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The Media News

AP Says "Share Your Revenue, Or Face Lawsuits" 293

Posted by timothy
from the involuntary-disassociation dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Associated Press is starting to feel the bite of the economic recession and said on Monday that they will 'work with portals and other partners who legally license our content and will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't.' They are talking about everything from search engines to aggregators that link to news articles and some sites that reproduce the whole news article. The article notes that in Europe legislative action has blocked Google from using news articles from some outlets similar to what was discussed here last week."
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AP Says "Share Your Revenue, Or Face Lawsuits"

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  • by Alarindris (1253418) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:37AM (#27488355)
    don't put it on the friggin internet!
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:02AM (#27488697)

      I think they'd probably prefer not to, they'd prefer to go back to simpler times, before this damn internet thing, when they were still making money hand over fist.

      If they succeed in this, the only thing that will happen is that some of my news portals will have less actual content and more blogging/editorials/crap (like fashion and celeb news).

      • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:35AM (#27489201)

        I think they'd probably prefer not to, they'd prefer to go back to simpler times, before this damn internet thing, when they were still making money hand over fist.

        Oh, do you really think news was ever such a lucrative racket?

        The news outlets have really thrown themselves to the mercy of the Internet revolution, sticking by their values, and look where it got them. I am very worried about the decline of "real news" in the US. A million bloggers don't make up for one real investigative reporter who has the time to do the legwork because they're paid to do it. I am starting to think we need some new law, like more stringent copyright within the first 24 hours after publication.

        • by WoLpH (699064)

          Seeing as how most slashdot articles don't hit till atleast a couple of days after the original article. I'd say it would probably have to be a week for it to be effective. After which it would be old news and not beneficial at all...

        • by Locklin (1074657) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:13AM (#27489739) Homepage

          A million bloggers don't make up for one real investigative reporter who has the time to do the legwork because they're paid to do it.

          How many of those are there in the "real news?" Virtually everything is commercial or government "press releases" and "fluff news." The only leg work I see (as an outsider) are embedded reporters in various wars -which, for all their impartiality, are probably just as easily paid by the military.

          I would pay for a news source that was just "investigative journalism," but why would I pay for 99.9% press releases and some "commentary" thrown in?

          • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:21AM (#27490957)

            Then I would suggest expanding your news gathering. BBC, NPR, CNN and NYT all have excellent pieces of investigative journalism. Is everything on their sites or in their papers solid, investigative journalism? Of course not. But to say "virtually everything is fluff news" betrays more your lack of reading than a lack of good journalism.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Locklin (1074657)

              CNN.com's Latest news:
              * Italy earthquake toll hits 207
              Government press release
              * F-16s chase stolen plane to Missouri
              Police press release
              * Missing girl found dead in submerged luggage
              Police press release
              * Suspected shooter's letter: 'Have a nice day'
              Police press release
              * Commentary: What Turkey can do for the U.S.
              Commentary
              * CNNMoney: Recovery hopes begin to blossom
              Interview wit

        • by Eldragon (163969) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:28AM (#27489995)

          Considering how 24 hour news networks (aka CNN) have been around for almost 30 years, and they have never managed to have any sort of investigative reporting, I think the decline of "real news" was a problem long before the internet hit the mainstream.

          I think the Internet is going to bring us much better investigative reporters than we could ever expect from the traditional media. Michael Yon is an excellent example of what we can expect from the modern internet investigative reporter.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by JWSmythe (446288) *

            IMHO, it all started when the newspapers started to favor the wire services over their own reporting. They had to pay into it anyways, and paying the wire service fees could be cheaper than providing your reporter a desk, car, phone, etc, etc, etc. Oh ya, and their paycheck.

            Most websites and even print papers, are full of wire stories that they didn't originate. Those stories did start somewhere, but.....

            Then again, how many papers, TV stations, and web publica

            • by sean.peters (568334) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:03PM (#27492837) Homepage

              At least at the national level. See http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ [talkingpointsmemo.com] for an example - it started off as a single blogger who actually dug for news. Now it's up to about a dozen people, and they do a really good job of reporting.

              The problem, in my view, is LOCAL news. There's no one who's really filling the role of the local paper in holding the local politicos accountable. It used to be that the county board had to tread at least a little bit lightly when cutting crooked deals with real estate developers, for example... because they couldn't discount the possibility that the County Post was checking up on what was going on. But now the County Post only publishes online, and only AP stories and blogs. There's really very little local reporting going on any more.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            With the advent of mass media (TV, Cable, and now Internet) a good investigative journalist only gets one story. After that, if it was a good or excellent story, then they are doomed to fame, which will prevent any further investigative reports.

            The problem is that fame breeds the inability to gather information quietly, and sources confidential, both of which are needed for good investigations.

            But there is even bigger problem with investigative journalism in general. This problem is called MONEY. It takes a

        • The news outlets have really thrown themselves to the mercy of the Internet revolution, sticking by their values, and look where it got them. I am very worried about the decline of "real news" in the US.

          As someone whose formative newspaper, and other news source, reading years were essentially from 2001-2006, I must completely and totally disagree with you.

          I'm not sure exactly what newspaper values were in the later decades of the twentieth century. But I certainly do know what they are in the early years of the 21st. They are the values of the establishment, as newspapers in particular are a central and inextricable part of the establishment. I watched paper after paper after paper, day after day after day, tow the party line, stifle dissent, spin stories upside down, manufacture controversy, manufacture consent, treat the powerful with kid gloves, and viciously destroy those who could not defend themselves.

          In 2003, literally millions of people marched against the war in Iraq [wikipedia.org] while not one major newspaper went against it. Every last prominent newspaper in the western world supported that war. In the aftermath, they continued to support it. Amid the scandals and lies that followed it, they still supported it, and freely repeated the excuses for the excuses for the excuses. They were all little more than government press sectrecaries, the world over.

          And it's not just the war. That was only the most grievous failing of the newspaper industry. When it came to the financial industry, to the graft, to the unjust laws, to the violations of the rule of law, I can't recall a single serious newspaper investigation into anything aside from sex scandals and knife crime. How many important stories have we seen posted on Slashdot that will never, ever see the front, or any other, page of any national or international newspaper. Newspapers are toothless, only having fangs for those who they know cannot fight back. They have not, in my memory, ever seriously attacked those in secure positions of power. Ever.

          I open up a newspaper and all I see is district court case reports, astroturf, human interest stories, AP stories and sports news. Oh and opinion. Opinion, opinion, opinion, opinion, opinion. Commentary and analysis from wholly unqualified windbags, and every letter of it bought and paid for.

          You ask me why the newspaper industry is failing? The Internet!? Not likely. The reason they are failing is because they have failed to provide news, the "real news" you claim they still offer. They don't. Newspapers and the entire media industry have offered an entire generation nothing but tripe, gossip and the offical government line, and in so doing they have lost that generation. Probably forever.

          I will certainly never again relay on any mainstream media for my information, on anything. I have, for all my formative news-reading years, relied on the Internet as a source of information. Poor as it is, it has served me better than any official publication. And it has served others in the same way. Others from my generation and probably from two others.

          A demographic spanning some 20 years for whom newspapers, raid and television have been, are and will always be and unreliable sources of information. This is not some problem for young "pinkos" or anarchists who will turn to the Village Magazine or Indymedia or what have you for their news. No. The problems in the contemporary media are so deep, so systemic, and so pervasive across the entire political spectrum of the industry, that the young readers who have had to put up with them will never again turn to any outlet proclaiming itself to be an official or unofficial source of news. For them, journalism is a disreputable occupation, and anyone claiming to be one will always be suspect. They turn instead to the bloggers, and nobodies, and part time commentators. People untainted by a corrupt occupation or ind

      • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:43AM (#27489311) Homepage Journal

        more blogging/editorials/crap (like fashion and celeb news).

        Like Newsweek? I took these [newsweek.com] examples [newsweek.com] from the website [newsweek.com] but the print editions are worse - more than half the mag is dedicated to ads and pop culture BS. If they don't want the internet to eat their lunch then they should print a magazine worth reading. Sure, Newsweek isn't exactly the New Yorker or Foreign Policy magazine, but it's really went downhill from being the respectable news rag I read as a kid.

      • I think they'd probably prefer not to, they'd prefer to go back to simpler times, before this damn internet thing, when they were still making money hand over fist.

        Um, the AP isn't really run for profit, silly. It's a cooperative of news organizations that exists to allow its members to share stories, so the papers can publish stories about regions where they don't have reporters. All of the AP's valuable content is supplied by the members. In effect, the AP and the other news agencies are the first news

    • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:08AM (#27488795) Journal

      They do want people looking at, they just want to be paid for their work. You know:

      "Information wants to be free, but information purveyors want to be paid."

      Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        That doesn't make him stupid. He pointed out something very obvious - once information is out there, you have to exert a lot of effort to bottle it back up. In the old days, it was relatively easy to find out who was filching your information - now it can be hard to find out even what country someone is in, let alone who they are.

        Does this mean the end for the AP? Maybe. Does this mean the end of news? I doubt it. Look at NPR and the BBC, for example. While relying on government or non-profits for news may

        • by hedwards (940851)

          You do realize that both the NPR and BBC use AP sources, right? Yes they do a lot of it on their own, but they frequently use licensed content. Content that they pay for. Or in those cases the people pay for. The BBC via tax and NPR via government grants and user donations.

          But in both cases somebody is paying for the content.It is stupid to point that out. The free sources are just not as good as sources that are paid for in some form. Yes you don't have to donate to NPR, but if you live in a nation with a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mr_eX9 (800448)

        Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

        From somebody else who knows how to purvey information and still make a buck? Just a hunch.

        To hell with the AP if they're going to go the route of the RIAA.

      • by Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) <JetpackJohn@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:35AM (#27489189) Homepage

        Hmmm... I think it's a little more than that. At least, they're specifically picking on Google in the summary's synopsis of the article. And why?

        When I look at Google News, I see a page of links, the titles of which are almost entirely just headlines. The few that aren't just headlines include only a sentence or two from the article. How is this not fair use? And how is the AP entitled to any compensation for this? If you truly want to know more, you'll click on a link and, if it's an AP story, be sent to an AP website where you will get both the full article and the AP's ads.

        For site's which don't play nice, ripping whole articles or outright plagiarism, then go ahead, bring down the hammer. But that's not a new problem. This, on the other hand, sounds an awful lot like the AP going for a money grab while waving a big lawyer stick. And what's worse is that they might succeed because the courts have time and again shown questionable judgment when it comes to cases involving linking and fair use.

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        Aren't they being paid by whoever is hosting it?

        If nytimes.com is showing (and paying for) an AP article, and Google (or my site, for that matter) copies the headline and makes that a link to the nytimes.com, then people who follow that link are getting the content from nytimes.com. If AP doesn't want people reading that article on nytimes.com, then don't sell it to nytimes.com, but they sure got paid for what happened.

        What am I missing?

        • by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:14AM (#27489759) Homepage Journal

          The problem is a bit more complex, I think:

          1) That AP article is not just on nytimes.com, but a lot of other news sites also aggregated by Google.
          2) AP, nor those who syndicate it, have control over how or where their content is placed on Google. They only get to say "here is my newsfeed, have fun".
          3) Because of #2, if you have 40 newspapers who bought an AP article but only nytimes gets listed on the "front page" of google news, the other newspapers aren't getting any ROI on their purchase.
          4) Ponies.

          but they sure got paid for what happened.

          Sure, in the short-run they did. But the problem with AP is they too are basically a twisted form of a news-aggregates. They aggregate news stories and sell it to a hundred newspapers who print said stories and generate revenue by selling ads next to the story. Nowdays, those newspapers are aggregated by Google, who aggregates the newspapers in such a way that only a few of the newspapers displaying that article get any traffic in which to sell ads to.

          In other words, maybe AP should cut the middle man and just sell to Google.

      • by master811 (874700)

        Except Google doesn't have Ads on the pages they have news on, so Google probably makes very little if anything on aggregating news.

      • They do want people looking at, they just want to be paid for their work.

        Then maybe they shouldn't put it up for free? Maybe they should try some type of subscription model.

        Otherwise they can go out of business, and then where will you get your information?

        The answer to that question is the same reason newspapers are NOT using some type of subscription model: "just about anywhere." There's no shortage of information online, and people who try to charge for the content suddenly find out that their clients are still finding the content they want elsewhere.

        What happens in the highly unrealistic scenario if they all go out of business and you can't find the news

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      NO! You get off my lawn! Damn whippersnappers and their mobile devices with aggregated digital news.

      Back in my day if we wanted the news we had to walk to the newsstand, uphill both ways, and pay a hard earned nickel for it!

    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:23AM (#27489037)
      I think they have a case when talking about "sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole" - it's clearly unfair to do that.

      However to asking money from sites that merely link to the articles? That seems over the top and counter-productive. After all that brings traffic to the site which hosts the article. Linking itself must be free speech, and using the headline and 1-2 sentences in order to describe the link must be fair use.

      One goal of The A.P. and its members, she said, is to make sure that the top search engine results for news are "the original source or the most authoritative source," not a site that copied or paraphrased the work.

      That goal is ok, but they have no right to prevent a search engine from giving the user the site they are most likely looking for. If that's a site discussing the news, rather than the site presenting the news, they can address this by making their own sites more attractive. In any case - they get a link out of it.

      Other than that: if you really don't want to be indexed (and not just pretend you don't because you want to get money from the search engines) then just use robots.txt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lucas_picador (862520)
        It's even more ridiculous and pathological than that: the AP is simultaneously whining about how aggregators link to their articles and also about how search engines DON'T link to their articles. This is typical schizophrenia from an industry that is in hysterical denial because the world has changed and their business model no longer works. They can't even articulate what they want; they just want to go back to the way things used to be, when Mommy used to play with them and feed them all day. Embarrassing
    • don't put it on the friggin internet!

      What they are trying to do sounds to me like suing people who took a brochure from a pile under a "Take One!" sign, without paying the $25 price that was printed in small letters in page ten of the brochure.

      May I suggest an alternative scheme? They could start charging people who read the headlines at the newsstand. I often do that and walk away without buying the paper. Thats the equivalent of looking at the Google link.

  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:40AM (#27488387) Journal
    Sure. They can cut themselves from the "Intaweb"... They'll just wither and die without any traffic.

    Go ahead, AP! Cut yourself off and fall more into irrelevence... The suits just don't understand that traffic is the new black.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:47AM (#27488515)

      The suits just don't understand that traffic is the new black.

      No, black is still black. How many sites get tons of hits but no actual profits?

      AP may be hurting themselves by doing this, or they may have, you know, actually studied their own buisness and concluded that this is how they will survive. We'll get to see for ourselves. Or not, since if they go under, who is going to report it? AP news?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        AP may be hurting themselves by doing this, or they may have, you know, actually studied their own buisness and concluded that this is how they will survive.

        From the article:

        The policies were adopted by the A.P. board, composed mostly of newspaper industry executives.

        I think we can discount the second option.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by haystor (102186)

          Yea, they should have surveyed the slashdot pundits instead.

          • by coryking (104614) * on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:21AM (#27489879) Homepage Journal

            I like to visit "real" newspaper sites that have good discussion systems. Almost all of the local newspapers in Seattle have horrible comment systems that are tucked a way in such a fashion that only real nutcases seem to inhabit them.

            Worse, they all seem to use digg-style "up/down" moderation. "Up/Down" moderation is horrible for anything outside product reviews. It creates a feedback loop where those that go with the group think get rewarded with "+55" and those who go against get shunned at "-11" with no way to get out of the hole.

            Slashdot may not be perfect, but after using dozens if not hundreds of other discussion systems, they do have pretty much the best out there. DailyKos is close second, but only because a limited set of users can down-rate a comment and even those users can only dish out a couple down-rates a day. Anything that grants regular users the ability to make an unlimited number of down-rates will quickly turn into a cesspool of wackos.

            So yeah, newspaper sites could learn a thing or two by ripping some of what slashdot does right. Slashdot could do the same and finally add a rich text editor to the comments so I can finally highlight a string of words and make it a link...but that is a different story :-)

      • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:38AM (#27489233) Homepage Journal

        How many sites get tons of hits but no actual profits?

        Ooh, ooh; I know! That would be my web site!

        Actually, I'm more or less in charge of several web sites for several small organizations whose names or activities aren't very relevant here, because they're typical of zillions of orgs with an online presence. I fell into this because I understand how the Internet works, and most of the people in the organizations don't (and don't want to). They just want to type up their stories, and let the electronic magic be handled by someone else.

        What's interesting about this to me is that it presents an interesting scenario: Suppose one of my sites has the same information as an AP news story about the site or the organization behind it. It sounds like, when we report the same news about ourselves, we would be in violation of AP's ownership of that information. So we could be sued by AP for reporting information about ourselves that AP has found, slightly reworded, and reported.

        This situation isn't hypothetical. AP has had local news stories about some of these organizations. They may have got the information via interviews, or they may have got it from the orgs' blogs; we really don't know. In the past, we've provided the information, because people in organizations often want their activities to be publicised.

        What we're wondering is: If we blog about our activities, and AP picks up the info and reports it, are they saying that we have to pay AP to have the same information on our own web site? If we've blogged about it and AP reports it, is AP saying that we must remove the information from our blogs?

        It sure sounds like this is what they're aiming for.

        This was an unlikely scenario back in the days of printed news, or even with broadcast news, since the news creators were rarely in a position to do the distribution, printing or delivery of the news. But the Internet has ended this division. News creators can now simply type up a few sentences and hand them over to their web server. Distribution and delivery to readers is handled by the web server without further human activity (or the death of trees ;-). Readers get the info from the original sources if they want. We can cross-link our sites to help people with similar interests find what they want. Google can help people find the right articles on our sites.

        So are we really going to give the big news corporations complete ownership over all information about our organizations, to (mis)report as they see fit? Or can we little guys continue to report our own activities on our own web sites without harrassment from the news corporations' lawyers?

      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        if they go under, who is going to report it? AP news?

        Reuters [reuters.com]

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        We'll get to see for ourselves. Or not, since if they go under, who is going to report it? AP news?

        Who will report it? Slashdot. TWiT. Ars Technica. Digg. Dozens of other "new media" news sites. Dozens of bloggers and microbloggers.

        The only question is whether they will be using the last story from AP or not. If they do, it will likely be for the novelty and historical importance of the event. Not because AP is the only source of news.

  • Oh well. Some AP reporting has been kind of shitty in the last 10 years or so, anyway.

  • Easy steps (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:43AM (#27488451)

    1 - Tell someone a story.
    2 - Wait till he tells the same story to someone else.
    3 - Sue.

    A great plan indeed. I can't foresee any way it may fail.

    • Re:Easy steps (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:58AM (#27488645) Journal

      1 - Tell someone a story. 2 - Wait till he tells the same story to someone else. 3 - Sue.

      A great plan indeed. I can't foresee any way it may fail.

      I think it's kind of different. They are gaining revenue for telling the story. And it's not fictional ... and they will be held accountable if they get some facts wrong. And also that's how they make their money.

      A more accurate analogy (though still flawed) would be:
      1 - Do a lot of footwork to find the facts and tell them to someone to make a tiny sum of money.
      2 - Wait till he tells the same story to 10,000 other people with your exact words and little to no attribution to you and he makes a nominal sum of money.
      3 - Sue.

      Not really a plan, as step 2 requires action on someone else's part. Hey, I don't predict this to fail the way the MPAA/RIAA are being backed by congress and the courts. Legal or legislative action is at the AP's disposal.

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        I notice you've included about four references to the flawed plan makingmoney.

        How does making money give validity to wrong assumptions?

        What if someone discovered a free replacement to fossil fuels? Would it be acceptable to sue him on grounds of some notions of unfair competition?

        They decided they could get money from publishing information on a free medium. It was a doomed plan since day one, and now that time proved them wrong, they cry.

    • by Joe U (443617)

      Even more fun is that the stories are news and facts.

      So, tell someone it's sunny outside and follow the above process.

      Here's an idea for sites, remove the links. Just type the URL in plain text, let the end user get a plugin that turns them into links (or simply copy and paste). Win! You didn't link to anyone, there is no argument to take down a link because there is no link, just some words.

      2600 magazine did this with DeCSS and the court was happy. It's very difficult to have text removed, but easy to have

    • Re:Easy steps (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:17AM (#27488959)
      1) Refuse to let Google and other search engines index your stories
      2) Google removes all newspapers with AP content from its indexing
      3) Newspapers, with falling print sales and no Google presence, go out of business
      4) No one left to buy AP stories
      5) ???
      6) Profit!
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:45AM (#27488477) Homepage Journal
    AP wrote:

    and will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't.

    "Legal remedies" == we'll sue; easy enough. But what worries most is "legislative remedies". It reeks of "We know you're playing by the rules, but we don't like the rules, so we'll buy off a few senators to get the rules changed."

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:45AM (#27488481)
    My website generates about 44 cents in Google revenue per day. The newspapers of the world are in for a surprise.
  • by forand (530402) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:48AM (#27488527) Homepage
    This is very confusing to me. If websites don't want aggregators to compile all of their content for them and place it in a convenient (for the viewer) format and location then they should just make their robots.txt act accordingly.

    Unfortunately this appears to be a money grab and if there was and doubt in my mind about that it was removed when they stated '[we] will seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don't [license].' Making new laws to maintain your revenue stream is a clear sign to me that you do not have a viable business model and are attempting to make things criminal without a valid reason.
    • Of course it's a money grab--they've been feeding the cow this whole time and now it's ready to cash in. What's funny, though, is they're learning as the music and movie industries have that when you go digital, your product instantly becomes a commodity because of its ease of transfer. Perhaps they should embed ads into their own content to monetize it, and then sell subscriptions to premium (ad free, or pay-per-view) feeds to sites like Google and Yahoo for syndication.

      There are better, saner approaches

  • by commandlinegamer (1046764) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:49AM (#27488539)
    It wouldn't surprise if 90% of web sites are just aggregators. I'd be more than happy if they withered and died. Here's a tip - if you don't have [your own] content you don't have a website. I'm all for the Web - it gives people the freedom to publish their own damn nonsense, I just can't stand the amount of duplication you need to search through these days to find anything, be it news, software or tasteful pictures of Reese Witherspoon's chin (she could always double up as a snow plough if times get tough in the acting business).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would point out that Slashdot is an Aggregator with comment posting. It generates no actual news stories itself.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Well, I wouldn't go that far, you can add value through aggregation. A good example is /. this is primarily an aggregation site which adds value via comments.

      Actually scratch that, /. doesn't add value at all.

      But by verifying or filtering content to particular tastes, they can add value in the form of saving people time or possibly providing fact check links to information in the article.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @08:50AM (#27488555)

    [censored]

  • Artist Sues The A.P. Over Obama Image. There seems to be a war going on ...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/arts/design/10fair.html [nytimes.com]

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:01AM (#27488685) Homepage Journal

    So if I were to set up a website that let people put rss feeds of their choice on a portal page - and then added advertising of my own to that same page - and the user decided to choose one of these:

    RSS Feeds [ap.org]

    I'd be open to a lawsuit?

    What if I then created a link that said "Get all the Associated Press RSS feeds" which then did the copy/paste for the user and created a page for them of all the above feeds?

    Then based on user activity I found that every user (99.5%) was clicking that auto-AP button... so to provide good customer service I just added tabs to my interface with one of them being "AP News" by default.

    All this while, the pages only show the Title, summary, attribution, date and a link to the original article.

    So then I get sued... right?

    What if I just made "widgets" that people could download to their Widget product of choice? How about a desktop application that does the same thing - ad free - but has a purchase price attached?

    Any thoughts?

    My current Mail program allows me to consume RSS feeds, as do a variety of widgets (online and off) and none of them are non-commercial and I'm fairly certain that none of them are paying the AP any license fee.

    • It's very clear that they object to people putting some, or all, of the content of their articles on those peoples' web pages. So if "the pages only show the Title, summary, attribution, date and a link to the original article" then, no, you don't get sued. You aren't showing the article, or part of it, just the title and summary they distribute via their RSS feed.

         

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by digitalhermit (113459)

      It works more like this:

      Someone creates some content for a website. Their revenue is based on the number of people visiting the site.

      Someone else comes along and aggregates multiple websites. Instead of people visiting the original site, they start to visit the aggregator because it's more convenient. The aggregator gets the views and the advertising money.

      The content creators lose out, even though they create the content.

      The argument from the aggregator site is that it pushes viewers to sites that they wou

  • flawed by design (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Demonantis (1340557) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:06AM (#27488753)
    The internet was not built with bussiness models in mind. Unfortunately, businesses think they can shoehorn a model onto the interenet.
  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:09AM (#27488813) Journal
    The reason you hear stories about newspapers failing all over the country is because of the Associated Press. In order to cut costs, newspapers across the country eliminated most of their reporting staff and replaced them with AP newsfeeds. Instead of doing real reporting, they just "rip and read" from the AP feed.

    The advent of the internet has given us access to many more news sources than we ever had before. Most of us have realized that all of the news papers have the same stories, word for word. This is why they are going out of business. If newspapers, and other news sources, are going to stay in business, they need to provide valuable content. They need to stop relying on the AP for content, we can get that anywhere.
    • by homer_s (799572)
      The reason you hear stories about newspapers failing all over the country is because of the Associated Press. In order to cut costs,

      You are confusing the cause and effect - if they were doing well, why would they try to cut costs?

      Newspapers are dying because there are better ways to advertise and there are better ways to get news. And just like any other industry who cannot justify their business models - RIAA, US steelmakers, etc - they are considering 'legislative remedies'.
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        if they were doing well, why would they try to cut costs?

        Because businesses are always trying to cut costs.

    • You have it backwards. The reason newspapers are turning to AP for a moajority of their stories is that their circulations are way down, and so their ad revenues are way down.

      Today, newspapers can't afford a full staff of reporters, so they've laid them off and replaced them with cheap copyeditors who rewrite the AP feeds.

      It's quite a conundrum... newspapers can;t afford reporters due to decreased circulation, so they publish more vanilla news. As you point out, this means they get less interest from re
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        Today, newspapers can't afford a full staff of reporters, so they've laid them off and replaced them with cheap copyeditors who rewrite the AP feeds.

        Newspapers laid off reporters and turned to AP feeds back in the 1980s. The difference is, they can no longer make money at it.

        Back in the 80s Newsrooms across the country installed satellite dishes [wikipedia.org] to receive the news feed. This was expensive technology, and off limits to the average consumer. The internet made this technology obsolete, and the newsrooms along with it.

  • by jgalun (8930) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:12AM (#27488855) Homepage

    So far, as expected, every comment is about how stupid these old media dinosaurs are to repeat the mistakes of the RIAA/MPAA.

    Let me ask a question. If the newspapers that create the AP content are going out of business, where will the content come from? And if everyone simply copies the AP articles without paying for it, where will the revenue stream come from to pay the writers?

    I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

    At some point the Slashdot crowd is going to have to face up to the fact that content producers need to get paid if they are going to continue producing. Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

    • by Kozz (7764)

      I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

      Why, blog journalists, of course. Am I joking or am I serious? What would be the result of a shift of this nature? Discuss...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why, blog journalists, of course. Am I joking or am I serious? What would be the result of a shift of this nature? Discuss...

        This was a mistake on jgalun's part, underestimating the massive blogger population who are prepared, on a moment's notice, to fly all over the planet to get stories and report on them to the satisfaction of the trapped-in-the-90s pop culture junkies that read their blogs. Massive amounts of bloggers do this. All the time. And they never ever ever ever just sit on their asses, slurp down news from the AP or other reporting companies, and just bitch and whine about them. Never. Nuh-uh.

        Because as we all

      • I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

        Why, blog journalists, of course. Am I joking or am I serious? What would be the result of a shift of this nature? Discuss...

        I've seen a lot of blog "journalists" but never a blog journalist. If they do exist, they're very well hidden.

    • by whiledo (1515553) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:28AM (#27489101)

      Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

      I was agreeing with you up until this point.

      Most people's problems with the MPAA has been with their willingness to fight technology rather than embrace it, often by using the laws they have paid to have put in place. They strive to not even try new methods of movie delivery, such as releasing a film at the same time on PPV as in theaters, easy non-DRM encumbered downloads for a less than a rental, etc. These other methods might fail, but the MPAA (or the studios that make it up) haven't even really experimented in these areas.

      I know you didn't bring it up, but the RIAA is another example. Not only do you have the abusive legal stuff, but you have the fact that they are really just a layer of lawyers, managers and distributors that are no longer as crucial to their industry as they once were. They have done more to try releasing their content in new ways, but they still only do it begrudgingly and so they wind up shooting themselves in the foot. For example, the whole fact that for all these years, the only way to legally purchase music from a lot of popular artists was to buy into the whole iTunes+DRM bullshit. They only wanted to shift their business model if it would still give all the useless people the same fat paychecks as they had always gotten, without paying the actual content creators a nickel more.

    • by PhxBlue (562201) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:29AM (#27489127) Homepage Journal

      And if everyone simply copies the AP articles without paying for it, where will the revenue stream come from to pay the writers?

      This is a strawman. No one's advocating the practice of copying and pasting entire AP articles. Read the fscking article (or at least the summary) -- the AP is talking about demanding fees for Web sites who link to their stories or copy and paste excerpts with links to the full stories.

      I know, I know, everything on the Internet is a commodity now. But tell me - what happens when there is no one left to produce that commodity?

      Traditional journalists look down upon bloggers, but sometimes the only difference is that one group uses the Associated Press Stylebook and the other doesn't. I think you'll discover that if "traditional" newspapers go away, communities will step in to fill the void.

    • simply because the "slashdot geniuses" are correct on one point: there is no way to compel the payments you insist on. otherwise, it is as you say: if everyone leaches content, and no one pays content creators for their efforts, there will simply be no content. but all of the models for forcing payment are old-school, pre-internet, that simply do not translate

      so its a conundrum

      however, i don't think old school media can, or will fade away. they have something no imbecile on the internet has: trust. they are

    • Let me ask a question. If the newspapers that create the AP content are going out of business, where will the content come from?

      Somewhere, like it always has. The AP didn't invent the concept of news. If the AP went under, news would come from different sources, probably with a different revenue model. Your question is like asking where the music will come from when the RIAA is toast. Content will still be created - already, the marginal value of generic news like the AP vs. talented individuals who s

    • by mkcmkc (197982)

      At some point the Slashdot crowd is going to have to face up to the fact that content producers need to get paid if they are going to continue producing. Just like movies - it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

      There's a dramatic difference between these two cases: the MPAA has no good way to stop non-customers from consuming their material, and so they need to be rational, smart, and reasonable if they're going to survive (or possibly they can get the government to bludgeon their customers for them).

      News media, on the other hand, can just cut their customers off--it's really no different than selling gasoline in this regard. That's not to say that the Internet hasn't changed the playing field, but newspapers are

    • by Nikker (749551)
      Some times the tree has to die to make way for a fertile field. If you think it was some act of genius that led to the idea of "reporting" then you are mistaken. This is something that has been around since the first person stood on a rock and told everyone what's going on in the area. If there was a way to record events in a very verifiable way then anyone can randomly point and shoot, the result can be commented on if not already there and we are back to where we started, the news comes back.

      I believ
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by igaborf (69869)

      The problem is not that they are repeating the RIAA/MPAA approach. The problem is that they did exactly the opposite. Instead of protecting their content, they are giving it away. Even the AP: I have a free app on my iPhone from the AP that gives me the AP news feed. Newspapers wanted to get ahead of the digital revolution, so they put their product on-line. Some tried to charge for it, but there were enough who put it up for free that the for-charge plans failed. So they are stuck trying to make it work ec

    • it's easy to criticize the MPAA, but who is going to pay the millions of dollars to shoot a major movie if everyone simply copies content without paying for it?

      (Emphasis mine)

      1. You don't need millions of dollars to make a damn good movie. Take a look at Primer [wikipedia.org] - awesome film with only a $7000 budget that went on to make $424,760 [variety.com] at the box office. Artistic vision can still be expressed without millions of dollars.

      2. Many people, such as yourself, think one should pay for entertainment one has enjoye

  • Almost sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwhitaker (1500855) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:17AM (#27488941) Homepage
    It is almost sad to see the professional journalism dying - or at least having the traditional roles it took in society go the way of the dinosaurs. 15 years from now, the news market will be a much different place, and I hope we figure out a way to have integrity and accountability in the new model. I do find it odd though that some industries who fail to adapt get government funds while others, who could arguably provide a public service, are left out to dry.
    • a free press is integral to the functioning of a modern democracy. hell, the printing press gave birth to the foment of ideas and individuals who created modern democracy. without a free press, those in power feel at ease to engage in shenanigans while no one is watching. the free press is the light that sends those cockroaches scurrying. with no free press watching, the cockroaches do their thing, and rot our social institutions

      but its not like a free press is under attack from some callow ideology working

  • by ausoleil (322752) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:20AM (#27488991) Homepage

    I work on a popular sports blog and also another up and coming blog, and both feature commentary on relevant news (college sports and golf.)

    We would love to use AP content for our blogs, with proper uasge, citations, trackbacks and the like. So we try to contact AP for licensing information and cannot reach a human and get no call back for weeks.

    When they do return our inquiries, they gave us a price so ridiculous that it was impossible to fit it into any workable revenue model. It's not that we are cheap or expected something for nothing, it's just that they wanted a fee so high that it just couldn't be done.

    We came away with a definite impression that AP didn't *want* to work with us and that their numbers were just go-away-leave-us-alone figures that they knew they had little chance of getting a sale from.

    Now we avoid their material like the plague.

    • They're not giving you "just-go-away-leave-us-alone figures." They're giving you the price it costs to pay the human cost (salaries, benefits, travel costs) of reporting the news you say you want to give your readers. It's not cheap.

      Of course, you could try the old-fashioned way: do the legwork yourselves. How much do you suppose that costs?

  • Is there an AP release of this that we can copy & paste here? ;)

    A lot of sites syndicate summaries of it through fair use. google's cache is fair use, as it is represented as a snapshot of the original host site and cached in case the site goes temporarily offline, not misrepresented as google's own site. google's news site draws readers to your own site(s). bloggers, etc. draw more eyes to your content and responsible bloggers will link to the source they borrowed the content (for fair-use purposes, us

  • No one values anything that is free. Of course, the flip side is that they are competing with free, which is hard to beat on price.

  • Lopsided Fight..... (Score:3, Informative)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:46AM (#27489347)

    This is going to backfire BIG TIME.

    Piss off search engines badly enough by demanding that they pay you for listing your articles on a search will simply result in search engines NOT displaying sites that have the articles.

    Search engines have multiple avenues of generating revenue, and will always have business, since they are generally the 'Starting Point' for internet activity, and are *very* well-known throughout the world. News sites, however, require that you know their url *exactly* if you want to view their site without having to use a search engine.

    AP is trying to start a fight that it cannot possibly hope to win, and is on its way from reporting the news, to BEING the news. Google and other search engines have AP by the short hairs, and I don't forsee them playing nice on this one.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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