AP settles copyright claim with Drudge Retort, “guidelines” for bloggers forthcoming
posted at 4:56 pm on June 20, 2008 by Allahpundit
No money changed hands but Rogers Cadenhead, who owns the Retort, evidently agreed to tweak the offending posts to bring them into compliance with the AP’s guidelines. And what might those guidelines be? He’s not saying. Yet.
I spent around two hours yesterday talking to AP attorneys about their specific objections to the user blog entries in dispute, going line by line through the text to pinpoint exactly where they have intellectual property concerns in the short excerpts that were posted. I won’t reveal the details of this discussion until AP releases the guidelines for bloggers that it promised on Monday…
If AP’s guidelines end up like the ones they shared with me, we’re headed for a Napster-style battle on the issue of fair use…
Although AP will be releasing guidelines, I don’t think the news service will be able to concede any ground to the blogosphere. AP sells headline and lead-only services to customers. Asking the company to concede there’s a way people can share this information for free is like asking the RIAA to pick its favorite file-sharing client.
The post on the settlement at the Media Bloggers Association corroborates that the AP drew the line at excerpting the headline and the lede paragraph, since “a large percentage of the value of what they deliver is carefully packaged in that content and so the publishing of that information without permission was a copyright violation.” If that’s the main guideline, plus whatever reasonable excerpt length they suggest (two or three paragraphs?), it won’t be terribly burdensome for bloggers, but like Cadenhead suggests, they’re going to end up in court anyway thanks to the thousands of user-driven bulletin board news-sharing sites online. AP headlines and ledes are probably copied verbatim a few dozen times a day at Free Republic and Democratic Underground alone. Add in Digg, Reddit, etc etc etc, and you’re looking at a galaxy of lawsuit opportunities. Exit question: Which lucky website will find itself the bearer of the golden ticket to federal district court?
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