Following up on its spring promise of an industry initiative to protect news content online, the Associated Press board today approved an ambitious plan to tag and track every piece of text content for the co-op and its members—and eventually photos and video. The news registry will start by tracking AP content and is expected to add AP member content in early 2010. AP will fund it through 2010; it’s then expected to be self sustaining. One feature of the registry, which is being designed to work on payment models ranging from free to pay walls, is a “beacon” that will let the AP know how the content is being used.
This is sure to raise a howl from people who a) don’t like efforts to manage content use, b) don’t like the idea of tracking and c) don’t like anything AP does when it comes to trying to protect content. (We’ll also probably hear a lot about genies and bottles.) AP is trying to position it as not being about Google or bloggers, but about giving news orgs tools to enhance and protect revenue—and as an alternative to going completely behind a pay wall. It should intrigue media outlets trying to get a handle on to deal with the way content is used, particularly as more of them explore ways to get paid for online access to certain kinds of material or specific articles but will they sign on?
Some details (We’ve also posted AP’s FAQ.):
—The registry will use a microformat platform AP developed; it was endorsed by the London-based Media Standards Trust earlier this month.
—The “microformat” puts content in content in a 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.”
—The registry will provide metrics on content consumption, payment services and enforcement support.
—AP says the registry could support its previous idea of building search pages as “authoritative sources” by requiring links “to search optimized news pages that guide users to timely, authoritative coverage. AP continues to research the concept.”
By Staci D. Kramer