Living by your own rules

I’m enjoying this morning the story of popular deal site Woot and its comical busting of The AP over lifting quotes from its site. Woot was purchased by Amazon last week for $110 million, and in its story about the purchase, The AP pulled quotes from the blog of  Woot CEO Matt Rutledge. This is a violation of the rules by which The AP restricts bloggers (and others) from lifting quotes from its own stories, and Woot is calling them out on their hypocrisy by asking for payment.

So, The AP, here we are. Just to be fair about this, we’ve used your very own pricing scheme to calculate how much you owe us. By looking through the link above, and comparing your post with our original letter, we’ve figured you owe us roughly $17.50 for the content you borrowed from our blog post, which, by the way, we worked very very hard to create.

The post goes on to offer The AP its deal of the day instead and closes with the scolding, “Don’t force us to pass this matter to a collection agency.” LMAO.

It’s stuff like this that reveals how impossible it is to try to keep feet in both worlds as the disruption to one of those worlds rolls on. The AP’s rules were an effort to end the wholesale copying of its content by a few, but the chilling effect on everybody else was an obvious and deliberate consequence. By getting caught with its pants down on this, The AP will have difficulty in pursuing anybody who violates its rules.

And that’s the problem with rules. If you’re going to make them, then you have to live by them. Lifting quotes from Rutledge is what any reporter would do, which is why these particular rules are so bogus on their face.

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