Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Associated Press Is Losing Its Mind Over Social Media

If you're a serious blogger, you've probably been following the Associated Press meltdown about bloggers copying and pasting entire AP stories into their blogs or news aggregators, and I agree with the AP on that. Copying and pasting entire posts/articles/stories/poems etc., without permission, is copyright infringement. Furthermore, copying any part of another's work without attribution is plagiarism.

However, I disagree with the AP sending cease and desist orders to bloggers who have quoted from AP stories (reasonable quotes, not most of the story) and who with quotes give proper attribution as well as link back to the original stories. Legitimate quoting standards are some of the first lessons you learn in English 101 when it's time to write the dreaded term paper and such quoting falls under fair use not copyright infringement.

In addition, you learn in Journalism 101 how to quote from other news sources but to write your own story (this does not mean rewriting someone else's story and passing it off as your own). Writers have been referencing the work of other writers via quotes for centuries.

Nevertheless, the AP, fearing its days may be numbered, has been going ballistic at bloggers and other website writers who quote its stories under fair use, and it sounds as though the AP blames blogging and the Net for the demise of newspapers when in truth, newspaper readership started dwindling before the Net blew up. Looking even more idiotic, the AP has complained that not only do bloggers quote AP stories without permission but also that bloggers link to AP stories without permission.

Here is a list of blog posts that gives background and further insight on the AP saga. If you read the post, you'll probably laugh even harder at the video above from Christian Grantham and the related story at TechCrunch.

The AP has gone ape crazy, sending a cease and desist letter not to a blogger but to one of its own affiliates, WTNQ FM, asking the radio station to remove AP video from its website, video that the AP provides to the public with embed codes on YouTube. I don't have enough space or time to tell you how silly I think this makes the AP seem.

As someone who earns part of her living writing, I fully support copyright and have never approved of plagiarists nor other copy-thieving scoundrels, but the AP and its legal eagles have lost their minds. At the least, they're out of touch with cyberspace and social media. If you don't want people to use your videos, then don't provide embed code.

As many bloggers have said already, the AP needs to get a clue from the record industry. If it keeps down this ranting road, with each step forward it shoots itself in the foot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post - I'm going to link to this on my own blog. I also live in Tennessee, so this hits close to home. I've written alot about AP in the past year, when they attacked bloggers before and lately when they threw the lawsuit at Shepard Fairey for his photo of Obama.
I never link to their news stories anymore. It's just indicative of the new copyright wars that are going on in music, literature, movies, and nearly everything. It's all about controlling Fair Use, which AP referred to as a "strange legal theory" the other day instead of a legal right.