Bloggers to AP: You're Dead to Me

Last week the Associated Press began taking a very aggressive stance on the use of its content. They threatened the Drudge Retort with take-down notices over several items that contained very short 39 to 79 word quotes from its articles. Many bloggers slammed the AP's new tactics. Now, the New York Times reports that the AP is going to set guidelines about how its content can be used on the Internet later this week even though bloggers are following "fair use" rules when quoting AP stories.
Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was "heavy-handed" and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.

The quick about-face came, he said, because a number of well-known bloggers started criticizing its policy, claiming it would undercut the active discussion of the news that rages on sites, big and small, across the Internet.
TechCrunch writes that its new policy is simply to ignore the Associated Press.
So here's our new policy on A.P. stories: they don't exist. We don't see them, we don't quote them, we don't link to them. They're banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.
Other bloggers are following suit and choosing not to link to the AP. Some are discussing linking to other news organizations like Reuters or other blogs instead of to the AP. A boycott AP website has been set-up here. The blog at-Largely has a good roundup of the blogosphere's overwhelmingly negative reaction to the AP's bizarre new approach to the Web.

Time will tell if the Associated Press will back off from its sudden new stance or whether they really want to be totally at odds with the way the Internet has been progressing.

Update: Now the New York Times Bits blog is calling some blogs hotheaded. They also suggest that a blogger boycott of AP stories would be ineffective.
I don't know what the A.P. will do. But neither do the bloggers calling for a boycott of the A.P. (By the way, that's a silly concept as none of these blogs actually pays the A.P. any money. If CBS News or the Huffington Post - an A.P. client - launched a boycott, that might hurt.)
We don't know yet what these AP guidelines will say but one thing should be crystal clear. If some of the top blogs on the Internet decide not to link to a certain website that website will notice. The AP's stories are not centralized but they would still feel the impact of a blogger boycott.

Posted on June 16, 2008

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