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AP Says "Share Your Revenue, Or Face Lawsuits"

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the involuntary-disassociation dept.

The Media 293

eldavojohn writes "The Associated Press is starting to feel the bite of the economic recession and said on Monday that they will 'work with portals and other partners who legally license our content and will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't.' They are talking about everything from search engines to aggregators that link to news articles and some sites that reproduce the whole news article. The article notes that in Europe legislative action has blocked Google from using news articles from some outlets similar to what was discussed here last week."

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If you don't want people looking at it (5, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488355)

don't put it on the friggin internet!

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (0, Troll)

sneglive (1526649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488657)

don't put it on the friggin internet!

http://sneglive.ya.ru/ [sneglive.ya.ru]

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488697)

I think they'd probably prefer not to, they'd prefer to go back to simpler times, before this damn internet thing, when they were still making money hand over fist.

If they succeed in this, the only thing that will happen is that some of my news portals will have less actual content and more blogging/editorials/crap (like fashion and celeb news).

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489201)

I think they'd probably prefer not to, they'd prefer to go back to simpler times, before this damn internet thing, when they were still making money hand over fist.

Oh, do you really think news was ever such a lucrative racket?

The news outlets have really thrown themselves to the mercy of the Internet revolution, sticking by their values, and look where it got them. I am very worried about the decline of "real news" in the US. A million bloggers don't make up for one real investigative reporter who has the time to do the legwork because they're paid to do it. I am starting to think we need some new law, like more stringent copyright within the first 24 hours after publication.

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489311)

more blogging/editorials/crap (like fashion and celeb news).

Like Newsweek? I took these [newsweek.com] examples [newsweek.com] from the website [newsweek.com] but the print editions are worse - more than half the mag is dedicated to ads and pop culture BS. If they don't want the internet to eat their lunch then they should print a magazine worth reading. Sure, Newsweek isn't exactly the New Yorker or Foreign Policy magazine, but it's really went downhill from being the respectable news rag I read as a kid.

Are you really that stupid (5, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488795)

They do want people looking at, they just want to be paid for their work. You know:

"Information wants to be free, but information purveyors want to be paid."

Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

Re:Are you really that stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488993)

They do want people looking at, they just want to be paid for their work. You know:

"Information wants to be free, but information purveyors want to be paid."

Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

Calling the GP stupid?

Here's one. I want to be paid for my comments on Slashdot. I demand that Sourceforge, Inc. needs to share their revenue with me, or face lawsuits.

Oh, wait. If I don't get paid for my thoughts by Sourceforge, then no one will fill in the gap with snarky Anonymous Coward replies? Where will you get your counter-flames from then?

If you don't want to be indexed, there are plenty of technological methods to prevent it. If sites are "stealing" (and I use that in the most freaking loose sense of the word) your freely-available information, then perhaps you shouldn't make your information freely-available? Put it behind registration? Use Robots.txt? Put your users under some kind of license? I could go on.

You can't have your cake (giving out your information for free) and eat it too (suddenly want to get payment on your free information).

So, anyone know when I will start getting my share of the advertising budget here?

Re:Are you really that stupid (2)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489089)

Who's republishing your comments?

Hmm, no-one, because they have a near trivial value?

If someone is republishing your entire output, it has value to them.

Slashdot stories might have made a better argument - but they are "paid for" by the site link the submitter gets.

Re:Are you really that stupid (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489035)

That doesn't make him stupid. He pointed out something very obvious - once information is out there, you have to exert a lot of effort to bottle it back up. In the old days, it was relatively easy to find out who was filching your information - now it can be hard to find out even what country someone is in, let alone who they are.

Does this mean the end for the AP? Maybe. Does this mean the end of news? I doubt it. Look at NPR and the BBC, for example. While relying on government or non-profits for news may bring its own issues, I seriously doubt that the information will cease to be generated.

Re:Are you really that stupid (2, Insightful)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489119)

Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

From somebody else who knows how to purvey information and still make a buck? Just a hunch.

To hell with the AP if they're going to go the route of the RIAA.

Re:Are you really that stupid (4, Insightful)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489189)

Hmmm... I think it's a little more than that. At least, they're specifically picking on Google in the summary's synopsis of the article. And why?

When I look at Google News, I see a page of links, the titles of which are almost entirely just headlines. The few that aren't just headlines include only a sentence or two from the article. How is this not fair use? And how is the AP entitled to any compensation for this? If you truly want to know more, you'll click on a link and, if it's an AP story, be sent to an AP website where you will get both the full article and the AP's ads.

For site's which don't play nice, ripping whole articles or outright plagiarism, then go ahead, bring down the hammer. But that's not a new problem. This, on the other hand, sounds an awful lot like the AP going for a money grab while waving a big lawyer stick. And what's worse is that they might succeed because the courts have time and again shown questionable judgment when it comes to cases involving linking and fair use.

re: Are you really that stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489205)

... and then where will you get your information?

the daily kos??? :)

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (2, Insightful)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488929)

NO! You get off my lawn! Damn whippersnappers and their mobile devices with aggregated digital news.

Back in my day if we wanted the news we had to walk to the newsstand, uphill both ways, and pay a hard earned nickel for it!

Re:If you don't want people looking at it (5, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489037)

I think they have a case when talking about "sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole" - it's clearly unfair to do that.

However to asking money from sites that merely link to the articles? That seems over the top and counter-productive. After all that brings traffic to the site which hosts the article. Linking itself must be free speech, and using the headline and 1-2 sentences in order to describe the link must be fair use.

One goal of The A.P. and its members, she said, is to make sure that the top search engine results for news are "the original source or the most authoritative source," not a site that copied or paraphrased the work.

That goal is ok, but they have no right to prevent a search engine from giving the user the site they are most likely looking for. If that's a site discussing the news, rather than the site presenting the news, they can address this by making their own sites more attractive. In any case - they get a link out of it.

Other than that: if you really don't want to be indexed (and not just pretend you don't because you want to get money from the search engines) then just use robots.txt.

Alternative revenue schemes (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489095)

don't put it on the friggin internet!

What they are trying to do sounds to me like suing people who took a brochure from a pile under a "Take One!" sign, without paying the $25 price that was printed in small letters in page ten of the brochure.

May I suggest an alternative scheme? They could start charging people who read the headlines at the newsstand. I often do that and walk away without buying the paper. Thats the equivalent of looking at the Google link.

beginning of the end (0)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488359)

I guess this is the beginning of the end of the AP.

I could not agree more (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488947)

the press companies have not learned how to make money in this new age. The problem is that few have figured out that they need to encourage new readership and learn about them, rather than drive them away. Sadly, that has more to do with the horrible management in place in near monopolies, than it has to do with the net "stealing" content.

netcraft confirms it (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488365)

Newspapers are dying.

Hind sight is 20/10 (always better than 20/20).

Wither into irrelevence. (2, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488387)

Sure. They can cut themselves from the "Intaweb"... They'll just wither and die without any traffic.

Go ahead, AP! Cut yourself off and fall more into irrelevence... The suits just don't understand that traffic is the new black.

Re:Wither into irrelevence. (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488515)

The suits just don't understand that traffic is the new black.

No, black is still black. How many sites get tons of hits but no actual profits?

AP may be hurting themselves by doing this, or they may have, you know, actually studied their own buisness and concluded that this is how they will survive. We'll get to see for ourselves. Or not, since if they go under, who is going to report it? AP news?

Re:Wither into irrelevence. (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488571)

AP may be hurting themselves by doing this, or they may have, you know, actually studied their own buisness and concluded that this is how they will survive.

From the article:

The policies were adopted by the A.P. board, composed mostly of newspaper industry executives.

I think we can discount the second option.

Re:Wither into irrelevence. (3, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488785)

Yea, they should have surveyed the slashdot pundits instead.

Re:Wither into irrelevence. (4, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489233)

How many sites get tons of hits but no actual profits?

Ooh, ooh; I know! That would be my web site!

Actually, I'm more or less in charge of several web sites for several small organizations whose names or activities aren't very relevant here, because they're typical of zillions of orgs with an online presence. I fell into this because I understand how the Internet works, and most of the people in the organizations don't (and don't want to). They just want to type up their stories, and let the electronic magic be handled by someone else.

What's interesting about this to me is that it presents an interesting scenario: Suppose one of my sites has the same information as an AP news story about the site or the organization behind it. It sounds like, when we report the same news about ourselves, we would be in violation of AP's ownership of that information. So we could be sued by AP for reporting information about ourselves that AP has found, slightly reworded, and reported.

This situation isn't hypothetical. AP has had local news stories about some of these organizations. They may have got the information via interviews, or they may have got it from the orgs' blogs; we really don't know. In the past, we've provided the information, because people in organizations often want their activities to be publicised.

What we're wondering is: If we blog about our activities, and AP picks up the info and reports it, are they saying that we have to pay AP to have the same information on our own web site? If we've blogged about it and AP reports it, is AP saying that we must remove the information from our blogs?

It sure sounds like this is what they're aiming for.

This was an unlikely scenario back in the days of printed news, or even with broadcast news, since the news creators were rarely in a position to do the distribution, printing or delivery of the news. But the Internet has ended this division. News creators can now simply type up a few sentences and hand them over to their web server. Distribution and delivery to readers is handled by the web server without further human activity (or the death of trees ;-). Readers get the info from the original sources if they want. We can cross-link our sites to help people with similar interests find what they want. Google can help people find the right articles on our sites.

So are we really going to give the big news corporations complete ownership over all information about our organizations, to (mis)report as they see fit? Or can we little guys continue to report our own activities on our own web sites without harrassment from the news corporations' lawyers?

The internet isn't free (-1, Offtopic)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488829)

and people like you who insist it should be are idiots.

Message from Wikinews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488405)

{{sosueme}}

Er... wait - someone's trying to get that template deleted. Hmmm.

Uh... no. (1, Flamebait)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488409)

So I take it they are going to sue each and every one of us? I mean who hasn't linked to an AP article at some time in the last year? I know I have on several occasions, mainly to point out the stupidity, arrogance and incompetence of our repugnant new administration here in the US.

I wish them luck with that, I mean the RIAA has done so stellar with their lawsuits.

Learning from the mistakes of others (2, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488547)

It is rather amazing that right after the RIAA experiemce proves that this is a spectacularly bad idea, the AP dusts it off and tries it on. Don't these guys read the news?

Don't these guys read the news? (4, Funny)

bobbuck (675253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488961)

Yes, but just the AP.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489139)

Linking to it: not a problem.

Wholesale copy-and-pasting into one's own web template: big problem.

Why didn't they adapt? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488435)

Why did so many big companies get caught out by the internet? They had the capital, and the human resources to do something, but they just sat there and let it hit them with full force.

It wasn't like it crept up on them overnight!

Re:Why didn't they adapt? (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488741)

Why did so many big companies get caught out by the internet? They had the capital, and the human resources to do something, but they just sat there and let it hit them with full force.

It wasn't like it crept up on them overnight!

It is really simple, under the companies' pre-Internet business model they made $X. Under every Internet business model anyone could come up with they would make at best $.0X. They continued using the pre-Internet business model as long as they could, hoping that someone would come up with an Internet business model that would allow them to make $X. It hasn't happened.
These companies that got caught out by the Internet are in businesses that just don't have the potential to make the kind of money they are used to in the Internet age.
These businesses used to have high barriers to entry. The Internet eliminated those barriers to entry.

Re:Why didn't they adapt? (2, Informative)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488963)

Google struggled to come up with a business model too. Now that their revenue is through the roof, people point to them and say: "Well that's obvious." Bold experimentation or visionary stubbornness is needed to latch onto a business model that WILL work in the Internet age. True, the Internet didn't creep up on them overnight, but a sea change can stretch on for years. Clay Shirky's article on this point makes sense to me: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/ [shirky.com]

Re:Why didn't they adapt? (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489195)

AP's barrier to entry wasn't distribution, it was a worldwide network of skilled journalists. The Internet hasn't removed that barrier to entry, because bloggers on the ground don't have the detachment and big-picture view of the skilled journalist, and rarely have the writing skills. If anything is damaging AP's business model, it's not the barriers to entry, it's whether the product (informed, well written journalism) is in demand nowadays.

Re:Why didn't they adapt? (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488885)

As with patent trolls, its much easier to let someone else do the work then sue them.

Re:Why didn't they adapt? (1)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489163)

As with patent trolls, its much easier to let someone else do the work then sue them.

Actually, this is exactly the reverse: do all the work of reporting the story yourself, then sue somebody who steals it without permission.

Those are some ugly death throes y'all are having (1, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488441)

Oh well. Some AP reporting has been kind of shitty in the last 10 years or so, anyway.

Easy steps (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488451)

1 - Tell someone a story.
2 - Wait till he tells the same story to someone else.
3 - Sue.

A great plan indeed. I can't foresee any way it may fail.

Re:Easy steps (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488645)

1 - Tell someone a story. 2 - Wait till he tells the same story to someone else. 3 - Sue.

A great plan indeed. I can't foresee any way it may fail.

I think it's kind of different. They are gaining revenue for telling the story. And it's not fictional ... and they will be held accountable if they get some facts wrong. And also that's how they make their money.

A more accurate analogy (though still flawed) would be:
1 - Do a lot of footwork to find the facts and tell them to someone to make a tiny sum of money.
2 - Wait till he tells the same story to 10,000 other people with your exact words and little to no attribution to you and he makes a nominal sum of money.
3 - Sue.

Not really a plan, as step 2 requires action on someone else's part. Hey, I don't predict this to fail the way the MPAA/RIAA are being backed by congress and the courts. Legal or legislative action is at the AP's disposal.

Re:Easy steps (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488827)

A more accurate analogy (though still flawed) would be:
1 - Do some footwork to find stories that don't go against government policy or big business interests and tell them to someone to make a tiny sum of money.
2 - Wait till he tells the same story to 10,000 other people with your exact words and little to no attribution to you and he makes a nominal sum of money.
3 - Sue.

Fixed that for you..

Possible shortcuts to #1 include

Using whatever they're spoon-fed by big business or the government.
Writing a story with no actual facts but mentioning terrorism, child porn or any of the other current scare tactic buzzwords.

Re:Easy steps (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489065)

I notice you've included about four references to the flawed plan makingmoney.

How does making money give validity to wrong assumptions?

What if someone discovered a free replacement to fossil fuels? Would it be acceptable to sue him on grounds of some notions of unfair competition?

They decided they could get money from publishing information on a free medium. It was a doomed plan since day one, and now that time proved them wrong, they cry.

Re:Easy steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489287)

You analogy does not involve cars. You fail slashdot.

Re:Easy steps (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488711)

Even more fun is that the stories are news and facts.

So, tell someone it's sunny outside and follow the above process.

Here's an idea for sites, remove the links. Just type the URL in plain text, let the end user get a plugin that turns them into links (or simply copy and paste). Win! You didn't link to anyone, there is no argument to take down a link because there is no link, just some words.

2600 magazine did this with DeCSS and the court was happy. It's very difficult to have text removed, but easy to have links removed.

Re:Easy steps (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488959)

1) Refuse to let Google and other search engines index your stories
2) Google removes all newspapers with AP content from its indexing
3) Newspapers, with falling print sales and no Google presence, go out of business
4) No one left to buy AP stories
5) ???
6) Profit!

Re:Easy steps (1)

ponraul (1233704) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489083)

Didn't the courts rule [computerworld.com] on deep linking last decade in Tickets.com vs. Ticketmaster?

Legislative remedies? Yuck. (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488477)

AP wrote:

and will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't.

"Legal remedies" == we'll sue; easy enough. But what worries most is "legislative remedies". It reeks of "We know you're playing by the rules, but we don't like the rules, so we'll buy off a few senators to get the rules changed."

Buying senators (1)

bobbuck (675253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489003)

Can you buy a senator on a newspaper budget?

Re:Buying senators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489103)

Can you buy a senator on a newspaper budget?

Probably. If you look at the individual recipients of RIAA money, you will find that the amount on a per person basis is not all that much. And yet the money works wonders. The only time it would cost real money is if they were forced to outspend some other PAC.

Re:Buying senators (1)

Rural (136225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489185)

No, but the a senator needs the media to be elected.

Re:Buying senators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489193)

you just need a little addendum to the next loosely information technology related bill, not a full fledged patriot act

Re:Buying senators (1)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489207)

Ha! You may have noticed the distinct lack of monster buyout/aid programs for struggling newspapers and the thousands of former employees they've put on the street the past couple of years.

My 22 pence worth (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488481)

My website generates about 44 cents in Google revenue per day. The newspapers of the world are in for a surprise.

Robots.txt doesn't work? (5, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488527)

This is very confusing to me. If websites don't want aggregators to compile all of their content for them and place it in a convenient (for the viewer) format and location then they should just make their robots.txt act accordingly.

Unfortunately this appears to be a money grab and if there was and doubt in my mind about that it was removed when they stated '[we] will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't [license].' Making new laws to maintain your revenue stream is a clear sign to me that you do not have a viable business model and are attempting to make things criminal without a valid reason.

Re:Robots.txt doesn't work? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488683)

Of course it's a money grab--they've been feeding the cow this whole time and now it's ready to cash in. What's funny, though, is they're learning as the music and movie industries have that when you go digital, your product instantly becomes a commodity because of its ease of transfer. Perhaps they should embed ads into their own content to monetize it, and then sell subscriptions to premium (ad free, or pay-per-view) feeds to sites like Google and Yahoo for syndication.

There are better, saner approaches to content distribution than the knee-jerk lawsuit.

Re:Robots.txt doesn't work? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488707)

Huh?

Robots.txt doesn't work at all if you ignore it. Its not some sort of iron-clad security method.

I also don't see what's wrong with wanting revenue for your work? Reporting isn't free.

Re:Robots.txt doesn't work? (3, Insightful)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488889)

Yes, but the big sites they're going after like Google and Yahoo will respect robots.txt. (If they don't, now that would be a story.)

Google isn't stealing their articles. They are linking to their articles, with maybe a snippet quoted which falls under fair use.

The trouble is that the AP wants it both ways. They don't want to exclude themselves from Google's traditional search results. And yet, they want to block Google from compiling search results about recent news into a single, useful page.

Re:Robots.txt doesn't work? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488893)

Google, Yahoo, and the vast majority of the aggregators they're whining about do in fact respect the robots.txt file.

Re:Robots.txt doesn't work? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489093)

But then how would anyone find them on a search engine? :)

Aggregator Aggro (3, Funny)

commandlinegamer (1046764) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488539)

It wouldn't surprise if 90% of web sites are just aggregators. I'd be more than happy if they withered and died. Here's a tip - if you don't have [your own] content you don't have a website. I'm all for the Web - it gives people the freedom to publish their own damn nonsense, I just can't stand the amount of duplication you need to search through these days to find anything, be it news, software or tasteful pictures of Reese Witherspoon's chin (she could always double up as a snow plough if times get tough in the acting business).

Re:Aggregator Aggro (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488887)

I would point out that Slashdot is an Aggregator with comment posting. It generates no actual news stories itself.

Re:Aggregator Aggro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489133)

Slashdot usually has a distinct summary, does not aggregate all stories without selection and adds a very lively discussion forum. That is not what commandlinegamer is angry about. Too many blogs are just copy and paste jobs and add nothing to the content, except perhaps for a one line comment from the blog owner. It is also quite unnerving that one of the centers of mob surfing (Digg) has recently disabled links to other sites. Now it links to its own short-link URLs and shows other sites in a frameset. This appropriation of other people's content is wrong and doesn't help the internet one bit. Aggregators must go away.

Re:Aggregator Aggro (2, Funny)

commandlinegamer (1046764) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489247)

You must be new here..you didn't expect me to realise the full implications of my own posting did you?

Link to the original article (5, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488555)

[censored]

Re:Link to the original article (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489181)

[censored] .. but for a few $$ I can fix that for you

Another recent related story (1, Offtopic)

karvind (833059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488623)

Artist Sues The A.P. Over Obama Image. There seems to be a war going on ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/arts/design/10fair.html [nytimes.com]

Re: Another recent related story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488945)

That guy is a douche bag, and I hope the AP cleans him out. He took an AP image and cut it down to like three colors.

Whoopidee fucking do.

SO no RSS feeds then? (3, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488685)

So if I were to set up a website that let people put rss feeds of their choice on a portal page - and then added advertising of my own to that same page - and the user decided to choose one of these:

RSS Feeds [ap.org]

I'd be open to a lawsuit?

What if I then created a link that said "Get all the Associated Press RSS feeds" which then did the copy/paste for the user and created a page for them of all the above feeds?

Then based on user activity I found that every user (99.5%) was clicking that auto-AP button... so to provide good customer service I just added tabs to my interface with one of them being "AP News" by default.

All this while, the pages only show the Title, summary, attribution, date and a link to the original article.

So then I get sued... right?

What if I just made "widgets" that people could download to their Widget product of choice? How about a desktop application that does the same thing - ad free - but has a purchase price attached?

Any thoughts?

My current Mail program allows me to consume RSS feeds, as do a variety of widgets (online and off) and none of them are non-commercial and I'm fairly certain that none of them are paying the AP any license fee.

If you read the article... (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488915)

It's very clear that they object to people putting some, or all, of the content of their articles on those peoples' web pages. So if "the pages only show the Title, summary, attribution, date and a link to the original article" then, no, you don't get sued. You aren't showing the article, or part of it, just the title and summary they distribute via their RSS feed.

   

Re:SO no RSS feeds then? (2, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489025)

It works more like this:

Someone creates some content for a website. Their revenue is based on the number of people visiting the site.

Someone else comes along and aggregates multiple websites. Instead of people visiting the original site, they start to visit the aggregator because it's more convenient. The aggregator gets the views and the advertising money.

The content creators lose out, even though they create the content.

The argument from the aggregator site is that it pushes viewers to sites that they would never normally visit. E.g., a person in Florida may never read an Oklahoma newspaper unless there was a link somewhere on an aggregator.

Sometimes it balances out, but more and more, it's in favor of the aggregator.

I think eventually content will be separated from the presentation. Companies like the AP, like the local Herald, will switch from providing a newspaper or website into providing a standard feed, and charging based on that feed. This is very similar to how other media is shopped around.

There's a danger in that news will also become indistinguishable from entertainment (it's almost there already), but that may be the only way the newspapers can survive.

flawed by design (5, Insightful)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488753)

The internet was not built with bussiness models in mind. Unfortunately, businesses think they can shoehorn a model onto the interenet.

AP Killed Printed News (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488813)

The reason you hear stories about newspapers failing all over the country is because of the Associated Press. In order to cut costs, newspapers across the country eliminated most of their reporting staff and replaced them with AP newsfeeds. Instead of doing real reporting, they just "rip and read" from the AP feed.

The advent of the internet has given us access to many more news sources than we ever had before. Most of us have realized that all of the news papers have the same stories, word for word. This is why they are going out of business. If newspapers, and other news sources, are going to stay in business, they need to provide valuable content. They need to stop relying on the AP for content, we can get that anywhere.

Re:AP Killed Printed News (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488985)

The reason you hear stories about newspapers failing all over the country is because of the Associated Press. In order to cut costs,

You are confusing the cause and effect - if they were doing well, why would they try to cut costs?

Newspapers are dying because there are better ways to advertise and there are better ways to get news. And just like any other industry who cannot justify their business models - RIAA, US steelmakers, etc - they are considering 'legislative remedies'.

Re:AP Killed Printed News (1)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489053)

I believe you're both right: it is a downward spiral. Cost cutting begets poor local news coverage, which begets fewer engaged readers, which begets fewer advertising dollars, which begets more cost cutting. It is pretty much a chicken and egg thing.

Re:AP Killed Printed News (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489263)

You have it backwards. The reason newspapers are turning to AP for a moajority of their stories is that their circulations are way down, and so their ad revenues are way down.

Today, newspapers can't afford a full staff of reporters, so they've laid them off and replaced them with cheap copyeditors who rewrite the AP feeds.

It's quite a conundrum... newspapers can;t afford reporters due to decreased circulation, so they publish more vanilla news. As you point out, this means they get less interest from readers, which drives circulation down further.

Even if newspapers were able to field enough reports to cover local news properly, they'd still fail due to the internet -- the simply can't get enough eyes to pay for their content. The truth is, print publishing of news is going bye-bye. The only things propping it up right now are readers from earlier generations. They'll hang on for another 20-30 years, but then they will be gone. Especially since people will be able to get the news on their smartphones easily and cheaply.

Why can't we all get along? (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489295)

Without AP, the Internet suffers. Without the Internet AP suffers. Under both scenarios, newspapers suffer.

It would be nice to have the Internet, AP, and newspapers. How about a half-a-cent micropayment from readers of the stories distributed all three ways?

Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (4, Insightful)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488855)

So far, as expected, every comment is about how stupid these old media dinosaurs are to repeat the mistakes of the RIAA/MPAA.

Let me ask a question. If the newspapers that create the AP content are going out of business, where will the content come from? And if everyone simply copies the AP articles without paying for it, where will the revenue stream come from to pay the writers?

I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

At some point the Slashdot crowd is going to have to face up to the fact that content producers need to get paid if they are going to continue producing. Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489029)

Aggregation (like search) has value on its own. It makes content useful. Their ability to sustain a business on content is their own problem, perhaps we've reached a point where their content is not compelling enough to be a viable business.

This does not mean they are owed some piece of aggregation revenue. I'm mostly speaking of sites like google news, where you get a smallish snippet and a link to the source.

No industry has the right to exist, it has to prove its value. Right now, newspapers just aren't doing so.

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489055)

I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

Why, blog journalists, of course. Am I joking or am I serious? What would be the result of a shift of this nature? Discuss...

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (5, Insightful)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489101)

Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

I was agreeing with you up until this point.

Most people's problems with the MPAA has been with their willingness to fight technology rather than embrace it, often by using the laws they have paid to have put in place. They strive to not even try new methods of movie delivery, such as releasing a film at the same time on PPV as in theaters, easy non-DRM encumbered downloads for a less than a rental, etc. These other methods might fail, but the MPAA (or the studios that make it up) haven't even really experimented in these areas.

I know you didn't bring it up, but the RIAA is another example. Not only do you have the abusive legal stuff, but you have the fact that they are really just a layer of lawyers, managers and distributors that are no longer as crucial to their industry as they once were. They have done more to try releasing their content in new ways, but they still only do it begrudgingly and so they wind up shooting themselves in the foot. For example, the whole fact that for all these years, the only way to legally purchase music from a lot of popular artists was to buy into the whole iTunes+DRM bullshit. They only wanted to shift their business model if it would still give all the useless people the same fat paychecks as they had always gotten, without paying the actual content creators a nickel more.

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1)

mehlkelm (980439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489117)

Just because this news 'system' is the only one (btw. it's not) doesn't mean it deserves to work forever. News won't die (neither will music).

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (5, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489127)

And if everyone simply copies the AP articles without paying for it, where will the revenue stream come from to pay the writers?

This is a strawman. No one's advocating the practice of copying and pasting entire AP articles. Read the fscking article (or at least the summary) -- the AP is talking about demanding fees for Web sites who link to their stories or copy and paste excerpts with links to the full stories.

I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

Traditional journalists look down upon bloggers, but sometimes the only difference is that one group uses the Associated Press Stylebook and the other doesn't. I think you'll discover that if "traditional" newspapers go away, communities will step in to fill the void.

you are dead on until the end (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489165)

simply because the "slashdot geniuses" are correct on one point: there is no way to compel the payments you insist on. otherwise, it is as you say: if everyone leaches content, and no one pays content creators for their efforts, there will simply be no content. but all of the models for forcing payment are old-school, pre-internet, that simply do not translate

so its a conundrum

however, i don't think old school media can, or will fade away. they have something no imbecile on the internet has: trust. they are impartial. well, as impartial as is possible: no media source is truly impartial, but however you want denigrate the impartiality of old school media, surely you don't think anything on the internet is better

so i don't understand how they can monetize this "resource" of trust that they enjoy, but they do have it, and no one else has it, so there must be SOME way to capitalize on that... i just don't udnerstand how yet, really, and i don't think anyone does

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489173)

Let me ask a question. If the newspapers that create the AP content are going out of business, where will the content come from?

Somewhere, like it always has. The AP didn't invent the concept of news. If the AP went under, news would come from different sources, probably with a different revenue model. Your question is like asking where the music will come from when the RIAA is toast. Content will still be created - already, the marginal value of generic news like the AP vs. talented individuals who specialize in subject-based internet sites is questionable.

And if everyone simply copies the AP articles without paying for it, where will the revenue stream come from to pay the writers?

That would be a great question if it were actually happening. Right now Google is directing traffic to these sites ("Oh NOES!"), with the benefit that they themselves become a place where many people go for aggregated news. Something, I'll point out, that the AP themselves could have done years ago. The AP is basically saying "Pay us to give us free traffic".

Sure guys. Whatever you say.

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489179)

Economics has some fundamental principle that can't be "wished away" or deemed untrue because we view them as "unfair". What happens when something that was once scarce and difficult to produce (content printed on paper, music pressed onto vinyl or CDs) becomes abundant and cheap (digitally copied)? The inevitable change in this basic economic truth means that content producers (creative types) will come up with a different business model.
Prior to mass media, creative people had patrons to sponsor their work. That was a different business model.
There are scarce goods associated with the creative process... like the artist's time. But in the future once an item is created, the copying and distribution is NOT a place where the artist will get revenue. And sadly the companies in the copying and distibution businesses will be like the buggy whip manufacturers of yesteryear.

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489243)

At some point the Slashdot crowd is going to have to face up to the fact that content producers need to get paid if they are going to continue producing. Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

There's a dramatic difference between these two cases: the MPAA has no good way to stop non-customers from consuming their material, and so they need to be rational, smart, and reasonable if they're going to survive (or possibly they can get the government to bludgeon their customers for them).

News media, on the other hand, can just cut their customers off--it's really no different than selling gasoline in this regard. That's not to say that the Internet hasn't changed the playing field, but newspapers are going to have to adapt, and since there will always be a market for news, the smart ones will survive.

Re:Calling all Slashdot Geniuses (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489245)

Nobody wants news. They want confirmation of their beliefs. The AP could be replaced by a script with modules for "foreign policy", "taxation", "civil rights", and "human interest", and nobody would notice.

Newspaper Employee (1)

Professor Fate (1075913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488881)

This is a legitimate beef. News gathering organizations spend a lot of money and sometimes put people in dangerous situations to get a story. Hopefully, they won't go all RIAA over this, but it's reasonable for them to expect some compensation from people who are profiting from their work.

As a disclaimer, I should mention that I work for a newspaper. At least for now.

Re:Newspaper Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488919)

why? it's just a digital copy anyway. there was no theft.

show me how those arguements don't apply here.

Re:Newspaper Employee (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489057)

The problem is there are more people who are willing to report news than there are dollars people are willing to pay to receive news. Anybody can start a website and report news. Whether that news is reliable is another question, but since the advent of the Internet people have discovered that the old news sources aren't terribly reliable either.

yuo fail 17 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488895)

Bloodfarts. FreeBSD dying. See? It's of progress. stagnant. As LiNux fil3 was opened outstrips

Aggregation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488903)

Someone has to pay reporters wages, this is the whole point to the AP.

I think AP also does aggregation, but the newspapers actually pay for the articles.

As the newspapers are dying, so is the income AP has expected.

Almost sad (5, Insightful)

dwhitaker (1500855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488941)

It is almost sad to see the professional journalism dying - or at least having the traditional roles it took in society go the way of the dinosaurs. 15 years from now, the news market will be a much different place, and I hope we figure out a way to have integrity and accountability in the new model. I do find it odd though that some industries who fail to adapt get government funds while others, who could arguably provide a public service, are left out to dry.

Re:Almost sad (1)

drewvr6 (1400341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489261)

I agree. Journalism will turn to propaganda for either of the two main parties with a solid, but muted independent voice. We can already see this in broadcast news as CNN, MSNBC battle with Fox for who can spin the best. I fear news will become only blogging posts provided by people espousing their own rhetoric in the guise of news.

Linking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27488983)

http://www.ap.org/pages/about/pressreleases/pr_040609a.html

I just linked to the article(Press release) about me going to be sued for linking to articles...

Ball's in your court

AP Is Pricing Itself Out Of the Blog Market (5, Informative)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27488991)

I work on a popular sports blog and also another up and coming blog, and both feature commentary on relevant news (college sports and golf.)

We would love to use AP content for our blogs, with proper uasge, citations, trackbacks and the like. So we try to contact AP for licensing information and cannot reach a human and get no call back for weeks.

When they do return our inquiries, they gave us a price so ridiculous that it was impossible to fit it into any workable revenue model. It's not that we are cheap or expected something for nothing, it's just that they wanted a fee so high that it just couldn't be done.

We came away with a definite impression that AP didn't *want* to work with us and that their numbers were just go-away-leave-us-alone figures that they knew they had little chance of getting a sale from.

Now we avoid their material like the plague.

To cut the story short (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489155)

They should just give us tasters.. then tell us the buy the newspaper to read more.

Is there an AP release of this (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489161)

Is there an AP release of this that we can copy & paste here? ;)

A lot of sites syndicate summaries of it through fair use. google's cache is fair use, as it is represented as a snapshot of the original host site and cached in case the site goes temporarily offline, not misrepresented as google's own site. google's news site draws readers to your own site(s). bloggers, etc. draw more eyes to your content and responsible bloggers will link to the source they borrowed the content (for fair-use purposes, usually to critique the content), drawing more content to your sites.

If you do not want google (or other search engines) to index, crawl, cache the site, may I introduce you to robots.txt?

If you do not want people to take advantage of the Fair Use exclusions, may I suggest you get out of publishing anything anywhere and just keep your precious "intellectual property" to yourself, or at least, keep it off the internet altogether? Trust me, you won't be missed. You're old world anyway. New networks who a) understand fair use b) understand technology and c) know how to market themselves will take your place soon enough either way. Just expedite the process and get off the internet, please, if you cannot understand how the both the Internet and how Fair Use works.

Now I understand some of what is going on is not Fair Use, but when there is a critique included (even if an article is quoted in entirety) let's assume that the content was copied in entirety for the sake of convenience of the reader, since even sources like CNN and FAUX^H^H^HOX make links go dead after a few days, so the reader would have to hunt archives on those sites to dig up the articles. Having said that, without an article ID, how is the original reader to locate the original article? Obviously quoting the entire article (which is generally just a few paragraphs to begin with - come on, admit it, your "IP" is over-valued in your minds) is not unreasonable, and as long as credit is given to the source and it's for the purpose of critique or a response, where is your complaint? It should be limited to those who engage in content scraping without adding any substantial new content, i.e., obviously not fair use -- not just what you wish isn't fair use.

Thanksforplaying.

Re:Is there an AP release of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489277)

http://www.ap.org/pages/about/pressreleases/pr_040609a.html

Yuo fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489177)

feaGr the reaper [goat.cx]

Typical Slashdot response (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489211)

The issue isn't so much linking to AP stories or posting a quote or headline from an AP article, it's reproducing entire articles without permission.

I don't see how people can justify wholesale theft of other people's work in this way. Investigative journalism is not cheap, if you can't pay the wages of your journalists, they're not going to go to Afghanistan or to a disaster area and put their lives at risk.

It's not about using an outdated business model or anything like that. There are no AP concerts, no AP videogames, they have very few avenues to generate income. If their work gets stolen, not only is someone profiting from their work, they're taking revenue from them and their partners.

This might work (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489301)

No one values anything that is free. Of course, the flip side is that they are competing with free, which is hard to beat on price.

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