17 June 2008

The Associated Press threatens blogs

Last week the Associated Press threatened a blogger with a lawsuit, claiming that the use of short snippets of an AP article with links back to the original AP article constituted copyright infringement. This created a bit of a tempest in a teapot, and the AP announced that it would rethink its policies and issue guidelines as to what constitutes fair use.

Now the AP reports that persons wishing to quote their articles must get a license to do so, and even so may only quote up to FOUR WORDS for free. Using 5-25 words requires payment of $12.50, and thereafter a graded scale up to $100 for quoting 251 words or more.

Furthermore, the public is encouraged to report piracy, for prizes up to $1 million. Finally, if you do quote an AP article, you are expressly forbidden from criticizing the Associated Press (even if you pay them their fee).

I'm trying to figure out how to express my opinion of the Associated Press in four words or fewer.

Followup June 19 - TechCrunch will sue AP for copyright infringement:

"But now the A.P. has gone too far. They’ve quoted twenty-two words from one of our posts, in clear violation of their warped interpretation of copyright law...

Am I being ridiculous? Absolutely. But the point is to illustrate that the A.P. is taking an absurd and indefensible position, too. So I’ve called my lawyers (really) and have asked them to deliver a DMCA takedown demand to the A.P. And I will also be sending them a bill for $12.50 with that letter, which is exactly what the A.P. would have charged me if I published a 22 word quote from one of their articles.

Next time, A.P., ask permission before you quote me. I work hard to create content, and it just isn’t appropriate for you to simply cut and paste it into your own product and then sell that to others."

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