Associated Press: Dinosaurs of the Internet
Looks like the AP isn’t crazy about being crowned "Wanker of the Day" and they’ve decided to "define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright." They are not, however, backing off their demand that the Drudge Retort remove seven items with AP quotes ranging from 39 to 79 words.
The AP was calling bloggers unethical even while the bloggers were operating under their own ethic of the link and the quote. The bloggers believe they are doing the right thing in quoting directly and they think they are doing the generous thing — generous to both their readers and to the AP — in providing links to the source material. The bloggers will also say that this is an ethic the AP itself violates when it homogenizes and commodifies news, rewriting it and stripping it of the identity — and now the address — of the original reporting done by its members and other sources.
But the AP will say that it has a right to own that content and others, including bloggers, do not, so it believes it is protecting that license. That is its ethic.
Of course, these two ethics need not be mutually exclusive.
This is but one of the many conflicts that is going to arise between old a new media, whose rules and customs are dictated by differing economic and technological factors.
The AP will probably be slow to learn the lesson, because it will see no immediate impact if people like me won’t link to them any more because we don’t want to be sued. I mean in our world, how crazy is that? Like I’m going to sue Atrios for linking to me? That’s just insane. We live on traffic, our revenues are based on pageviews. The same can be said for the online outlets that the AP is selling its product to — newspapers across the country. It’s the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle who will feel it if nobody will link to their AP stories. They are, in effect, buying a product that will not generate traffic they need in order to sell ads to support themselves.
If I were running a major metropolitan daily, and I saw my advertising revenues shrinking and my newsroom personnel diminishing as the dead tree business died, and I knew how important it was to generate online traffic to keep the doors open, I’d be thinking … Reuters. McClatchy. Bloomberg. Anything but AP.
Why pay for a newswire that’s going to sue people for linking to you?