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Monday, June 16, 2008

Who Will Win This One? The Media or the Blogosphere?

By Keith Schmitz

As part of the struggles happening as changes in the new media rapidly move along, catch what the AP is looking to do regarding their stories (from the enewsletter The Daily Online Examiner):
Bloggers are trashing The Associated Press today for demanding that liberal site Drudge Retort remove seven posts with excerpts of wire service stories.
The AP sent the demands to Drudge Retort owner Roger Cadenhead last week. After news about the takedown notices spread, the news organization said it will develop its own policy about the acceptable use of its articles by Web publishers, according to today's New York Times.

But a copyright owner can't unilaterally define fair use -- a legal concept that varies from situation to situation. In fact, the very idea that the AP could set the parameters of fair use is preposterous: The fair use doctrine is itself an acknowledgement that people are legally entitled to use copyrighted content in ways owners don't like.

Yes, the AP is allowed to set its own policy about when to send takedown notices, but Web publishers are under no obligation to honor that policy.

Here, the original posts contained snippets ranging from 39 to 79 words. In some cases, the first sentence of the article was posted, but some posts cited other passages. All of the posts contained links back to AP versions of the stories.

As is their wont, bloggers have lost no time condemning the AP for its position. Media guru Jeff Jarvis called on bloggers to show solidarity with Cadenhead by reproducing AP stories "at length."

Techcrunch's Michael Arrington took the opposite approach: He announced a boycott of AP stories. "The A.P. doesn't get to make its own rules around how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows," he wrote.
So who prevails? The folks who buy ink by the barrel or the other side which literally pays for nothing but has use of the fastest means of communication ever?

This is a sticky situation. Even the top execs at Yahoo admit that without traditional print and broadcast media they will have no news content.

Somebody has to pay for the people who hit the streets but the question is how as evidenced by the bad times hitting the newspaper business. If there is no copyright protection when stuff hits the net, then were is this legality valid?

But regulations run opposite to the free wheeling nature of the internet. What makes posting an article on a blog any different than sending it around to your friends on your email list?

Without the old media -- as much as it may irritate us from time to time -- you have no democracy, and you have not as much new media.

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