Irony Alert: AP Attacks Blogs for Quoting Their Stories, Then Quotes Even More Extensively from Blogs
So the AP has been threatening bloggers who quote their stories:
Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.
Even after an AP spokesman acknowledged that the organization’s tactics were “heavy-handed,” they still didn’t really back off:
Still, Mr. Kennedy said that the organization has not withdrawn its request that Drudge Retort remove the seven items. And he said that he still believes that it is more appropriate for blogs to use short summaries of A.P. articles rather than direct quotations, even short ones.
“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”
Now, in a slightly ironic twist, the AP is taking content from a blog site. Namely, mine.
In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.
I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.
So am I going to be an ass and threaten to charge them, or sue them, or demand that they remove the quotes? Of course not. They benefited from my content and I benefited from their link.
Just like when the Drudge Retort quoted them.
And I’m going to go on quoting AP stories, within fair use guidelines.
And if they start threatening me, I’ll have to remind them that they did the same to me.
UPDATE: Maybe I should reconsider. Michelle Malkin says the AP owes me $188,750. (OK, so Marcy Tiffany actually wrote all the words that were quoted, so maybe they owe her. But she was my exclusive source!!) And Glenn Reynolds says: “Yes, but they’re news professionals, so they shouldn’t have to pay for content. That’s for everybody else. . . .”
UPDATE x2: Orin Kerr notes that I don’t own the copyright in Marcy Tiffany’s e-mail, which is such a great point that I already made it — in the UPDATE above. But that doesn’t change the irony here. I seriously doubt that the AP paid Ms. Tiffany, or asked her explicit permission to quote from her e-mail — because they knew they didn’t have to. Their story was a classic example of fair use. So, if for some bizarre reason she had denied the AP permission to quote her e-mail — which had already been published on my site, and related to a matter of intense public interest — it wouldn’t have mattered. They still could have written the same story.
But the AP wants to deny that same fair use right to bloggers.
It’s not just the AP that gets to take advantage of the concept of fair use. Bloggers can too. But the AP is trying to frighten us out of exercising our rights. We shouldn’t let it happen.
UPDATE x3: If bloggers really want to punish the AP, the solution is here.