AP backpedaling?

Lauredhel posted last week about AP’s Cease and Desist posturing over a blogger using short excerpts from their articles (with attribution and links).

Today? SMH: AP to hammer out deal with bloggers

Jim Kennedy, the AP’s director of strategic planning, said Monday that he planned to meet Thursday with Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, as part of an effort to create standards for online use of AP stories by bloggers that would protect AP content without discouraging bloggers from legitimately quoting from it.

The meeting comes after AP sent a legal notice last week to Rogers Cadenhead, the author of a blog called the Drudge Retort, a news community site whose name is a parody of the prominent blog the Drudge Report.

The notice called for the blog to remove several postings that AP believed was an improper use of its stories. Other bloggers subsequently lambasted AP for going after a small blogger whom they thought appeared to be engaging in a legally permissible and widely practiced activity protected under “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

In response, the AP indicated it would seek to create guidelines, though even that idea triggered further protests. Michael Arrington wrote on his TechCrunch blog Monday that AP “doesn’t get to make its own rules about how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows.”

We’ll see how this pans out, eh?



Categories: ethics & philosophy, media

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5 replies

  1. You might like to have a look at Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s entry on this, plus the extensive comment thread, in which significant doubt is thrown on whether AP’s meeting with the MBA is necessarily all the mainstream media would lead us to believe.
    Jonathan Shaws last blog post..My new umbrella: a traveller’s tale

  2. I was about that say the same as Jonathon. The Media Bloggers Association appears to be not much more more than a guy with a big enthusiasm for self-promotion and giving himself nifty titles. Negotiation is essentially meaningless, and any ‘deal’ hammered out with such a self-appointed blowhard would be worse than nothing. Whether it is a sleazy PR move on APs part with implicit collusion from Cox, or just evidence of floundering cluelessness on everyones part, is the only real open question.
    My prediction is that this will only get sorted when AP picks on someone who brings real lawyers, probably via the EFF. Who can explain to AP the fair use provisions slowly and clearly, possibly explain it using finger puppets.

  3. Aha, thanks. That article was tingling the spidey-sense for me anyway, thus the useful editorial question mark in the post title.

  4. OK, I’ve now read ALL the comments to that Making Light post, including the comments where Robert Cox weighs in, and some of the links. There were 707 comments at time of writing, and it ceased to have anything to do with topic at some point around the 500 mark, and many of them got WAY off topic (I particularly liked the T.S. Eliot pastiches about Logans Run at #639 and #643)
    While Robert Cox and the MBA still sound a little dodgy and self-promoting, I’m willing to believe that they got involved in good faith and were trying to do the right thing, and never claimed to represent all blogdom in this issue. But it remains clear that whatever is negotiated by the MBA on behalf of one blogger has no enduring precedence or significance beyond that one decision. Ultimately, AP has a different idea of fair use to the one in common use, and that question is unlikely to be settled outside a courtroom.

  5. OK, I’ve now read ALL the comments to that Making Light post […] many of them got WAY off topic (I particularly liked the T.S. Eliot pastiches about Logans Run at #639 and #643)

    Welcome to the exquisitely discursive timesink that is a TNH thread on Making Light.

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