Associated Press Loses At The Internet

July 25, 2009 at 5:53 PM (Uncategorized)

When I write about something that already has been written about elsewhere, I usually write my own version of events instead of just copy/pasting from the source. I’ll link to the source, of course, and might even use a small blurb.

Sometimes I will be lazy or I’m in a rush and can’t write anything, so I will just paste a few sentences from the source, link to the rest and that’s the end of my post. Either way, I do as little copying and pasting as possible. The reason I blog is to write and to rant, not to republish stuff you can read elsewhere.

I’ve noticed that many bloggers these days copy and paste the entire story onto their own blogs and link to the source at the bottom, leaving nothing left to read at the original site.

No doubt that is the sort of thing that “old media” is bitching about when they rant about “new media” ripping off their content. I think that’s a fair enough complaint. I am sure it goes well beyond the definition of fair use.

What I don’t get is the childish temper tantrum being thrown by the Associated Press.

The AP complains endlessly about Google News, blogs and other aggregator sites that index their material. The AP calls it theft, sends out cease & desist notices and threatens lawsuits. They have even come up with some bizarre form of DRM for their content.

You’ve searched for news at Google, right? If not, go and see how they do it. Here is a search for news about coffee.

You see how Google uses one or two sentences to describe a small number of the articles they’ve listed? That is called Fair Use. It is just enough of the original content to describe what is being linked. That is what the AP has been bitching and moaning about.

Let me stop and explain how this interweb thingy works. Google links to AP content. Web surfers click those links and load AP content from sites paying the AP a license to republish it. A lot more people read that AP material than otherwise would have.

Google wins, because people go to Google to search for news and they see (and hopefully click) the ads. The sites listed by Google wins, because they gain more visitors. The AP wins, because a larger audience reads their content. The web surfers win, because they found the news they wanted.

Everybody. Involved. Wins. Nobody loses.

The world wide web now is more than a decade old. How is it possible that the AP still does not understand how it works?

Well, okay then. Since the AP clearly cannot stand it when people find and read their content, I will respect their wishes. I pledge that, from here on out, I will never, under any circumstances, use or link to any material labeled as coming from the Associated Press on any site where I write or where I control the content. Ever.

Everybody else should make the same pledge, since the AP is so adamant about this. Including Google. And Yahoo. And MSN. And TechMeme.

Once the AP have successfully hidden themselves from the internet and are hunkered down inside the super secret bunker dug into a hillside ~somewhere~, I am sure they will be very happy with the result.

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