Matthew Lasa of the tech policy blog Ars Techica says AP is getting close to releasing guidelines to bloggers and others who might be tempted to use the wire service’s copy or photos:
- “The guidelines are coming,” [AP News Editor Ted] Bridis promised. “AP’s main concern are not the bloggers that excerpt a relevant passage, and then derive some commentary. What happens an awful lot is just wholesale theft. So those are the ones that will find the cease and desist letters arriving.”
OK, we said. How will you define “wholesale theft?” If somebody publishes a paragraph of AP copy with a link to the AP story, will that be theft?
“Not at all,” Bridis replied. “I don’t think AP would have any problem with that … What I’m talking about, and what has really riled up our internal copyright folks, are the bloggers who take, just paste an entire 800 word story into their blog. They don’t even comment on it. And it happens way more than most people realize.”
Bridis suggested AP will target commercial Web sites that use AP copy without buying it:
- “There are commercial websites, not even bloggers, necessarily,” Bridis added, “that take some of our best AP stories, and rewrite them with a word or two here, and say ‘the Associated Press has reported, the AP said, the AP said.’ That’s not fair. We pay our reporters. We set up the bureaus that are very expensive to run, and, you know, if they want to report what the AP is reporting they either need to buy the service or they need to staff their own bureaus.”
OK, but the AP picks up copy from Web sites every day. What’s the difference?
- “If the New York Times has a story, we may take an element of it and attribute it to the Times and build a story around it.”
Why is AP so intent on this? “We need the money. The industry is falling apart,” Bridis told Ars Technica.