A.P. to Take On Web Aggregators

I am rather puzzled by this story:
A.P. to Take On Web Aggregators (emphasis added)

Taking aim at the way news is spread across the Internet, The Associated Press said on Monday that it will demand that Web sites obtain permission to use the work of The A.P. or its member newspapers, and share revenue with the news organizations, and that it will take legal action those that do not.

Associated Press executives said the policy was aimed at major search engines like Google, Yahoo and their competitors, and also at news aggregators like the Huffington Post, as well as companies that sell packaged news services. They said they do not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over it and to profit from it. The A.P. also said it is developing a system to track news articles online and determine whether they were used legally.

Here’s what puzzles me:
If AP posts its content on line, and the people who quote it fully attribute it to AP, does that constituted unauthorized use?

Apparently AP believes it does.

There is the issue of sharing revenue. Lots and lots of websites using AP are losing money hand-over-fist (I have worked for some of them), so would AP be suing websites that are already in the red?

James Joyner has more questions on that

I can’t for the life of me figure out why AP and its member papers think Google News is hurthing their business model. They merely aggregate headlines and send links to the original online sources — i.e., AP’s members.

However, there’s another big issue, that of ascertaining “the original source or the most authoritative source,”

One goal of The A.P. and its members, she said, is to make sure that the top search engine results for news are “the original source or the most authoritative source,” not a site that copied or paraphrased the work of news organization.

Here’s the tricky part:
As you all know, I do the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean, and I also write on Latin America for Real Clear World. I am in frequent contact with a number of people in Latin America, so before I post on a story I have often discussed news with them. I also have as my podcast guests people who are closely watching a story, as I did in last Thursday’s podcast when I interviewed the son of Ecuadorian journalist Rómulo López Sabando. By the time I post a story I use dozens of links from international media, including local newspapers from the countries where the stories develop. This post has close to four dozen links. In addition to the media from the Latin American countries, I also research European media if it’s relevant to the story, such as Sarkozy‘s trip to Mexico, where I read several French newspaper articles but used English-language sources so my readers wouldn’t have to translate the original source.

Should I be concerned that AP is going to sue me because they think that I may have “copied or paraphrased” them? Or should I just bypass anything from AP and totally ignore them?

Welcome, Outside the Beltway readers. Please visit often.


9 Responses to “A.P. to Take On Web Aggregators”

  1. AP To Sue Google News? Blogs? Someone? Says:

    […] Fausta Wertz wonders about online sources that do original research but use AP as part of their research: By the […]

  2. Anthony (Los Angeles) Says:

    I’d just skip them. You probably have access to the same sources from which the AP writer is cribbing his or her reports, anyway. 😉

  3. Merv Benson Says:

    There is an old lawyers axiom that there is nothing dumber than suing someone who does not have any money. That may apply to AP in these cases, but suing Google for sending them traffic has to be at least as dumb. I would be delighted to get that kind of links to my posts.

    I have already been avoiding AP copy. It is not that great and you can usually find alternative media available with a Google search. There is so much material out on the web at this point that I am usually making judgments everyday on whether something is worth posting about. If it is AP I barely scan it anymore.

  4. Pat Patterson Says:

    My understanding is that AP and some others are trying to get the same protections that the authors and publishers now have in that to reprint or repost something in a book or article, even if found on the internet, written approval is required from the copyright holder. Which normally takes months to procure from the author or publisher but the AP seems to be implying that for a fee they will expedite that use.

    Rupert Murdoch has been arguing the same point for some years now. That use of information can only be through subscription or fees and acknowlegement of source. Now the latter seems to be standard except from those people, usually in comments, who appropriate other’s work and mislabel it as their own. But misuse, at least according to the copyright holder, will be fairly easy to trace unless the original work is highly abridged or paraphrased. But if that’s the case then why bother reposting the material in the first place because doing so simply elminates the materials appeal to expertise.

  5. Google, Yahoo News Aggregators: Copyright Thieves? | The Blog of Record Says:

    […] Update-2: The Associated Press wants news aggregators to pay up, or it sues. […]

  6. steveegg Says:

    There is a reason why I call them The News Organization That Cannot Be Quoted™.

  7. John McLeod Says:

    I’m worried about this too. Getting information to the public seems not to be a very high priority with this newspaper-owned enterprise, which perhaps is the root of the problem. What’s the point in enriching themselves through impoverishing the population’s right to know?

  8. Senior Says:

    One advantage of this is that bloggers would have to rely more on original content than copying exxtracts from the AP or other news sources.

    News organisations should just demand that there is a link to the original articles and that text from articles is blockquoted below the link. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect bloggers and other websites to name the original source of the republished article, in this case AP.

    If AP wants their articles to be read via their websites, they should improve the presentation of those websites.

  9. Freedom 2.0 — AP versus Google is Booting the Future | Housing Doom Says:

    […] "A.P. to Take On Web Aggregators", Fausta’s blog, April 6, […]