The Associated Press over the weekend challenged the very format of blogging, prompting an immediate boycott and, almost as quickly, a reversal. The blogosphere began organizing a bipartisan boycott after AP informed the Drudge Retort that its excerpts of AP stories—some as short as 39 words—were a violation of copyright.
The news cooperative has since retreated, saying it will work toward “better and more positive” guidelines.
With newspapers in trouble and the Web changing the nature of the business, it’s no wonder the AP is spooked. But suing, or threatening to sue, blogs that quote a few lines (as we are about to), is not a workable business model.
The AP is right to back down and right to develop guidelines for what it finds appropriate before having a Web tantrum.
New York Times:
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.