In case you missed it, someone died and made the Associate Press King of How Bloggers Can Use AP Content. Or so it would seem since the AP has released its own rules about how bloggers are allowed to use content written by the AP.
Apparently, they had their fill of being generously quoted and having their content graciously linked from blogs audaciously talking about the topics covered in their original articles. It's clear that something had to be done. It all started when Irene Keselman, the intellectual property governance coordinator for the AP, sent a letter to the Drudge Retort, arguing its long quotes from AP news stories fall outside of "fair use" parameters. The AP cites the "fair use" parameters because the work copied was a news article and its headline and the first sentences of the article were used.
But what is the proper interpretation of "fair use"?
Influential and outraged bloggers, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine beg to differ with the AP saying that "the A.P. doesn’t get to make it’s own rules around how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows" and "the AP should start using our linking and quoting guidelines rather than its homogenization practices."
But actions are stronger than words. TechCrunch has announced that they will no longer use articles from the AP on their site. As far as Tech Crunch is concerned,
They don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.
Will an AP boycott work? Is the AP right to execute such a strict rule among bloggers? Regardless of one's interpretation of the "fair use" parameters, the damage has been done. Bloggers have been regarded as a community out to slander or disvalue others content, insinuating that the news produced by bloggers is not actually news at all, only a recapitulation who has overstepped its boundaries.
Yet, does the AP know what it has stepped into? A large percentage of users read blogs online and a recent survey found that "eight in 10 business journalists used, or plan to use, blogs as primary or secondary article sources". Time will tell if the AP has sealed their fate or if blogs will rise up like a phoenix and crush the AP like a bug.
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