Piling on the AP

The AP’s foolish blunder in trying to enforce its view of fair use is getting more and more coverage in the blogosphere, including from notable voices such as Mark Glaser, Matthew Ingram (who makes a very important point) and Duncan Riley. It’s reached the point where it can only end badly for the AP, but here’s the worst case scenario.

Most media people dismiss the blogosphere as unsubstantiated crap, but like other “worlds,” the blogosphere contains some really, really sharp minds. Those minds are tapped daily by the people with money in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. These kinds of people seize financial opportunities when presented, and the clear opportunity here is for somebody to create a new world competitor to the walled garden that is the Associated Press.

Think about it. You have newspapers in Ohio organizing to swap stories. You have the newspaper consortium, brought together by the deal with Yahoo but talking amongst themselves about other opportunities. Given the huge sums of money that member media companies pay to participate in the “coöperative,” I’d be surprised if this subject hasn’t already come up in many places.

And what happens if somebody like Craig Newmark comes along and creates the aggregator for free?

Like I said earlier, the AP’s future has always been questionable, given the disruptive nature of the Web and what it does to middle men. But by its own foolish actions with The Drudge Retort, the AP has likely accelerated that by months, if not years.

UPDATE: The Drudge Retort considers suing the AP. Stay tuned.


  1. You are right on the mark Terry. AP is trying to make itself relevant in this new world and like a lot of the MSM can’t believe they could ever become irrelevant. New alliances forged between pure plays, bloggers and forward thinking MSM’ers (yes Virginia there are some out there) will end the AP monopoly that has had the media paying for their own content to what is essentially an aggregator.

  2. I think the drudge retort may have a pretty good case to sue AP. It has been a while since I read the DMCA, but I am pretty sure there is language in there intended to discourage frivolous copyright claims and DMCA takedown notices.

    AP should really be on notice that 15–85 word excerpts with links to the originating stories goes way beyond merely aggressive into the real of fantasy land. It would do the Internet world some good if the fair use project sued AP and made clear there was a cost to AP’s lunacy. As a former USA Today writer, I have to say I am pretty disappointed in the former USAT publisher who now runs AP. He should know better than this.

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