AP wants $2.50 a word to excerpt its stories now?

posted at 5:03 pm on June 17, 2008 by Allahpundit

And you thought their PR on this subject couldn’t get any worse. Must be nice to have an exemption from the same federal fair use statute every other content provider in America is governed by.

The AP’s disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it’s now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles — as few as five words…

The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.

This scale is likely only a temporary solution, as it raises a truckload of questions. For instance: Suppose a news source holds a press conference, and makes a statement to several attendees including an AP correspondent. Does the citation of that quote count as an excerpt of an AP story? What if Reuters cited the same quote? Or worse, what if Reuters cited the quote differently, and a blogger noticed the difference and excerpted both for comparison? If the AP citation turned out to be in error, would the blogger still owe?

Here’s the link to a tollbooth for a random AP news alert piece. If you want to see it on an actual AP article, click the little copyright house icon near the top here, then click “Republish in a Print Publication or Other Media” followed by “Republish Excerpt Only.” What’s their game here, seriously? They’re turning themselves into laughingstocks and blogosphere pariahs while drumming up business for Reuters and AFP. If they’re trying to establish some sort of bright line beyond which excerpts can’t go without triggering infringement, then why not just lay down some reasonable-ish policy — two paragraphs maximum, say — and wait for someone to violate it, then sue to see if a court will enforce it? (Suspected answer: Because the court probably won’t and the AP knows it.) I’m mystified by their thought process.

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Saying that AP shouldn’t charge fees because it would hurt their business would be an illegitimate argument against their right to charge fees. It’s not even remotely relevant.

Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t make it “tacky and counterproductive”. Nice diversion though.

nottakingsides on June 17, 2008 at 9:41 PM

I think most of what we have said is due to miscommunication. It’s not that we necessarily agree, but it seems we were both more responding to phantoms we saw in each other’s argument, and I’m probably more guilty. For the record, I completely agree with what you say is “not remotely relevant” above, so we have common ground. I’m sure there’ll be some opportunity in the future to explore the details we actually disagree on. Let’s have each other’s respect until then.

thuja on June 17, 2008 at 10:05 PM

thuja on June 17, 2008 at 10:05 PM

I’m with ya man. Thanks and I respect all your comments in this exchange.

nottakingsides on June 17, 2008 at 10:23 PM

AP wants $2.50 a word to excerpt its stories now?

Funny, they don’t look Jewish.

Coronagold on June 17, 2008 at 10:46 PM

So, AP to present the AP with the first ever digital darwinism award?

Unless, of course, the New York Times experiences the result of enlightened old school media business model decision making and closes shop first.

And they were probably only aiming for a their foot. They missed and are shooting themselves in the head, instead.

Wind Rider on June 17, 2008 at 11:18 PM

If you buy words from a story by AP that turns out to be of defective quality or enemy propaganda presented as truth, what is their refund policy? Do you get your money back if the story is fake? Or maybe free words from some story in the future that is true? How long do you have to wait for a true story to appear?

What about fake photos? If AP foists some photoshopped photos from some terrorist sympathizer on you as absolutely true, do you get your money back?

I’ve got a lot of questions about this.

Tantor on June 17, 2008 at 11:30 PM

Since “fair use” is the principal issue, when someone begins a side argument based upon a minor issue, it is a useless pursuit.
It’s like saying, “Suppose there were no gravity.”
The only current guideline for the size of an excerpt qualifying for the “fair use” exemption was the NYT, et al v. Robinson Free Republic case, AFAIK. The standard imposed was 100 words or less, or 25% of the article, whichever was the smaller excerpt, and a link back to the source. But Robinson had been openly defiant of the plaintiffs’ property rights, refusing even to link back to their original reporting and reproducing articles in full after being repeatedly asked and warned not to.
There is no reason whatsoever to assume the courts would place so restrictive a limit upon the general public, though. Most bloggers are at least attempting to comply with the law while preserving their First Amendment rights of free discourse. Few make more than beer money off their sites. As a group, they make far more innocent and sympathetic defendants than Jim Robinson did.
A court case would be the last thing Big Media would want at this point, I would think.
The AP supplies news feeds to its members for a fee. Originally, it was simply the local reporting from all members being shared over a teletype, and each member had to go through the rolls of paper and decide what they wished to use. Now, AP fields its own reporting teams for major assignments and for overseas duty. It is really only their stories for which AP even owns the copyright. The rest are owned by the members which produce them.

Adjoran on June 18, 2008 at 3:27 AM

Wait, Allah, in your post you used some words that the Associated Press used in an article once! I specifically remember that America, worse, game, and laughingstock seem to be trademarked AP words. They never said anything about the order of the words, so you’re going to have to pay up.

James on June 18, 2008 at 7:49 AM

Since 95 percent of what comes out of AP is pure BS, can manure for the spreader be purchased by the ton?

RedWireNut on June 18, 2008 at 9:17 AM

They’re clearly feeling threatened by this citizen journalism on the nets. Their reaction is to try to bully the bloggers.

Me thinks they don’t know us very well. (Rather, anyone?)

Jewels on June 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM

All we need to do now is to find a way to use AP’s special words as a substitute for gasoline.

infidel2 on June 18, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Bloggers should start flooding their blogs and comments with AP links and citations.


mark24609 on June 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Hello, Associated Press? Yeah, hi, I used the words “suck”, “my” and “balls” from three of your articles. Who do I make the check out to?

Spanglemaker on June 18, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Funny, they don’t look Jewish.

Coronagold on June 17, 2008 at 10:46 PM

I hope this guy/gal is gone. I’m sure someone will suggest that I’m missing the humor. They will be correct.

It’s going to be funny watching the AP try to file suit on hundreds of people who will flagrantly test this policy.

The Race Card on June 18, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Funny, they don’t look Jewish.

Coronagold on June 17, 2008 at 10:46 PM

How is this not a bannable offense?

fossten on June 18, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Actually the saudi muslims own the controlling interest in Ap.

SaintOlaf on June 19, 2008 at 11:22 AM

I saw a headline about AP owing Michelle Malkin $132,000.
Initially, I thought MM was docking Allahpundit for his many assinine articles promoting Atheism on hotair.
Too bad….

Right_of_Attila on June 19, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Completely ignore them.

Like trolls, they will go away.

Wait until the Almost Pravda gets a load out of not getting the little attention they get now.

Don’t quote them, don’t read them, don’t use ’em for fish wrap. If you see them used somewhere, go elsewhere if at all possible for your sources. Let publications know, you have no use for AP. Lets teach them a lesson in economics.

If they dislike what they perceive now to be bad attention, wait until they get a load of NO attention.

HonestConservative on June 19, 2008 at 5:40 PM