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 THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    You think that's outrageous ...

    When you click on the copyright notice, the entirety of which is a link, it brings up a ad pop-under. A pop-under!

    Yo, AP: The only reason to endure pop-under ads is for free software or porn.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    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.

     

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  4.  
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    nic42 (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    So.. does this mean AP will now go after Manning for sending their copyrighted work to the President?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    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?

     

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  6.  
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    Frankz (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    meh

    It's boilerplate notice they auto stick on every single one of their pages.
    Not worth reporting on.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    The notice that seems to raise the hackles of the author here is standard filler associated with all of the AP's articles. By no means does its appearance represent an attempt by the AP to claim rights in the letter, which it acknowledges was prepared by Manning.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: From the really-now? dept

    I read your comment as being more general in scope and replied with the same generalization. My fault; I misunderstood your statement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: meh

    It's boilerplate notice they auto stick on

    In other words, it doesn't really provide any kind of “notice” to a reader. It has no functional purpose. It's just decorative.

     

     


    You think a judge would see it that way—as just decorative?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    crade (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    It's not attempt to claim rights in the letter, it is a statement that they own the copyright on the letter. The fact that they claim copyright on everything means they are more fraudulent, not less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Secret Hero, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    Incentive

    If you copy this letter without paying a royalty, what incentive will AP have to create other letters like this one?

     

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  13.  
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    gorehound (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:53pm

    Asshole Pricks !

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    Actually if you click on a few stories on the APC website you'll not find that notice on the bottom.
    If you do let us know, I got bored after 10 or so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    Actually it is there, but only if you click through the big banner at the top.
    If you click the sidebar stories it's not there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    DB, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    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.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    so, not doubting the truth in what you say, why isn't/doesn't someone take AP to court over it? this complete and utter fuck up, instigated by numb nuts in congress who are more concerned with what they can get out of something than doing their damn job, needs sorting out, once and for all!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    If It Is Not Registered, Then it Isn’t Copyrighted. Just saying it is copyrighted is not enough to stand up in any court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    James Burkhardt (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    Actually, copyright is automatic you don't even need to claim it. But you can't get statutory damages with out registration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: meh

    It could just be there to cover that one sentence that they added to it....though, it's likely that they don't mind people thinking it means the whole page...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Sign Me Up!, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 1:02am

    Clemency For Manning (Petition)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 4:02am

    It's Chelsea, bitch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    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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  24.  
    identicon
    Shon Gale, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Fear does horrible things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    And ICE will raid the Whitehouse because there is infringing content on their email servers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Bios, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Re: meh

    Funny thing is, it isn't. I checked a couple other articles and such a notice was lacking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2013 @ 6:03am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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