The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.
The A.P.’s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of “fair use,” which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances. For example, a book reviewer is allowed to quote passages from the work without permission from the publisher.
Fair use has become an essential concept to many bloggers, who often quote portions of articles before discussing them. The A.P., a cooperative owned by 1,500 daily newspapers, including The New York Times, provides written articles and broadcast material to thousands of news organizations and Web sites that pay to use them.
Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.
On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.
The quick about-face came, he said, because a number of well-known bloggers started criticizing its policy, claiming it would undercut the active discussion of the news that rages on sites, big and small, across the Internet.
On Friday, The A.P. issued a statement defending its action, saying it was going to challenge blog postings containing excerpts of A.P. articles “when we feel the use is more reproduction than reference, or when others are encouraged to cut and paste.” An A.P. spokesman declined Friday to further explain the association’s position.
After that, however, the news association convened a meeting of its executives at which it decided to suspend its efforts to challenge blogs until it creates a more thoughtful standard.
“We don’t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere by being heavy-handed, so we have to figure out a better and more positive way to do this,” Mr. Kennedy said.
OK. I’m the smallest of small fry in the blogosphere, yet still… it is to worry, no? Not yet, perhaps, but one wonders just what sort of guidelines the AP will come up with. I consider EIP to be under a pall, for all that.
I’ve always tried to stay within the bounds of “Fair Use” (ill-defined as it may be) and rarely, if ever, post anything in its entirety when just a snippet will do. And I always link. The one area where I might be vulnerable is in the use of photographs. But if the AP, or any of its members, wanna come after me for my postings, well then…come on down. Coz there’s always Reuters, AFP, Auntie, and the NYT, of course. The AP ain’t the be-all and end-all in the news biz. Big, yes. But there are alternatives.
Much, much more on memeorandum… and 99.2% of it reads like “Go jump in the lake, AP.” That’s being quite kind as far as characterizations go, Gentle Reader. And some of the best is here… including this: “One last bit of advice for the AP before I get on my plane: Back off.”
What he said.
And then there’s this… in the “Suspicions Confirmed” Dept:
Three horrors await Americans who get behind the wheel of a car for a family road trip this summer: the spiraling price of gas, the usual choruses of "are-we-there-yet?" -- and the road rage of fellow drivers.
Divine intervention might be needed for the first two problems, but science has discovered a solution for the third.
Watch out for cars with bumper stickers.
That's the surprising conclusion of a recent study by
It does not seem to matter whether the messages on the stickers are about peace and love -- "Visualize World Peace," "My Kid Is an Honor Student" -- or angry and in your face -- "Don't Mess With Texas," "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student."
Dunno if I agree with that last paragraph. I give a clear berth to vehicles with bumper stickers which clearly illustrate someone of the moonbat persuasion is driving said vehicle. Simply because it’s my experience that moonbats seem to exhibit a LOT more passive-aggressive behavior than your average bear. One good thing, though: Chances are they’re not armed. And that’s a Great Good Thing.
Along these same lines…and those lines would be road safety… Fire Fox has a good post up today about watching out for bikers while you’re off on your Great American Vacation this year, or even if you’re just driving around town. Good stuff it is, and…speaking as a biker who was victimized by a clue-free 17-year old in the waaay-back… I hope you go give it a read. Someone’s life might be saved for it…and that life just might be mine.