The AP owns what you say

Father Scott

It’s no secret around these parts that the traditional media has had some problems with new business models. I’d start linking to Pax’s various posts about this, but I don’t have a free 13 hours to do so.

Via comes this story of a man who would like to reproduce his own quote for a news story, and all the AP is asking is for $17.50 to do so.

The Microsoft-Yahoo search deal was big news this past week, and I took plenty of press calls about it, including from the AP. But to quote what I told the AP, I have to pay them $17.50. For the record, I love APs reporters and am always happy to serve as a source. The reporters at the AP have nothing to do with the absurdities of AP’s business side. The business side declares that if I want to quote myself from that article, using the AP’s online form, it will cost me $17.50.

Well that seems reasonable. I once had a heated discussion with Pax about the unending battle between cake and pie (cake wins, natch). Jaelynne later asked me about it and as I opened my mouth, Pax took my wallet and pulled out bills for every word I spoke. Then he pushed me on the ground and kicked dirt in my face, which seemed unnecessary.

Oh but that’s not all. You want to update your Facebook profile with a favorite quotation from one of our founding fathers? That’ll be 12 bucks.

From an article in The Laboratorium:

The Associated Press has become so deranged, so disconnected from reality, that it will sell you a “license” to quote words it didn’t write and doesn’t own. I paid $12 for this “license.” Those words don’t even come from the article they charged me 46 cents a word to quote from (and that’s with the educational discount). No, they’re from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Isaac McPherson, in which Jefferson argues that copyright has no basis in natural law.

In summation: You have to pay to quote anyone who said anything; and you don’t have to pay the person who said it, but rather some other company who is just delaying its demise. Also: Being in the media sucks and you should get out now if you haven’t already been laid off, or you can just wait until your corporation gets swallowed up.



Filed under media

3 responses to “The AP owns what you say

  1. Glad you posted about this. I tried a few different times, but my rage index went off the charts and I needed to be intubated with Scotch.

    • I hate Evil Monopolistic Hegemonies as much as the next guy, but there might be some blowing out of proportion here.

      That fee comes from a form run by iCopyright. It’s intended for corporations that want to reproduce entire articles – without any real human intervention, not to squelch fair use. Legitimate companies tend to be really fastidious about acquiring rights to stuff they use (I’ve had people at some companies ask me for permission just to link to something I’ve written).

      At my old job at a trade publication, we used the same service – every article had a “Reprints” link. Saved us the time of dealing with companies we wrote about wanting to buy the right to reproduce an article on their Web site or in their newsletter and we wound up making some money. It was not meant to go after, oh, bloggers, linking to our articles, and not a single blogger ever tried to use it.

      That AP has done a piss-poor job of explaining this is another matter, I guess.

      • I think the AP has actually backtracked on their statements about fair use and the iCopyright form. And you’re right that they don’t explicitly direct bloggers or even newsgatherers to the form. But given the AP’s long history of threatening all of the above with lawsuits (in the effort to destroy aggregators), it’s reasonable to complain. Just my two cents. Sorry you had to be held for approval, Adam. Apparently the WordPress system isn’t good at remembering people…

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