When AP Attacks!!!

I’m reading an article in the E-Commerce Times about a bit of a dust up between the Associated Press and bloggers over the blog practice of printing a few words or even paragraphs of a story and then linking to it. It seems that this national story has a local spin on it.

In the June 16, 2008 story below Keith Regan of E-Commerce Times examines recent moves by the Associated Press to limit how bloggers use its content has some in the blogosphere up in arms. At question is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its fair use provisions.

[...]Bloggers have responded with ferocity in some quarters to The AP’s initiative. The TechCrunch blog will not post stories based on or link to AP stories any longer, Michael Arrington, the founder and owner of the site, said in a Washington Post article Monday. 

Other bloggers are more sanguine about the move, saying they already take care to quote only limited parts of stories and provide a link to the original source article when thy do so.

“This ruling isn’t going to change the way we blog,” Dan Chmielewski, a blogger with The Liberal OC, a political blog, told the E-Commerce Times. “If we comment about or remark about a third-party story, we’ll always provide a link to the story. We almost never lift a whole story and typically credit articles, but not always photos.”

“The AP ruling wouldn’t affect us, but there are some conservative blogs here that take whole media feeds from multiple mainstream media outlets,” he added. “The ruling would affect them more, but it would be up to AP to aggressively enforce this new standard.”

So much for the information sharing age. Taking a writers material and placing it under your name without attribution is wrong by any stretch. But lifting a few paragraphs or sentences for the purpose of giving a reader a lead in to a story they will be linked to is simply teasing the reader with the cookie that is inside the bag. We do not try to make the cookies our own. Rather, we aspire to lead our readers to the crunchy goodness by guiding them to their destination with a trail of crumbs. 

For the most part, bloggers don’t make any money on their writings, and if they do, it is rarely enough to pay the bills of running a blog. The large news corps rarely even give bloggers credit for digging up stories that the main-stream reporter thought was not worth the time. I can understand how frustrating it must be to spend all day working on a story only to have part-time blogger beat you to print. sigh! :(

AP seems to be backing down a bit this week, but with their mixed signals no one can be sure.

  5 comments for “When AP Attacks!!!

  1. Misha Houser
    June 17, 2008 at 9:09 am

    AP’s move is short-sighted to be sure. Bloggers have been giving them free publicity for years. They’ll be the losers in the end…however, it is the inquisitive reader and our democracy that loses the most if they pursue this policy.

  2. Jubal
    June 17, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Interesting article. I’ve always made a practice of just excerpting a couple of paragraphs and then linking back, more out of courtesy than copyright considerations.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    June 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

    My quote wasn’t directed at you Matt

  4. Jubal
    June 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I realize that — but thanks!

  5. June 17, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    The corporate right bias of the AP’s stories make them dubious to start out with. It’s time for bloggers to seek out better sources.

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