AP wants the cake

Here is an interesting NYT article about something the AP is planning:

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.

First, there is no legal basis for this position. Simple listing the headline is a clear example of fair use (insert standard I am not a lawyer disclaimer here).

Second, the AP doesn’t want to end the practice, they want to encourage it, but get paid for the links:

News organizations already have the ability to prevent their work from turning up in search engines — but doing so would shrink their Web audience, and with it, their advertising revenues. What The A.P. seeks is not that articles should appear less often in search results, but that such use would become a new source of revenue.

I predict there is little chance of the AP getting what they want on this, which is to have their cake and eat it too. If they try, all they are going to do is hurt their own business which on life support already.

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