Patterico's Pontifications

6/19/2008

Jeff Jarvis Gets It — Plus, You Got Any AP Articles That Need Fisking?

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Jeff Jarvis:

What the AP and The New York Times’ Hansell don’t seem to realize is how hostile an act it is to send lawyer letters to individuals. They have armies of attorneys. We bloggers don’t. The mere act of sending us a letter can cost us money out of our own pockets. Sending a lawyer letter is an assault.

Armies of attorneys committing an assault. I like it. I think that captures it nicely.

I’m guessing Orin Kerr disagrees. When I similarly observed that the AP has an “army” of lawyers terrorizing bloggers, Kerr took me to task:

Patterico, I realize that you can get very excited in your blogging and can be a bit over-the-top (such as describing the sending of a notice and takedown letter as using an “army” to “terrorize” people — kind of waters down the terms, I would think).

Well, at least Jeff Jarvis gets it.

More Jarvis:

[I]t’s not up to the AP to set the definition of fair use. They can’t rewrite the law. You may say that they are trying to create safe harbor by setting their own rules. From our view, they are trying to put up a fence where it cannot legally exist.

Bingo.

Meanwhile, Robert Cox defends the Media Bloggers Association’s representation of Rogers Cadenhead.

Me, I’m tempted to start fisking AP articles that merit it. Fisking, of course, requires one to quote large passages from an article, so that one can level criticism. Done properly, it should be fair use — even, conceivably, if the entire article is reproduced.

Yeah, it might be a fun time to fisk some AP articles. Because you young punks aren’t putting up a fence in my yard!

So: anyone know any AP articles that need a good fisking?

34 Responses to “Jeff Jarvis Gets It — Plus, You Got Any AP Articles That Need Fisking?”

  1. Here’s one possibility.

    The article claims Republicans are recycling the same old stories they used in 2004 against John Kerry to critique this year’s Democratic Presidential nominee. Meanwhile, the article ignores the possibility the Democrats might be recycling the same old shopworn agenda.

    In addition, the AP has 4 photos accompanying the article: 1 of McCain that shows him exiting a vehicle and looking like an open-mouthed doofus, and 3 of Obama that show him looking Presidential with his advisers in front of a row of American flags. That’s not what I call fair and balanced.

    DRJ (1a5f9b)

  2. Jarvis misses one small point. OF COURSE the AP knows that. That’s why they would do it.

    But read Cox’s other post on the matter.

    Jim C. (33af9d)

  3. An easier question is do we know any AP articles that DON’T need a good fisking.

    Laura (5d8a25)

  4. Even their obituaries need fisking. As I pointed out in this post, yesterday, they had Cyd Charisse married to Tony Bennett. Her husband of 6 decades was Tony Martin.

    So much for all those editors and fact checkers, when they can’t tell the difference between two singers named Tony…

    And yes, I quoted the AP’s incorrect sentence in my post. :)

    Best wishes,
    Laura

    Laura (56a0a8)

  5. And Jeff nails it. Yes, AP knows many bloggers who have a blogsite don’t have attorneys.This is simply a scare tactic by the AP to data mine their stories shared by the bloggers.

    The AP never mentioned to that if THEY are going to pay a blogger for his or her use of words or story from his or her blog. The AP are ready to make a buck off of the blogger for using their words. And what makes AP dumb like doorknobs is that when a person is setting up a blog, there isn’t a mandatory training or education by blogger, wordpress, and so on of the do’s and dont’s of the use of media stories or articles legally. The AP has certainly shot themselves in the foot and made themselves look like raving lunatics in the AP/blogger soap opera.

    SP Biloxi (a2e19d)

  6. I’m getting back on my feet, I’ve got one major project to finish at work, and then its “Game On” with the AP. I live for this kind of fight.

    And I am an “Army of One.”

    wls (0ee728)

  7. It is a pity that Orin Kerr doesn’t get it. Many lawyers don’t realize how they and their every day practices are perceived by people. [Perhaps legal acedemics like Kerrt even less so.] They live in a social bubble.

    Most lawyer letters are indeed threats that attempt to shape wills through the implication of financial ruin. “Terror” and “assault” are appropriate terms of art in this instance.

    Gratifying to know that I have been ahead of the curve in fighting the good fight on this. :-) Welcome to the fight all! Now you know what is really at stake.

    Justin Levine (8db65e)

  8. Patterico, do you know Orin Kerr personally or something? Did you forget to send a birthday card? I really appreciate Kerr’s intellect, but he’s been deeply disappointing lately (I heard he’s not even a copyright attorney!).

    As I said in a different thread here, Drudge Retort’s behavior was pretty damn egregious (they copied entire articles wholesale, at least 13 times). I don’t know how AP would effectively respond to that without it coming across as a legal threat to some degree. My beef with AP is that they then had a great opportunity to have a dialogue with bloggers about its own fair use habits and what it thinks is fair, and avoid the anger and chilling concerns. They obviously have had plenty of time to do this, by now.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  9. You people just don’t understand… your reality is quaintly amusing, but the AP’s reality is the reality, because they are the AP. Try to keep up.

    sherlock (b4bbcc)

  10. I fisked an article from the AP about gun control in Mexico back in August. Feel free to use it if you want to, Patterico. Hell, I’ll let you excerpt the whole thing for a sandwich.

    Or even a promise of a sandwich.

    OK, who am I kidding? Send me a picture of a sandwich and we’re good.

    http://minx.cc/?post=237595

    Russ from Winterset (57c121)

  11. You should know that Instapundit is linking to a report that things are little more complicated than Drudge Retort is trying to make it seem:

    http://www.mediabloggers.org/robert-cox/backstory-on-ap-drudge-retort-issue

    Mike Heinz (622399)

  12. Patterico – Why don’t you check out their recent Haditha coverage. It’s a subject I don’t recall you following up on with all the recent dismissals and dropped charges so it might be worth a post anyway.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  13. “…Haditha coverage…”

    Good idea!

    brobin (c07c20)

  14. So, now TV people are coming to the defense of blogger people against newspaper people about ‘fair use’ the problem is tv people are the same and equal to newspaper people.

    Why don’t you check out their recent Haditha coverage. It’s a subject I don’t recall you following up on with all the recent dismissals and dropped charges so it might be worth a post anyway.

    That’s because lawyers and law professors and judges are too busy protecting their own just like TV people who are blogger people and get screwed by newspaper people. Serious only happens when it effects personally

    Justice is the law, yet the law is a joke run by clowns.

    syn (1017f1)

  15. Mike Heinz,

    I linked that in my post.

    I am not mollified. But no time to explain right now. Will post later. Check out Jeff Jarvis’s site for an example of one of Cadenhead’s posts that they’re saying is infringing. It’s not.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  16. In re: the “army of lawyers”, we have a different approach in my office.

    My office administrator got caught in one of those office products scams, but she had carefully documented everything and followed the rules she was given, attempting to cancel the bogus contract within their specified dates. However, they didn’t answer their phone, hung up, changed the dates, etc. Then this company started calling, sending threatening letters, threatening to send our account to collections, etc.

    We finally decided that we have nothing to lose. They keep threatening to send a bailiff to serve papers, and we say, “Come on down!” We’ve heard the taped phone call and don’t think it would pass the laugh test in court. And if they took us to court they would pay a huge amount in lawyer fees to collect $500, while we could represent ourselves w/o an attorney for free.

    Now, granted, AP may be more threatening, but having read through all the US copyright law I don’t think it’s that hard to understand. And “fair use” provisions are wide enough for nearly everything you do on a blog.

    I say, “Go to war!” And have fun doing it!

    Don (7e07e7)

  17. Jem,

    I haven’t had a chance to analyze all of the posts to which the AP objected. It sounds like there was some wholesale lifting, and that would almost certainly be infringing.

    BUT there was at least one post that I’ve seen that was clearly fair use. I’ll write about this in more detail later — no time now. But you can find the post that is fair use in Jarvis’s FU AP post.

    AND they even sent a takedown notice on something a COMMENTER posted.

    Cox is helping defend Cadenhead, and good on him for that. And he’s right that there’s more to the story. But that doesn’t excuse the bullying tactics of the AP lawyers on material that is clearly fair use.

    More later.

    Patterico (fa9371)

  18. I can see where the AP is truly threatened by bloggers. Having led themselves to believe they own the franchise on the production of re-interpreted news, having alternate sources of interpretation is problematic.

    If you evaluate the AP model, they take original content from their affiliates, muddle it down and produce a redistributable form for mass consumption. In a sense, AP is the Muzak of the print news business.

    Obviously, it’s not terribly exciting to be thought as an agency that blurs, distills and distributes news. Over time, the AP has developed “added value” in the editorial selection process, determining the news that is fit for the general public to receive and orienting the report to fit the philosophical context and organizational perspective. Bloggers clearly encroach on this ground by bypassing the AP “fit news” screening process. Worse yet, they’re attacking the AP’s added value, criticizing its evident bias and exposing its manipulation of news in the pursuit of its agenda.

    redherkey (9f5961)

  19. I’m always up for a game of “let’s you and him fight”, but it looks like Professor Kerr doesn’t want to play anymore. :)

    Also, it’s not really that surprising that the TV news people are siding with the bloggers on this one. At least at the local level, most of their broadcasts are just “rip and read”. They have as much to lose (more, since they actually make money doing this) as the bloggers if the AP gets away with its attack on them.

    fat tony (601b8d)

  20. Probably no need to fisk this this one, as this fellow did a pretty good takedown of their source already.

    Par R. (9828c0)

  21. Patterico has it ever occured to you to compare the AP’s protectionist attempts to “build a fence” to your own stance on immigration?

    In a consequence-free world, passing a law that prohibited you from blogging in order to protect the AP from competition would be sweet, sweet justice in the face of your own stance on immigration.

    I can just see the AP’s headline now — “sue the plagarists first.” Because they grudginly admire the honest, hard-working bloggers who just can’t afford their own connections to a nationwide network of media sources. They just don’t want those bloggers to leech off of that network without compensating the the people who built it.

    And once they’ve made the law say what they want it to say, they can then say “but these bloggers are breaking the law!” in defense of their indefensible, anti-competitive position.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  22. Patterico has it ever occured to you to compare the AP’s protectionist attempts to “build a fence” to your own stance on immigration?

    I think this is a false comparison, Phil. The objection many of us have is to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, the first word of which you conveniently omit.

    Not to get off topic, but why should we be rewarding people for geographical proximity to our borders? No sane person wants to halt immigration into this country. We’re looking for a level playing field, where an immigrant from Laos has the same opportunity as an immigrant from Mexico.

    Don’t be intellectually dishonest, Phil. It’s unbecoming.

    h2u (81b7bd)

  23. but why should we be rewarding people for geographical proximity to our borders? No sane person wants to halt immigration into this country. We’re looking for a level playing field, where an immigrant from Laos has the same opportunity as an immigrant from Mexico.

    Right, so why give an advantage to bloggers, who just happen to have access to the reporter networks built by hard-working reporters on the ground before the Internet was even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye?

    The objection many of us have is to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, the first word of which you conveniently omit.

    Read the last paragraph of my post again — right now, you’re doing what I describe there.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  24. Right, so why give an advantage to bloggers, who just happen to have access to the reporter networks built by hard-working reporters on the ground before the Internet was even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye?

    Advantage to bloggers? Are you nuts???

    These hard-working reporters who are so concerned with fact-checking? These hard-working reporters who frame every story in the narrative of their choosing? HA! That’s a laugh.

    The fact is that the AP is trying to avoid Fair Usage and is completely ignoring the benefit seen from bloggers linking to their stories. They. Are. Being. Sent. Traffic! If the AP had any common sense they’d be trying to befriend bloggers and build out their ad network.

    But they don’t have any common sense. That has become quite clear. Such is why they’re now trying to nickel-and-dime bloggers who legally comment on AP news stories.

    Stay classy, San Diego. Stay classy.

    h2u (81b7bd)

  25. “You Got Any AP Articles That Need Fisking”?
    All of them.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  26. “If the AP had any common sense”.

    Have you noticed how “uncommon”, common sense is? Hardly any in the MSM.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  27. Good response Patterico. While I still content that Drudge Retort infringed badly, you are correct that the AP went way to far in several ways, including the commenter takedown, and such behavior is scary to a lot of bloggers that aren’t in the legal profession and can’t afford AP’s legal team. AP knew this and abused their position of power.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  28. Patterico,

    I realize we’ve had major disagreements in the past, but in this case I completely agree with you. As an individual, and a non-lawyer, getting a letter from a lawyer is very threatening. This whole thing is just amazingly short-sighted on the part of AP and the NYT.

    Steve Verdon (94c667)

  29. This may have been blown out of proportion, that’s the take of the Robert Cox writing for the Media Bloggers Assn. He was involved in the give and take between Drudge Retort and AP, talking to both of them to resolve the problem. Rather than paraphrasing it read it here:

    http://www.mediabloggers.org/robert-cox/backstory-on-ap-drudge-retort-issue

    Corky Boyd (4ef332)

  30. Of course, the buttons and functionality of AP’s icopyright are intended for business users having nothing to do with bloggers such as selling reprint permissions to corporate clients (a common practice) but that’s not stopped reports that the updated reason for my meeting with AP is to find a new way of sharing AP content, which now involves a fee per excerpt based on its word length.

    Corky, I read that post from Rob Cox, too.

    But after reading his last paragraph, quoted above, I’m left wondering: what’s to stop AP from requiring bloggers to use iCopyright at some point in the future? He claims that it’s there for corporate entities who wish to excerpt AP content — yet visiting the iCopyright site, one sees no specific indication that bloggers are exempt from paying.

    Here’s the link: iCopyright

    h2u (81b7bd)

  31. h2u

    The reason they probably won’t is “fair use”. They can try anything, but this wasn’t what was in play with The Drudge Retort. They received a takedown order after posting complete articles and failed to respond in a timely manner. Hopefully it will be resolved by tomorrow.

    I am no fan of AP for thier distortions and failing to properly address serious bias issues. But I think a lot of folks are misreading what happened here. The Media Bloggers Assn. is our best friend. They will see that the little folks won’t be pushed around. They have access to top, top legal talent on a pro bono basis.

    AP knows this.

    Corky Boyd (4ef332)

  32. addendum to my prior post.

    Cox points out that icopyright is primarily for a commercial entity who wants to republish an article. An example might be–publishing a glowing article of a CEO in their Annual Report, or an oil company republishing portions of an article in an advocacy ad.

    We are protected by fair use.

    Corky Boyd (4ef332)

  33. We are protected by fair use.

    So why would commercial entities be exempt from fair use? And how is a blogger who runs ads NOT a commercial entity?

    This is a slippery slope, Corky. I think AP is truly of the belief that excerpting any of their content ought to bring them revenue. Fair Use be damned.

    Ultimately, I see no reason why a CEO quoting 5 words — the iCopyright line-in-the-sand — from an AP article should have to pay a dime. Fair Use is Fair Use, and as long as credit is given there should be no obligation to pay for information.

    Because, as the meme goes, information YEARNS to be free.

    h2u (81b7bd)

  34. Who gives a damn what AP thinks in regard to fair use. It’s FAIR use. Blogger or Commercial Entity, (or both) if its fair use then there is nothing stopping you. People get upset when you clearly take more than allowed. Both Publishers and Bloggers alike get equally pissed. Publishers have lawyers, bloggers have the media bloggers association and the dozens of other blogs, and help pages created to help bloggers get their copyright material taken down. Same issue.
    I think of it like a grocery store. It’s okay to grab a sample off of the free sample table. It’s not okay to walk out with an entire grocery cart of it. If you are going to take a cart full of stuff, YOU NEED TO PAY, assuming you have permission… except that does not fit into my cool analogy.
    If its fair use, for the most part I don’t think people are bitching. It’s when you take the whole article, excerpt out the heart and soul of an article, copy a whole article/blog and e-mail it to a bunch of people, stuff like that, people get angry, AND RIGHTFULLY SO! AP does not give a damn about people quoting articles and discussing them. Nor do I think they want to squash all criticism. They just want what’s fair, and walking out of the grocery store full of food is not fair. Taking an entire article/blog or excerpting the heart and soul of it is not fair. Now what’s considered the heart and soul of an article/blog is a gray area. Hey speaking of gray area’s take a look at fair use in general, that is also part of the problem.

    Anonymous (1ab84d)


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