Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Associated Press Overreaches

The Associated Press, in a blatant disregard of fair use, is purporting to require payment for the quotation on a website of as few as five words from AP articles. The starting price, for five words, is $62.50 (@ $12.50/word). Pursuant to this policy, the AP has issued 6 DMCA takedown notices against the Drudge Retort, "claiming that the users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing 'hot news' misappropriation under New York state law." Apparently, the firestorm of protest the AP's new policy provoked has led to some rethinking on AP's part, but, as Michael Arrington of, explains:
The A.P. doesn't get to make its own rules around how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows. So even thought they say they are making these new guidelines in the spirit of cooperation, it's clear that, like the RIAA and MPAA, they are trying to claw their way to a set of property rights that don't exist today and that they are not legally entitled to. And like the RIAA and MPAA, this is done to protect a dying business model - paid content.
According to Columbia law professor Timothy Wu, "'the principal question is whether the excerpt is a substitute for the story, or some established adaptation of the story.' . . . Mr. Wu said that the case is not clear-cut, but he believes that The A.P. is likely to lose a court case to assert a claim on that issue. 'It’s hard to see how the Drudge Retort "first few lines" is a substitute for the story,' Mr. Wu said. "

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