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June 16, 2008

The Associated Press wants to charge you $12.50 to quote five words from them
Posted by Patrick at 03:05 PM *

The Associated Press, having already announced its intention to harass bloggers who publish snippets as short as 39 words from AP stories, has now published a web form through which intimidated parties can give the AP money in return for “permission” to publish as few as five words.

In this spirit, I will shortly be putting up my own Web form through which people can PayPal me money in exchange for my promise to not blow up the moon.

The New York Times, an AP member organization, refers to this as an “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt.” I suggest it’s better described as yet another attempt by a big media company to replace the established legal and social order with with a system of private law (the very definition of the word “privilege”) in which a few private organizations get to dictate to the rest of society what the rules will be. See also Virgin Media claiming the right to dictate to private citizens in Britain how they’re allowed to configure their home routers, or the new copyright bill being introduced in Canada, under which the international entertainment industry, rather than democratically-accountable representatives of the Canadian people, will get to define what does and doesn’t amount to proscribed “circumvention.” Hey, why have laws? Let’s just ask established businesses what kinds of behaviors they find inconvenient, and then send the police around to shut those behaviors down. Imagine the effort we’ll save.

Welcome to a world in which you won’t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you’ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish.

Welcome to a world in which you won’t own any of your technology or your music or your books, because ensuring that someone makes their profit margins will justify depriving you of the even the most basic, commonsensical rights in your personal, hand-level household goods.

The people pushing for this stuff are not well-meaning, and they are not interested in making life better for artists, writers, or any other kind of individual creators. They are would-be aristocrats who fully intend to return us to a society of orders and classes, and they’re using so-called “intellectual property” law as a tool with which to do it. Whether or not you have ever personally taped a TV show or written a blog post, if you think you’re going to wind up on top in the sort of world these people are working to build, you are out of your mind.

[UPDATES: Commenters Greg Andrews and Irai correctly point out that the AP’s bizarre price list predates their recent round of threats against bloggers. Meanwhile, more on the AP and their Terms-of-Use chicanery here.]

Comments on The Associated Press wants to charge you $12.50 to quote five words from them:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:07 PM:

I guess they've given up on the generally-accepted idea of 'fair use'. (I see court cases in their future.)

#2 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:24 PM:

I hereby declare that any entity--person, persons, or organization--which has a policy so limiting and restrictive and greedy as the AP regarding extermination of "fair use," has no permission to quote me in any way shape or form without due remuneration at the levels they require--that is, they must pay ME for any use of anything I say or write, at the same rates that they demand from others for material they claim as legal intellectual property.

This extends to extracting ANYTHING for literature searches and googling....

Oh, it's not enforcible? I expect them to pay me the same as they expect other people to pay them, even for research and inadvertent extraction of material in e.g. Google searches.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:24 PM:

"Fair use" is whatever you can get a court to agree is "fair use". The point of "fair use" is that it's not a formula. So, conceivably, the AP could get a court to agree to penalize someone for quoting five words.

The point isn't "fair use," the point is that the AP, like all the other big-media crusaders for their own privilege, is trying to radically change what we do and don't consider normal, commonsensical practice.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Welcome to Absurdistan.

#5 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:27 PM:

The US has enough Federalist Society judges that they might win one.

They can certainly make sure it costs more than anyone can pay out of their personal resources, and takes ten years, and look, new legislation.

And, while Patrick is entirely correct about not ending up on top, this sort of thing isn't ever going to end with the current forms of commercial organizations.

It's an emergent property of profit-maximizing corporations to set out to devour the world; the problem can't be fixed while such corporations continue to exist. (Said corporations put a lot of effort into obscuring this simple solution.)

Reliable profit (and some hope of humane behaviour) or maximal profit (and rendering the inconvenient for lard); it ought to be a simple, obvious choice.

#6 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Wow.

I am trying to decide whether cancelling my Sunday paper would be an effective protest, or whether it would just hurt my local paper and not hurt the AP at all.

#7 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:31 PM:

It would be amusing if everyone that an AP stringer tried to interview required them to pay a per-word fee for the privilege...

#8 ::: Robert Walker ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:37 PM:

>>>They are would-be aristocrats who fully intend to return us to a society of orders and classes, and they’re using so-called “intellectual property” law as a tool with which to do it.

True. But, this is just one in a long line of steps already taken. In the US, it is now absolutely "legal" to arrest someone without charges, and hold them indefinitely. You can be labeled a "terrorist" for saying anything that those in charge deem "threatening." To what? Their superiority and control over a population that (in their view) basically exists to feed the coffers. And this is legal now in this country. Revolutions have been started for less than this throughout history. Why isn't that happening here? Because the propaganda system in this society, promulgated under the guise of "education," "media," and so on has been so incredibly effective, that there has, up till now, been no need for "communist"-type tactics. (Read Chomsky's early essays for a more in-depth explanation of this.)

In the mid-90s, I went to see Jimmy Carter speak at my college. When asked what the single biggest problem in our society was, his answer was not race relations, environmental issues, or education. It was: class. Regardless of what you think of him, for an ex-president of the US to say that, well, I think there are a lot of revelations to be discovered here.

The history of human society has been the elite vs. the masses. If you think it has *ever* been any different in this so-called "free" society of ours, well, then, I got a bridge I'd like to sell you.


#9 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:37 PM:

This can only work very well if all news sources do it, right? If AP hassles people for quoting stories, but Reuters doesn't, then it's pretty easy to see where that ends up.

Of course, the legal hassles are almost independent of the legal rightness or wrongness of the actions.

#10 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Constitution of the United States of America

PUBLIC DOMAIN DOCUMENT (ESAD, AP....)


"Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
"Section 8 - Powers of Congress

"The Congress shall have Power...

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

"...."

It does NOT "promote the Progress of Science and use Arts...." for the AP to extort money for quotations of more than four words, NOT does it promote the interest of "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves.." for such extortion (or for life plus 70 year copyright, for that matter... and how long do corporate copyrights last for under the Berne convention intellectual property-never-to-go-public-domain aegis?)

For that matter, since when is the AP the author, as opposed to the person who actually wrote the material, or spoke it, that the AP is distributing?!

#11 ::: matt ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:44 PM:

For $12.50, do I get to pick my five words?

#12 ::: Huey ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Let me be the first to encourage you to blow up the moon. Stupid moon! It totally has it comin'. It knew what it was gettin' into! It's practically askin' for it!

#13 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 04:49 PM:

Paula @10: Since the idea of "work for hire" came about, I'm guessing.

I think it's at least a reasonable position to consider "author" to mean "the entity responsible for the creation of the copyrighted work", and in the case of work for hire to consider the hiring organization to be the entity responsible, even if it's not the position one would entirely agree with.

#14 ::: Jason B ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:10 PM:

I generally operate under the phrase "People suck." Corporations suck more, because they are just groups of people. Therefore, "Group-people suck."

I wish someone would disabuse me of this.

#15 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:10 PM:

Wanna gag more? The webform is run by iCopyright, check out their "fair and balanced" article on Please Honor Copyright! Chock full of all the truthiness on copyright you can handle...

I'd be interested in seeing if the EFF wants to take a swing at AP. I gratefully support them because they're actually willing to dive into the tarpits and wrestle with the dinosaurs whose death throes occasionally threaten us chimps as we sit in the nearby trees pointing, shrieking and throwing feces at their sinking, bloated soon-to-be corpses.

#16 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:24 PM:

I don't think the underlying legal issue is "fair use," at least not in the quantitative sense. According to the excellent Stanford University Press copyright site, "Criticism, comment, news reporting, research, scholarship and non-profit educational uses are most likely to be judged fair uses." My professional understanding is that this is specifically to allow analysis and discussion.

Of course, it's 2008, the courts are populated by far too many Bushie idiots, and who knows. But there are some good grounds on which to challenge this absurdity.

#17 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:32 PM:

I guess that explains why AP news has disappeared from the NY Times online. There used to be a news "ticker" column with a page that had AP and a page that had Reuters -- now they have only Reuters on their website. I wondered about that.

#18 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:41 PM:

In a multi-media world, this strikes me as batshit insane. Competition is not dead (yet): AP is only one news organization. What happens if everyone simply says No, thank you? No, we won't fill out your stupid form. No, we won't give you money. No, go ahead and sue us, we're going to make use of your words anyway. What's the AP going to do, stop reporting, stop publishing, stop being a media company? Bye-bye AP...

What am I missing?

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:47 PM:

#17
Also what may have happened to the 'AP wire' section on the LA Times site. I noticed it was gone, but didn't know what was going on behind the scenes.

#20 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 05:53 PM:

IIRC correctly, the usual style of wire-service news reports does mean that a small part of the total word-count can contain all of the story. They make news stories which can easily be edited to fit the space available.

The first paragraph is usually a short summary of the whole.

And, just checking my local paper, as little as 20 words at the beginning can tell you everything.

AP are being abusive, but I can see them having rather more reason to act than some of their critics think.

#21 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:06 PM:

Ginger, P.J.: I think this is an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Now if they'll just follow suit with their hard-copy editions...

#22 ::: morgue ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:12 PM:

Dave @20:
Surely the value in AP reports is the quantity of them delivered in the service, not the individual reports themselves?

I'm genuinely uncertain of the wire service business model. Do papers (etc.) pay a flat fee for usage of whatever comes off the wire, or do they pay by story, or what?

This gambit is ridiculous on its face. Surely they know that no-one's going to pony up money via a web form to quote something in their blogs? And surely they know that blog excerpts do not represent lost revenue for them? So is their entire goal to stop something that isn't hurting them, even though it doesn't gain them anything either?

It all seems weird to me, as well as obnoxious.


#23 ::: Michael Martin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:12 PM:

I suspect if you put up a website demanding money to not blow up the moon, and made it sufficiently entertainingly a blend of supervillainy and dot-com sales pitch, you'd get enough donations to pay for the costs of artwork and writing.

#24 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:18 PM:

You'd have to resell the "FOOLS! I will DESTROY you ALL! (Ask me how!)" shirts from girlgenius.com .

#25 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:25 PM:

Michael Martin @23 - There are probably enough lunatics who would pay up.

#26 ::: Mike B ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:30 PM:

Michael at #23: The Weekly World News used to periodically run an article entitled Scientists Plan to Blow Up the Moon. I think they actually quoted the late Alexander Abian, who I will always remember fondly as the first crackpot I ever identified on the Internet, back in the days when the Internet consisted of nothing but email and sci.physics.

But the Weekly World News apparently just went broke. So maybe the lunar extortion market isn't as lucrative as one might think.

(OMG, the "Alexander Abian" Wikipedia entry provides Wall Street Journal citations (!) for Abian's moon-destruction theory. I guess there's a little Weekly World News in every newspaper.)

#27 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:32 PM:

The so-called news media have been outsourcing much of their information gathering and analysis to third parties, including AP. That means that they dropped most of their in-house former ability to collect and analyze current events information, instead sucking in whatever items on the news feeds they were paying for, seemed in their financial and/or editorial interests to publish as "news."

Note how eager (I am being sarcastic, and put his in explicitly to avoid quoting out of context....) the so-called news media has been to report on any actions of Sen Kuicinich that were anything but things they could heap scorn and distaste upon him for, how eager they have been to report miscues other than humorous not-deleterious ones about any not-about-to-be-dumped actors in the Executive Branch of US Government, how they have mostly buried the two murders of "detainees" tortured to death at Baghram Air Base and deaths and the rapings of minors at Abu Ghraib, and other atrocities perpetrated by US citizens who were either member of the US Government or under contract to the US Government.

"Freedom of the press belongs to those with the presses" -- and with the distribution system to spread their publications and the clout to prevent dissemination of "adverse information" and to discredit the "adverse information," discredit opposotion, calumny opposition, threaten opposition, and gag order opposition.

#28 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:34 PM:

That should be calumnify, not calumny, above...

#29 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:39 PM:

All you people here in the publishing industry -- how closely does a text have to hew to the original to be considered a quote? Is it even close to the bounds of reason to consider a paraphrasing algorithm to change a text to avoid the letter of the law? (Especially given that AP has to find you before they can sue you, I suppose.)

Just a throwaway idea.

#30 ::: CB ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:46 PM:

"Go screw yourself, AP."

There, that's only four words. You're all welcome to quote me for free.

#31 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Michael #22
The fascists responsible for the AP effrontery have put language in that includes banning ot being rewritten, even!

The codicil at the end of e.g. the AP article at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25188169/

is oxymoronic, claiming the that article "may not be published...."

What's going on, are they channeling Anton Scalia, one of the vilest crackpots in the USA?!

#32 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 06:57 PM:

Mike B.: Archimedes Plutonium is fond of pointing out that he's been published in Scientific American -- though if you check the issue in question, you discover that that "publication" consists of one of the crackpot "Letters to the Editor" items in an April Fools special edition.

#33 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Patrick: Are you taking contributions from both sides here? How much would it take in donations for you to go ahead and blow up the moon?

'Coz I'm good for at least fifteen bucks if you make a good show out of it.

#34 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Paula @31 - just because they say that doesn't mean it has the force of law. What I'm wondering is whether such rewriting could plausibly be used as a defense (probably not) and -- much more saliently -- whether such an algorithm could be considered to be making a valid point. (Said point being, I suppose, "Fine, you don't want to be quoted, then we won't!".)

I'm tempted to write it just to push their envelope.

#35 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:38 PM:

I'm also curious about the AP's business model. This looks goofy as hell to me, but I assume it must not look so goofy from the perspective of the people doing it....

#36 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 07:49 PM:

In this spirit, I will shortly be putting up my own Web form through which people can PayPal me money in exchange for my promise to not blow up the moon.

*transfers one meeeeelion dollars to paypal account*

Say, do you have any sharks...?

#37 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:19 PM:

How weird. A major part of the AP's business model is making millions of dollars by pulling quotes from other people. Admittedly, most people choose to let the AP have those words for free.

Let's say I write a book, and the AP publishes a review that quotes more than five words of my precious copyrighted text without signing a licensing agreement with me first. Given their previous behavior, what would their counter-argument be for refusing me my fees? Obviously not fair use, so what then?

#38 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:30 PM:

Evan 37: Does the AP publish book reviews? But yes, it does seem to me (IANAL) that they would be equitably estopped from claiming fair use for their one lifted quotes.

#39 ::: morgue ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Lotsa good comment at Scott Rosenberg's Wordyard blog:
http://www.wordyard.com/

#40 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:36 PM:

Xopher -- actually, I did a quick search right after I posted that, and as far as I can tell, the AP used to do book reviews, but they stopped over a year ago. Hmmm...

#41 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:45 PM:

Interesting.
I wonder if perhaps, we could get a new Creative Commons license pulled together:

CC-noAP

Something like Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic except with SomeCommercial instead of NonCommercial.

It would be great if we could slip a spanner into the works by reporting on real news with such a license attached.

#42 ::: Gigi Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 08:47 PM:

I say make a way around it. Just post the link and then point to the portion you wish to refer to by stating for example paragraph 2, 3rd sentence, word 3 then read to the end of the paragraph. That's the way we did it it in school when the teacher asked us to find something aloud in our reading. I always like to refer back to the initial source anyway. It won't flow as well, but it will work.
I'm for paraphrasing too.

#43 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:06 PM:

Actually, the more I think about it, the worse this seems for the AP. Leaving book reviews aside, here's another hypothetical: A politician gives an racist speech at a closed-door fundraiser. Somebody leaks a transcript to the AP, and they print it. Or -- the AP gets forwarded emails written by the politician that strongly indicate corruption, etc.

What if the politician sues the AP for copyright infringement, like the Scientologists? Has the AP weakened their ability to defend against these kinds of lawsuits? Obviously the AP prints all sorts of copyrighted material that the owner of the copyright might not want published, and said owners will use every tool in the toolbox to suppress publication. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm genuinely curious:

A) Is "newsworthiness" is covered by fair use? Or is there some special area of law beyond fair use, carved out specifically for news organizations?

B) If "newsworthiness" does stem entirely from fair use, does hypocrisy count? That is, can the AP really say, "fair use for me, but not for thee," and get away with it, in the long term?

#44 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:12 PM:

And what the hell is "rewriting", anyway? Are they claiming copyright on the ideas? I don't think that word means what they think it means. (Although I do think they're claiming something they know full well is not granted by law -- I suspect what we have here is a case of insult and barratry.)

#45 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:28 PM:

GLghLJsdfazaaaaah! Look at these boneheads: "By accessing the RSS feeds or the XML instructions provided herein, you indicate that you understand and agree to these terms and conditions." They have a EULA shrinkwrap license on their page!!!1! What incompetent boobs! The page in question is http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/fronts/RSS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME -- I won't link to it even with noref. Bastards. There's nothing I hate worse than rent-seeking behavior from my mental inferiors.

#46 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:47 PM:

Neil, #25: *snerk* You almost sneaked that one past me...

Michael, #34: Just to throw another cat among the pigeons, rewriting something in one's own words is the standard avoidance-of-plagiarism technique. I don't see how they can call that unacceptable; teachers all over the country would be up in arms!

#47 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:47 PM:

They are would-be aristocrats who fully intend to return us to a society of orders and classes

Dammit, I was planning a wooly-headed, meandering post on this very topic, running at least half-a-dozen paragraphs to get to that exact conclusion, and you go and boil it all down to one simple, effective sentence!

#48 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Avram @47 - which he will be glad to lease to you for the low, low price of xxx dollars per use. Remember - honor copyright! Piracy hurts creators, devalues their works, and puts you and your employer at risk.

Now THAT'S America!

#49 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 09:53 PM:

Speaking of which, Avram, I note you copied the entire sentence there. I hope you checked with Patrick first regarding his policy? Because not to have done so would, of course, be illegal.

#50 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Oddly enough, thinking about AP wire news reminded me of the time I found a news item about a submarine hitting a fishing boat, saw that it was a sub captained by someone I knew, printed it out, went back a few hours later to find updates -- and it had disappeared. Not corrected, not left to age off, just gone. I never found any mention of it again.

I always wondered who had that kind of power over AP.

#51 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:43 PM:

I like the idea of a site with two donation forms, one to keep you from blowing up the moon, the other to have you go ahead and do it anyway. The side that gets the most money wins. It could be a classic example of how capitalism is fueled by robust competition.

#52 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Oops. Missed Clifton Royston @33. Great minds, ahem, oh well.

don delny @36, if he's serious it's going to have to be one meeeeelion eeeeeuros or some other real currency.

#53 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:56 PM:

Paula Lieberman's #2 does remind me that in my day job, I've been interviewed by AP reporters more than once. Perhaps next time I'll tell them that my rates begin at $12.50 for five words.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 10:56 PM:

Over at Kos, an update of sorts.
Apparently the AP is feeling the heat, but not quite enough yet.

#55 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 11:12 PM:

Their customers can't be happy.

It's like this: a significant chunk of traffic to online news comes from links on other sites. And by significant chunk, at least on the small news site I run, I mean "upwards of 90% for some articles, more than 50% for many." Generally speaking, these are links from bloggers and small web sites which post a juicy quote and then say, "Look at the shiny!" or, "Look at the suckage!"

And then all the bloggers' readers go view the article. And the news site then makes money from exposing advertising to that traffic. This is all logical and very basic. Most news sites want links, and want to be quoted.

The AP is in the business of selling syndicated news, yes/no?

This policy will reduce traffic to syndicated AP articles. Which reduces the value of AP news, because on teh intarwebs, traffic=money.

Bwut?

WHY would you want to discourage people from quoting and linking to your content on syndicated sites when you're in the business of selling said content to said syndicates? Huh? Because those customers -- the syndicated sites -- cannot be pleased at all by this. It hurts their bottom line.

On top of that, the quotes and links to AP news help site search rank. A good link from an established, high-PR blog, with topics related to your article, embedded in text, exactly as a blogger would typically do in the process of quoting an article, is worth quite a bit more than $12.50. It's worth four or five times that, and I'm talking real dollars if you auction such links off on certain shady web sites. Because links have a real impact on search rank, which means traffic, which means ad money, they have a real financial value.

Again with the, "Huh?"

I don't get it. And honestly, I don't think the AP gets it either. I really don't understand what they're trying to accomplish.

#56 ::: Rahel Bailie ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 11:45 PM:

Perhaps if enough bloggers ignore (turn their backs on, boycott, whatever euphemism you choose) sites that invoke these regulations, they become redundant. A couple of concentrated months of active "unintended consequences" and I suspect they may get the point much faster than they expected.

#57 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2008, 11:50 PM:

Michael Roberts (29):

All you people here in the publishing industry -- how closely does a text have to hew to the original to be considered a quote? Is it even close to the bounds of reason to consider a paraphrasing algorithm to change a text to avoid the letter of the law? (Especially given that AP has to find you before they can sue you, I suppose.)

Just a throwaway idea.

An interesting idea.

Copyright inheres in the specific arrangement of words. This is why The Sword of Shannara could get published -- the words of the telling were different, though the underlying story was obviously similar to Lord of the Rings.

Paula Lieberman (31):

Michael #22
The fascists responsible for the AP effrontery have put language in that includes banning it being rewritten, even!

The codicil at the end of e.g. the AP article at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25188169/

is oxymoronic, claiming the that article "may not be published...."

Paula's right. This is an extralegal rights grab. Here's their new "copyright" notice:
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
I suspect there's a rights grab going on with their attempted interdiction of "redistributed." I know there's a rights grab in their prohibition of "rewritten." They don't own that right! It's tantamount to asserting they own the news -- that they own the underlying information, rather than the surface telling that's actually covered by copyright.

This is an iniquitous claim.

Michael Roberts (34):

What I'm wondering is whether such rewriting could plausibly be used as a defense (probably not) and -- much more saliently -- whether such an algorithm could be considered to be making a valid point. (Said point being, I suppose, "Fine, you don't want to be quoted, then we won't!".)
It's a grand way to make life harder for AP. If you can teach your algorithm to recognize the breakpoints between units of meaning -- AP style runs heavily to one- or two-sentence paragraphs, and formulaic beginnings and endings -- and swap the order of each pair, then rewrite them, it'll be even harder for them to make a claim. Granted, it'll render some stories nonsensical; but giving them a further rewrite before using them will be good for us.

Michael Roberts again (44):

And what the hell is "rewriting", anyway? Are they claiming copyright on the ideas?
Yes. That's exactly what they're doing.
I don't think that word means what they think it means. (Although I do think they're claiming something they know full well is not granted by law -- I suspect what we have here is a case of insult and barratry.)
I don't know the technical terms. What I know is that they don't have those rights, and they're trying to grab them anyway.

And yet again (45):

GLghLJsdfazaaaaah! Look at these boneheads:
"By accessing the RSS feeds or the XML instructions provided herein, you indicate that you understand and agree to these terms and conditions."
They have a EULA shrinkwrap license on their page!!!1! What incompetent boobs! The page in question is http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/fronts/RSS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME -- I won't link to it even with noref. Bastards. There's nothing I hate worse than rent-seeking behavior from my mental inferiors.
They're getting very bad legal advice, and are heading straight for a PR disaster. Who hated the AP before this? Nobody. But we do now.

I like Paula's idea: denying the AP the right to quote anything you've written or said unless they pay you for it -- say, $12.50 per five words.

#58 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:00 AM:

TomB: My wife and I have a modified catchphrase we abbreviate as GTMTA: "Greatly twisted minds think alike."

(Come to think of it, it must have taken a greatly twisted mind at AP to come up with this line of bull.)

#59 ::: Tam ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:01 AM:

I can't tell you how glad I am to see the changes to Canada's copyright law on ML. No one seems to be talking about this in my social circle. I was starting to think I was panicking about nothing.

Recommence panic. Threat verified.

#60 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:29 AM:

In this case there is an empirical test as to whether any harm is done to AP, which is perhaps relevant to 'fair use'.

Measure click-through to the original article at the five-word excerpts and at longer summaries. I expect that click-through would increase for longer quotes up to a certain point and then start to decrease. If bloggers are quoting AP stories at a level that causes more click-through than a five-word excerpt does (and I think they are) that would surely support fair use as commentary on the news.

The results of this test at least seem to be relevant to whether restricting quotation 'promotes the progress of the Useful Arts', unlike, eg, the `means well' test (cf Cory Doctorow vs Ursula LeGuin).

#61 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:50 AM:

Teresa, no way no how they got legal advice on this from anybody who knows what they're doing.

Leva @55, I've worked online software development since before most people knew there was such a thing, and I know exactly what AP is thinking. They're thinking, "Why can't we monetize our reprints?" So they have a neat little (c)-in-a-house icon (I find that icon really cute, actually, and I think I'll use it myself from now on) with a popup that explains their honor system.

And they see that Microsoft has a EULA, so pointy-haired boss says, "We can do that on our feed page, right? Because people shouldn't be stealing our feeds, we pay good money for those bytes!" So they put a EULA on their feed page, written by some clerk at the law office and charged at $400/hr without the actual input of an attorney.

Nobody even thinks about their member sites -- they think their feeds drive all the traffic to their member sites (notice how the links from the RSS feed page all go to randomized hosted member sites? This will make it damned easy to find out all the templates to the member sites, the better to strip out the content, I mean, it would, were anyone so unscrupulous as to contemplate doing such an illegal and heinous thing.)

Chances are, given the poor state of the newspaper industry, their member sites believe this analysis. Trust me on this (nancynall.com is a fount of insight on how "well" newspaper editorial staffs are dealing with the Internet.)

This has committeethink all over it. It's stupid, but nobody ever got fired for buying IBM or for decrying piracy. (Yet.)

Teresa again -- "insult and barratry" is a little (very little) joke. Barratry is what this is, or more specifically, barratry is what it will be if they actually bring suit. I suspect their attorneys know this, and no such case will come to court, which is why they pick on little guys in the hopes of skimming off some settlement cash. Because the penalty for barratry is disbarring -- for the attorney. Not a trivial thing, and one which bloggers would be advised to learn (gosh, that anti-spamming past comes in handy again!)

I am quite happy to hear you suspect my little notion has merit. I so don't have time to do this, but I've noted that if one fails to strike when the Internet iron is hot, one is last minute's news -- thus nonexistent.

I've still used up my play time for today, though (tinkering with the Amazing Toon-o-Matic) and so foiling the eeeeevil plans of the AP shall have to await the morn.

Ta.

#62 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Oh, except this paragraph from Nedra Pickler's article up right now:


"After eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure, we need change," Gore said. "After eight years when our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected, we need changes."

That's 25 words from Al Gore (hopefully they paid him $62.50) and two from AP. So obviously I may quote it, because Al isn't a fricking JERK.

#63 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:19 AM:

I would like to point out that the admonition "this page may not be published" could be viewed as an attempt by AP to claim that any display of the text by a browser is a violation of copyright (as, in the world of the intertubes, display *is* publication).

Ahh, the return to the storied realms of Hidden Knowledge and Secret Law.. (hmm, of course, in this Great Republic of ours, we may already have achieved the latter status...)

#64 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:28 AM:

Jason B @ 14: "I generally operate under the phrase "People suck." Corporations suck more, because they are just groups of people. Therefore, "Group-people suck.""

It's not fair to blame people, even large groups of them, for the shittiness of corporations. For one thing, it lets corporations off the hook--"Hey, we're just doing what you guys would be doing anyway!" No. Corporations do encourage people to be worse than they otherwise would be. Corporations do enable and, indeed, incentivise behavior far worse than people would pursue on their own. Corporations suck in a multitude of ways beyond the suckitude of mere humans.

Clifton Royston @ 58: "My wife and I have a modified catchphrase we abbreviate as GTMTA: "Greatly twisted minds think alike.""

I'd love to use that, but I don't have a spare $12.50.

#65 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:54 AM:

Thomas @60 -- I'm pretty sure fair use is not about preventing harm to the copyright holder. Rather it is what we the people have reserved unto ourselves, and chosen not to grant to copyright holders.

#66 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:36 AM:

Five words: "Fair Use is not evil".

I was going to remove the AP from my iGoogle list of RSS feeds by way of protest, but found it wasn't there to begin with.

#67 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 05:39 AM:

Lee @46 - I thought that Patrick might have chosen the moon to indicate lunacy on the part of the organisation in question. I might have read something into it that isn't there, but it ought to be.

#70 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:36 AM:

From the AP's page on Freedom of Information:

Th ssctd Prss s th bstn f th ppls rght t knw rnd th wrld.

If I'd quoted it in full, I guess I would have owed AP £7. Almost worth it for the laugh, but I wouldn't want Patrick and Teresa lumbered with the bill. Disemvowelling seemed APpropriate, somehow.

#72 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:44 AM:

Michael Roberts, check your email and your spam trap, please.

#73 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:02 AM:

You are welcome to quote relevant sections of these writings for your use, so long as they do not include the totality of the work, you are not trying to directly make a profit off my writings (if your blog has ad revenue, that's fine. If you're charging people to see my words, or publishing them and not cutting me in on the profits, it isn't), and you do not try to claim these writings as your own or those of someone else, with one exception. These are the only five words the Associated Press may use without fee* -

"Associated Press can fuck itself."

- all other quotes, misquotes, rewrites, condensations, edits, paraphrasings, or other usage by the Associated Press of my writings, sayings, or other copyrighted materials of any sort are subject to a per-word rate of $2.50, payable in full before publish. Violation of this copyright agreement will be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law. Perusal of this material indicates agreement with this agreement.
all writings not otherwise indicated are (c) Scott Taylor, 2001 - 2008. All Rights Reserved

*words must be used in toto, and in order. No editing, alteration, obfuscation, or rewording is allowed.

Anyone want to take a stab at making this legally binding, or at least not legally stupid? I'm not anticipating anyone actually wanting to quote me in the funny papers - but, what the hell, at least it's a statement.

#74 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:07 AM:

Jason B @#14, corporations suck more because they are groups of people protected from responsibility for their actions.

#75 ::: Irai ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:12 AM:

I'm pretty sure this web form isn't new. It's been around for some time. In fact, the story that the form came from (click the AP NewsAlert URL) is dated 5/29. So this is not something new they came up with.

In fact, I've looked into their republishing costs before so I know it's not new.

Still, it's ridiculous.

#76 ::: Greg Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:15 AM:

While the AP price list is bizarre beyond words, the original post is misleading at best - the AP has not "now published [this] web form." - I see no sign whatsoever that this form has just now been published recently in reaction to the current online controversy.

#77 ::: Nigel Rowe ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Hey Patrick, top spot on TechMeme, good going! Don't forget to send *them* a bill for quoting you...

#78 ::: Jack ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:33 AM:

I want to quote this article in my comment here, but I am unsure if it is owned by the AP...

#79 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:41 AM:

#70 -- there is the parody wild card, but A$$hole$ Per$ecutionary apparently regard the US Constitution as the same asswipe the Oaf regards it....

#80 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:50 AM:

#70 NelC

You rewrote the line, however, und das verboten by den Arrogant Petulants ist....

Hmm, I wonder, does Bu$h have a honey deal with AP, such that he will be an official figurehead for them and all this excrement AP is slinging, is designed to continue and extend the obfuscations, lies, misdeamors, and high crimes with all others suspended, barred, impeded, and precluded from having any and all privileges and rights to investigate, reporting, muckrake, charge, refute, defend against, and terminate, with or without!! prejudice, the lies, prevarications, calumnify, misinformation, defamation, and general misdeeds?

[Translation, who and what might be protected by this imperialistic power grab?!]

#63, Craig

That's why I typed that it's oxymoronic!

#81 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:54 AM:

#61 Michael

Perhaps they're getting their legal advice from Mr Mukasey, and messrs. Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas, with assistance from ex-STASI interrogators and ex-Soviet Stalinist appartchiks who lost their positions when the USSR came unglued.

#82 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:57 AM:

#61 Michael, again

Class action lawsuit time? Is the EFF listening?

Getting the goons disbarred sounds like a suitable start on cluebat application....

#83 ::: NoSpam ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Real Tech News notes there are a host of publishing options for web sites, one free. Still it does not meet "fair use standards" and is basically ridiculous.

http://www.realtechnews.com/posts/5785

#84 ::: Daniel B ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Not really private law, as intellectual property really needs a state to be defended properly.

#85 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:26 AM:

For posterity, the Techmeme front page with Making Light at the top of the AP blog-o-fire-storm.

(Thanks Nigel Rowe, #77 )

#86 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:27 AM:

Paula @82 - barratry only exists if they bring suit. Hence my prediction that they will not.

I think the court of public opinion is going to resolve this one. What a load of maroons.

#87 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Teresa @ 57: I like Paula's idea: denying the AP the right to quote anything you've written or said unless they pay you for it -- say, $12.50 per five words.

Especially if they can't demonstrate you used their words on your website without quoting your website.

#88 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 11:54 AM:

TNH 71: Funny. As a moon worshipper, I won't get one, but it IS funny.

Scott 73: I was thinking more along the lines of "The Associated Press may not quote me, paraphrase me, or refer to anything I've said or anything anyone else says about me, in any context whatsoever, under any circumstances." It's as valid as the rights they're asserting, which is to say, not.

Michael 86: If they ever do, should the blogger(s) so victimized immediately file a complaint of barratry against the attorneys who sued? Who would they file that with?

#89 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:19 PM:

Patrick, if you need help blowing up the Moon, I know just the guy for the job.

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 89...

"There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom."

#91 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Paula #80:

W may have many things in his future, but I feel certain that being paid for his masterful command of the language is not one of them.

#92 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 12:42 PM:

Xopher @ 88
Scott 73: I was thinking more along the lines of "The Associated Press may not quote me, paraphrase me, or refer to anything I've said or anything anyone else says about me, in any context whatsoever, under any circumstances." It's as valid as the rights they're asserting, which is to say, not.

Nah, I'd rather keep it legal, and keep from giving people ideas about further undermining fair use, copyright, patent, trademark etc. any further than they already have been.

Me? The more bullshit like this gets thrown at the wall, the closer to being a "burn it all down" no-copyright, trademark, or patent protections at all, "information will be free motherfucker - because I will shoot you in the face* if you try and lock it up" type infoanarchist I become.

The assholes at the RIAA, MPAA, Walt Disney, etc. are their own worst fucking enemy - and at this rate, the backlash against them is going to not only undo the bad shit that has happened in the last thirty years, but a lot of the good stuff that the various copyright, patent and trademark laws and regulations were initially put in to foster

*not actually looking to shoot anyone in the face, honest.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:38 PM:

I'd like to shoot these guys in the face—with a water pistol. Filled with water (fantasies about onion juice notwithstanding). Harmless, but expressive of my disrespect for them.

#94 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 01:40 PM:

Wait, but AP quotes people for their articles, right? How does it reconcile quotes from newsmakers with its own policy? Does it pay people who agree to be intereviewed?

#95 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 02:26 PM:

"See also Virgin Media claiming the right to dictate to private citizens in Britain how they’re allowed to configure their home routers"

Oh, the stories I'm contractually obligated to refrain from telling...

Suffice to say that some people should thank their lucky stars they're still able to configure their home routers at all.

#96 ::: B. England ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Suck it AP! You bunch of morons! And you can quote me for FREE!

#97 ::: Thief ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Hamas says it's reached cease-fire with Israel

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Associated Press Writer

AP Photo/EYAD BABA




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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Gaza's Hamas rulers on Tuesday said they have reached a long-awaited cease-fire with Israel meant to end months of Palestinian assaults on Israeli border towns and bruising Israeli retaliation.

The announcement came shortly after Egypt, which has been trying to broker the truce for months, said the cease-fire would go into effect on Thursday. Israel refused to confirm a deal, but said a "new reality" would take hold if Palestinian attacks end.

In a last-minute jolt, Israeli aircraft attacked three targets in the southern Gaza Strip. One of the airstrikes destroyed a car, killing six militants inside.

A large crowd gathered around the car's smoldering remains, and a puddle of blood was visible on the asphalt. Gaza militants then fired four mortar shells at Israel, the first of the day, the military said. No one was hurt.

Hamas officials accused Israel of trying to undermine the truce, but said they would not let the violence derail the Egyptian efforts.

"We are going to commit ourselves to the start time that Egypt is going to declare regarding the calm," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. However, the group's television station said the movement would respond to "any Zionist aggression," underscoring the delicate situation.

Egypt's powerful intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, has been meeting separately with Israeli and Hamas officials for months in hopes of brokering a truce.

Israel has been seeking a halt to rocket attacks launched from Gaza nearly every day, an end to Hamas' weapons buildup, and the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for two years.

Hamas, meanwhile, wants an end to Israel's military activity in Gaza and the lifting of an Israeli blockade that has caused widespread destitution in the already impoverished coastal strip.

In Washington, the State Department declined to confirm reports of a truce, but said it was supportive of efforts to bring calm to Gaza and southern Israel while insisting that Hamas remained a terrorist organization.

"We believe that establishing calm in Gaza and elsewhere is a good thing and we're supportive of Egyptian efforts and other efforts to achieve this," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.

"But saying you have a loaded gun to my head but you are not going to fire it today is far different than taking the gun down, locking it up and saying you're not going to use it again," he said. "Even if this is in fact a true report, it hardly takes Hamas out of the terrorism business."

#98 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:29 PM:

So I asked the EFF about the legality of running copyrighted text through an automated transformation to evade copyright. They answered with a link to their "Rights of Bloggers", which is actually probably a pretty good answer, except it doesn't cover automated transformation.

Even running an article through Babelfish Eng>Ger>Eng would be sufficiently obfuscating -- and quick. I think maybe I'll do that as a version 0.1.

#99 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Well, no, I should have known better - this is a tad overobfuscated:

Al Gore forms its beginning on the president election campaign 2008 to the support Barack Obama. Gore appeared with the Democratic presidential candidate Monday night at a rauen collection at Detroit' Arena s-Joe Lewis. Its speech was partial label, partial blistering attack on president Bush.
#100 ::: Roelof Goudriaan ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Seeing the number of AP stories, it's a good statistical bet that anybody who has posted more than forty words here has used some five words in the same order as some AP story, so you'd better all pay up that $12.50 ...
oh darn, that now includes ME!

#101 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:42 PM:

it's a good statistical bet that anybody who has posted more than forty words here has used some five words in the same order as some AP story

Especially if both are quoting some other source.

#102 ::: Adam Fulford ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:48 PM:

The AP's reputation is already in a shambles, and rightly so. I invite you to express your sentiments towards AP at FascistMedia.com. I'll just paraphrase AP when exposing its fascist agenda on FascistMedia.com, when trashing their propaganda and corporate sycophants disseminating it. It was bloggers like bradblog.com and blackboxvoting.org that exposed how democracy had been compromised and votes could be rigged on electronic voting machines, as every major university computer science department confirmed, while the fascist war-profiteering Associated Press utterly failed to do so. Now, the Associated Press is aiding and abetting war criminals with its blackout of the 35 Articles of Impeachment. The good news is that AP IS QUICKLY BECOMING OBSOLETE. Bye bye AP. Welcome Rawstory. com. I invite you to trash AP at FascistMedia.com

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:53 PM:

#102
Blogpimping? In overblown terms?

#104 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:56 PM:

"The people are rebelling! Quick, run to the head of the parade!"

#105 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Do we know how at the AP is spearheading this little operation?

#106 ::: Marie ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 04:02 PM:

The The The The The

Am I required to pay $12.50 for this?

#107 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 04:05 PM:

#84, Daniel B: No, I think online intellectual property is well-fitted for the law of the seas circa 1550 CE... definite pirates; state-sponsored pirates; well-armed traders; unprepared coastal towns invaded, burned and taxed; pirates so successful at taxing that they become states; and, of course, VOC and John Company.

After all, RIAA and Sony and gang want to be able to rootkit or DOS anyone they suspect of stealing their IP. Nothing for the state to look at there!

#108 ::: Stoic ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 05:19 PM:

We are no longer citizens, we are consumers.

#109 ::: j-m ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 05:22 PM:

AP has become a protector of McInsanebush and bushchimpy regime. I guess they have forgotten that they are part of the Free Press. Anything the press reports publicly can be used WITHOUT A FEE. Because we do not have people within the bushchimpy regime doing their jobs and prosecuting criminals, the AP has joined the criminal ranks. Boycott their sponsors. Stand up to the AP and expose their criminalities. This is War against corporate media whores!

#110 ::: Tom Marshall ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 05:42 PM:

in their dreams

#111 ::: skyreader7 ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 06:28 PM:

This is what you get under corporate rule. Everything is privatized. I guess next we'll have to buy a subscription to use the English language.

As I understand it, there has already been an attempt to privatize water in one South American country that almost caused a revolution due to the ridiculous prices that were to be charged. Keep this up corporate America as you are killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

#112 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 06:32 PM:

AP (or anyone else) cannot support a claim to copyright for five or thirty-nine words. 37 CFR 202.1 is a regulation that says a single word, or group of words, REGARDLESS HOW ORIGINAL, cannot be copyrighted. See "Planesi vs. Peters" in the Supreme Court - Petition Denied. I sued on a wholly original name ("Kingmaster") created in 1984. The Supreme Court said the Appellate Court's stance that a single word, or group of words, are not copyrightable. This is not supported by prior judgements, but is only "Court Construction". Only a large work, with "substantial copying as proof" is subject to copyright protection. Anything in the way of a few words, a slogan, a catching series of words, etc., is NOT eligible for copyright. Under the current "system", large companies like AP can steal original material from the most creative people on this planet--those who start life very poor and survive from that point on by being intelligent in their choices and learn to be intelligent in their work (so they can keep a job instead of losing it immediately to some "priviledged bozo"). So now AP wants to see a "change" in copyright on that issue; indeed, they simply want to DECLARE the change as existent? I say, let me know if it catches on at the Supreme Court level. My six player chess game (now named ImmortalStarMasters) could use a new original name--with copyright protection.

#113 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Ron - surely trademark would have been the right system for your game's name?

#114 ::: web design company ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 07:55 PM:

Uh.. no.. Is called "fair use" under copyright laws.. Likewise you can "Offer" a fee/fraud and fool someone into paying for something that they don't need to. That's okay.. It is okay to take advantage of a persons ignorance of the law..

#115 ::: TheIndyVoice.com ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:24 PM:

These big, dumb, bloated companies never seem to learn. I say let 'em go for it. It'll just wind up hurting them in the end.

#116 ::: ChrisH ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:38 PM:

How much do they want for two words? And you can quote me, free of charge.

#117 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:46 PM:

Likewise you can "Offer" a fee/fraud and fool someone into paying for something that they don't need to. That's okay.. It is okay to take advantage of a persons ignorance of the law.

No. It's not "okay".

Full stop.

#118 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:12 PM:

I'm pretty sure that any "taking advantage of a person's ignorance" is something that we all learn is not OK by the age of about 6. The fact that this lesson's unlearning has trickled down from the boardroom into casual conversation is a sad sign for our society.

#119 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 10:11 PM:

web design company, where on Earth did you get that idea? Where did you come from, anyway? And what on Earth do you mean by "okay" in this context? I can't imagine how you could say a thing like that.

#120 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:00 AM:

Clearly web design company is a corporate AI designed to construct the most pro-corporate moral/legal* code possible, then attempt to desseminate that meme through the consumer base--kind of like feeding cows tranquilizers.

Good try, web design company! But you might want to pick a more human-sounding name next time, like Sue or Trogdor.

*Oh, I see the distinction. Corporations don't.

#121 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:06 AM:

@web design company: Your post violates several state laws where this blog is hosted including conspiracy to commit fraud. I can smooth things over with the hosting company for you by making sure the proper disclaimer and release forms are filled out and filed correctly. Please contact me to discuss my fee arrangements - you'll need to act quickly to keep this from blowing up.

------
Gur cerprqvat fgngrzrag jnf svygrerq guebhtu zl Fnepnmzb-Oynfgre 3000 Oybt Erfcbafr Flancgvp Raunapre

#122 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:27 PM:

I'm behind, so I haven't read any of the comments in the thread, sorry.* I'll probably catch up in the next hour or two, but I ran across something related to this that is so unbelievable I had to share.

I was looking for info on an AP article** about voters going online to find the full texts of speeches, and therefore circumventing the soundbite, and I found an article related to this story.

"If a student is caught lifting text from a website and claiming it as his own, that’s grounds for failure. End of story...If only such a punishment loomed in the professional world."

That's either unbelievably blatant spin, or unbelievably blatant "not doing your homework." Argh! Is TimesOnline a piece of trash, usually?

The article is claiming that AP is just trying to stop plagiarism. (Can you plagiarase if you credit the source? Isn't that different from unauthorized reproduction, which is really the issue here?)


*Which is ruder, not reading, or admitting that you haven't?

**My work has TVs with an AP crawl in the elevator lobby and occasionally a story catches my eye and I go digging.

#123 ::: Mikester ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:28 PM:

@ Debbie #16:
How is "criticism and comment" distinguished from "analysis and discussion" for fair use purposes, in your professional opinion?

#124 ::: Liberty Belle ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:44 PM:

I am starting up a new publication and was in process of getting quotes from news services to carry an RSS feed.

I am going to call AP back and tell them I'm so outraged at their new policy of attempting to extort money for what should be free under fair use that I will NOT be purchasing their service, and will instead buy UPI's.

#125 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Now I've caught up on this thread (off to read the newest thread on all this next) and I'm discovering that I might be more sympathetic to the writer in my post #122 than I thought.

While AP is patently being stupid in the general case on this, the articles they're citing as plagiarism at the Drudge Retort probably *wouldn't* pass a teacher's no-plagiarism filter. Lots of the discussion mentions the number of words DR is quoting, but what they're not mentioning is the total number of words in the DR posts, nor the lack of indications which bits are AP quotes. One of the DR posts quotes 51 words from AP, and is 51 words long. A post I count as having 52 words quotes 49 of those from AP. There doesn't seem to be an indication that those 49 words are a quotation. Maybe I'm supposed to know that's how Drudge works? Is it plagiarism if you know how it works but I don't and I think you wrote it when you didn't?

I feel like I'm missing something. I'd say what DR is doing is pretty clearly wrong. AP is taking a pretty clearly wrong situation and using it to cut their own throat.
Summary of the alleged infringement

Gotta say, I'm disappointed. I don't like having to feel the least bit of sympathy for APs stupid position.

#126 ::: Susan Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:06 PM:

Doesn't Rev. Moon now own A.P.? If so, that would
explain EVERYTHING.

#127 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:16 PM:

#126
I think he bought UPI, actually.

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:43 PM:

R. M. 122: My work has TVs with an AP crawl in the elevator lobby

Despite the topic of this thread, for some reason* my brain tried to read 'TVs' as "transvestites," 'AP' as "antipersonnel weapon," and 'crawl' as a verb. Oh, and it was taking 'My work' as meaning "the opus I'm in the process of creating" rather than "the company I work for."

I snapped out of it very quickly, I'm happy to say, but the image of men in dresses, each armed with a scary-looking gunlike object, grimly crawling through an elevator lobby was vivid and bizarre.

*probably exhaustion

#129 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:03 AM:

#128, Xopher -

Wow. Vivid and bizarre are good words for it, all right. As I'm read your description, I parsed it one bit at a time, so I've got a mental image of men in dresses, each armed with a scary gunlike object, crawling through the elevator lobby a few feet from here.

Fun!

Hope you get some rest, and that it was entertaining as well as bizarre.

#130 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:35 AM:

R.M. Koske #129: If you work in Midtown Atlanta, the possibility of men in dresses is definitely non-zero (on Ponce it goes up significantly). Since this is Atlanta, their having guns is a distinct possibility.

#131 ::: Person ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:47 PM:

I demand that everyone must pay me 10€ just to quote 3 of my words.

#132 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:35 PM:

Xopher: for some reason (probably exhaustion)
...or you've been reading the ASL manual again. At least I was reading it as as KVs with AP crawl...

#133 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2008, 02:33 AM:

Spam from : 122.160.70.48

#135 ::: Xopher sees same spam coming back again ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Bloody hell. They just came in here a couple of days ago! Damn I hate these people.

#136 ::: xeger suspects that #139 is linkspam ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2008, 08:09 AM:

Linkspam @ #139 ?

#137 ::: Mary Aileen notes old spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2008, 10:00 AM:

135 and 137 are also spam.

#138 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2008, 10:09 AM:

R. M. 122:My work has TVs with an AP crawl in the elevator lobby

Xopher @128:... the image of men in dresses, each armed with a scary-looking gunlike object, grimly crawling through an elevator lobby was vivid and bizarre.

...and was going to be the climax of my NaNoWriMo novel! Pants!
(Is it too early to mention NaNoWriMo? Do I get points for being first? Thought not.)

#139 ::: Keelaar ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2008, 06:29 PM:

There was a time when the press reported the news without a spin. AP has made it's preferred choice for president and now is attempting to throw their net over free thought as their intellectual property. It's pure greed and evil. It's the same type of thinking that has the financial world crumbling.

#140 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2008, 02:48 AM:

A little vanity googling bounced be back here, so I thought I would comment on the "fair use" principle. I am all for "fair use". But when a small business has a strong creative name, that business can stand out in a crowd, and "fair use" is not a much larger business taking that name for its own profitable ends and thereby effectively burying the small business competitor. The American concept of Copyright as a legal principle was exactly created to keep larger businesses from burying smaller businesses (read the history of Webster and the Continental Congress). But "judicial construction" during the "Robber Baron" era turned Copyright of Title on its head, circa 1890, and the courts have refused to right the wrong that was done at that point (too much money "involved", supposedly, but really to keep the big boys happy so money flows to the politicians and the courts for holiday trips paid by companies). I do believe that someday 37 CFR 202.1(a), based on true originality, will be overturned. And, by the way, "fair use" will NOT be overturned. It is a true and "fair" concept. But "fair use" does not include obvious sole use for profit. "Use for profit" can be parsed, as in a name being used by a reporter who is writing an article "for profit", but that only begs the question compared to a larger company taking the name and putting it on its own product, like or not.

#141 ::: Lee sees undeleted spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2008, 03:12 AM:

@ 144

#142 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2008, 08:26 PM:

[Spam from 76.116.111.36]

#144 ::: Earl Cooley III does some spam research ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2008, 10:08 PM:

It's interesting to note that the spam link is clickable on his "view all by" page. It sounds like the pasteurization process for such links may not carry over to the "view all by" pages, which makes it a kind of back door for spam propagation.

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2008, 10:42 PM:

Earl: Unless something has changed I can't do that. Is it, perhaps, a quirk of your configuration?

#146 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2008, 11:14 PM:

Has AP ever actually come out with the material they claimed they were going to come out with regarding what they considered unacceptable why?

#147 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2008, 11:59 PM:

Paula: No. They probably don't dare since it will be in violation of the idea of fair use (which is, as I seem to recall we went over, a set of guides, not a set of bright lines).

#148 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2008, 09:56 PM:

#152 ::: Paula

Has AP ever actually come out with the material they claimed they were going to come out with regarding what they considered unacceptable why?

#153 Terry

Paula: No. They probably don't dare since it will be in violation of the idea of fair use (which is, as I seem to recall we went over, a set of guides, not a set of bright lines).

Lying scum
Lying scum
AP tells us lies,
Lying scum,
Lying scum
And they won't say why,
The lawsuits they use
Bloggers abuse,
Lying scum,
Lying scum,
Lying scum.

Lying scum
Lying scum
AP said they say,
Lying scum,
Lying scum
What had gone astray
But it's beens weeks,
There's been not a peep
Lying scum,
Lying scum,
Lying scum.

Lying scum
Lying scum
AP tells us lies,
Lying scum,
Lying scum
From them then don't buy,
Lies they have spread,
Their business should go dead,
Lying scum,
Lying scum,
Lying scum.

#149 ::: flytch ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 06:03 AM:

so make them PROVE their words are original... if they are not the first users of those words in that order then they did not originate them... they in fact copied them from someone else and are maybe in violation of copyright themselves...

court cost for proof would be overwhelming in any matter...

#150 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 09:29 AM:

court cost for proof would be overwhelming in any matter...

That is precisely the problem, or a big part of it: AP has much deeper pockets than most of the people they'd be going to court with over this matter.

#151 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 11:54 AM:

flytch: That's precisely the problem.

AP is suing the artist who did the Obama posters; it seems they don't actually have the copyright to the picture they are claiming he plagiarised.

I don't have the money to prove they stole something of mine that way.

How much less will I have the money when they are claiming the words aren't mine?

#152 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 09:08 PM:

It appears that the AP hasn't bothered to fire the venal slackwits who pretend to give them valid legal advice.

#153 ::: Noah Flower ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2009, 11:45 PM:

Thanks for the thoughts on this story. I've also posted some commentary here on my blog: http://www.deepcurrents.net/?p=113.

#154 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2009, 06:31 PM:

The latest foot-shooting from the AP:

AP threatens to sue an AP affiliate for embedding videos from the AP's own Youtube channel

Apparently the AP exec-in-charge-of-threatening-people had no idea that AP had its own Youtube channel, let alone that they were actively trying to get more affiliates to make use of it. He then failed to at least back off the high-horse gracefully, as with an apology.

#155 ::: Cadbury Moose sees linkspam on ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2010, 12:35 PM:

incomprehensible URL that could hide absolutely _anything_ behind the poster name, and an e.e.cummins all purpose M3 T00!
as body.

#156 ::: John E. Bredehoft ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:47 PM:

Got here via Woot's early July 2010 linklove, in which they wanted to invoice the AP $17.50 for quoting from Woot content in an AP article...but Woot graciously offered to just allow AP to buy a product instead.

#157 ::: TexAnne sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2010, 12:09 AM:

Not even trying. Sheesh.

#158 ::: Jon Meltzer sees more than 5 words of spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2010, 08:26 PM:

Patrick and Teresa should bill.

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