Monday, June 16, 2008

Bloggers vs. Main Stream News

Associated Press (AP) recently announced they would sue the Drudge Report:

"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."

One of the key points in this issue is copyright law. AP is trying to have tighter rules than the law gives them. Fair Use allows people to quote a limited amount of material. Fron the Wikipedia entry on Fair Use:

"Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review."

For decades people have quoted snippets from books, news articles and so on. This has been established as legal.

Bloggers have become very upset because the same logic to stop the Drudge Report could be used to sue them. Many are planning to stop linking to AP stores:

"So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet."

AP recognizes that bloggers are critical to AP getting lots of traffic, and so they changed their tune:

"The Associated Press is backing down on its attempt to use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to stop the Drudge Retort from using short excerpts of its content after a major backlash in the blogosphere."

For now I think I'll try to find news article via Reuters, United Press International or Google News. I'm not worried. I'm sure that the law will continue to allow bloggers to quote some text under "Fair Use" but I don't plan to help AP by linking to them.

Technorati tags: News, AP, Reuters, UPI


Dana said...

Actually, I believe it was the "Drudge Retort," a liberal site. But that isn't that important. :)

This I thought you'd find interesting. It is about the monopoly the AP holds on news and information and how that actually restricts freedom of the press.

Henry Cate said...

Dana, thank you for the link. It was very interesting.

I had not know the history of the AP.