« | »

AP To Limit Use Of Its Articles On Websites

From those champions of freedom and information at the AP’s New York Times:

The Associated Press to Set Guidelines for Using Its Articles in Blogs

By SAUL HANSELL

Published: June 16, 2008

The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.

The A.P.’s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of “fair use,” which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances. For example, a book reviewer is allowed to quote passages from the work without permission from the publisher.

Fair use has become an essential concept to many bloggers, who often quote portions of articles before discussing them. The A.P., a cooperative owned by 1,500 daily newspapers, including The New York Times, provides written articles and broadcast material to thousands of news organizations and Web sites that pay to use them.

Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers…

The Drudge Retort was initially started as a left-leaning parody of the much larger Drudge Report, run by the conservative muckraker Matt Drudge. In recent years, the Drudge Retort has become more of a social news site, similar to sites like Digg, in which members post links to news articles for others to comment on…

On Friday, The A.P. issued a statement defending its action, saying it was going to challenge blog postings containing excerpts of A.P. articles “when we feel the use is more reproduction than reference, or when others are encouraged to cut and paste.” An A.P. spokesman declined Friday to further explain the association’s position.

After that, however, the news association convened a meeting of its executives at which it decided to suspend its efforts to challenge blogs until it creates a more thoughtful standard…

Mr. Kennedy said the company was going to meet with representatives of the Media Bloggers Association, a trade group, and others. He said he hopes that these discussions can all occur this week so that guidelines can be released soon.

Still, Mr. Kennedy said that the organization has not withdrawn its request that Drudge Retort remove the seven items. And he said that he still believes that it is more appropriate for blogs to use short summaries of A.P. articles rather than direct quotations, even short ones…

Even if The A.P. sets standards, bloggers could choose to use more content than its standards permit, and then The A.P. would have to decide whether to take legal action against them. One important legal test of whether an excerpt exceeds fair use is if it causes financial harm to the copyright owner.

“The principal question is whether the excerpt is a substitute for the story, or some established adaptation of the story,” said Timothy Wu, a professor at the Columbia Law School. Mr. Wu said that the case is not clear-cut, but he believes that The A.P. is likely to lose a court case to assert a claim on that issue.

“It’s hard to see how the Drudge Retort ‘first few lines’ is a substitute for the story,” Mr. Wu said.

Mr. Kennedy argued, however, that The Associated Press believes that in some cases, the essence of an article can be encapsulated in very few words…

But he also said that the association hopes that it will not have to test this theory in court.

We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Mr. Kennedy said. “That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music. That is not what we are trying to do.”

There is no denying that the Associated Press has a point. Many sites simply repackage their articles wholesale, and often do so merely for profit.

But this site and others like it use excerpts from stories by the AP and other media outlet to discuss the events of the day. How could we talk about them otherwise?

But much more importantly, we here at S&L post such articles to show the non-stop leftward bias in the reporting of these events.

Indeed, it is for the latter reason that this site exists — to expose the heavy handed agenda of our watchdog media.

A bias which is so ubiquitous that it shows up in nearly every article no matter the subject:

The Drudge Retort was initially started as a left-leaning parody of the much larger Drudge Report, run by the conservative muckraker Matt Drudge.

(Note that the despicable "Drudge Retort" is not characterized in any kind of negative fashion.)

And that cannot always be done with only cursory excerpts or summaries.

We are the mainstream media’s fact-checkers. And we provide a real public service that is essential in a Democracy. Especially one with a one party media.

“We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Mr. Kennedy said. “That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music…"

What magnificent condescension.

In truth, sites like this are analogous to "music critics," who have always been afforded the right under our laws to play the passages about which they write.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 16th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “AP To Limit Use Of Its Articles On Websites”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.


« Front Page | To Top
« | »