|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] AP Copyright and Bloggers
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Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 16:00:09 -0400
From: Ruben Safir
Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] AP Copyright and Bloggers
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June 20, 2008, 4:29 pm
The A.P. Asserts Tough (and Still Secret) View of Copyright on Blogs
By Saul Hansell
The Associated Press has punted on its commitment to clarify how much
text it thinks bloggers and social news sites can reprint from its
articles without violating The APâ€™s copyright. Indeed, the giant news
organization appears to be insisting that bloggers cannot quote the
headline of an A.P. story or its first paragraph. While the law is not
settled, many lawyers suggest that such short excerpts are permitted
under the â€œfair useâ€ exception to the copyright laws.
The issue came up after The A.P. â€” a not for profit group of 1,500
newspapers, including The New York Times â€” demanded that the Drudge
Retort remove 10 posts that quoted between 40 and 80 words of its
articles. After a storm of protest, The A.P. backed down and said it had
been too heavy-handed in its initial complaint. It added that it hoped
to publish guidance for bloggers suggesting how they can use A.P. content.
On Thursday night, The A.P. published a statement saying that it had
reached an accord with Rogers Cadenhead, the owner of the Drudge Retort
(a parody of the better known Drudge Report): â€œBoth parties consider
the matter closed.â€ There was no word on any guidelines for other sites.
The full A.P. statement didnâ€™t offer any relevant facts and was so
convoluted that itâ€™s hard to imagine anyone writing that way could
get hired as a reporter at The A.P.:
In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on
the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional
information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on
Thursday. That information was aimed at enabling Mr. Cadenhead to
bring the contributed content on his site into conformance with the
policy he earlier set for his contributors. Both parties consider
the matter closed.
In addition, the AP has had a constructive exchange of views this
week with a number of interested parties in the blogging community
about the relationship between news providers and bloggers and that
dialogue will continue. The resolution of this matter illustrates
that the interests of bloggers can be served while still respecting
the intellectual property rights of news providers.
Paul Colford, the A.P. director of media relations, declined to
discuss the matter at all. He said that Tom Curley, The A.P.â€™s chief
executive, would also not discuss the matter, nor would anyone else at
Mr. Cadenhead, did publish a post on his blog about the matter. And
Robert Cox, the president of the Media Bloggers Association, a group
that helped Mr. Cadenhead negotiate with The A.P ., also offered his
take. I spoke to both of them earlier today.
Hereâ€™s what seems to have happened:
On Thursday night, The A.P.â€™s lawyers spent two hours on the telephone
with Mr. Cadenhead going over their objections to each of the items. There
was not one of them, Mr. Cadenhead told me, that was acceptable in its
original format. The A.P. said that if Mr. Cadenhead made certain changes,
it would withdraw its demand that the posts be removed from his site.
Mr. Cadenhead told me that upon reflection he decided not to repost the
But he figured he would take The A.P.â€™s standards into account for
future posts that link to its articles. His main goal, he said, was to
avoid a protracted legal battle.
Mr. Cadenhead declined to tell me exactly what The A.P. wanted changed. He
did say that one key issue is the A.P. wants to protect the headline
and first paragraph of its articles. He suggested that this will put
The Associated Press in direct conflict with bloggers. â€œIf APâ€™s
guidelines end up like the ones they shared with me, weâ€™re headed for
a Napster-style battle on the issue of fair use,â€ Mr. Cadenhead wrote
on his blog.
Although The A.P. wouldnâ€™t talk to me, several people I interviewed who
have spoken to A.P. executives this week said the organization appears
to be internally conflicted and has not yet been able to come up with
a clear fair-use position.
But unless something changes, Mr. Cadenheadâ€™s experience indicates
that The A.P. is going to assert a much stricter interpretation of fair
use than most people on the Internet are used to.
That will present bloggers and social news sites with a dilemma: If they
chose to quote The A.P. as theyâ€™ve been doing, they are risking getting
into a legal fight that well could cost them hundreds of thousands of
dollars. Mr. Cox said that there were organizations willing to help
Mr. Cadenhead with the legal bills.
However, the unsettled state of the law makes it a gamble to take the
matter to court. â€œFor the blogosphere in general, there is a risk The
A.P. could win that case, and therefore set a precedent that no blogger
would want set,â€ Mr. Cox said -- http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Interesting
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