The AP’s Desperate Attempt To Outlaw Search Engine Links

An AP win could kill "fair use" and change the Internet as we know it.

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The AP is launching an all out assault on any use of its content that is not licensed (purchased) for use by Internet publishers and search engines. As I have said in the past, the AP is not just focusing on the blatant violators such as spam blogs or sites that quote paragraphs without attribution or link. On the contrary, the AP is specifically going after bigger mainstream blogs, Internet publications and believe it or not search engines such as Google.

Do you agree with the AP’s actions? What do you think?

The AP believes that desperate times call for desperate measures and that means demanding royalties from any company profiting from any aspect of their content. When Google links to an AP story in a search result with an Adwords ad on the page the AP expects to be paid. Include a rewritten headline link to an AP story Matt Drudge and you will be sued for payment by the AP. Add a paragraph snippet of content from an AP article in your PaidContent.org blog post and be ready for a call from an AP lawyer demanding their share of your ad revenue.

From the AP’s perspective, the concept of fair use is primitive and counter to their desperate desire to prevent their demise in an ad supported Internet content economy. The Associated Press Board of Directors, which is made up mostly of newspaper executives, has issued a member call to arms against anyone and everyone who misappropriates AP content.

The release quotes AP Chairman Dean Singleton who spoke at the AP annual meeting in San Diego, "The news cooperative would work with portals and other partners who properly license content – and would pursue legal and legislative actions against those who don‘t." Mr. Singleton added, "We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories."

Exactly what misguided legal theories Mr. Singleton was referring to became more clear as reports and interviews were published by other media. The New York Times quotes AP executives as stating, "They were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report". In other words, they are challenging the long held assumption that search engines or news aggregation sites have a right under fair use principles to republish headlines or small snippets of content without permission or payment. Should the AP be paid?  Comment.

If you don’t believe the AP is really going after Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Live Search for republishing AP content in search results read what Sue Cross, a senior vice president of AP told reporters as printed in the New York Times:

" When asked if The A.P. would require a licensing agreement before a search engine could show specific material, Ms. Cross said, “that could be an element of it,” but added, “it’s not that formed.”"

Obviously, the AP doesn’t consider a link that goes with the republished headline or snippet sufficient payment. The AP’s stated goal is to make it illegal either through the courts or by new laws to link (with a quote) to copyrighted content on the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder. However, in the case of the Drudge Report where most headlines are rewritten, apparently even a link to their content without permission may need an AP license agreement.

If the AP is successful, and they clearly believe they will be, then the Internet will be changed as we know it. Linking (with snippets or not) to the content of others could become a permission based concept where one only links (and quotes) after they have received the appropriate approval.

If content owners like the AP can sue search engines for unauthorized use of their content and win a share of their ad revenue, then the Google apple cart could be turned upside down.

>>> Is the AP justified in their fight? Should search engines share their revenue with content providers?

Share your thoughts below.

—— —— ——

Author Perspective: The author of this article, Rich Ord, is the founder and CEO of the iEntry Network which includes this publication, WebProNews. In 1996 Mr. Ord started NewsLinx.com which linked via republished headlines to selected Internet business and tech related articles as they were published. NewsLinx was the first news aggregation site of its kind and spawned many similar sites such as Topix.net, Techmeme and Google News.

News aggregation was not understood or immediately appreciated by most mainstream news organizations in early 1996. At that time most newspaper websites only published a fraction of their articles online and many were experimenting with pay-for-access concepts.

Soon after the launch of NewsLinx, Mr. Ord was contacted by numerous news organizations including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, etc… asking if NewsLinx had permission to "deep link" directly to stories within their site. The answer given by Mr. Ord was that the Internet was based on links and that NewsLinx was really no different than a search engine and therefore had the right to republish headlines and link direct to the article web page.

However, to avoid action on what sounded like legal threats to Mr. Ord he offered to stop including their headlines at their request. The typical response in 1996 was that they did not want NewsLinx to stop publishing their headlines and linking to their articles.

The AP’s Desperate Attempt To Outlaw Search Engine Links
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  • http://www.nathancheeley.com Nathan Cheeley

    I get the feeling the AP is under the false assumption that if people don’t get their AP stories elsewhere, then they’ll go straight to the source to start getting it.

    This may have worked a few years ago before the social media explosion, but I sincerely believe that people won’t give a damn. They get their media from Google, Yahoo! Home Page, and DrudgeReport not because of the AP stories, but because it’s convenient and familiar. They should consider their next step carefully because if they think their readership won’t plummet by dropping the hammer, I fear they’re sorely mistaken.

  • Guest

    In Canada the Canadian Press is loosing subscribers in a steady stream. The likes of AP and CP, Reuters, et al are discovering their dinosaur heritage and will be facing extinction in due course of time as a result of the internet. Good riddance. Maybe true journalism will breathe some new life in their absence. It follows they (news wire syndicates) will stop at nothing to destroy the thing that is destroying them.

  • Guest

    ” When asked if The A.P. would require a licensing agreement before a search engine could show specific material, Ms. Cross said,

  • http://www.cheaperhoster.com Brian

    Perhaps someone should explain to these AP execs that if they succeed in outlawing links to their content they won’t get found at all in the search engines and they will disappear off the face of the internet (aside from paid ads). These guys seem to have a warped view of how the internet works. When someone links to your content it IS payment because it brings you more traffic and increases your search rankings which in turn brings you more traffic. Without traffic you aren’t going to make any sales.

    In their hopes to grab money wherever they can they fail to see the larger context and will find themselves on a little island with hardly any visitors. If the AP doesn’t want to participate in the organic nature of the internet they will be the only ones to lose.

  • http://www.quotebean.co,uk Saif ur Rehman Khan

    Well AP has definitely not calculated the power of the Google. In fact in the past few years, Google has emerged to become the world’s largest stakeholder in search engine industry. I think the AP will end up loosing its own ranking and consequently the reach and page ranks.

  • Guest

    If they want to get paid for content, they should place it behind a password protected entry, and charge for subscriptions. Simple. The search engines cannot crawl or redistribute their content, unless they intentionally post it in their ‘open’ area.

    Forcing the internet to conform to one corporation or industry is wrong. Hear that RIAA?

  • Guest

    As far as search engines being charged, I don’t think they have a leg to stand on. Now, reuse is a completely different story. Just like any other copyright material, video, music, etc. republishers should not expect it for free. Currently they aren’t legally allowed to republish network television programs or sports video, NFL, NBA, etc. without a licensing agreement. Any written material, books, magazines, newspaper articles, should be treated equally.

  • http://aplawrence.com Tony Lawrence

    As noted, this would just mean that they would quickly disappear from all legitimate websites.

    But I can’t see that the courts are going to over turn “fair use” because of this.

    • http://www.allsquared.com/home.htm AllSquaredWebDesign

      I’m not a lawyer and do not know the legal definition of “Fair Use”.

      However, walk into any restaruant, bar, or theatre in the world and hear “background music” whether you want to or not. Every establishment pays a license fee to ASCAP and BMI for the privelege to use popular music, even to have cover bands play. The artists who created this content, music, are compensated through this system.

      So why is the idea of paying the AP for their conent sound so awful.
      If its their story being used, they should get paid.

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Tough times call for tough moves but this one takes the cake. They can expect this to fall like bad dominoes in my view of it. Many advertisers will also bail.

    Top of the 10 worse moves in 2009, AP will be at top of list.

    Too bad.. I’m sure people that work with them are trying to stop or at least don’t want it to happen.


  • http://www.techypunky.com Adrian

    @Nathan Cheeley

    Yes Nathan you’re right. It’s suicide move from AP.

  • Guest

    Well, I see corporate greed is alive and well at the AP. Ditto corporate stupidity.

    Wake up morons! Greed is not good. Getting your company name and product before the largest numbers possible is. If someone links to your site, an article, etc., they are driving potential customers to you. You should be paying them!

    If you can’t keep up with the times, if you wish to remain a dinosaur you will wind up the same place they did. Which is probably for the best. Don’t expect the rest of the world to make up for your own ineptitude and inability to earn enough to keep your company afloat.

    Here’s an idea–fire a bunch of your over-paid exec’s, then pay the rest what they’re actually worth. You will suddenly be making more money than you ever thought possible…..

  • http://bassinblog.richlindgren.com Rich

    While I can see they want to block blatent copying of their content, expecting to get paid for snippets, quotes & links back to their content will be slitting their own wrists/throats, they obvioulsy do not understand how the internet works

  • Guest

    Outstanding! Now maybe all of these website that steal content will go away. The content thieves have been driving newspapers out of business left and right. When all the reporters are gone what content will they steal then. Not sure why it has taken AP so long to do this.

    • Steve

      I totally agree with the AP. It costs money to get the news being stolen and a link does not compensate them for the effort and expense it takes to do quality news reporting. Good Bye and Good Luck to the content stealers, FT!

  • http://www.donomite.com DonOmite

    The comment about not being able to rebroadcast sporting events brought to mind an interesting point. If you listen to the legalese spouted during a broadcast it actually includes average joe/jane commenting on the game. Period. They say no “descriptions of the game” can be used without their express written consent. This means that if I say “did you see that play where …..” that is a violation of that legal claptrap.

    Technically, sports groups could go after any blogger who discusses a game in detail, especially if there is a play by play type of description.

    The AP is following in the footsteps of the idiot entertainment industry. I’m betting others, such as the sports world, will follow suit at some point.

  • Guest

    Sounds like AP is driving another nail in their own coffin. The when I access their content on line it is always via a search engine or blog link. When these links stop as far as I’m concerned AP will cease to exist.

    Like it or not many people get their news via the internet not from printed sources.

    it’s the 21st century, time to adapt or die.

  • Guest

    Sounds eerily similar to the music industry… perhaps they should learn from that experience.

  • TheDon

    As an internet user, I like my aggregated news as well as the next guy. But where do you think that news comes from? The news fairy? Real news organizations (as opposed to aggregators, which offer other people’s work, and general bloggers, who offer commentary in the guise of news) provide content by PAYING people to find the story, do the research, and produce the article. Did you ever read notice the byline on a newspaper article? I’m guessing that better than 50% of them are AP articles. BUT THEY DON”T OFFER IT TO CONSUMERS – they sell the service to other news organizations. All the links in the world don’t mean shit if the person following the link is not a potential customer, and for the AP and other news organizations that is almost universally true. Personally, I’m ok with paying someone for the work that they do. The internet is a great communications media, but it’s not a license to steal.

    • http://www.cpasitesolutions.com Kenny

      Must be nice to be the smartest guy on the planet.

      Nobody here would deny that rewriting an entire article is IP theft. That’s not what this is about. We are all professional content providers here. Nobody here is going to defend IP theft.

      This is about a strictly defined legal concept called “fair use” which is absolutely essential to the very fabric of American society as it supports a little thing called the first amendment.

      If AP has publicly posted information I have a right to “fair use”. This does not mean that I can reprint it. But what I can do is say “according to an article by the AP blah blah blah, click here to read the full article”. This is called fair use and has been defended in court on many occasions. If the AP doesn’t want me to have fair use they need to stop posting information publicly. Legal precedent is clear. Posting information on the internet without securing it by password is the electronic equivalent of placing it on a bulletin board outside your office. Fair use applies.

      Of course securing their site will only hurt them. Sooner or later someone will buy the info and post it, and we’ll just credit the article to the buyer and send the traffic to their site instead of AP. In the end news is news, and the courts have said over and over that not only do I have the right to spread the news, I also have the right (in fact I have a responsibility) to site the source of the information.

      AP has nobody to blame but itself for it’s inability to expand it’s consumer base to adapt to the new economic realities of the digital world.

      Just one knuckleheads point of view.

  • http://bitchslappin.net BJ

    The idiots who run this company can watch as their web traffic and subsequently their stock prices PLUNGE.

    This is a genie they cannot put back in the bottle. And people who have used their content with attribution and a link back have driven a HUGE amount of traffic to their web properties. If another, smarter outfit, like Reuters or similar, puts out a TOS that allows content use as long as there’s attribution and a linkback I betcha that will put the AP out of business in a very short time. With the press, you’re only as good as your readership numbers.

  • http://www.planetbuzz.com Planet Buzz Man

    Well the way I see it is you have a bunch of highly educated Harvard executive types that don

  • http://www.politicalchristian.org Larry Miller

    AP is unfortunately following a business model from the last century. We have moved into an online, digital age where information is distributed in a different manner. This also means that there are many more sources of information available. Their brand is a representation of a certain amount of reliability, but with others not charging as AP wants to… they will just fade into obscurity as are many of their newspaper customers.

  • mpheadley

    The AP is treading on dangerous territory. Everyone should have learned from the now hated by everyone RIAA. An all out assault on anyone and everyone’s quotes and links could seriously backfire against them. Dare I say it could even put the AP out of business?

    The AP is going to have to compromise. Whether they do it fairly and now or whether they drag it into court and spending a ton of money is a decision they should make now.

    I think courts would decide that a headline and a simple link is fair game for everyone, and that would be really expensive for the AP.
    What the AP needs to do now is draw the line and spell out which entities can do this and that and what entities cannot do this and that.

    While it’s not right for companies to take advantage of linking, it’s not right for the AP to say you can’t either.

    I would personally consider a third party description of the article with the link to be totally fair use. However, a directly copied sentence or more by itself is the grey area. If a blogger talks about the subject and then quotes from the article within the blog post, that has always been considered fair use and nobody has ever had a problem with that when the author was given.

    And the amount of those quotations from the article is also questionable. It also wouldn’t be fair for the AP to say you can use two sentences but you can’t use a paragraph. This is because one or two sentences can easily make up a whole paragraph in a newspaper column.

  • http://www.urlwire.com EricW

    Hi Rich – Your perspective on this matter is unlike anyone else’s in the world, since you started this whole mess with Newslinx back in the day :) Frankly, I was happy the big media morons didn’t want you to link to them, as that provided more slots for you to link to URLwire.com site announcements, which you did, and which helped me build that brand. Big media’s clueless loss is the little guy’s gain.

  • Mike

    I think what they are trying to do really stinks and the way I feel about it is no matter how it all turns out we should just cut them out entirely.

    Don’t link to their content, don’t buy their products etc.

    Let that be their legacy.

  • Guest

    Hell No. These old bags are just demanding entrance into the new media. They should have jumped, but they where set in there ways. I imagine a drowning man will try to grab onto whatever he can. Desperate times indeed.

  • http://www.fullinternetmarketingservices.com Full Internet Marketing Services

    I decided to take a look at the AP homepage only to discover that the coding they have on the index doesn’t include noindex nofollow which means they publish stories that search engines are being directly told to follow.

    Big mistake on the part of AP; if they are saying that no search engine should scrape the content they should at least “pretend” that they have tried to prevent it before putting out such a blanket statement like they did.

    It is like inviting a guest over for dinner and then saying at the end of the evening, you owe me 20 dollars because you ate here at my request.

    Recode your page, or as another poster said earlier, put a password in place before story links can be followed by a search engine and anybody else.

  • http://www.daxii.com/articles/categories/all.aspx News

    If they dont want search engines to list them, google, yahoo… should ban their sites from the search results.

  • Guest

    I completely agree. If you want to go out and do real hands-on, live, in-person research and then report on that, do it. Otherwise, pay or you are a thief.

  • http://www.kurttischer.net Kurt

    … seriously.

    To paraphrase from a non-so-popular former U.S. politician, AP’s maneuvers are “the most desperate [efforts] of a doomed regime.”

    • Valerie

      As well, “Desperate times, call for desperate measures.”

  • Early Adaptor

    Who the hell do these late adaptors think they are??!??!

    I AM now going out of my way to link to AP stuff their lawyers will get a virtual tea bagging ….

    Life sucks when you lose control , right AP?!? LOSERS

    Please I beg everyone link to AP stuff as your way off saying FOFF

  • http://www.swimmingpoolslides.net Savon Pools

    The best way to fight them is to do exactly waht they are asking-
    Everyone should completely stop sending traffic to them – Newspapers are a dying breed and soon the Ap would have no
    customers and no traffic.
    The Ap will then have only two choices, either reverse course and
    start paying for links or sell out to Google ?

  • http://www.8womendream.com Eight Women Dream

    Why doesn’t the AP just code their site not to be picked up by the search engines and have user ID’s and Passwords to access their site? This play makes them look old and out of touch with technology.

  • http://www.reliefvolunteers.com Kathleen Johnson

    AP maybe lashing out at those linking in cyberspace – but then, how about a library providing a “free” copy of a newspaper or access, in some form, to AP articles.

    Seems to me that AP is trying to practice an isolationist policy akin to Japan – and that fell in 1873.

    AP is going to have to figure out how to thrive in this new cyber world without sinking its own platform.

    Kathleen Johnson
    Waveland, Ms

  • http://www.cpasitesolutions.com Kenny

    AP is sawing off the limb they’re sitting on.

    This is just another example of people not understanding how the internet works. These principles have already been challenged in court. AP is going to lose this one. If they don’t want search engines indexing their content they need to use a robots.txt to block the spiders just like the rest of us. As for fair use… those laws are clear, easy to understand, and have been unsuccessfully challenged in court scores of times by hundreds of petulant, self-entitled, well-funded copyright holders and they all went down in flames.

    It’s sad to see the old guard going down like this, but the entire economy is in a state of adapt or die. Newspapers and their support services, like AP, can’t seem to adapt. That means they just have to die. It’s shouldn’t surprise anyone that they would throw money at their lawyers as they slide deeper and deeper into the red. That’s pretty much SOP when a company is about to fail.

    Litigation is not a substitute for adaptation.

  • http://www.smarthomesllc.net Guest

    OK, so AP should be paid if a blogger reprints the entire article on his site, especially if they include some sort of frame header or other intrinsic branding or adds not available in the original AP story. Yahoo pays for all of their AP content; why shouldn’t Google.
    However, I do not believe AP should be paid if the blog, search engine or link aggregation site only reprints an excerpt and then links to the original content provider for the bulk of the story.

    Where does that leave Google? Well for some reason when Google links to a story from for instance the’ Los Angles Times’, it links directly to their page. However, when Google links to an AP story, the header reads, “Hosted by Google”. An obvious hijacking of content! If they are not paying for the content, then they shouldn’t reprint the entire story. Plain and simple.

  • Valerie

    This is an interesting debate. As a former News Director at a commercial station, while in college, we relied greatly on AP news. Of course, we paid a hefty subscription fee as well. Associated Press was the Monopoly in news. Today, AP continues to be the source of all news from TV, Radio, Web, and even Bloggers (Who are not Journalists, but simply provide comments and opinions on actual news or perceived news events).

    On the other hand, the ‘Genie is out of the bottle’ and there is no way AP will ever be able to succeed – the time and cost of such legal battles would be senseless, wasteful and endless. It’s clearly obvious these people have not a clue about New Media, their business model must beginning to suffer, as this was never a mention until now.

    The only solution is for AP is to remove itself and it’s content from the Web entirely and return back to it’s old Monopoly of providing news to Jurassic media of TV, Radio, and Newspaper outlets. Just turn off the content servers or remove public access and say Good Bye – it’s really that simple and a “No- Brainer”. Farewell AP.

  • Guest

    This message is a reply to The Don’s post above “Do any of you knuckleheads know what the AP does?”

    The AP is but one of 50+ news gathering organizations that sell their content. They are one of the top 10 most widely used, up ’til now. But, their belief that any court will have the authority to regulate a worldwide media forum such as the Internet is outlandish, farcical and laughable. Nevermind the backlash of establishing such precedent. The AP will be forced to it’s knees. Their reporters will quit the AP to work for a lesser-known and less-retarded news organization. The AP is a dying breed. You can continue to becry the injustice of it all. But, smart people know when to jump ship. The AP is drowning in the vast ocean of media content available from their competition. Those who scream injustice will be taken down with them. So, before you call forum posters names and throw a tantrum, you should first establish credibility. Otherwise, you will become the source of amusement for this forum. knucklehead, huh? Wow…I don’t think I’ve used that term to describe anybody since I was in the 3rd grade. How old are you, little boy?

  • Guest

    It is very apparent with the news of Newspapers world wide failing, that the AP is making one of those feeble attempts to pad their pockets so the Executives can make sure they have enough money to fuel their boats this summer and the rent will be paid on their multiple homes while the employees who make the real money for them get to stay in their little middle income ruts!

    When is the American people and the people world wide going to act like they have an actual backbone and stand up against these people who act like this and stop buying their products? Why should they get to bring the rest of us down to their squalor? Why don’t we just topple them? It’s very easy. Don’t support anything with their name on it. Drop your subscriptions to the print media who supports them. Show them what FREE SPEECH is all about!

    Besides, once they print it and release it to the public, it has become public domain! If they don’t want people reprinting their stuff, then we should stop reading it too! So I pick up a newspaper from the bottom of the bird cage and then write about a story I see on it and they think they still own it? I paid for it when I bought the subscription. What I do with it after I dispose of it is my business, not theirs! There are far more means of accurate and viable news sources than the AP.

    Come on people, there are far more of US than THEM! Or do you people actual have no backbone? Step up and tell them that you are MAD and aren’t going to take their heavy handed bully tactics any longer!

    But I am sure the Government will find a way to bail these cry babies out with OUR TAX dollars too! I hope not!

  • Guest

    Why don

  • Guest

    yes, revenue should be shared with the content provider. if you are making money off their headlines because you can place ads which are relevent to that story.

  • freelance

    Ap are in a no win situation if the do get legislation past, all google and the other major search engines have to do is block their sites from all search requests.As google for one is the most widely used search engine and the amount of traffic to the ap sites drops from 1000’s of hits a day to a mere trickle, ap will lose all of their advertisers, which will cost them many times more than could ever have been obtained by royalties from people linking in. only winner in this are the lawyers as half the staff of ap will be laid off & most of journalists will file stories & copy elsewhere as they want people to read it! But don’t worry it will never happen, just economic suicide in these times.
    (anybody can use this copy anyway they like including ap in case they want to let their share holders know why their share prices will become worthless)

  • http://www.jamrockentertainment.com Jamrock Entertainment

    It’s a no brainer to me- if the AP does not want their content indexed without permission then they need to instruct their webmasters to restrict Google and other compliant robots to not index their pages.

    They can do this- the way the rest of us do- robots text file.

    Their webmasters can then (like any of us) request that existing indexed pages be pulled- and in less than 24 hours they will be removed from the Google index.

    Then they’ll have the leverage they need for people to become paid subscribers to their content. Problem solved.

    As for Bloggers posting their material without permission- they can set up alerts (like Google Alert) to be notified the DAY that their content is indexed on the internet. Anyone can do this.

    BUT it is THEIR responsibility to take these measures- as it is for the rest of us.

  • Phil M.

    What a crock!

    Why have we not seen the AP charging special fees for newspaper boxes that have advertisements on them?

    Perhaps they would like to collect extra fees from businesses near these boxes … or special fees from the companies that advertise on benches near where the boxes are located?

    What about all the money that the AP loses when their stories are clearly visible in the newspaper boxes or on newstands?

    What about the loss of revenue from someone looking at a newspaper pile in the checkout lane of a store/resturant when the person does not puchase the paper?

    To try and collect revenue to a link about a story … or even a small section of the story is ridiculous.

    The AP news to be fined for bringing trivial legal actions against other entites.

  • JP

    They’re the ones that are paying for employees and anyone else involved with their company for the content that gets published. To have someone come along and use some or all of that content for their own gain should be just like what happened in the music industry. If a person can’t do research and find content from different sources and write their own article then they should be charged for using someone elses. I don’t like the fact that there is software out there where you can spy on other peoples websites to see what they’re doing to get good rankings and so on and so forth. To me that’s stealing other peoples hard work and it is totally unethical.

  • http://protrafficcenter.com/resellers David Bowie

    These guys just don`t get it. for years, they have been charging high prices for print ads that don`t work and a dramatically drop in readership. Instead of fighting and trying to sue everyone, they might want to take a different approach and fire the idiot lawyers who came up with this plan. Funny, have you ever seen one of their ads in their own newspaper? I don`t think so!

  • Joanne

    It’s all good to put all this blame on AP, but as a writer, I didn’t sign a contract with you or your blog. And AP, or whatever company is paying me, doesn’t pay me so you can use it. I create a product and they buy it. They OWN it. That’s in our contract.

    Let’s see if I can put this in words you will all understand.

    You buy a car. YOU own the car, right? But a guy driving down the street decides that he likes your car and he borrows it. Why not? It’s just sitting there on the street. He’s been searching for a car like that and, poof, there it is so he takes it.

    Now, maybe he doesn’t take it forever but it’s a little more used and a little less valuable because he put a dent in it and drove 20,000 kms. But, hey . . . why shouldn’t he? And, you shouldn’t be compensated by anyone. So what if you can’t get to work and make money?

    If all of you bloggers etc. are just stealing content, then how do I as a writer get paid?? Because newspapers all over are shutting down and, from what I’ve seen, none of you wants to pay us.

    So, we won’t be writing content for anyone. And your news for your blogs etc? Well, I guess you’ll have to make it up. Do try to use spell check and grammar check, oh, and have some fact checkers make sure it’s all true. Shouldn’t cost you much.

    • Mike

      Where do you draw the line? Do you pay for all the content you reference in your work? Perhaps the news makers should start charging AP when they make news and anyone who is referenced by AP should be compensated since AP is generating revenue from them.

      Stealing content is one thing, but referencing content is part of the process. You do it. Where do you draw the line?

    • http://www.donate-for-life.com/index.html Gordie Hayduk

      Joanne, your argument is valid.

      However, if I formed an Internet AP-like organization, bought stories from the very same writers, paid writers better than AP, charged more users less but earned more, how long would the AP last?

      Nevermind, AP is on its way out.

    • Robert

      No! No! No! your words are NOT like a car. If I take the car you don’t have it anymore. If take a copy of your words, you still have them. The market price for your words is whatever the market will pay. At the top of your site put a credit card box and see what people will pay to read what you have written. That is what your words are worth. Generally people will not pay, this implies your words are worth nothing to most people, possibly something to some people. Live with it.


  • http://www.mariathemuse.com Maria

    It’s a different world today and if AP and other similar companies don’t evolve they’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.

    Many people in the above comments have left very thoughtful and intelligent solutions that do not involve suing or otherwise trying to strong arm to get what they want.

    I’m wondering about the other side of the coin? Does the AP pay “everyone” they quote? Or just the writers of the article containing that quote? And are they willing to pay me for advertising their service if I link to them from my site?

    Then there is the whole question of how much content constitutes a paid vs. free plug? Is 7 words free but 10 subject to royalty? And what if I paraphrase and say “for full details visit ____.” Is that stealing content or a recommendation?

    It’s an extremely complex issue. The only thing I know for sure is that their current course of action is taking them away from what they want…not closer to it.


    PS Do I owe royalty for this comment?

  • Debbs

    If AP wants to get greedy, lets just refuse to read any more of their articles. We can find plenty of news elsewhere. Search engines such as Google should reverse it on them and refuse to allow any printed materials or ads that have orginated from the AP. Watch how fast they decide getting sue happy isnt such a good idea.

    • http://www.ueidaq.com Josh Mormann

      If they continue to fight with the people that use them they will be replaced my a more forward and open thinking organization. This story of old-farts “whining with lawyers” hasn’t helped the recording industry much, it had only bled it of money it should be saving for retirement.

      Things are different, and continuing to change, and fighting over how things should be is not going to change them back. The world will find a more open solution.

  • Guest

    The AP pays for the information that they receive from sources such as reporters. The information they have is their’s. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. They publish it and charge for it. To me, that makes sense.

    Now, anyone can come along and use the AP’s resources, which were paid for by AP, and make use of it for their own purposes, even to make money.

    If all these people that want to use AP stories had to hire reporters and pay for information, then the data belongs to them. Until they do that, they have no right using other people’s property for their gain.

    I don’t care if we are in a new century, and a new era and a digital world, it doesn’t make it any righter than stealing songs on the internet.

    • CoachChris

      Is this like illegal downloads? That is, taking content without permission, or is it acting as a free-lance marketer of material? Traditional media outlets that the AP represents are dying as a print medium and would have no presence on the internet if it wasn’t for the marketing of people like Drudge, Google and other types of entities. People don’t go to Drudge to see what AP has put out recently. They go to Drudge to get information. When Drudge links to an AP article they are, in effect, providing free marketing for the AP. Would a Drudge viewer even look for a specific AP article without that site? Probably not. The same is true of Google. If no AP article appeared in Google the AP would have no traffic. Do they think people are going to look for a particular newspaper (brand loyalty) or specific content in their searches. Google is providing a service to the AP. Google funds that service, not by charging the AP, but by producing ad revenue. The AP’s threat is just the dying gasp of the traditional media who is going the way of the horse and buggy.

    • Valeria V.

      That someone accepts the idea that news can be associated to property makes me shudder. News may be your property until you divulge it. After which news fall in the public domain. This means that the only news that can be somebody’s properties are news that remain secret.

  • Guest Don

    If they want paid,then they should pay for part of the advertising costs,we don’t get our ads for free always. They have been around for a long time,but so has GM—that could change

  • http://mortgage700.com/directory.html Mortgage Refinance US Directory Guy

    What’s the AP? Associated Press? Sorry I thought I knew something about SEO,

    Carlos M Chapa

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