The AP's customers deserve better

I was surprised to find myself mildly sympathetic to the AP’s desire to keep bloggers from quoting from its stories. After all, unlike just about every other media organization on the planet, the AP doesn’t have a web business to promote. The distribution of AP stories to its clients is its core business and one that could be arguably threatened by unfair reuse. I’m also struggling to remain objective, because regularly I quote my local papers at length all the time in my own local blog — with their encouragement — but always urging my readers to read the whole story at the source.
But, ultimately, I don’t see how the AP can be right about this, and I suspect they’ll come to their senses.
The AP’s clients benefit from the traffic generated by these blog links. We’ve been encouraging them to seek out local bloggers to quote and link to their stories. This is going to complicate the outreach efforts of AP’s customers.
But the real reason is more simple, which can be seen in these 101 words I’m quoting from the New York Times story linked above:

“The principal question is whether the excerpt is a substitute for the story, or some established adaptation of the story,” said Timothy Wu, a professor at the Columbia Law School. Mr. Wu said that the case is not clear-cut, but he believes that The A.P. is likely to lose a court case to assert a claim on that issue.
“Itís hard to see how the Drudge Retort ëfirst few linesí is a substitute for the story,” Mr. Wu said.
Mr. Kennedy argued, however, that The Associated Press believes that in some cases, the essence of an article can be encapsulated in very few words.

If the essence of the article can be encapsulated a very few words, I’d argue that it wasn’t much of a story in the first place. Just as, I assure you, I didn’t capture the essence of the Times’ story above. It’s a much better piece of work than that. I urge you to read it at the source.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.