The Associated Press is sending cease and desist notices to several blogs and other sites for citing, quoting, and linking to the organization’s content, and the situation is causing some interesting drama across two blog networks.
First of all, the Associated Press is demanding that blogs and other sites stop quoting its articles, and it even sent a few cease and desist notices to a few sites earlier in the month. The Drudge Retort — a site similar to Digg, which is designed to spread the word on popular articles, videos, pictures, and other media — has been a key target so far.
This Drudge entry, an article on Hillary Clinton, linked to an original AP article, and only quoted the lead and title. I’m sure the entry significantly increased the traffic the article received, and it also sparked tons of public discussion. Great, right? No, the AP doesn’t think so, and Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch thinks the organization is overreacting.
The AP wants to create its own guidelines for fair use since current copyright laws are apparently too lax for its content. Even though it wouldn’t be illegal to break the organization’s private fair use guidelines, “those that disregard the guidelines risk being sued by the A.P., despite the fact that such use may fall under the concept of fair use,” says Arrington. Seriously, that’s not fair, and I agree with Arrington, though I wouldn’t go so far as to ban all AP stories.
Anyway, he believes the AP is doing this to protect a dying business model in the same way the RIAA fights the web to save record labels, and Valleywag is accusing TechCrunch of being hypocritical in banning and criticizing the AP since TechCrunch syndicates content to the Washington Post. I can’t really see the hypocrisy though.
TechCrunch doesn’t really bother anyone about linking to its content as long as it’s cited appropriately, and the blog has a right to sell its content. Furthermore, TechCrunch doesn’t rely on a dying business model — the newspaper and newspaper companies — for its revenue. It just takes advantage of that dying business model to sell content, so Valleywag isn’t making any sense when it compares TechCrunch’s syndication work to the AP’s syndication work.
Oh well, at least Valleywag really respects reporters, which is great… really.