Print 32 comment(s) - last by Hawkido.. on Jun 20 at 9:42 AM

Bloggers vent their frustrations at the AP's legal aggression

The Associated Press (AP) is a leading source of online content, but it charges a hefty fee for the rights to it.  With growing competition from state services and criticism on its pricing, the AP is growing concerned that its bottom-line is slipping. 

In response, it began to escalate its legal campaign against the blogging community, which it feels is undercutting its revenue by reposting article snippets without paying.  However, the AP's content has become such a fixture in the internet world that this campaign may lead either to dangerous campaign against major sites such as Wikipedia, or to a double standard in which small blogs are attacked, but major sites are spared.

The blogging community is striking back at what they feel is an atrocious abuse of fair use via Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns.  They have launched a campaign humorously entitled "FU AP".  Leading the campaign is the BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis.  He writes that he once hoped that the AP would survive and overcome its challenges, but he's reconsidered and may want to take that back. 

He states, "The AP has filed truly noxious takedown notices against Rogers Cadenhead’s community-created Drudge Retort, arguing copyright violations for quotes from 33 to 79 words long.  For shame, AP."

Jarvis says the AP "leaches off original reporting and kills links and credit to the source of that journalism."  He says that while it is legally entitled to do so, in that it pays members to reproduce their reporting, in doing so the AP is violating the ethic of linking news, a guiding tenet of the online news culture.  Jarvis suggests that news aggregators such as Google News, Inform, Daylife, and Pro Publica start linking only to original sources, skipping the AP entirely.

Google's deal with the AP is among the items he objects to.  He says that Google should be linking to original content, not licensing to the AP, though he acknowledges that the AP deal significantly jump-started the site.

The call to arms is continued with a statement, "In its complaint against Cadenhead, the AP is flouting fair use and fair comment. It is ignoring the essential structure of the link architecture of the web. It is declaring war on blogs and commenters. So let’s fire back. I urge bloggers everywhere to go to the AP and reproduce a story at length in solidarity with Cadenhead and Drudge Retort."

Jarvis proceeded to repost a 146-word long section of an AP article as an example to his readers.  He then provided links to the original article, a story from Gazette Online about the flooding in Illinois, which he says is far better than the AP's "homogenized version" of the story.  He encourages other bloggers to join him in fighting the AP's revenue scheme by linking to the original source, putting the power back in the hands of the writers and taking it from the redistributors.

Along with Jarvis's new campaign, the owner of the blog most recently attacked by the AP, The Drudge Retort, posted a response to the AP's claims.  Rogers Cadenhead, owner of The Drudge Retort, states that the AP has used DMCA takedown notices on 6 of his blogs which contained AP excerpts between 33 and 79 words with links to the AP article.  Only one of the six took the AP headline, the other five had user-created headlines.  Cadenhead's site encourages its over 8,500 users to post blogs.  Of the blogs which the AP is demanding the site take down, two of them were written by Cadenhead himself, while the rest were user created.

The AP also ordered a takedown of another blog, for a user comment, which included two paragraphs from an AP article.  The AP states that the blog excerpts and the user-commented blog amount to "hot news' misappropriation under New York state law."

Ironically, Cadenhead points out, the original content creators of the stories encourage reuse in many cases.  The original source of two of the disputed articles was Yahoo News, which encourages bloggers to use its items.  Two more of the citations were sourced from USA Today, which contains a tool to easily translate articles to Digg or Mixx form.  Attorney Wade Duchene, who had previously assisted Cadenhead in a domain name dispute, is siding with the blog owner, stating that the AP is wrong and that The Drudge Retort's actions are the "absolute definition of fair use."

Cadenhead acknowledges that the law forces him to take down the blogs in question whether or not he thinks they're fair use.  However, he encourages users to file counter-notices to the AP asserting their own copyright.  He also encourages AP's Intellectual Property Governance Coordinator Irene Keselman, author of the letter sent to him, to explain the AP's position in more detail.

As the war of words between the AP and blogger escalates, it brings two things into question -- one, the legality of the bloggers' practice of linking to and posting small excerpts from copyrighted texts, and secondly the legitimacy of the AP's underlying business model, which is accused of disenfranchising both the writers and the citers.  Ultimately, though, the growing debate is proving, above all else, to be unfortunate distraction to the real task at hand -- covering the news.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: How long is it going to take...
By Hawkido on 6/18/2008 2:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
Taking what you said:

Deterrence works for rational people.

Deterrence doesn't work for irrational people.

Criminals are not rational people.

Even Rational people have irrational bouts and commit crimes.

and your conclusion is deterrence works.

If all crimes are comitted by people who are in an irrational state temporary or otherwise (I agree) and deterrance only works on poeple in a rational state (I agree), how then can you make the arguement that deterrance works?

Unless you are making the subjective assumption that deterrance keeps people in a rational state... which it doesn't, else deterrance would actually work 100% of the time.

I am not attacking you, just that which you have been taught. I actually agree that deterrance is a needed tool in Law enforcement, but without the enforcement part the deterrence is a joke.

As to the 3 parts of deterrence, I agree completly. However the certainty of punishment is never certain. The severity of punishment is often mitigated by bogus pleas. The appearance of punishment is invisible in today's society. Punishment should be public and humiliating (to the degree of the crime) Executions should be public, but as clean and swift (read "not tortourous") as possible. I do not see executions as punishment. Society just has to put down rabid dogs from time to time due to the danger imposed on society.

As to Civil law, punitive damages should be capped to the extent of the damages (Death and permanent bodily harm are subjective).

If someone missappropriates 750 dollars of music. The punishment should not be the loose their house.

Overpunishing the few you catch, is like hitting one nail really really hard and seeing if the rest of the nails hammer themselves in.

At some point the music industry needs to be recognized as failing to properly secure their own property. I believe there is precedence. Just as financial institutions as penalized for not securing financial data. It is a crime to take copies of this data from FI's, but FI's as responsible to provide reasonable security for this information, else they fail to provide the appropriate level of deterrence.

RE: How long is it going to take...
By larcen007 on 6/18/2008 7:07:47 PM , Rating: 2
Actually - that is not what I said. Or rather, we are using rational to mean two different things. Criminals are rational in the sense that they weight the pros and cons of committing an act. I am not using the term "rational" to means values/goals - what a "reasonable person" is. What makes a criminal a criminal is that he gives different weight to different factors. For example, drug addicts give more weight to the pros and less weight to the cons because of their addiction. Each human being is (hopefully) different in that they have different preferences which each individual values and weighs differently. Some people even give 0 weight to laws. Laws are just a factor to help in the human computation of whether to commit an act.

So - my argument would go

All humans are calculating beings.
All humans have different preferences.
All humans give different weight to each preference.
Laws are created to be used in calulating human behavior.
Criminals are humans.

You get the gist - I could go on. Deterrence "works" for everyone because people give consideration to laws. Criminals just give less (or no) weight to laws than non-criminals. Its about calucalating behavior and controlling it buy threatening punishment for socially unacceptable behavior. Its not about being a "rational person" - the assumption is that humans are calculators and that humans giver different weights to different preferences, and laws play a role in calculating behavior. Deterrence does not require 100% success to work.

Deterrence requires adequate enforcement to work (goes toward certainty of punishment) - no enforcement, and no one respects the law.

The appearance of punishment is invisble? Just look at your nightly news (I am in NYC - maybe the nightly news is different where you are).

Punishment does not only come in the form of jail time - the social stigma of being a criminal is hard to rub off. But this isn't the law's fault - its people's fault. There is enough blame to go around - prosectuors, defense attorneys, policemen - but these are issues that go outside the law.

How is punishment to be carried out? "The punishment should fit crime" is a meaningless statement becuase it doesnt tell me how to punish. Do we do "an eye for an eye" style? Kill murders - rob thieves, rape rapists, etc. Do we translate the crime into time incarerated? Do we just kill anyone who commits a crime? Lots of problems with each category - again outside the scope of this conversation.

Two general types of damages - compensatory and punitive. compensatory pretty much covers the harm done - you break my arm, you pay my bills relating to that arm and maybe some time i didnt work as a result. Punitive damages are to punish the bad actor for his actions. Consider a CEO shipping out tomatoes KNOWING that there would be problems with viruses. Should the damages just be the cost of people's medical bills, or do we need to send a message to CEOs that they cannot just ignore these viruses? While I dont agree that punitive damages should be capped to the extent allowed by the damages, there should be a cap of some sort, but its definitely more than actual harm.

If someone steals $750 worth of music, they shouldn't lose their house - there seems to be an incongruity between the act and the punishment proscribed by law. This goes to whether this is a bad law or not - not to whether the law works.

Overpunishing the few you catch is trying to make an example out of few so that many will get the message. Nothing wrong with that - a bully doesn't need to pick on every school kid to be a bully - he just does it to a few kids, and the others get the message - don't mess with the Zohan.

In general the problem with the music industry is that they don't want to change. It's been making money for so long - has so much invested in doing business a certain way - that it went so far as to legislate to control it. Why fix something that is not broken - and if other people are breaking it, lets stop them. The music industry is like a monopoly thats trying to maintain its market share by buying Congressmen. It tried to stop the spread of MP3s but failed. In fact - in all these cases, the copyright holder (AP/music industry) should pay punitive damages - its the only way they will get the message.

RE: How long is it going to take...
By Hawkido on 6/20/2008 9:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
All humans are calculating beings.

DUH Nothing to do with crime or deterence.
All humans have different preferences.

DUH Nothing to do with Crime or Deterrence.
All humans give different weight to each preference.

DUH Nothing to do with Crime or deterrence.
Laws are created to be used in calulating human behavior.

Wrong, Laws are there merely to reflect whether you are living up to the expectations of a healthy member of Society, and to specify a punishment to aid in reforming you to within parameters. To prevent a crime before it happens, you have to commit a crime.
Criminals are humans.

DUH was this in question?

Its about calucalating behavior and controlling it buy threatening punishment for socially unacceptable behavior.

See, here is where you are getting your Psychology, Criminology, and Law Classes all jumbled up. It doesn't matter why someone violates the law, only that they did (exceptions included for those who work within the greater spirit of the law, e.g. speeding so a life may be saved, etc...). If you (as a legal entity)try to prevent a crime from happening, you commit a crime. Really think about this. It is true. A crime has to be committed before the law can take action, else it is illegally detaining someone, violating someone's right to privacy, or harassing/stalking someone. So, if the law cannot act on someone till they violate the law the law cannot possibly prevent a crime. I pull my hair out when I hear someone say "Why didn't the Cops prevent this!" The Answer is they cannot prevent crime. Only apprehend criminals. The School shooting at Virginia Tech... until the guy formed the plan to go on a shooting rampage, he had commited no crime. Since his plan was kept a secret from everyone else (not shared, nor discovered) noone was able to intercept him before his plan was executed. I believe the only trace of his plan they found was a vaguely suicidal online message, and a videotape that was just a weird college kid spouting garbage and playing with a gun. The Online suicidal message was vague at best and was reported, but being suicidal is not a crime. the video wasn't discovered till after the crime... I don't think the penalty for the crime even entered his head, his only concern was how to avoid being caught.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki