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AP's Biz Model is Just a Four-letter Word

Okay, let's admit it. Here at Bnet, we are working ourselves up into a collective fit over the AP's ridiculous charge into the wilderness, trying to track down those elusive content thieves who are allegedly republishing the news cooperative's articles without paying for the right to do so.

(See Erik Sherman's recent post on this topic, and a little birdie tells me Cathy Taylor's gonna do something soon, as well.)
But when I got a look at the AP's usage pricing policy last night, which instructs online users (including bloggers) to pay on a sliding scale anytime they republish more than four words of an article or its headline, I admit that it drove me a bit insane.

But wait, today there's more.

The technology the AP intends to deploy -- "an informational 'wrapper' that includes a digital permissions framework that lets publishers specify how their content is to be used online and which also supplies the critical information needed to track and monitor its usage" -- doesn't work.

It can't and it won't.

Ed Felton, at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, thoroughly deconstructed the AP's claims for the "wrapper" technology last week. Over the weekend, Ben Adida of Creative Commons (whose software seems to be at the core of the AP's initiative) weighed in as well.

Here's the gist: This type of microformat technology "cannot track, monitor, or generally enforce anything," says Adida. "They're labels, i.e. Post-It notes attached to a document, not locked boxes blocking access to the content."

He notes that what the AP is seeking is unachievable: "(T)he AP wants an architecture where every cell phone, computer, or other networked device is locked down centrally, able to run only software that is verified to comply with this policy."

Why would any media company, let alone the long-time leading news service in the country, make outlandish claims about enforcing rights via a technology that has no such capability? Is the AP incapable of doing due diligence before it shoots off its hunting rifles?

Investigative reporters have an old saying, "Follow the money." Over at the AP in these dog days of summer, their motto must be "Chase your own tail." Somebody must have left the 163-old out in the sun too long and it's seeing mirages in the form of content leprechauns running away with its business model.

Of course, you know the kicker.

That dog don't hunt.
To read Ben Adida's whole post, visit:

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