Recently, the AP decided to get all legal on the bloggers over at The Drudge Retort and demanded that content containing AP reporting be taking down, citing Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The content in question ranged from between 17 and 79 words (yes, that’s it), and the AP apparently thinks the The Drudge Retort’s posts violated their copyright. Not only that, they wanted something a commenter had posted taken down. Yes, a commenter who had quoted an AP story.

Obviously, this has caused an uproar in the blogosphere about whether or not quoting pieces of other people’s content and then citing where you got it is indeed “fair use.” And guess which side bloggers are coming down on.

The AP recognized they may have been a little hasty to get legal and decided to regroup and offered a way for bloggers to excerpt content and pay for it.

Here are the terms…

That’s right. If you want to use 5 words from the AP, you have to pay $12.50.

So then…since I excerpt content from the AP on a near daily basis at Donklephant, I’m left with two choices:

  1. Don’t ever excerpt any content from the AP because there’s no way I’d ever be able to pay their fees.
  2. Completely ignore them.

I’m going with choice #2. Here’s why…

First, it’s a complete perversion of the fair use laws to suggest that quoting more than 4 words violates copyright, and AP should know better.

Second, bloggers help AP’s content by quoting it, citing it, linking to it and consequently helping it rise further up in search results. Because what this ultimately does is sends more traffic to their stories…which they can then make more ad dollars off of.

Third, the sooner the AP realizes this, the better. Consider my decision as a way of helping the AP get with reality sooner rather than later. And if the entire blogosphere follows suit, there’s absolutely no way they can sue us all.

So there you have it. We’re all outlaws now. Get your guns and let’s ride.

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