to say three words to them, then it's now okay to copy content from the source. Even more odd, the email then said "Meanwhile, AP staffers across the Gulf region and in Washington continue to provide comprehensive coverage of the oil spill." I have no idea what this non sequitur is supposed to mean, but it appears that I'm not the only one who got a version of this email. MG Siegler at TechCrunch got something similar as did Rutledge himself. Tragically, it looks like I was the only one to get the "slow news day" snark.

MG took the email to its logical conclusion. Reading between the lines of Colford's email, he appears to be saying that if you get someone to say three words to you, then it's suddenly okay to quote their site without payment. As Siegler then notes, since he exchanged a couple of emails with Colford on this topic, he's now "interviewed" him, and thus, according to Colford and the AP's own internal logic, it's okay to copy text of of the AP's site, which Siegler does -- picking a recent story about the oil spill in the gulf, since Colford was so quick to point that out. I think Siegler's on to something. What I thought was a total non sequitur apparently is really a sign that we should now repost AP stories, since we've "spoken with" Colford and the AP. I mean, that's the most logical explanation, right?

Why do I get the feeling that I'll soon be receiving another email from Colford "clarifying" the AP's position?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:34am

    You missed the real story....

    "Even more odd, the email then said "Meanwhile, AP staffers across the Gulf region and in Washington continue to provide comprehensive coverage of the oil spill.""

    The correct headline would have been: AP Tries To Use Gulf Disaster To Bury Their Own Hypocrisy

    Seriously? They did this? They tried to point you towards the horrendous situation in the Gulf to get you off of commenting on them? I'm trying to think of things that are more evil then using death and destruction to deflect coverage.

    So far I've come up with the Holocaust, Blood Diamonds, and Justin Bieber....

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    This will be glorious.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike Norris, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    The AP is a dying, old dinosaur news organization run by a bunch of mindless fucks that have nothing better to do than try and restrict innovation in journalism and proliferate their stupidity to anything and everything they come in contact with.

     

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  4.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    squared

    This could turn into an excellent example of how to perform the operation

    square(Streisand Effect)

     

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  5.  
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    Pixelation, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Hot

    "Why do I get the feeling that I'll soon be receiving another email from Colford "clarifying" the AP's position?"

    I think he's hot for you Mike, that's why the special attention.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    "Why do I get the feeling that I'll soon be receiving another email from Colford "clarifying" the AP's position?"

    Or maybe a cease and detest letter? That would be funny, it would bring more negative publicity to the AP. Go ahead, cease and detest, and make yourselves look even more foolish than you already do you selfish jerks.

     

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  7.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Re: You missed the real story....

    How are those photos of beaches coming along, now that BP has pretty much privatized the local Police Departments?

     

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  8.  
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    Avatar28 (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:10am

    Re:

    Haha, with any luck the AP or Reuters or someone will pick up on it and report it.

    Too bad we can't get someone with enough balls and money to go to court and ask for a declaratory judgement in the matter. Think about it, it could be a win either way. Either the court rules that such uses ARE fair use and takes all the wind out of their sails or the court rules that it ISN'T fair use and the AP and other news orgs find themselves in a world of hurt for "stealing" content from others without attribution. Then they could start getting sued by blogs and each other. There is a good chance that many of the lawsuits would be a low enough amount to fall into small claims court and they would be hemmorraging money trying to defend against small claims lawsuits all over the coutry.

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Hot

    "I think he's hot for you Mike, that's why the special attention."

    Pixelation you should have quoted Woot's CEO Matt Rutledge "I'm really excited."

     

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  10.  
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    John Doe, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    You are exactly right, they better be careful what they wish for as they might get it. It would be a total cluster f___ with every news org suing every other news org for stealing their "hot news".

     

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  11.  
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    lavi d (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Fascinating

    The internet appears to have completely unhinged some people in the press.

    The meltdown continues...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    "Why do I get the feeling that I'll soon be receiving another email from Colford "clarifying" the AP's position?"

    Update: ...

     

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  13.  
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    Beta (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Let it be said again:

    Mike, thank you. Thank you for brightening up our days with these wonderful stories, for putting us only two degrees of separation away from a major corporation trying to talk itself out of a completely indefensible position. Thank you for giving us front-row seats to screwball comedy in real life. "How much more doth beauty beauteous seem / By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!"

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re: Let it be said again:

    I second that sentiment. Thanks.

     

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  15.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    peeved ... I would have expected insane NAMELESS.ONE style rants at this point ...

    "we got a slightly peeved email from the AP's "Director of Media Relations" (who's been sending us a lot of peeved emails lately), Paul Colford,"

    Reduction in staff, their profits tanking, NewsPapers failing all around them, blogs and free online news sources taking over, no future as a source for news distribution as the middle men aren't needed any longer. I would have expected the pressure of knowing that his job was going to be gone in 2-4 years. The knowledge that his industry is dead in 3-6 years. Should have him pulling his hair out, and making nonsensical statements not just peeved ones.

    Lets give it a little time though ... he might start acting like the diehards at the record labels.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re:

    It just amazes me how these corporations have no sense of social responsibility whatsoever. They think they can get away with whatever they want and later hire some PR person to apply some infallible scientific methodology to manipulate the legal system and the masses into giving the AP a good reputation like we're some sort of inferior inanimate objects with opinions subject to the control of their superior laboratory tested methodologies.

     

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  17.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re: Let it be said again:

    "from a major corporation trying to talk itself out of a completely indefensible position."

    They do seem to want it both ways. We can do this we are a true news organization, you can't because you are not. It will lead to their eventual failure because you cant have it both ways.

    And to also leave on Shakespeare ...

    "Of their sweet deaths, are sweetest odours made"

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    I am not a fan of MG Siegler or Techcrunch in general, but I've been watching this Woot business very closely because I think it is hysterical.

     

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  19.  
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    Avatar28 (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: peeved ... I would have expected insane NAMELESS.ONE style rants at this point ...

    I'm not sure that there is no future for the AP or an organization like them. I think there is PLENTY of future for such an organization, it just will take a different form. Let me explain.

    Newspapers and other news orgs are hurting right now, many of them are going to go the way of the dinosaur. Think of as the internet is to traditional news and media what the Chixulub asteroid was to the dinosaurs. A mass extinction is coming. I'm sure many of them will die out, but not all of them are going to disappear. Some have already started to get it, they are evolving to fit into the new ecology along with other new species that are evolving to fill the holes left behind by the old dinosaurs (ie birds and mammals replacing dinosaurs). The news orgs of the future are going to be smaller and more streamlined than the giant dinosaurs that died out.

    We are awash in news today. Not only from traditional news sources but new ones such as blogs and local media too. There is far too much out there for any news organization to reliably keep up with. I think the future of an AP type organization is going to be more like a paid news aggregation service. They will comb the internet and various other news sources for stories. Of course, they could use a simple web spider for that. That just gets you the raw news though. The valueadd here is that this organization would then have HUMANS look at the content and catalog it (we are still better than machines at some things) so that if you have 15 identical copies of the same story with no new information they get lumped together on, say, level 2 of the story. If a site had additional information it had dug up on a story then it would get added to level 1 of the story, etc.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    once again, mike, you make me wonder. was the woot announcement not a public announcement, an official statement from the company? was it not their version of a press release? is ap suppose to now ignore press releases too?

    come on. making a mountain out of a molehill just makes you look like an ass.

     

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  21.  
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    nelsoncruz (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Send email with EULA

    Mike, send AP an email with a EULA, like Cory Doctorow suggested in a lecture once, saying something like:
    "By reading this email you grant Techdirt the right to quote AP stories in perpetuity, waving the right to any financial compensation and agreeing not to sue." :)

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    They reprinted verbatim, silly little person. Since copyright is automagic, they infringed....

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    So I can copy the entirety of an AP article because it's an official press release?

    Cool. Thanks for the clarification TAM.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    umm, i read the story. it wasnt a verbatim copy. they quoted from it.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, so they did what Google does?

    Thanks for being so helpful. I don't know what I'd do without you.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    TAM defends hypocrisy.

    Why am I not surprised?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No one said they copied the entire thing, but they did quote from it without attribution even. and using their own standards they shouldn't be quoting from others without payment.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    Making mountains out of molehills is what the RIAA does all the time but that never stopped you from not thinking they don't look like asses.

     

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  29.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re: peeved ... I would have expected insane NAMELESS.ONE style rants at this point ...

    I think the Last Article Wiped out everybody's rant reserves (325 Comments and counting, granted Over 100 of those came from 1 person) Flame on..

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    It's the MSM's policy not to cite sources, what do you expect.

    Also, it would be nice if you can have a list of these cases where MSM copied work without attribution, there are so many of them but I can't find them all.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Re:

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100707/01071110095.shtml?threaded=true

    There, that links to a bunch of the others. That way we can keep them together for easier reference. But there is still one in particular I'm looking for.

     

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