AP:'Mad as Hell' About Bloggers, Google, Aggregators

The Chairman of the Associated Press had some sharp words for those darned ol’ Internet interlopers out there. He said he’s “mad as hell” over those who “walk off with our work.” Though Chairman Dean Singleton didn’t exactly specify who he was talking about, according to Politico, the wire agency has been targeting Google, Bloggers and news aggregator sites such as Huffington Post of late.

So, what does it mean? How far will the AP go to protect its work? Are there court cases soon to be seen?

Singleton signaled that the AP is ready to go further to prove that the world’s oldest news organization won’t be put out to pasture by the new media. But Seagrave stressed that while there is an enforcement aspect to the AP’s new initiative, it’s really “more affirmative than punitive.”

And, once again, we come down to questions of what “fair use” means. Is it on solid legal footing? Many say it isn’t.

“In copyright law,” said another attorney who’s represented top media companies, “fair use is one of the major fuzzy lines.”

Now, here is the thing. If we here link a story and then deconstruct it for our readers, if we critique it, doesn’t it almost always lead to the readers here clicking over to the original source so that a comparison can be made between our interpretation and the original? In this case, the original source is still getting credit for the story AND getting traffic to see it. Isn’t it the best of all worlds? Aren’t they losing nothing and actually gaining eyes to their story that otherwise would never blink once at their content?

Seems to me that in the case of bloggers and news aggregators, they are getting free advertising for their work. Now, I can understand that a full copy of a story without linking to the original source would be a violation of use. But bloggers and news aggregators would seem to me to be a boon to the struggling news industry.

In any case, this story is one we should all watch closely because it really could affect us. The AP may not be expected to go after small bloggers, but it surely could go after big sites like NewsBusters.org or RedState.com!