Will Bloggers Be at Risk in AP Content Crackdown?
Posted Jul 24, 2009 8:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The Associated Press plans to add software to its articles to track how they are used online.
The aim is for those who use AP articles to pay for them, AP president and chief executive Tom Curley told the New York Times. AP maintains that just publishing an article headline and a link requires a licensing agreement, the story says.
The Times notes that headlines and links are often used by search engines like Google, news aggregators and blogs. Google has argued in the past that its use of AP articles is protected by the doctrine of fair use, according to the blog Today @ PC World. But Curley apparently expects payment.
“If someone can build multibillion-dollar businesses out of keywords, we can build multihundred-million businesses out of headlines, and we’re going to do that,” he told the Times.
Today @ PC World questions whether bloggers will be targeted. Jane Seagrave, senior vice president for global product development at AP, told Information Week that the intent was to deter those who engage in large-scale copying of AP content rather than bloggers who use too many paragraphs from an AP story.
"It's not aimed at people who use part of stories periodically," Seagrave told Information Week. "It's aimed at being affirmative about how we allow our content to be used."
But Today @ PC World thinks Curley's comments sound like he's advocating more of a hard-line approach. "Is the AP going to pursue every blogger who throws in an AP link, or just those fringe sites that post full versions of AP articles?" the blog asks.
Curley refused to tell the Times whether AP would take legal action against sites that use its content without a license. “We’re not picking the legal remedy today,” he said. “Let’s define the scope of the problem.”
AP wants newspapers that publish its articles to use the software as well, the Times says. The software includes a “digital permissions framework” that will explain what rights apply to use of the articles.