TechCrunch bans AP Stories – Encourages others

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No more AP StoriesThe Associated Press, much like other dinosaurs of the 20th Century (RIAA & MPAA), has decided enough is enough. What have they had enough of? This damn Internet thing. They haven’t pissed off bloggers or anyone else for that matter and this just can not be. So, they start right off with the Drudge Retort. Rogers Cadenhead announced that the AP sent 7 DMCA takedown notices last week to his site, the Drudge Retort (a site that mocks the Drudge Report). They claim that copying a snippet from an article and linking back to the original article is NOT FAIR USE. When it clearly is. They would be ok with it if you paid for a license to AP stories, though.After accomplishing what they wanted, a wholesale fire storm on the web, they appeared to back down from this position. However, at the same time, they are still demanding that Rogers Cadenhead take down those horrible offending posts from his blog.

Here’s where things get murky. You are allowed under Fair Use to quote snippets from an article, book, etc. “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. He went on to say that the AP would likely lose a court case over this if they were to go that far.

“We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P. 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.”

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.

“As content creators, we firmly believe that everything we create, from video footage all the way down to a structured headline, is creative content that has value,” he said.

And that, my friends, nails it on the head pretty good. He’s stating a position that “everything” they create has value and that someone quoting a short passage from one of their articles is essentially stealing some of that value.

Let’s face it, AP style guidelines is that the first paragraph of the article summarizes the article, then the middle fills in all the details and the closing paragraph sums it up. If you quote the first paragraph from an AP article, you’ve taken the summary of the article right there. A person could argue that that is causing harm by letting the reader decide in a few words to not go and read the whole article.

So, I like others, am now going to avoid quoting AP articles on this blog. It’s just one more old dinosaur I’m going to try to avoid.