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Associated Press? More like Litigious Press, amirte?
June 16, 2008 5:33 PM   Subscribe

The Washington Post give the Associated Press the banhammer. It seems the A.P. doesn't like some blogs for using its headlines and excerpts. It's fair use, but A.P. disagrees. NYTimes take.

The meat of the article, at the end: "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. "
posted by zardoz (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I see the Post isn't paying for proofreaders anymore. Sad days for journalism in general.

Too many hat check girls, I guess.
posted by Naberius at 5:38 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Michael Arrington of Techcrunch is setting editorial policy for the Washington Post now? Huh. Who'd a thunk it.
posted by dersins at 5:40 PM on June 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


As others have noted, it's not the Post, it's TechCrunch:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/06/16/heres-our-new-policy-on-ap-stories-theyre-banned/

(Content syndicated from various partners appears on the WP's site.)
posted by theclaw at 5:43 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Less the Washington Post, more Techcrunch (which gets syndicated on the Post). Interesting to see this come up; I wonder if the Post will clarify?
posted by bwerdmuller at 5:43 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, what dersins said.
posted by theclaw at 5:44 PM on June 16, 2008


Uh, please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the article say that techcrunch.com, or possibly the Washington Post blogs, will no longer see / quote / link to AP? It seems incorrect to say that The Washington Post is banning the AP.
posted by switchsonic at 5:44 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


On preview... etc. etc.
posted by switchsonic at 5:45 PM on June 16, 2008


I sure am glad the WP and the AP matter fuck-all to me anymore.
posted by telstar at 5:47 PM on June 16, 2008


Heh, if you want to get meta, here's an article from the AP on W-P talking about the issue, that refers to the techcrunch piece.
posted by theclaw at 5:48 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mmmm, footbullets.
posted by ryoshu at 5:52 PM on June 16, 2008


It's great that the AP is finally getting their shit together and setting some policy. If only there were a set of laws that governed the copying of written works, then there wouldn't be all this confusion.
posted by mullingitover at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”

Oh shit, I forgot the linky part.
posted by Brian B. at 6:02 PM on June 16, 2008


It's great that the AP is finally getting their shit together and setting some policy. If only there were a set of laws that governed the copying of written works, then there wouldn't be all this confusion.

If the set of laws weren't so confused, there wouldn't be a need to set policy.
posted by spiderwire at 6:03 PM on June 16, 2008


Wow, dude who made the post didn't even read the f'ing article.
posted by xmutex at 6:03 PM on June 16, 2008


mullingitover writes: If only there were a set of laws that governed the copying of written works, then there wouldn't be all this confusion.

Yeah, we could call it something like "copyrules"! Unfortunately, I predict, it'll never catch on, at least not until someone invents some kind of "printing machine".
posted by jagorev at 6:04 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rupert Murdoch's on the board at the AP. So, fuck 'em.
posted by interrobang at 6:07 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hm. Reminds me of the conversation I had earlier with a coworker about how crappy Yahoo! News stories are these days. Guess where Yahoo! News gets its content? Our good friend the AP. You wanna talk about a lack of copy editors... goddamn the AP's doing a poor job of editing their copy these days.

What I've been wondering, though, is whether the AP has different levels of paid syndicated content—'cause while AP content in general seems to suck lately, the AP content on Yahoo! News is much worse than average. Has anyone else noticed this?

Are there in fact varying levels of edit on the AP content floating around out there, e.g. Unedited, Super-Unedited, Diesel...
posted by limeonaire at 6:08 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


interrobang: The AP board exercises zero editorial control. The company is a co-op owned by its contributing papers and stations.
posted by jagorev at 6:11 PM on June 16, 2008


AP AND DRUDGE RETORT by Paul Colford [AP Director of Media Relations] on Jun 13th, 2008 @ 11:34am
"AP wants to fill in some facts and perspective on its recent actions with the Drudge Retort, and also reassure those in the blogosphere about AP’s view of these situations. Yes, indeed, we are trying to protect our intellectual property online, as most news and content creators are around the world. But our interests in that regard extend only to instances that go beyond brief references and direct links to our coverage.

The Associated Press encourages the engagement of bloggers -- large and small -- in the news conversation of the day. Some of the largest blogs are licensed to display AP stories in full on a regular basis. We genuinely value and encourage referring links to our coverage, and even offer RSS feeds from www.ap.org, as do many of our licensed customers.

We get concerned, however, when we feel the use is more reproduction than reference, or when others are encouraged to cut and paste. That’s not good for original content creators; nor is it consistent with the link-based culture of the Internet that bloggers have cultivated so well.

In this particular case, we have had direct and helpful communication with the site in question, focusing only on these issues.

So, let’s be clear: Bloggers are an indispensable part of the new ecosystem, but Jeff Jarvis’ call for widespread reproduction of wholesale stories is out of synch with the environment he himself helped develop. There are many ways to inspire conversation about the news without misappropriating the content of original creators, whether they are the AP or fellow bloggers.

Jim Kennedy
VP and Director of Strategy for AP"
posted by ericb at 6:11 PM on June 16, 2008


the AP content on Yahoo! News is much worse than average

They've hired the readers of Yahoo! Answers to edit their stories.
posted by lukemeister at 6:12 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


AP's Jim Kennedy discusses blogs, Fair Use
“After the mini-scandal the Associated Press stirred up last week when it sent DMCA copyright notices to Rogers Cadenhead, owner of the Drudge Retort, the usual suspects on the 'net weighed in. Jeff Jarvis wrote a scathing post called ‘FU AP’, and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington says AP stories are ‘banned’ on his site. The Standard spoke with the Associated Press's VP and Director of Strategy, Jim Kennedy, to get the AP's perspective.

Kennedy really wanted to make it clear that the AP isn't going after everyone who quotes an AP story in a blog post. ‘Are we going to pursue every blogger? No, that's not the point here,’ says Kennedy. The AP wants to ‘limit the amount of original content that gets copied’ and the ‘use of content directly in the blog.’ Quoting is fine, especially when surrounded by proper commentary, but quoting should be judicious.

Kennedy told me this is far from the first time that the AP has sent DMCA notices, but Cadenhead happened to blog this one, and it turned into a big deal. ‘The reaction here has caused us to reflect on how we interact with bloggers,’ said Kennedy. ‘We need to be careful here. If we let things go and let people do whatever we want, we'd be out of business.’” [more...]
posted by ericb at 6:19 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


UPI is the one I've seen focusing on mad cow testing issues and the US veteran hospital crisis. I haven't seen AP do much in those areas.
posted by crapmatic at 6:19 PM on June 16, 2008


AP is a cooperative, but it's the big fish (WashPo, NYT, LAT, etc.) who drive the bus. The hundreds of smaller papers don't have the cumulative power or coin to affect policy, although AP usually gives token board positions to small papers to make them feel better.

If the big four or five papers all revolt, then AP will back down.

Oh, and as a guy who went to J-school in the early '80s, I'll agree that copyediting is a long-lost art.
posted by darren at 6:21 PM on June 16, 2008


Unedited, Super-Unedited, Diesel...

Unedited -- $4.15 (per gallon of methane, aka "bullshit")

Super-Unedited -- $4:35

Diesel -- $5:15
posted by ericb at 6:22 PM on June 16, 2008


limeonaire: Are there in fact varying levels of edit on the AP content floating around out there, e.g. Unedited, Super-Unedited, Diesel...

When I worked in newspapers, all the AP material came down the same wire -- I think we paid a flat fee for use of all their content, and in return they could pick our stuff up. I got some fluff stories picked up -- it was cool being a cub and knowing someone across the country might be picking up your story.

That said: The AP sucks. It wants for proofreading, copyediting, and good writing overall. Its writers overuse words and phrases that only journalists and political junkies use, like "ouster," "policy wonk," and "float a bond issue." The AP as an entity seems to make very little effort to actually communicate with people who aren't other journalists. The upshot is that you see stories like those shitty Yahoo! news pieces, which are too often shoddy retreads of stories reported elsewhere by better news agencies.

At the risk of seeming like I'm taking sides with Drudge, this new policy seems like just another way the AP is utterly failing at journalism. I get that their bread and butter is selling their stories to subscribers, but trying to exert the kind of control they're talking about seems like an exercise in futility.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:24 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Too bad UPI is owned by the King of the United States of America.
posted by adamrice at 6:25 PM on June 16, 2008


Re copyediting, today's NY Times Editorial Observer.
posted by yarrow at 6:27 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I found this quote interesting “We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Mr. Kennedy 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.”

The implication seems to be bloggers aren't "real" journalists, or that they're a fringe population who don't really have much impact on the dissemination and discussion of news.
posted by dolface at 6:30 PM on June 16, 2008


When people are quoted in news stories, they have given their truthful responses in good faith for the public good. They weren't paid. The news moguls would have us question this relationship.
posted by Brian B. at 6:47 PM on June 16, 2008


Re copyediting, today's NY Times Editorial Observer.

I weep for the future. Specifically, my future, but to be fair, my goal is to copy edit books, not news. I hate AP style anyway.
posted by Caduceus at 6:52 PM on June 16, 2008


At the risk of seeming like I'm taking sides with Drudge...

To be clear the AP's beef is not with Matt Drudge (Drudge Report), but with the Drudge Retort -- published by Rogers Cadenhead.
posted by ericb at 7:11 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Re copyediting, today's NY Times Editorial Observer.

Oh my God. That's my calling they're talking about there. That's what I spent my lunch breaks doing for fun in high school. That's half of my current job description—the half I'd keep if forced to choose.

Even at my publication, though, you have people in positions of power who don't know the difference between proofreading and copy-editing, who think "bonus story material" doesn't need copy-editing before being placed online for the world to see, etc.

*sigh*
posted by limeonaire at 7:34 PM on June 16, 2008


I thought that having news outlets do their own journalism, instead of repackaging UPI, AP, etc. would be a good thing. As for bloggers, they aren't really journalists, but they, like anyone else, could fight for their fair use rights in court and probably win.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:23 PM on June 16, 2008


-- published by Rogers Cadenhead.

aka MeFi's own rcade.
posted by bonehead at 8:26 PM on June 16, 2008


Reminds me of the conversation I had earlier with a coworker about how crappy Yahoo! News stories are these days.

Yahoo homepage is turning into FoxNews lately.
posted by fshgrl at 8:28 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article: "The A.P. doesn't get to make it's own rules..." Maybe the Post can spend some of the money it saves from not buying AP stories on copy editors.
posted by jedicus at 8:37 PM on June 16, 2008


dolface writes "The implication seems to be bloggers aren't 'real' journalists, or that they're a fringe population who don't really have much impact on the dissemination and discussion of news."

Well, a lot of bloggers can be sort of citizen journalists, if they're reporting on something rather than reacting to something that someone else has reported, and I'd add that there are people who are doing that and doing it well. Otherwise, most bloggers aren't journalists per se, but rather opinion writers. There's nothing wrong with that, and it does help to dig up some interesting stories that might have otherwise been overlooked, and there is the community aspect if comments are allowed. The best ones are good writers, too. But most aren't really journalists.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:45 PM on June 16, 2008


Is this post from Thers at Whiskey Fire accurate? Does the AP really hope to charge $12.50 for a license for a five-word quotation from an AP story?
posted by Guy Smiley at 8:48 PM on June 16, 2008


Most forums posters I've seen just copy and paste whole articles. It actually ends up being a valuable record, because most (all?) news sites that reprint AP articles don't leave them up for very long, so you end up with broken links if you link.
posted by smackfu at 9:09 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as a guy who went to J-school in the early '80s, I'll agree that copyediting is a long-lost art.

I read this comment multiple times looking for an error to call you out on, but in the end I decided to just get off your lawn.
posted by spiderwire at 9:39 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sad how many of you seem to wish for the end journalism. Without the AP and member papers doing real journalism we'd be fucked even worse than we already are.

I'm not saying the AP isn't over-reacting but threads like these on the blue are starting to resemble the tired shit Doctorow and his crew peddle daily at BB.

Without some type of standards regarding how content is used (and paid for) on the internet outlets like the AP, Reuters, NYT, Newsmax, Time, Harpers, the National Review and every other left and right publication will disappear in short order.

But I'm sure Indy Media and Creative Commons will save us all.

Good luck with that.
posted by photoslob at 9:42 PM on June 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


aka MeFi's own r-----

Um, I don't see a full name in this user's profile so I reckon associating username and real-life name might not be cool. Unless, of course, the user in question has already done so. Sorry if I'm uptight, but I value the non-googlability of my username and real name and am sensitive to possible violations of other's pseudoanonymity.
posted by stet at 9:49 PM on June 16, 2008


photoslob, What? Other than the general "MeFi brand" snark, I read four general responses in this thread.

1) AP copy-editing / proofreading sure has gone downhill.
2) They must be under a lot of stress to be acting like this.
3) Old business-models will have to adapt or die.
4) The AP can have my right of fair use when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

What "tired shit" are you reacting to?
The defense of the right to quote and link to news stories?
posted by Richard Daly at 9:58 PM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


stet, rcade is definitely linked from this site to his own name. If only for when he had the Pope on the rope(s)*.
posted by peacay at 10:40 PM on June 16, 2008


This link I stole from Making Light gives the prices to excerpt an article on your website, and yes it does start at $12.50 for 5 words. Or $5 off if you're a non-profit.
posted by penguinliz at 1:11 AM on June 17, 2008


Um, I don't see a full name in this user's profile so I reckon associating username and real-life name might not be cool. Unless, of course, the user in question has already done so. Sorry if I'm uptight, but I value the non-googlability of my username and real name and am sensitive to possible violations of other's pseudoanonymity.

Rogers Cadenhead is a celebrity blogger and a bit of a publicity whore, and uses the rcade username fairly widely. I don't think we need to worry about this.

The implication seems to be bloggers aren't "real" journalists

No, the implication is that the Drudge Retort is a real news site and has to pay to use AP's content, just like other news sites do. The kneejerk siding-with-the-"blogger" here is pretty depressing.
posted by cillit bang at 2:40 AM on June 17, 2008


That, my friends, is the sound,, of, traditional media.... dying.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:10 AM on June 17, 2008


That, my friends, is the sound,, of, traditional media.... dying.

Touché.
posted by limeonaire at 6:54 AM on June 17, 2008


This MeFi post is a great example of why a real journalistic newspaper shouldn't resyndicate rumourmonger blogs. It took me three looks to understand this article had nothing to do with the Washington Post.

(I'm delighted that Arrington is calling out AP for its abuse of fair use. But it's ridiculous for the Washington Post to republish it this way.)
posted by Nelson at 7:53 AM on June 17, 2008


Rogers Cadenhead is a celebrity blogger...

Cool, thanks. I recall some Meta-drama around a user, a meetup, and outing so I'm cautious.
posted by stet at 10:30 AM on June 17, 2008


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