AP goes to war with search engines and blogs

posted at 6:20 pm on July 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

At times, it’s amazing how badly the traditional media understand the age in which they live.  The New York Times reports on the new effort by the Associated Press to build more revenue for their product — by attacking search engines, aggregators, and blogs that link to their articles and deliver readers to them.  The AP says that even a link doesn’t represent fair use in the Internet age:

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.

Asked if that stance went further than The A.P. had gone before, he said, “That’s right.” The company envisions a campaign that goes far beyond The A.P., a nonprofit corporation. It wants the 1,400 American newspapers that own the company to join the effort and use its software.

“If someone can build multibillion-dollar businesses out of keywords, we can build multihundred-million businesses out of headlines, and we’re going to do that,” Mr. Curley said. The goal, he said, was not to have less use of the news articles, but to be paid for any use.

Let’s just call it the Fast Track to AP Irrelevance.  Without a doubt, the new policy will have a chilling effect on blogs and aggregators who normally link to their content.  Unfortunately for the AP, that won’t result in an increase of revenues, but in having the entire online world ignore the AP.  The Times itself discovered this dynamic when it put its columnists behind the $50 dollar Firewall of Sanity.  Not only did the world fail to beat down their door to regain access to Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and Bob Herbert, they also discovered that their columnists became all but invisible in the rapidly-growing and influential New Media.

Besides, the AP doesn’t get to determine what “fair use” means; Congress does.  It has been a long-accepted practice for commentators to use small excerpts from articles in order to both report the news and to comment on its delivery.  This goes back decades, when reviewers excerpted novels and media critics excerpted each other to deliver critiques.  Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it doesn’t still applies to them.  However, the threat of legal action and the cost to people working on small revenue streams will mean that their threats will mostly be effective.

And then what?  Instead of having their reports, analysis, and polls expand their influence and power, they will lose traffic as people link to news sources that don’t threaten their readers — and suppliers of other readers.  Bloggers with large readerships will link to articles from other sources, such as Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the BBC, as well as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television.  They won’t be able to replace those readers by enhancing their position with search engines, because few if any of them will pay for the privilege of helping AP boost their bottom line.  They’ll become much less interesting for the end users of media, and possibly for their partners in traditional media as well. (via Joe Windish at The Moderate Voice)


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Let’s just call it the Fast Track to AP Irrelevance.

…Or another tactical blunder in their battle at Waterloo.

FloatingRock on July 24, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Wait, liberals have business models?

alohapundit on July 24, 2009 at 6:24 PM

A liberal business model. See The Godfather.

clorensen on July 24, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Yes, they know how to ruin any business in 10 easy steps.

TruthToBeTold on July 24, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Remind me again why I care?

connertown on July 24, 2009 at 6:26 PM

This is not going to end well for the AP.

myrenovations on July 24, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Making the AP irrelevant would be a good thing.

tarpon on July 24, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Bye bye, AP. It was fun while it lasted…

sondiehl on July 24, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Good riddance.

Maxpower on July 24, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Consider it it auto filtering from liberal spam.

Fletch54 on July 24, 2009 at 6:32 PM

OT: Zelaya crosses into Honduras from Nicaragua. Honduran Army and Police hold the line. Zelaya supporters inside Honduras disrupt. Shots fired. at least one dead. Zelaya retreats back into Nicaragua. Clinton calls Zelaya “imprudent”.

http://www.elheraldo.hn/Especiales/Honduras%20en%20contra%20de%20la%20ilegalidad%20del%2024%20de%20junio%20de%202009/Ediciones/2009/07/24/Noticias/Ex-presidente-Manuel-Zelaya-regresa-a-Honduras

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM

This is stupider than Amazon deleting Animal Farm from Kindles.

Ozwitch on July 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Gee, isn’t AP already irrevelant? It amazes me how the Liberal mind works. They think they are so clever by half and whatever their new idea is, it fails. They can never seem to understand business or how to succeed.

BetseyRoss on July 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Geez, the only reason anyone cites AP any more is to show how what a bunch of tools they are.

drjohn on July 24, 2009 at 6:34 PM

AP goes to war with search engines and blogs

My money’s on AP, a few posts about Sarah Palin, Megan McCain, and atheism, and the search engines and blogs will beg him to stop.

Besides, the AP doesn’t get to determine what “fair use” means; Congress does.

Umm, the Congress currently led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi?

malclave on July 24, 2009 at 6:36 PM

The New York Times reports on the new effort by the Associated Press to build more revenue for their product

Would that be the same The New York Times that’s considering
Times Select II?

calbear on July 24, 2009 at 6:37 PM

I would home that AP continues. All they are is a conduit for Democratic talking points.

Perhaps someone should whisper the initials “UPI” to Tom Curley. They used to be a mainstay of international reporting. They are now owned by Rev. Moon’s Unification Church.

GarandFan on July 24, 2009 at 6:43 PM

AP: “We’re losing $1 on every link, but we’re making it up in volume.”

Lickmuffin on July 24, 2009 at 6:45 PM

The AP is already irrelevant, with their non reporting, with their one sided Obama cheerleading that they try to pass off as news.

wildcat84 on July 24, 2009 at 6:45 PM

This is a great idea!!!!

I hope they run with it…

phadedjaded on July 24, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Is this the same AP that recently sampled twice as many Democrats as Republicans to get the poll result they desired?

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2009 at 6:48 PM

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM

I was hoping to see you show up and comment on this. If I may ask, what does this portend?

stacy on July 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Oh, and AP also sued the White House to get Chimpy’s Air National Guard records. Then looked the other way when his 2004 “opponent” refused to produce the same things.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Is that device a modified bong that one of our fellow HotAir posters patented?

anuts on July 24, 2009 at 6:52 PM

Suicide Squad Leader: We are the Judean People’s Front crack suicide squad! Suicide squad, attack!
[they all stab themselves]
Suicide Squad Leader: That showed ‘em, huh?

Realist on July 24, 2009 at 6:52 PM

The quicker AP dies the better. That it will be self inflected is a cherry on top.

jukin on July 24, 2009 at 6:53 PM

Clinton calls Zelaya “imprudent”.

http://www.elheraldo.hn/Especiales/Honduras%20en%20contra%20de%20la%20ilegalidad%20del%2024%20de%20junio%20de%202009/Ediciones/2009/07/24/Noticias/Ex-presidente-Manuel-Zelaya-regresa-a-Honduras

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Poor Hillary and Obama. Their wannabe Marxist dictator puppet has gotten his strings tangled and isn’t responding properly…

FloatingRock on July 24, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Wow, someone who understands the internet less than Bill O’Reilly.

- The Cat

P.S. Next up Agatha Christie sues the Dewey Decimal System.

MirCat on July 24, 2009 at 7:00 PM

So what about say linking to fox news that is posting an AP story?
All news outlets should call their bluff and not post any AP articles, that would end that quick.

Greed on July 24, 2009 at 7:01 PM

While AP is approaching this issue in a ham handed and obtuse manner, the topic of copyrights in a digital world is a tough issue to tackle. There are many blogs which generate huge viewership numbers by just linking to reports which took a lot of investigative journalism to create (admittedly such reports are growing increasingly fewer day by day, cause and effect maybe?). I would support any news media which makes its reports pay per view. Wall Street Journal has many such reports, so does many other financial journals. And I pay for the ones I like. That’s the way free market capitalism should be (where “free” does not mean “free lunch”).

peter_griffin on July 24, 2009 at 7:02 PM

They might want to check with the RIAA on how well blocking software works on the internet before they go wasting millions with dreams of impunity.

Punditpawn on July 24, 2009 at 7:03 PM

stacy on July 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM

We’ll see what happens. There’s a report in El Heraldo that PJ Crowley at the State Department is expecting a meeting with Zelaya next Tuesday. What that portends if true is that the State Department expects Zelaya to behave himself by not provoking anymore violence. However Zelaya is a tool of other interests that don’t necessarily mesh with what Washington wants….

04:14pm
Washington. El destituido presidente prevé viajar a EEUU el próximo martes, anunció este viernes un portavoz del Departamento de Estado, Philip Crowley.

TRANSLATION

6:14pm EST
Washington. The deposed president is expected to travel to the US next Tuesday, Philip Crowley, a spokeman for the State Department announced Friday.

There’s a lot of stuff going on. Zelaya is travelling with the the Venezuelan Foriegn Minister as well as with the Nicaraguan Sandinista guerrila commander Eden Pastora (comandante cero)who has vowed to lead a civil war to overthrow the Honduran government.

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Thank You, I followed the link you provided, but I don’t read spanish, so…

Those are some, shall we say, interesting traveling companions!

stacy on July 24, 2009 at 7:09 PM

but in having the entire online world ignore the AP.

Can’t happen fast enough.

Rodent on July 24, 2009 at 7:15 PM

OT:

Thank You, I followed the link you provided, but I don’t read spanish, so…

Those are some, shall we say, interesting traveling companions!

stacy on July 24, 2009 at 7:09 PM

You know what this may (hopefully) portend is that Zelaya’s true colors have made it politically costly for Obama to support him. If Zelaya is willing to provoke violence to get back into the country it shows this is not about democracy but about Zelaya. So maybe the State Department’s reaction this afternoon may portend a change in US policy vis a vis the New Honduran government. Keep your fingers crossed.

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM

I never read their partisan schlepp anyway. If they can’t tell the truth, or report the reality, what are they good for, other than used to ecologically dispose of Obama’s waste, per the global warming loons.

capejasmine on July 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM

The AP is shit. It is PDS extraordinaire anyway. Why would anybody want to link to it?

They are probably losing money and figure this will help them. Wrong.

Sapwolf on July 24, 2009 at 7:18 PM

GWB would have done everything possible to ensure that AP won. Let’s see what Obama does with the DOiJ and US attorneys.

dtestard on July 24, 2009 at 7:18 PM

anuts on July 24, 2009 at 6:52 PM

rokenronnin to post I’ll sue you in 5, 4, 3 ….

chemman on July 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

elduende on July 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM

I gotta admit, I was somewhat surprised by our government “reaction”, especially considering their past reactions. I hope you are correct. Time will tell, as they say.

stacy on July 24, 2009 at 7:26 PM

I want as many walls as I can get between the NYT and Me.

mankai on July 24, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Remember UPI? Most don’t. AP could fall into that category soon. Of course, most newspapers in the country just pick up the AP’s biased “reporting” instead of actually doing reporting on their own (how much usable “reporting” can kids out of J-school do on $20k a year, anyway?). From the looks of the local paper here in south Georgia, not much. And what they do is usually wrong.

bradley11 on July 24, 2009 at 7:37 PM

Disassociated Press

backwoods conservative on July 24, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Soon, we’ll mistakenly remember the initials AP to mean Aged Press, or Antique or Antiquated Press instead of whatever the heck they were.

ericdijon on July 24, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Damn, that is one funny picture.

BallisticBob on July 24, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it still applies to them.

Que?

RD on July 24, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Disassociated Press

backwoods conservative on July 24, 2009 at 7:41 PM

WINNER!

TN Mom on July 24, 2009 at 8:04 PM

I take it Ed went with this picture largely because the more illustrative picture of someone sticking a gun in their own mouth isn’t good for a family-friendly site.

Red Cloud on July 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM

The President has declared that profits are evil, so AP is just making sure they never make one.

gridlock2 on July 24, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Ap and RIAA are doing the same thing: not playing for longevity. The execs don’t care if these industries last 100, 50 or even 25 more years. They just want to make sure their checks are fat until they retire. Even if it collapses those industries.

Mephistefales on July 24, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Kind of like creating jobs by raising the minimum wage.

BVM on July 24, 2009 at 8:42 PM

I don’t much care what the ASSociated press thinks, says, or does.

They are about as relevant as the price of paperclips in Fiji.

Dave R. on July 24, 2009 at 8:59 PM

AP- Stop reading us!

And don’t you dare link to us either!

profitsbeard on July 24, 2009 at 11:18 PM

HA! This is payback for everyone linking to their negative article about Obamacare. They wrote hundreds of articles praising it and nobody read them. The one they wrote slamming Obama and calling him a liar gets posted on blogs all over the net.

I think it’s hilarious. What’s to keep someone from linking to a site where they pay for the content? They haven’t figured out how to maximize online ad revenue profit. They are stuck in the pay for the newspaper mode of operation. They need to get into the give the newspaper away and make money on eyeballs and ads.

It’s a transition that will happen, but it will take time. Funny though.

ThackerAgency on July 24, 2009 at 11:27 PM

The goal, he said, was not to have less use of the news articles, but to be paid for any use

.

Supply and demand? Never heard of them.

…Just in case somebody out there STILL didn’t know the AP was owned lock-stock-and-barrel by Socialists.

logis on July 24, 2009 at 11:56 PM

Well now with the demise of AP, calling Allahpundit AP will no longer be ambiguous.

Christian Conservative on July 24, 2009 at 11:59 PM

By the way, that’s a great front pic. I want to see the next presidential debates done using that twin bubble headset.

Spiritk9 on July 25, 2009 at 12:40 AM

Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it still applies to them.

You’ve got a problem with one too few negations, Ed.

This should read “Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it doesn’t still apply to them.”

Either that, or a rewrite to eliminate both of them: “AP doesn’t like copyright law. It still applies to them.”

VekTor on July 25, 2009 at 12:52 AM

The AP: Look — we’ll drink our green Kool-Aid to prove it’s safe. Ack! Ughhhh… Thunk.

Feedie on July 25, 2009 at 12:53 AM

Why not just link everything using tinurl.com or another service. AP brilliant software will just report hits from
the redirect service. Duh.

That’s off the shelf. Just think of the schemes that could be devised to buffudle their referring URL data collection.

Once out of the bottle, the genie cannot be stuffed back in.

Good luck with this AP.

Hochmeister on July 25, 2009 at 2:51 AM

Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it still applies to them.

I had to read it a couple of times to be sure, but shouldn’t that read:

Just because the AP doesn’t like copyright law doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to them.

Anon Y. Mous on July 25, 2009 at 3:03 AM

I think we need to use a different shortening of Associated Press here so as not to confuse it with Allahpundit.
I suggest AssP instead. We can debate which AP it should apply to (j/k).

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on July 25, 2009 at 3:52 AM

Hmm, lemme see here – Fewer blogs will be linking AP stories; therefore fewer people will be visiting AP websites and fewer people will be seeing the advertising. AP will vanish or end up like UPI.

Pelayo on July 25, 2009 at 8:24 AM

This is not about the right to copy snippits. Search engines duplicate the full text of articles on a local machine for interpretation, and they construct derivative works in the form of indices and algorithms.

There is a good argument that this is not fair use.

In the case of human bloggers, they are licensed to read the full text, of course. But not to perform mathematical analysis of it.

Anil Petra on July 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

“Colonel Flagg” once again slams the x-ray machine into his own arm, breaking it again. We watch, amused and bemused…

karl9000 on July 25, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Don’t let this stop you from linking to AP story’s. Just have the link go directly to the AP “pay-up first” page. That way AP can still count the hits to their site and add up all the money they WON’T receive.

This data, in turn, can then be used in their Media Kit to show prospective advertisers that they have successfully cut off their nose to spite their face.

scituate_tgr on July 25, 2009 at 11:16 AM

AP, Reuters, BBC…couldn’t they all merge and rename themselves Obama Donkey Kong?
I will freely use and misuse any of those miserable goddamned sources I want-they can go poke themselves and then die the miserable obscure deaths they so richly deserve.

trl on July 25, 2009 at 12:13 PM

They’re trying the same Chicago politics that Obama is employing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in the real world. And, no, D.C. is not the real world.

Theophile on July 25, 2009 at 5:23 PM

The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Am I the only technology guy that read that and thought, “vaporware?”

phelps on July 25, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Natural Selection comes to the blogoshpere. Nice!

Pomme143 on July 26, 2009 at 3:39 AM

Great this will actually be a great opportunity for the alternative media.

This will eventually push less liberal propaganda to the news readers.

TheSitRep on July 26, 2009 at 5:55 AM

I think this is GREAT NEWS. MSM is strangling itself.

Great news indeed.

MSimon on July 26, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Without a doubt, the new policy will have a chilling effect on blogs and aggregators who normally link to their content. Unfortunately for the AP, that won’t result in an increase of revenues, but in having the entire online world ignore the AP.

Are you even coming close to trying to say that the AP ever carries some “news” story “exclusively”? Comon on, we all know better than that. The AP can become completely online irrelevant, without effecting in the slightest any of us.

AP? What AP?

seanrobins on July 27, 2009 at 12:02 AM