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Someone, Quick, Place the AP on Suicide Watch

This really has to be seen to be believed. For whatever reason, the Associated Press's official form for collecting fees ranging from $12.50 to $100 if you want to republish as a link more than four words from any of its headlines had eluded my view until this evening, even though Danny Sullivan linked to it in a blog post almost three months ago.

The context here is that AP has been making a lot of noise about its "wrapper software" that will supposedly allow it to ferret out those evil content thieves who are allegedly reprinting entire AP articles without paying for the right to do so. It's also been making threats against Google that may well come back to bite the wire service in the ass when it next sits down to renegotiate its licensing fee contract.

Tonight, as a little exercise, and squarely within my rights under the "Fair Use" doctrine, I am now going to "republish," i.e., link to, three AP headlines under its "Top News" tab.

Now, if the AP's own form is to be interpreted literally, I would either need to shorten these three headlines to:
  • Sands hit fate of...
  • American with cold misses...
  • AP sources: Military-civilian...
...or pay the AP $37.50 for the right to drive it traffic! Are you effing kidding me? It appears that my colleague Erik Sherman may have been right when he posed the question recently, "Is AP Run by Idiots?"

I kinda feel like Rachel Maddow of CNN, and her "Somebody please talk me down" construct. Maybe -- hopefully -- I am misinterpreting what the AP is trying to do here. If so, I hope someone out there will educate me, so I can correct the record. Meanwhile, since I'm not going to be holding my breath for that, here are links to our recent coverage of the insanity at AP here at Bnet:

July 27 The AP, Publishers, Battle an Imaginary Army of Pirates
"Like other bloggers, my initial response was that the AP's management must be made up of nincompoops. While that may well be true, I'm not sure that what the wire service is proposing will actually have any effect on what those of us who follow "Fair Use" practices do when we cite AP content..."

July 27 Hey AP: Here Are 7 Money-Making Ideas for You (By Erik Sherman) "Last week, I suggested that the Associated Press was run by idiots, not because I have anything in particular against them, but because management seems intent on doing things that will ultimately doom the organization..."

July 24 Print News Media to the Rest of Us: Somebody's Gotta Pay (By Cathy Taylor) "Two stories this morning point out how desperate the print news business is to get someone to pony up cash for their product..."

June 13 AP Will Distribute Non-Profit Investigative Groups' Stories "The Associated Press announced today that it will begin distributing investigative reports from four nonprofit news organizations to its member newspapers beginning next month..."

June 1 High Stakes Battle Lines Drawn: The AP v. Yahoo! "Yahoo's ongoing experiment with newspapers to sell behavioral-targeted and geo-coded advertising may help determine whether a "hyper-local" business model can be established to go along with the geo-coded content model..."

April 15 AP Shows Up ~ a Decade Late for the Portal Party "Earlier today, my Bnet colleague Erik Sherman, who has been following the AP's moves from a technology Industry perspective, suggested that the AP appears to be intent on creating its own news portal..."

Apr. 6 Panicky AP Lashes Out at The Internet "It didn't take long -- just three days -- after a well-reasoned argument proposing that the Associated Press is partly to blame for destroying the newspaper business for the AP to react..."

Apr. 3 Is AP to Blame for Killing Newspapers? "There's a new party getting blamed for the death of newspapers -- the good-old Association Press. The line of reasoning goes like this: By allowing Yahoo, MSN, Google and others access to its news wire, the non-profit news cooperative is undermining the very companies that own it..."

Mar. 30 AP's Loss and HuffPost's Gain "It would be hard to find two items that, when juxtaposed, better capture the zeitgeist in the media industry than these two from this morning's emailbag..."