Waiting for the AP’s “guidelines”

The AP has settled its case with The Drudge Retort and issued a remarkably vague statement about it this morning. Rogers Cadenhead, who runs The Drudge Retrort, writes that we’re headed for a Napster-like showdown in the matter. We won’t know until AP issues the “guidelines” it promised on Monday.

If AP’s guidelines end up like the ones they shared with me, we’re headed for a Napster-style battle on the issue of fair use…

…As a newspaper reader since age 8 and the spouse of an investigative reporter, I want the media to keep making enough money to afford the expensive and essential practice of journalism. I sure as hell don’t want to do all that reporting myself.

If AP’s core business is to report the news, blogs and social news sites send millions of people to its articles every day. Retort users have posted 41,000 links to news stories in the last four years, each link sending from 1,000 to 5,000 readers directly to a media site to read the article.

If its core business is to repackage the news, they’re in as much trouble as every other middleman on the web.

This is far from over, and I think the representatives of the citizen media movement are far better equipped to handle a big legal case than was Napster during its confrontation with the record industry. I’ll have more to say on this later.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Robert Cox offers the real back story. Fascinating.

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