Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

AP Wishes To Charge Those Who Excerpt; Updated and Bumped

No, we are not kidding. Allah @ Hot Air explains:

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?

This is a foolish idea on AP's part, and it will likely result in a blogosphere boycott for them. There are many other agencies out there, such as Reuters, that can be cited instead. We can understand that the AP feels that it is not being compensated for citations, but if the average blogger either takes quotes from a piece or a couple of paragraphs to set up their commentary, what is the problem?

Count on this blowing up in the AP's face. As long as this goes forward, our site will no longer cite an AP piece. The AP should be thanking bloggers for drawing attention to their pitiful pap, not declaring a de facto war on them.


UPDATE and BUMP: I don't have a lot of time to blog today, so I figured I'd chime in on this, and bump it. (Hey, it's a slow news day.) I do support my wonderful wife's boycott of linking to the AP, but I'd like to offer a check-mate for the AP as observed by Rachel Lucas and a tip of the hat to Ace.

From Rachel Lucas on a term the AP should be more than familiar with ... Fair Use. Read it and weep MSM:

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Let me be clear here. Marcie and I initially set up the site to comment on news, politics and current events. To avoid the howls from the Left we were taking things out of context, we cited pieces in their entirety. We have since ceased that (except in special cases), and merely cite parts of a news report or press release. We are allowed, UNDER THE LAW to do this, provided we give proper attirbution of the quotes or citation.

The AP's obtuseness in observing the limits of the law, and their failure to observe that, as it is believed by many law scholars, bloggers should have First Amendment protections. Blogs, in short, are similar to the early pamphleteers at the time of the nation's founding. They were as protected as the reporters and papers at the time were. We have rights, just like the AP does. But their insistance that people should pay to quote pieces of their stories will only backfire on them. Until the AP ditches this ridiculous and asinine idea that bloggers should pay, no blogger will link to them. As Marcie observed, there are other outlets to get news from. The AP doesn't have a monopoly on the news. Many news outlets take AP stories, true, but many more run their own independent reports.

Kudos to Rachel Lucas for giving us the check-mate on the AP.Will they ditch this stance they've taken? More than likely, yes they will. It'll take them a little time to wise up, but it will be gone eventually. And Michelle Malkin notes that we can play the game too, and she does an excellent job of noting how much the AP owes her and others.

Care to roll the dice, AP?

Publius II


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