AP to Charge for 5 Word Quotations

I woke up this morning thinking about the AP’s move to establish “quotation guidelines” for bloggers, but came into the office only to discover that it’s already happened!

And, if you can wrap your mind around this, the AP expects you to pay for quoting five words from one of its articles.

That’s right: 5 words.

As an added bonus, you can get all BigBrother on your fellow bloggers by turning them in for forwarding an email to you that quotes from an AP article. I’m speechless.

Thankfully, Cory Doctorow‘s around to drop some science on this ridiculousness:

In the name of “defin[ing] clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt” the Associated Press is now selling “quotation licenses” that allow bloggers, journallers, and people who forward quotations from articles to co-workers to quote their articles. The licenses start at $12.50 for quotations of 5-25 words. The licensing system exhorts you to snitch on people who publish without paying the blood-money, offering up to $1 million in reward money (they also think that “fair use” — the right to copy without permission — means “Contact the owner of the work to be sure you are covered under fair use.”).

Welcome to a world in which you won’t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you’ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish.

Welcome to a world in which you won’t own any of your technology or your music or your books, because ensuring that someone makes their profit margins will justify depriving you of the even the most basic, commonsensical rights in your personal, hand-level household goods.

PREVIOUSLY | June 16, 2008 There’s a certain level of meta-citizen journalism irony involved in this post: I’ve highlighted an excerpt of an Associated Press wire story that was originally posted on Newsvine and concerns the AP’s plan to meet with bloggers in order to establish guidelines for quoting AP stories online. Oh what a convoluted wwweb we weave. My head hurts.

Read more on the original AP vs. the Blogosphere controversy on NowPublic here and on Drudge Report here— and TechCrunch’s response here.

The Associated Press, following criticism from bloggers over an AP assertion of copyright, plans to meet this week with a bloggers’ group to help form guidelines under which AP news stories could be quoted online.

Jim Kennedy, the AP’s director of strategic planning, said Monday that he planned to meet Thursday with Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, as part of an effort to create standards for online use of AP stories by bloggers that would protect AP content without discouraging bloggers from legitimately quoting from it.

The meeting comes after AP sent a legal notice last week to Rogers Cadenhead, the author of a blog called the Drudge Retort, a news community site whose name is a parody of the prominent blog the Drudge Report.

The notice called for the blog to remove several postings that AP believed was an improper use of its stories. Other bloggers subsequently lambasted AP for going after a small blogger whom they thought appeared to be engaging in a legally permissible and widely practiced activity protected under “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

In response, the AP indicated it would seek to create guidelines, though even that idea triggered further protests. Michael Arrington wrote on his TechCrunch blog Monday that AP “doesn’t get to make its own rules about how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows.”

Wendy Seltzer, a legal scholar and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, said it was encouraging that AP wanted to find an arrangement with bloggers to facilitate a mutually agreeable way for them to use AP content.

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