Associated Press has announced an initiative to protect online versions of its news content from what it called misappropriation by a variety of online news outlets.
AP Chairman Dean Singleton said the news syndicate would pursue legal
and legislative remedies against entities that it believes are unfairly borrowing its content.
At the heart of the AP's complaint are websites that provide editorial services to users by picking out and featuring the day's most important,
interesting or sensational stories.
The Drudge Report, a news site with a conservative bent, is one of the Web's most successful aggregation sites; the Huffington Post provides a similar service for liberal-minded readers.
But it's Google
News, the search giant's automated and constantly updating digital front page, whose relationship with the AP and its member newspapers is so complicated that distinguishing the harms from the benefits may be a matter of perspective.
viewpoint, Google News has been a boon to the imperilled newspaper industry, driving huge numbers of readers to the websites of the publications whose stories it features. Google also pays an undisclosed fee to the AP for the use of its material.
But just as a newspaper reader may casually glance at headlines without reading every story, readers of Google News may go to the site specifically to scan the news without clicking through to the originating site. Google News recently started running
AP will now try to create a system for tracking the use of its content online. But no matter the implementation, attempts to police content on the Internet are both costly and leak-prone, especially for news articles, in which the underlying
facts are not subject to copyright.
In 1918, the Supreme Court created a hot news quasi-property right that still exists in some places today, and the Associated Press has been threatening to take on the blogosphere with it. Ars digs into the hot news historical archive to
explain why the idea has always been controversial.
What do bloggers and a 1918 newspaper syndicate have in common? According to the Associated Press, both are wretched hives of scum and villainy—parasites, if you will, sucking a healthy living
from the AP's expensive newsgathering operations.
And the AP means to do something about it, reviving a legal doctrine it helped to create back during World War I: the concept of hot news. Here's what you need to know about facts and the
quasi-property rights that news organizations can exert over them... sometimes.
Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America's most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed
a ban on linking to online content without permission . The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and
bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying:
Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing
copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and
the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.
Amidst whingeing by the Associated Press over bloggers using its stories, Europe's highest court has whittled the line of potential copyright infringement down to just 11 words.
The bar was set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a legal
dispute between the Danish media monitoring firm Infopaq and the country's newspaper industry body, Danske Dagblades Forening (DDF).
Infopaq would scan various newspapers using image-to-text software then process the files to identify certain
keywords its clients wanted tracked. If such a keyword was found in the story, that word along with five words on either side were captured.
The company would then send its clients a report containing the captured snippets and information on
where they were obtained.
Infopaq disputed a claim that the process requires consent from rightholders, but to no avail in the European Court.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has been pushing the boundaries of fair use to go after
websites that lift as few as 33 words. It would appear the AP now has some precedent to attack so long as it can convince national courts its stories qualify for protection.
AP Propose DRM system for its syndicated
The AP has come up with
a new copyright protection system that will try to limit the evil bloggers and pirates from 'stealing' their content. It appears that the AP wants to become the RIAA of Internet news by policing who is using their materials and stealing their precious
The AP wants to use a DRM (Digital Right Management) tool to stop bloggers and Google News from copy and pasting and linking to their articles, ensuring that no one will ever read them. The system works by trying to put all their content
into a digital container to stop Google and others from accessing their precious content.
The bigger point here seems to be, like the rest of the legacy media, the AP is attempting to perpetuate a system that is dying. They are desperately
clinging to a business model that simply makes little sense any longer. If the AP were really smart they would implement a completely different kind of monetizing system. Instead of charging bloggers $3.50 per word, charge fees related to the readership
of the blog. Think of the thousands of blogs that would also fork over such minimal amounts and how much the AP could make off micro-payments. This is a business model that would actually succeed. Instead, the AP will continue to cling to their old
system of protecting their content.