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AP: The New Playground Bully

Terry Heaton’s take on the latest AP kerfluffle is a must read.

The Associated Press entered highly dangerous territory last week when it sent take down notices to a publication (a.k.a. blog) known as The Drudge Retort over what it considered copyright violations. In what is widely regarded as typical fair use for blogs, the Drudge Retort copied a couple of sentences from AP reports and provided a link back to the original. The AP argued that it was not fair use, which prompted many people, including Jeff Jarvis, to cry “foul.”

[…] The real problem for the A.P. is that it can’t win this argument, and by pressing the issue, they’re very likely to end up with a business model that dies overnight. And I don’t think I’m overstating that. Links are the currency of the Web, and the A.P. hard line spits in the face of that, which is leading to boycotts like [Michael] Arrington’s…

[…] They’ve announced that they’re willing to create a new policy, but that, too, is fraught with problems, for it can only shed further light on the weakness of their business model in a changing environment.

And here’s a look at the AP’s “new policy” of using their content. A pricing scale…. you must be kidding. Allahpundit muses

What’s their game here, seriously? They’re turning themselves into laughingstocks and blogosphere pariahs while drumming up business for Reuters and AFP. If they’re trying to establish some sort of bright line beyond which excerpts can’t go without triggering infringement, then why not just lay down some reasonable-ish policy — two paragraphs maximum, say — and wait for someone to violate it, then sue to see if a court will enforce it? (Suspected answer: Because the court probably won’t and the AP knows it.) I’m mystified by their thought process.

This is truly amazing to me. Even a middle-schooler, fresh out of 7th grade government, can recognize how badly the AP is acting out. “Freedom of the press” applies to ALL the press, big or small, not just THEIR press. The world of news reporting is changing, thanks to the internet. And boy, they don’t like it.

Brian Ledbetter, another happy camper formerly in the AP crosshairs, says at PJM

Could it be possible that the AP is starting an all-out campaign against the Internet?

For an association that seems to just now be starting to explore an online presence of its own, this would definitely seem to be the wrong way to get things started. It’s bad enough that the association would be placing itself in direct competition with its member agencies’ websites by doing so, but to also try to use the courtrooms to stifle all discussion about their content — well, that just doesn’t seem like one of the smarter business plans I’ve seen come out of Harvard.

It sure sounds like something a Yalie would come up with, doesn’t it?

[…] “Discussion” and “dissent” are apparently only cornerstones of our republic some of the time. When aimed at the Associated Press, however, they become simple stepping stones.

One hopes that these new Soviet guidelines will be written in such a way that we the proletariat will still be able to read the news without violating their copyright.

After years of Bush-bashing, left-spinning, terrorist smooching reporting, it would be a just reward to watch AP, so intent on destroying the country that gave it the same freedom to report without restraint, dwindle to dust because they cut off their nose to spite their face.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin turns the tables on AP. Hey, equal time, equal pay. They lift our words with impunity (at least we link back and give credit), so here’s your bill, AP!

UPDATE II: Robert Cox has more. (h/t Instapundit)

Cross-posted at RedState.

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