The Associated Press, under the chairmanship of MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton, has been aggressive in taking legal action against media outlets that have used AP material without permission (link1, link2 and link3). Now AP has issued new guidelines to its employees about using material that was reported by other news organizations. The main thrust of Associated Press Senior Managing Editor Michael Oreskes’ memo is that AP writers should always credit the original source of the material they’re using. Oreskes writes:
- We should provide attribution whether the other organization is a newspaper, website, broadcaster or blog; whether or not it’s U.S. based; and whether or not it’s an AP member or subscriber.
- This policy applies to all reports in all media, from short pieces, such as NewsNows and initial broadcast reports, to longer pieces aimed at print publication.
Oreskes’ memo appears to give bloggers a defense if they’re sued for using AP copy. If bloggers follow AP’s rules of attributing and crediting sources, then they can defend themselves by saying they’re doing exactly what AP does.