Here at Bnet Media yesterday, Cathy Taylor posted a "Top Ten AP News Stories" piece to illustrate just how absurd the wire service's new policy limiting free use of its content to four words at a time is in reality.
She got a boilerplate response from the AP that stated that bloggers are not the target of the cooperative's new initiative, but there is nothing in the AP's official forms to allow us to feel that we are allowed to continue doing what we have always done -- link to AP stories, giving them new visibility, driving them traffic, and often quoting entire headlines, or sentences from the body of the articles in question, as is customary in our profession.
Our understanding of "Fair Use" doctrine is that this type of activity is not only well within our rights as journalists, bloggers, and -- given the set of First Amendment protections enunciated by the U.S. Constitution -- but also for the army of "citizen journalists," who have been doing much of what we do throughout this decade as part of the emergence of a global, interactive, networked "crowd" that represents the most democratic transformation of the communications business in human history -- or at least since the first group of cave-people learned they could grunt in unison, thus presaging the golden age of pop bands.
Tonight, I feel it is my duty to build on Cathy's contribution, so in a minute, I'll list the "AP's Top Buisness/Tech Stories for August 4th." But just before that, I have to link to Danny Sullivan's outrageously funny post from yesterday, "The AP Wants $17.50 For Me To Quote Myself."
Oh, note to AP: If you choose to send me a boilerplate response, please keep it to four words or less.
Now, on to that attenuated news report: