Skip to comments.AP Shakes Fist at Google, Tells Internet to Get Off Its Damn Lawn [Going to attack other sites now]
Posted on 04/08/2009 2:58:30 PM PDT by RatherBiased.com
The Associated Press is fed up with the Internet, apparently. And its going to do something about it.
At the news-gathering co-ops annual meeting today, AP chairman Dean Singleton let rip a sort of hellfire-and-brimstone speech in which he announced the APs vague plans to stop unnamed scoundrels from making money from their work.
The relevant bit:
[The AP's board has] unanimously decided to take all actions necessary to protect the content of the Associated Press and the AP Digital Cooperative from misappropriation on the Internet.
The board also unanimously agreed to work with portals and other partners who legally license our content and who reward the cooperative for its vast newsgathering effortsand to seek legal and legislative remedies against those who dont.
We believe all of your newspapers will join our battle to protect our content and receive appropriate compensation for it.
AP and its member newspapers and broadcast associate members are the source of most of the news content being created in the world today. We must be paid fully and fairly.
If this sounds like the AP is riffing off the famous speech from Network, thats not an accident. In fact, Dean Singleton does indeed quote the movies Howard Beale in his remarks: We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories. We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it any more.
In theory, Singleton and the AP are talking about a wide range of sites that profit by repurposing someone elses content, from down-and-dirty scraping sites to the much more refined (and useful) Huffington Post, to I dont know.
But now its become much clearer why News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch singled out Google (GOOG) in remarks he made at a cable industry convention last week: The news guys have decided that the search engine has now become public enemy No. 1. That makes a sort of sense: If youre going to go after someone, pick the guy with the deepest pockets.
And look. Unlike some of my bloggy colleagues, I dont think that the people who pay to produce content are insane to complain about getting ripped off by aggregators of all stripes.
The thing is, even if the news guys somehow stopped people from using Google to find information they need, it wouldnt do anything to solve the essential problems plaguing their business. Such as:
* An overabundance of undifferentiated, commodity information. * The wholesale evaporation of classified advertising and local retail advertising. * Investors who paid too much for newspapers and other media assets during the last 10 years, using too much debt.
Anyway, Im looking forward to hearing more about the APs plans, vaguely referred to in this press release as developing a system to track content distributed online to determine if it is being legally used and including the development of new search pages that point users to the latest and most authoritative sources of breaking news.
You mean, theyre going to build their own search engine? That cant be right. But if I hear back from the AP folks, Ill try to get them to explain.
UPDATE: Thanks to Jim Kennedy VP/director of strategic planning for the AP, for teasing some of this out for me. Heres what the AP is thinking:
* Kennedy confirmed that some of the APs ire is indeed aimed at Google, and that the drum-beating has a purpose. The search engine has a deal with the AP that expires at the end of this year, and the AP is setting the table for upcoming negotiations. Their main contention: Google is already using AP content in ways that arent covered by the existing agreement, and the AP wants to be compensated for them. Expect to hear lots more about this in future months. * The APs stick approach is aimed at Web aggregators: It plans on fingerprinting its content so it can track where its stuff is showing up and how its being used. If its being misused, it has an array of options that start with a takedown notice and end with legal remedies. * The APs carrot approach is aimed at Web surfers: It will become an aggregator of its own content. Specifically, it plans on building search engine-friendly Web pages built around specific topics say, Fargo floods or Michelle Obama composed of links that direct readers to AP stories. The idea is to get the pages to show up high in a Google search, alongside, or higher than, similar pages from Web aggregators who are doing the same thing like Wikipedia, Huffington Post, BusinessWeek, Mahalo, and on and on and on. Kennedy says it has built prototypes of the aggregator pages and plans on rolling them out in the second half of this year.
Meanwhile, note to the AP folks: You are aware at Howard Beale gets shot to death at the end of the movie, right?
Google can squash them like a bug by taking them out of their search results.
Hehehehe. I love these liberal cat fights.
Popcorn time!!!!! Catfight!
Let them sink into obscurity as they become ever more irrelevant.
A complete waste of time on the part of the Associated Press. They don’t own the news and never did. All they ever had was a near-monopoly on electronic distribution. The internet has supplanted their system.
There’s nothing anyone can do about it.
When all they have to do is report the news instead of trying to mold it into their own agendas.
I HOPE THEY ALL GO UNDER!
Google should just “blackhole” all AP content and websites that host even one AP article.
Once CNN.com “disappeared” from the index, CNN will drop AP in a micro-second.
That should be entertaining. The majority of AP content is posted on individual newspaper websites. Does AP propose to forbid that entirely? Individual newspapers own AP. Singleton himself owns the Denver Post, the El Paso Times, and others, which post AP stories all the livelong day. If they are not going to block the newspapers from posting AP stories on the their website, the content falls under the fair use doctrine. I am not sure AP has thought this through.
AP charges papers an outrageous amount to get their stuff, and they want to further piss everybody off?
Exactly what they should do.
AP wants to have it both ways, links to their articles but no c/p even a portion of it to an internet site, except the ones run by the papers that subscribe ($$$) to the AP services.
If there were no links, newspapers would have to depend on subscribers to read their stories.
Sounds good to me.
If all search engines cooperated, the AP subscribers would leave in droves.
"We shall overwhelm Google...with our....errrr.....DoS attacks......errrrr. Welcome to the future AP chairman Dean Singleton.
I don’t hope they all go under. After all, we here at FR often use the resources of many newspapers - actually, what would we do without them? Although this fight is very interesting, I doubt much will come of it other than some fines for not keeping agreements, etc. Internet news surfing and posting articles or links is here to stay - via Google or any search. Maybe I am looking at this too simplistically but I feel that as long as copyright laws are obeyed, (as we do here on FR) I doubt there is much that can be done.
If AP wants to take away any quoting or links to them, all that is going to happen is that no one will go there to read any of their stories... :-)
Then they’ll simply go out of business. It’s a stupid move.
The AP is irrelevant - any news organization can just contract with citizens on the ground reporting live. In fact, this should have been done when the Internet was in its infancy, a newspaper could have competed with USA Today and just offered cash to whoever sends their news or story in.
My heart is breaking for A.P.
The reason people broke out and started reporting news and talking about it on their own, was because the A.P. betrayed a certain level of trust with the public.
The public expected, no demanded, unbiased truthful complete reporting. A.P. (and plenty of others) refused to provide that product, and thus the explosion of internet sights dedicated to doing their job for them.
Here is the crux of the problem. “AP and its member newspapers and broadcast associate members are the source of most of the news content being created in the world today.” Exactly! They have a lot of power don’t they. And when they abuse that power, it creates a very real danger.
We don’t get the truth concerning our presidential candidates. We don’t get the truth about what their proposals mean to the average citizen. We don’t hear about criminal activity, relations with terrorists, the Soros looming large behind the scenes.
A.P. has nobody to blame but itself for what has taken place. And it’s member newspapers are no better. They are on the brink of insolvency, and they don’t understand why.
Look at who we have for a pres__ent today A.P. Tell us you did your job.
Frankly if A.P. went belly up tomorrow, this would be a better world for it.
Whatever replaced it couldn’t be much worse. Propaganda is propaganda.
Our society is at extreme risk today, because of A.P. and it’s fellow travelers.
Oh, well, there is that "bankruptcy" thingy. Maybe AP could push for a government subsidy. But not on the net.
Localized ads are coming back to websites as servers get smarter and harvest information through agreements from ISPs to tell them what general zipcode a DSL or cable or dialup is coming from.
Well, this IS a liberal writing here.
I got exactly that far when I stopped reading.
I think they at least want the newspaper sites themselves to score the web hits. This means a payment back to AP, which is gotten from advertisers on the same pages that also pay for the hits. If somebody pastes a whole AP article into Huffington Post, none of that happens. Maybe if FR supported frames for such content so that the paper got its hit, they wouldn’t complain about FR any more.
So doesn’t Huffington Post have to play by the same rules we do, that is, post an excerpt and a link?
I don’t huff and puff, but I did look.
I believe they have a way of licensing limited content, like the conservative townhall.com also does. They’re both also very busy websites, not streamlined like FR.
What ever happened to UPI?
Yeah ! What you said !!!!!
Stay safe D1 !
What’s left of it is owned by the same company that owns the Washington Times.
It was founded by Edward Willis Scripps when the AP wouldn’t sell to him. I just finished a family bio on Scripps.
Hey Thank you
You are absolutely correct.
If you ain’t on Google...you don’t exist.
They could make AP vanish.
Google could nuke them entirely by becoming a wire service (what an archaic term) in full competition with AP. They would probably charge less... maybe even no cash except for using some space in the papers to sell their own ads.
On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.
Gosh, who to cheer for? Not enough bad things can happen to Google, but then somebody has to stand up for fair use.
It strikes me that google just needs to return fire by advertizing to hire a bunch of reporters.
It's the board of directors at AP that's $#!++!&& their pants, not the reporters.
btt for comment later
Yes but I love those teletype sounds and teletype-inspired music that used to intro the news.
...staying safe. You too.
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