Sunday, August 02, 2009

The AP's Misguided "5 words for $12.50" Policy

I'm as sympathetic as most people, maybe more so than most, with the AP's striving to prevent piracy of its stories on the Internet. I even said so in a comment on CJR Online's Audit blog a few days ago.

But a loyal reader brings to my attention that I was being just a bit too sympathetic. This blog post from some weeks ago, which I hadn't seen, indicates that the AP is, to say the least, overreaching in its effort to prevent people from quoting its articles, and extracting payment from those that do.

The New York Times had reported in June about the AP's effort to stop unauthorized piracy of its articles. That led to a furor and the Audit reported that the AP is simply trying to prevent systematic ripoff of their articles.

But look what you see on the bottom of articles on the AP's website. I picked one at random. Note the link at the bottom "Click here for copyright permissions."

Click there and then click "post" and then "post excerpt."

According to the form that pops up, if I wanted to post five to 25 words for a nonprofit or educational blog, I pay $7.50. If it's a "for profit" blog--which I guess includes bloggers like myself who get reap the beneficence of Ad Brite and so forth for lunch money---the cost is $12.50.

Seriously. Here's the pay chart:

Yeah, I know the AP says it won't sue small-time bloggers and such. Then what's this all about?

Like I said, I'm sympathetic to the AP. One of my first jobs was with a little wire service that went bust (two that went bust if you count one that I left before it went bust). I know what a horrid business it is. But this is overreaching, pure and simple, and simply atrocious p.r.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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