AP Suing Moreover Like It’s 1999

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The Associated Press is suing news-aggregation site Moreover and its parent company VeriSign for copyright infringement for snippeting and linking to its news. This harkens back to the early days of the Internet when news aggregators were routinely legally hassled for linking.

AP Suing Moreover Like It's 1999
AP Suing Moreover Like It’s 1999


>>> What do you think? Provide your perspective on this lawsuit here.

I founded the first news aggregation site on the Internet back in 1996 called NewsLinx which had the slogan, "All the News On the Web About the Web." NewsLinx is now owned by Alan Meckler’s Jupitermedia Corporation.

I remember getting personal calls and emails from virtually every site I linked to including the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner, L.A. Times and many others. The calls and emails usually started with the question, "Do you have permission to link to our articles?" Old media legal departments were clearly very green with the Internet. My typical response was, "No, we don’t have permission and if you would like us to stop linking and driving traffic to your site just let me know. However, we feel we have every right to link to your articles without permission because the Internet itself is based on the concept of linking."

Much of this law is still not completely settled, but publishers generally rely on the fair use principle that small snippets linking to a story are permissible. Cases like AP vs. Moreover can open a can of worms for the largest news aggregation sites on the Internet such as Google News and The Drudge Report. This likely is the reason that Google signed an agreement with the AP a couple of weeks ago to link to AP stories within Google itself rather than other AP partner sites like CNN. 

What would be of concern to Google, Drudge and many others is a rogue ruling by a not-so-Internet-savvy Federal Judge that would put real restrictions on linking to news. So far, the prevailing standard has been the legal concept of fair use. Hopefully, this case is assigned to a judge who realizes that the Internet is based on links. The use of an article title and short summary has been considered fair use in past cases. However, I am not sure if the use of smaller versions of copyrighted pictures regularly used by Google News and Drudge will withstand this fair use test.

The legal filing itself shows a complete lack of understanding of the Internet in general and online news aggregation in particular:

6. Defendants are also trespassing on AP’s chattel by using search robots or "crawlers" to retrieve information form AP’s computer servers in order to display, archive, cache, store, and/or distribute AP’s proprietary works.

To me item number 6 simply defines a search engine. All search engines violate this standard of copyright and this has been deemed fair use. What the Moreover service does is aggregate certain news including news from AP and provide links for people to get to said news. They don’t link to news that isn’t made publicly available and they don’t provide full copies of articles to clients.

The AP’s lawyers go to great lengths to build up the copyright value of their first sentence in their articles, called "leads." They state, "Leads are so important that journalism schools offer courses dedicated entirely to techniques for creating them." The first sentences are often the only snippet taken as part of news aggregation link sites like Moreover and Google.

It makes you think that if fair use is narrowed to this extent, no article could quote another article. Or perhaps the AP lawyers would agree that you could quote another article as long as you don’t link to that article; thus, a kind of backwards SEO.

The heart of the complaint by AP is their contention that you can’t operate a news aggregation site like Moreover (or Google NewsTopix, Drudge, WebProWire, Digg and Techmeme) as a commercial venture. Unless you have an agreement with AP to carry their stories, apparently, you can’t link to them.

Specifically, AP does not like the marketing approach taken by Moreover because it competes directly with their syndication business model.

36. Defendants vigorously stress the "hot news" aspect of their services. And, as Moreover pronounces in its website-based marketing materials: "For current awareness, news aggregation is far superior to traditional syndication. Why? Increasingly, critical business information appears first, and more often exclusively, on the open Internet. Because Moreover aggregates news already available on the Web, there are no hidden content access charges like those associated with syndicated news services. The result is a fixed, predictable cost structure that delivers a rapid return on investment.

AP’s legal complaint finesses the fact that Moreover does not actually use more than the headline and lead of their articles. They also fail to mention that Moreover provides direct links to AP and to AP partner websites for every article. The complaint states:

41. Thus, Exhibits F – J show that Defendants are simply copying AP’s proprietary material, including the headline and all or a portion of the lead, and delivering it on a real-time basis to their paying subscribers and other users.

The links themselves make it clear to Moreover subscribers that these are not their articles. The links also are a traditional way on the Internet to acknowledge copyright to the publisher of the article. These points are all conveniently left out of the Moreover copyright complaint.

This lawsuit makes the "brilliant" case that:

– You can’t use headlines of articles without permission from copyright holders.

– You can’t use leads or short snippets of articles without permission from copyright holders.

– You can’t run a business that sorts data available to anyone on the Internet like news aggregation sites do.

– You can’t use marketing statements like "hot news" if you link to groups of AP articles.

Basically, you can’t run a news aggregation business that includes links to AP stories because that competes with AP’s paid syndication model, according to AP.

Unfortunately, an AP win here could ultimately subject the entire concept of linking on the Internet to a new legal standard, especially links to news stories and blog posts. If fair use becomes "permission linking" then much of the Internet could be challenged.

The AP seems to think it has a monopoly on high quality content. A legal standard based on this case would mean all linking is subject to approval by the party being linked to.

 >>> Comment on this article here.

 Download the complaint in PDF formate here:



AP Suing Moreover Like It’s 1999
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  • Brusselsblogger

    It will be a very interesting case.

    One could indeed argue that the copy of a webpage that search engines put in their index is already not covered by faire use. But of course this would more or less mean an end to all search engines (unless they are opt-in only).

    Rich, I hope I do not sound ironic when I ask you to publish the link to the original case text, if you have it. It would be interesting to look at all points in more detail.

    For those being in Europe: have a look at the EU database protection directive -> probably even more a danger for search engines than the copyright laws.

    • Rich Ord

      I have added a link to the complaint at the bottom of the article. It is in PDF format.


      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

  • markr

    Trespass of chattals is an attempt to add a tort claim to the statutory copyright claim and the contract claim of violating the terms of service contract. The only thing missing is a criminal count! Maybe conspiracy or a RICO claim?

  • Jack Stokes

    Pointing out an error in your Oct. 10 posting. Viacom has nothing to do with The Associated Press lawsuit. Appreciate a correction, since your posting is being up picked by others who also have passed along the name of the wrong firm. Thanks.

    Jack Stokes
    The Associated Press
    Manager of Media Relations

    • Rich Ord

      I am not sure where I mentioned Viacom unless our editors already corrected it before I read your request.

      If I can help you further just let me know.



      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

  • http://www.weddingvideodoneright.com Hank Castello

    I hope the courts will toss this case out and laugh! Not only does this fly in the face of the legal interpretation of “fair-use” but it is not even in the plaintiff’s self-interest. I think we can safely presume that AP’s clients WANT the incoming links that snippeting and linking provide.

    Plaintiff’s case is not in the best interest of the American public; Internet users or even the best interests of the AP!

  • Jeremy Powers

    The AP is absolutely right to license its information.

    As a former newspaper reporter and now a web developer, I am always amazed that people expect to get everything else for free, but expect to be paid handsomely for the work that they do.

    Newspapers are dying, but news reporting is in greater demand than ever. News reporting requires people to go out and find it, contact people, verify information and write it in a coherent format. It takes time, money and talent.

    People may not perceive it as much, but the effort that goes into a daily newspaper or network newscast is 10 times the amount effort that goes into the greatest songs ever written – and I mean “Appalachian Spring,” not “I’m Too Sexy.” The problem, of course, is that news is fleeting. Who wants to read their favorite news story five years ago, whereas music as a timelessness about it. But it takes time and costs money.

    The idea of the information age is that information is worth something. This whole concept about net geeks that operating systems, programming tools and information should all be free is so utterly stupid as to be laughable. It’s as if tech support should be free for people, even though they didn’t buy a legal copy of the product.

    • Darrel Hunter

      You’re right, they’re dieing because they give their news away for free on the Internet.

      So AP charges syndication… then newspaper ZYX publishment on their site for free (they paid syndication)… Now, Joe Blog posts a link to it with the article.

      Where has AP lost? If Joe’s mama, posts the link to AP instead of ZYX?

  • Jenn

    If people want to run a news service, but don’t want to dish out the dough for high quality journalists, travel expenses, etc., they shouldn’t be allowed to use another services content to directly compete with that other service, which is what your article is talking about. There’s no reason someone can’t write their own summary of a story they want to link to (unless their purpose is to profit from someone else’s work while sitting on their ass).

    It’s not just about linking. It’s about what amount of text constitutes fair use, and whether or not certain portions of text should be excluded from fair use rules based on their intentions, impact, and inherent value. I haven’t looked into the case enough to make my own decision on which side I’d lean more towards, but I think you’ve over-simplified the legal issue and sensationalized the simple tech side of things for your own audience – not a great reflection on your own news-sharing abilities (while we’re on that subject).

  • Brian Rogers

    1. Robots.txt.
    2. Moreover, Google Yahoo et al ALL stop spidering the AP site for 48 hours. Then give them a call re their ‘hits’.

    • http://www.kn.com.au Earl Mardle

      Exactly Brian, it worked pretty well when Google stopped spidering those Belgian? papers that wanted to sue on similar grounds.

      In fact we should have a reverse blogswarm, instead of everyone linking to some specific item (Santorum, sadly, comes to mind) we should simply boycott all links to AP items and yes, the search engines should just drop them for a few days.

      And if I was a shareholder in AP, I’d want to know why these idiots still have jobs, they are threatening the viability of the business.

      • http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070726152837334 Sean DALY

        Earl, Google lost the court case in Belgium and some think they settled with AP and AFP as a consequence of that jurisprudence.

  • http://www.trishjones.com Trish Jones

    This is typically a British thing! Why can’t The Associated Press be just be like Anita Roddick and find some way of capitalising on the FREE publicity!

    They must be feeling the pressure of the web and I can just hear them squeeling like … Okay, enough.

    That said, linking is one thing – nicking stuff from other people’s site is not on!

    Trish Jones
    The Blogging Queen

  • Steve Snyder

    Like so much of the main stream media, The Associated Press will eventually work its way out of the market. Fighting the internet is setting yourself up for failure. The 600 pound gorilla will bully its way around, but eventually a smarter and leaner entrepreneur will learn that what AP is trying to fight is in fact a its best opportunity for success. All you have to do is look back at how the movie industry tried to fight the VCR industry. Their assumption that being able to record movies would take money out of their pockets was 100% wrong. Now movies that would never even make money in the box office turn profitable once they are released on VHS or DVD. Wise up AP!

  • http://www.surreypcsupport.co.uk/pc_help_desk.html Help Desk

    A misguided ruling on this would be a disaster, perhaps AP should be given the opportunity to find that out. They apparently do not seem to realise which way their bottom line will move if they succeed.

    Even better, why don’t they remove all internet content, revert to the days of paper. They might then become worth so little, they could be bought by someone with more vision.

  • http://www.waltlange.com Walt Lange

    Since I am a published author I understand the concerns about copyright infringement.
    That being said, I find it amazing that the AP or any other news organization would find their way into court over this issue. My view is that once the AP, L A Times, or Wall Street Journal or any such mainstream organization has posted a story online or in print they have placed it into public domain. It is not like a novel, where the proprietary rights greatly differ and usually are covered by a contract between author and publisher. The main difference being that most reporters/writers are employees of the organization, per se. Therefore there is no infringement of the author’s rights as they are usually given over to the publisher at origin, and since the publisher places said stories/pictures/videos into public domain they no longer hold that same penalty as the mis used of a novel.

    I hope there is a rational judge hearing this case and does what needs to be done. “Throw it out for lack of legal grounds.”

  • http://dabilldoya.com David Baird

    Since when is it not right to share news. You don’t pay to watch the news on TV do you? The station pays for you.

    Show me some advertising. If I want it, I’ll buy it. There’s your money.

    • Jenn


      You’re WAY off base here. There’s no issue with sharing “news.” But sharing a creative work (how that news is written, photographed, etc.) is entirely different. You can use the same facts and write your own news story, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Copying it from someone else is not only immoral; it’s illegal.

      Your comparison to TV just shows how little you understand how that medium works. You DO in fact “pay” to watch the news; just not directly out of your own pocket… you, as a viewer, finance those television networks by contributing to their viewer counts so that they can collect advertising dollars.

      If another TV station came in and stole their competitors broadcast, you’d better bet your ass they’d be sued over it. They’d be directly infringing on the rights of the original program creators. That’s what this case is comparable to; not you as a consumer watching the news or doing your own write-up of a story and citing your source through a link.

      Unlike an advertising model (which no business has to pursue just to appease you), the AP earns through licensing fees. Trying to counteract that in any way when swiping content is indefensible, as is trying to profit from their work and name (if I were them, I’d have the lawyers look into it on a trademark front rather than copyright over a small portion being taken though, as their reputation and name are being profited from by an unauthorized source… in geek terms, it would be no different than Google themselves going after you for using a variation of their name, or their actual name, within a domain name to profit off of that name and reputation).

  • http://www.sakara.net Sakara

    If the reporters for Associated Press did the research; if they did the writing, and hopefully, someone paid them for their work, then the purchasers and the creators should not have to share with any other publisher. Yes it’s nice if they do but the least another site should do is ask permission before linking and are we talking just linking here? Is it an RSS feed? Is the AP work essentially be re-published by someone else?

  • http://www.joeknockz.com Joe

    Why would you be upset that someone links to your website? They are driving traffic from people who otherwise would not of found your story. Please by all means, link to me..link link link! 😀


  • Jim Carr

    Let’s see if I have this straight. Companies research and write news articles. Another company contributes nothing to the content, yet makes money from advertisers by snipping and linking to someone else’s work. They are leeches and should not be permitted to do it.

  • http://www.tholley.com Penny

    AP needs to remember “Freedom of Speech” and also the right to inform the public of events. The internet is a way of getting information out to a wide variety of people over a vast area. I’m sure negotiations can be made — no one really owns the “Current Events” “News” so why is it so terrible to get the information to the users of the World Wide Web and if AP be the source of information for Moreover –then AP should be flattered by being looked as a reliable source for information.

    • Jenn

      And these other companies need to learn intellectual property law.

      You can “inform the public of events” all you want. You just don’t have the right to do it using someone else’s words, photographs, etc. They may not own the news, but they do own the creative format, wording, presentation of that news as they create and display it.

      AP doesn’t need to be “flattered” by Moreover. They’re one of the most reputed news agencies in the world, due to a very long time of building their reputation through quality information. No one else has a right to profit from that without compensating them, which is precisely why licensing fees exist. A good part of AP’s appeal is the fact that they don’t just plug every bit of crap news that comes their way. They release quality, informative, well-written news pieces, and their value is in their exclusivity.

      Again in geek terms, it’s like the difference between the “value” associated with content on membership sites (so often plugged as an amazing online business model) versus content placed on non-monetized sites. One model relies on a certain degree of exclusivity (as does the AP model, even if their exclusivity is to publishers and not to readers), and they’d be pissed if someone started copying bits of everything they published. Under the other model the creator may very well feel “flattered.” But that’s not for the content thief (I mean aggregator) to determine.

    • Aleksey

      Actually if Moreover’s goal was to bring news and information to the public’s eye then they should have had their own journalists creating stories.

      AP has certain guidelines for posting their stories. Moreover violated those guidelines and that’s what the case is about. If AP chooses to charge for using their services, there’s nothing wrong with that, after all, they have to pay their journalists somehow.

  • Andrew H.

    I find it ironic that the very one crying about freedom of the press would have any beef with some “Quoting Them” with a link to “Their” News.

  • http://inter-soft.cc Shaun

    It always seems that when someone has a successful idea, there are those waiting in the wings trying to take it all away.

    IMHO AP should go and find another sandbox to play in if they don’t want to share their toys.

    On the other hand, I’m willing to share and if Moreover wishes to (fair) use any snippets from my site, I promise I won’t sue.

    The internet is based on linking (Google page rank, etc.) and it’s global, isolationism for web-sites does not exist.

    Maybe AP doesn’t want to increase their traffic with linking, but is doing it the old fashioned way, off-line advertising and marketing disguised as a lawsuit, hoping that the media feeding frenzy will drive visitors to their site.

  • http://www.FuturesStore.com Steve

    Its too bad that an American judge should should have to decide over such a mindless case. The internet is a world wide web. If we start cutting off strands of that web linking back to US then we risk further isolating ourselves from the world. Don’t we want as many possible links coming back to our free press, reading our editorials and understanding our point of view? Or would we rather just encourage Google to start linking to global news sources in countries that understand the realities of the net?

  • http://www.hedgewitchcrafts.com Steve Mekkelsen Madden

    This is no different that taking a newspaper article and give it to your neighbor. Copyright protection doesn’t apply there either. Now if take the entire article and copy it and put it in my own newspaper and claim it to be my own – well that’s different. If I’m taking a snippet and pointing the reference back to the owner, that’s not wrong, that’s good internet business that will only increase hits on the owners site. Sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

  • http://www.philcomp.com/ Frank Philipp

    These bloke should understand the meaning of Free Speech and free enterprice. Keep it up AP and you will meet your demise if all those you take to court gang up on you and demolish your little nest egg.

  • http://www.mortgagehome.co.uk/ Lee Car

    I am a firm believer that ideally the content on a news commentary should be original content. The problem however arises when a new snippet is quoting directly from old content. This would have a naturally flow to it and be relevant however in order to use the quote in context the permission of the author should be granted first. Coming from a strictly regulated industry finance we are always governed by these guidelines which if adhered to correctly gives content which is transparent and legal.

  • http://www.myblurps.com/ Aggravated

    This just makes me boil. I cannot believe someone would have a problem with you linking their site. It just does not make sense. Can someone tell me what AP is afraid of? They obviously feel some sort of threat or something in order to make them want to do something like this. Either way you look at it, people are still reading their news and clicking over to their site. Would someone please elaborate?

    Thank you.

  • Ann Overton

    If the AP CREATED all of the news then they would OWN it! If I get arrested for something, then I guess I should sue AP for not buying a license to print my story. LOL FREEDOM of speech AP! DUH!!!

  • John Hinson

    If the AP doesn’t want to be linked to they should just get off the internet, that would solve all of their problems. Out of sight out of link.

  • http://www.plasmaetch.com johnHW

    Perhaps if all the search engines and aggregators and such would just “blacklist” any article labeled AP newswire, then they might change their tune as many of the articles are also picked up in searches from web sites that actually do buy material from AP. I think that it’d be cool to hear them howl whan they start losing ground (and buck$) as the other news services were given preference….

  • http://www.ministryvalues.com ministryvalues

    The wash post, new york times and AP could have owned the internet if the executives and writers had stopped googleing themselves like idiots, and had recognized that everytime a writer mentioned google they were reaching into their own pocket and paying google for the privilage of puting them out of business.
    The horse is out of the barn.

  • tim

    In the online business world most folks have to pay one way or another to generate traffic.

    In “exchange” for Moreover, Drudge etc linking to an article, the news source receives traffic. So in the end are not the news sources and news aggregators benefiting from one another in kind of a mutual symbiosis similar to clownfish and anemone?

  • Chris

    Simple answer. Play by their rules and don’t use any of their articles, however,prohibit AP journalists from quoting or linking to internet sources within their articles or research. You will soon find out who needs who more.

  • http://downstrike.stumbleupon.com/ Downstrike

    In the state of California, we have some kind of law that states that if 80% of the people do what the law proscribes, that law is unenforceable. This usually applies to mundane things, such as speed limits, and even if it’s unsafe to go that fast, the state will raise a speed limit to a speed that people are driving.

    80% of search engine results include snippets. At least 80% of bloggers use news snippets, just like I’m going to do to this article when I get done posting this. Get used to it.

  • J B

    AP is figuring out how to survive the transition from print to electronic media. They still make money from their wire service and from selling reprints. I think they see a link to their articles as having potential from reducing their wire-service business and cutting into their reprint sales. Their reprint permission sales are not inconsequential. I had to pay $1 per copy for a news article I wanted to share with my high school students. It would have been cheaper to have bought a copy of the paper that day for each student. Why Verisign? Their pockets are deeper than some others. Some high school students have gotten upset about privacy when a school official reads what they have posted on a web site like MySpace–the official’s answer is: “It is called the World Wide Web, what part of ‘World Wide’ don’t you understand?” I wonder what part of “Web” does AP not understand.

  • http://dsl-experts.net DSL

    I wonder what would happen if all sites currently linking to an AP article just broke all links to AP? Personally, I won’t link to AP. They rarely have news my visitors can use and besides, between Al Jazerra and AP I hear Al Jazerra is more “Fair and Balanced”, and they understand the viral nature of the internet far better.

  • http://www.arrested.com Tony Cox

    It’ like 1999

    AP should also consider legal action against the major TV networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX etc.

    During televised newscasts, They not only read quotes from the Associated Press, but also show video snippets of the actual AP Headlines!

    These Network broadcasts certainly drive viewers to The Associated Press to gather more information, just as News-Aggregation sites deliver visitors through their news-links to The AP websites! What’s the difference!

    Can the Associated Press claim they have never printed or quoted snippets of proprietary information from other websites?

    • Sarah

      AP will not sue major TV/radio/print outlets because those companies pay licensing fees to AP. Why should ABC, New York Times or NPR pay licensing fees, but not internet outlets like Google, Yahoo, etc?

      When you hear the announcer say, “The AP News reports….” that means the television network PAID AP to use that story and information.

      And the other folks that argue that the news is “free” — tell that to Daniel Pearl’s widow.

      Professional journalists risk their lives every day so others can sit and stare at their desktops and take the information glowing from their screens for granted.

      Real writers go out into the world and find out the information that bloggers and other leaches just regurgitate to the masses.

      And no, linking/re-posting is NOT like sharing the a newspaper article with your neighbor….your neighbor is not getting advertising dollars based on the “hits” you give him. Also your neighbor is one person, not hundreds or thousands of people.

      And do you all understand what the argument is about? Is it about linking or using AP’s stories, in-full or excerpted, by another outlet? Read carefully.

      This is why we NEED journalists. They check facts and information and don’t just guess what they are writing about.

  • http://acanac.org/blogs/isblogs/ Imelda Ortega Suzara

    Writing in general, whether for a school essay, article, in newspaper or internet, is usually sharing of information about a person, place, idea or event and no one person can totally claim ownership of the content and product (photo, article) since the subject, photographer, writer, publisher all contribute to the end result somehow. Also, the use of quotations or snippets, and references or linking are all standard practice in all forms of writing in newsprint and other media including tv, radio, and internet. Also, with publishers encouraging other to put their RSS newsfeeds into the others websites, it is ironic that AP is suing anyone for snippets and linking! Do they own or have they asked permission from all the people and buildings they photographed or wrote about? And yet they are trying to claim full copyright ownership. It is too ironic for a publisher who is supposed to be sharing (publicizing) information about others, to sue anyone who refers to them because they do not own the people nor places they wrote, photographed or published.

  • Kristin

    It’s not like Moreover and VeriSign are taking credit for the AP news stories. I would think AP should be pleased to have more exposure.

  • http://www.zulit.com/ Terry

    Big surprise. Knew this was going to happen soon enough.

    Now that the world is waking up to hoe much MONEY there is to be made with traffic, content, and linking, the scrap is on for WHO OWNS WHAT, who gets to do what, etc. etc.

    I can even see the Internet causing a huge amendment to the “fair use clause”. Pretty soon you won’t be able to type the word Google or Amazon in a post or article. If you want to mention their name, you have to use a special “image link” with their permission of course.

    As we go on, the big companies will be lobbying Washington even more than in an effort to have legislation wipe any dreams the lone-webmaster has of making a living online.

    Sounds really far-fetched I know, but just wait and see all the little guys they try and squash over the next decade.

    It will be ORIGINAL or…..go to jail.


  • http://www.valleywag.com/ Jordan Golson

    This isn’t about “linking.” It’s about MoreOver taking full-length AP articles and sending them to subscribers in clear violation of any sort of “fair use” argument. Really, you should read up on things before going off o na rant.

    • Rich Ord

      The taking of full length articles is not part of AP’s complaint from what I have read. Where is that in the lawsuit text? AP is suing for copying headlines and "leads" from articles and making money in the process. This is not any different that every other news aggregation site including NewsLinx which which was the first to do this in 1996.

      Rich Ord CEO, iEntry, Inc. Publisher of WebProNews

      • Tamara

        Using a copyrighted work product without permission — for one’s own commercial benefit — is not fair use (and never has been), and linking to the whole article doesn’t lesson the infringement.

  • http://www.paramind.net Robert Pearson

    I think that the AP has a certain right to ask for something in return for providing news, however, it should be a very small licensing fee and perhaps a type of google adsense like fee for each website display. It gets into a whole new use of web statistics at the web server level. I don’t think the AP should bankrupt or hassle anyone. If they want more money, they should legislate laws and create new technology.

  • Phil Weaver

    The way I see it, a snippet with a link to the full article at the publishers website is no more than an ad (free one at that) for the site being linked to.

    Where is the content here? It’t a teaser to read the full story at THEIR site, the content is ONLY at their site. Like if you read the first sentence of the story you have a full sense of the whole issue and don’t need to bother to go to the AP site to find out more. In fact you have to do that.

    It’s no different than an ad, when I create a banner ad for XYZ product/service/site, I entice the person to go and find out more at my site.

    So to you people that agree with the AP’s position, would you try to shut down someone who wanted to create some ads for your business on their site, for FREE? Would you call it copyright if they quoted your site or product description in the ad and linked to your site? This is all baffling to me.

  • http://www.paramind.net Robert Pearson

    I think that the AP has a certain right to ask for something in return for providing news, however, it should be a very small licensing fee and perhaps a type of google adsense like fee for each website display. It gets into a whole new use of web statistics at the web server level. I don’t think the AP should bankrupt or hassle anyone. If they want more money, they should legislate laws and create new technology.

    (the last post didn’t have my website link, maybe you can delete it)

  • Prabhakar Shetty

    AP is right according to me. They pay journalists to write the stuff. Why should anybody else have a free ‘lunch and dinner’ at their cost.

    based on the highly talented journalists’ output , all others will be earning ad revenue. Why not AP ?

    The pay per click scheme of Google and others is also a big scam. A website is loaded with Ads for which the website gets paid a pittance, whereas visitors to the site are lured away by those ridiculous ads.

    The advertisers are raking in billions at the ‘intellectual cost’ of others like AP.
    If unauthorized syndicating is done , AP should be paid.

    Best regards

  • sarah

    The AP is absolutely right to demand licensing fees. Do you think those stories generate themselves? News reporters historically have been paid modest incomes to do the important service that they provide for our democratic society.

    While Google, Yahoo and other online entities are making money recycling content that originates from traditional media sources, newspapers and traditional sources are losing money, and therefore are forced to cut staff. News departments in general are being slashed across all forms of media. For example, I believe there are now only TWO newspapers with journalists stationed in Iraq. This means we are only getting first hand information from increasingly limited viewpoints.

    With loss of income from classifieds and other traditional advertising revenues — that are now going online — it is only right that Google and other major companies should pay to use the work of journalists and other professional writers.

  • http://www.hoteldesigns.net Lorraine.Cunliffe

    I am irritated by the myopia of these services. At HotelDesigns we follow leads, create stopries and place news on our site that is often not available elseswhere, yet services like Google will link to some obscure local print newspaper in Alabama, but ignore our genuine news on the web when aggregating under hotel design.

    I am further irritated when these kind of services do steal our work that they do not link properly. At www.hoteldesigns.net we have over 100,000 repeat readers reading our original stories. Selected articles are carried and properly credited on a number of websites, and are also used in print magazines, who also credit.

    It is irritating when struggling to gain credibility with advertisers in the face of the archaic belief in the printed word when printed on paper, to have to fight the aggregaters, not because they aggregate, but because they tend to aggregate from print sources not the web.

    Why don’t they believe in the web – especially Google of all people….?

  • http://creativegraphicsindia.com antimony

    As long as the news content is free to access for everybody I do not think it makes sense to impose copyright infringement laws on such issues.

  • http://www.netmagellan.com/ Ash Nallawalla

    Back in the days when Usenet was king, there was a special award given to the special people who managed to annoy the good netizens. It was known as the Usenet Death Penalty (UDP). I don’t know what exactly was done, or if it was done to anyone, but it sounded good.

    Now that linking and snippeting is so ingrained in Web 2.0 as a basic building block of the blogosphere, an uninformed or unenlightened judgment could spell the end of the Internet as we know it.

    It should not be too difficult for network administrators to block the IP address range and domain names used by AP from network and email traffic, at least within their own networks. Only passive resistance, nothing illegal please. Let them resort to Gmail. :)

  • http://www.fantastic-offers.com Nigel Nix

    This is scary…

    But I agree that it does show a lack of knowledge about how the internet works. Linking is an integral part of the “net” or “web”. I think this article title should be:
    “AP Suing Moreover Like It’s 1984!”

  • http://photo-grafx.net MGarcia

    What this seems to me, from what I read, is just another example of ‘the well-established’ way of doing things butting heads with a new concept that the majority of consumers are going with. Sooner or later, AP and other ‘traditional’ news media will be forced to go with the new ways of delivering news, or get left behind.

    News is nothing more than information being passed to the masses. This is the very core of what the Internet is all about – the exchange of information. As was mentioned in Rich’s article about his former website “NewsLinx”, if the news companies don’t want traffic driven to their website from other sites, those links can be removed. The one that suffers would be the site that was linked TO, not FROM. It’s their loss.

    Besides, if all of these news companies don’t want just anyone reading their articles, then make them subscription-only – whereas a link back would bring users to a generic “you can’t read this until you subscribe” page.

    Just as the record companies are slow to accept the rising importance of the Internet and “The Information Age”, so is the Associated Press and other news organizations. As I said, sooner or later they’ll have to adapt or be left behind.

  • General Bobby Farrell

    Damned right the KAKs at AP are overboard. But it’s really of little consequence since ALL the Major Media, including news, are controlled by half-truth spewing KAKs.

    I’ll be happy to document.


  • Jeffrey Hartzog

    I know the AP has always been on top of reporting the news but you get it from them for free on any broadcasting station so for them to sue over something as silly as someone streaming or linking to there news is ridiculous in my opinion. I figure they may loose a little income from this but nothing major enough to justify stopping the news from being spread over the internet for sure. I didn’t know anyone owned what went on in the world today anyway. The Lord owns all things so if someone would have the right to sure it would be him and we would all be guilty as charged in this case. Fortunately he is a forgiving and loving God and doesn’t agree with suing at all. THis is my personal opinion on the matter.
    God Bless, Jeff

  • http://www.mybookworkshop.com/ Teresa S Trujillo

    I have been in the publishing industry for three decades. Sampling has always sold more newspapers, magazines, books, and music.

    I don’t see a great deal of difference between showing a headline and link to the complete web based article and source any differently than a radio personality reading the newspaper headlines and discussing the article on their broadcast program. This is fair use.

    AP doesn’t have a let to stand on, but it does have the deepest pockets in media. This could be tied-up in court for decades. And, AP hopes that smaller outlets will fear linking to their articles due to the cost of litigation.


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