The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.
The A.P.’s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of “fair use.”
Oops. Did I quote too much. Is Adam Liptak preparing the takedown letter even as I type?
[Edit: Just so we're clear, I am not arguing that reposting an AP article in its entirety is or should be acceptable. We're talking quotations, people, quotations!]
Dan provides the root of this stupidity (note my word choice, should you have any doubt as to my thoughts on the subject):
This statement comes on the heels of the AP’s sending a letter to the Drudge Retort to remove quotations from AP stories that ranged from about 40 to 80 words. These weren’t very big excerpts. The AP later backtracked a bit, claiming that its letter was “heavy handed,” but it has not withdrawn the takedown letters to Drudge. According to the NY Times article: “The Associated Press believes that in some cases, the essence of an article can be encapsulated in very few words.”
Generally speaking, we quote only as much as is needed to make the point. Whether it’s 5 words or 100. I respect ownership of content likely far more than most, and it annoys me greatly when other steal my posts wholesale and publish them on their own blogs, often without any attribution. But I have one saving grace: They can steal one post, but I can create more. This they cannot do.
For the AP to whine about the length of quotes is just plain silly. They thrive off recognition of their content. It gives the AP credibility and relevance. What if nobody cared what the AP had to say? Hey Sam Maull (AP reporter for New York courts), need a job?
If anything, discussion of articles in the blogosphere enhances the attention a news organization will receive, as well as encourages more people to read the article. The AP says that it doesn’t want to stop people from quoting its articles very briefly and linking to them; it wants to limit how much bloggers quote. The difficulty here is that AP stories quickly disappear from the Internet, so links to full articles go dead after a week or two. The New York Times has a much more enlightened policy, encouraging bloggers to use and link to its articles by offering a permalink that will never go dead.
Absolutely. So quit yer whining and forget about giving ultimatums. The day nobody quotes from an AP story is the day you should start to worry. In the meantime, you ought to send out little thank you notes to show your appreciation for the fact that anybody even cares enough to recognize your existence. Sheesh.
Update: Orin Kerr at Volokh spreads a bit of irony on the AP:
Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, and Patterico have noted the apparent irony that the Associated Press quoted 154 words from one of Patterico’s blog posts soon after threatening bloggers for quoting fewer words than that from Associated Press stories.
Anybody still want to argue the point? This does not involve wholesale lifting of content, but fair use quoting.