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Hat Tip to Dusty for calling my attention to the story. boycott AP, unassociatedpress.net: The non essential global network

One of the dilemmas of blogging is dealing with corporate media content. The Associated Press (AP), for instance, is a content service for corporate newspapers, websites, and other customers. They wouldn't be able to sell their stories to corporate customers if they didn't slant them far to the right, and it shows.

Now, AP has infuriated bloggers by bullying the Drudge Retort with notices demanding that the blog take down several items, claiming that the items violate copyright law. (Note that the excellent reporting on this story comes from www.alternet.org, an independent media outlet.)

Rogers Cadenhead, founder and publisher of The Drudge Retort, has been Cease and Desisted by AP News for publishing fragments of their syndicated news articles and reports.

Yes, fragments, not the whole articles. Go to Rogers' site to read the reasons given by AP.

Blogs traditionally have quoted shorted passages of content on other sites and linked to them. This is part of Fair Use, and is an important example of First Amendment protected speech which is important in discussion and debate. AP's actions are an attack on free speech and free press by a press business. It's pretty surreal.

Dusty does a great job in discussing how the DMCA creates a climate which encourages these kind of corporate attacks on the First Amendment. There are two other issues that I've noticed.

The first is that the blog being singled out is to the left of center. I cannot help if that played a role in AP's decision to go after them.

The second issue is what I alluded to in the beginning. Media savvy people know that AP content is too rightist to really be all that credible. Even if AP stops their current legal threats, how much and when should bloggers cite AP content? Why should I risk a lawsuit to cite content that I don't trust that much?

Will the legal bullying by AP result in bloggers relying more heavily on independent media, which is much more trustworthy than corporate media? That certainly would be a good outcome of this mess. I think this is a wake up call to the online community to start working harder to find better sources of information. This is an admittedly tough standard to live up to, given that most of us bloggers don't do this for a living and have limited time and energy. However, we should at least give it some consideration.

One area where quoting and linking of AP content would be missed is in blogging on examples of AP's rightist bias and how it effects the political climate of this country. This could have the effect of censoring discussion of AP's many journalistic failings.

I support the AP Boycott because I support the First Amendment. However, if the AP backs down, that doesn't leave us off the hook to examine the issues involved in linking to biased, corporate AP content.



  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. libhom,

    Nice post, I saw that on Alternet too.

    Thanks for checking out my blog http://endtheecho.wordpress.com on the National Conference for Media Reform. Were you there? If not, you should try to make it next time.

    Thought you should find this
    in the supposedly liberal Minneapolis Star Tribune on it interesting.


  3. libhom Says:
  4. I didn't go to the conference.

    That column in the Star Tribune was interesting because it had the underlying assumption that the corporate media was doing its job well, which was precisely what the conference was disputing.

  5. Mauigirl Says:
  6. This is rather scary - that is the way all of us link to stories on our blogs. I'm sure I've linked to AP stories like that too. If this is illegal then blogging would be considerably harmed by this restriction!

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. Guess I fall somewhere in the middle on this. I make my living as a writer and editor so I do have an appreciation for AP's perspective. Regardless of how you feel about AP, it seems what they're asking--after a cursory review--is pretty standard in publishing. If you recap things in your own words, note your source and provide a link, bloggers really don't have much to worry about and AP doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

    However, copying is different. If you copy word for word and don't note your source, the impression is that the content is originally yours. That seems to be AP's gripe, which is what every writer who actually makes a living writing follows. You've put in the time, research and effort--not the person copying. Not really any different than lifting copy from the Web for "your" term paper.

    Sure, it's a bitch to reword and note your source. If that's inconvenient, just don't use AP as a source. There are plenty of sources out there.

    The Drudge Report should know better given its track record and history. I doubt they had any malicious or criminal intent, so AP should probably back off. Instead, DR seems more like the student who copies from Wikipedia--LAZY.

  9. Anonymous Says:
  10. wow before i saw this post i too posted on a story out of the BBC regarding blogger arrests in foreign lands..however if we are not vigilant and do not nip this shit in the bud tout sweet they will come for us as well - Media Reform groups, FCC stuff , net neutrality all issues we must keep a keen eye on ! As for the AP one really does have to wonder. So much controlled by so few and all of them in cohoots we need to somehow untangle all of this - and keep dissenting as it is patriotic ! If i did not use links - if we all did not use links how could we possibly source our materials - give basis for opinions and reactions -

    The corporate media continues to fail we the people regularly.

  11. Anonymous Says:
  12. I am a lazy blogger but lazy or not NO blogger should ever plagerize - as you say Riverwolf not acceptable, esp when its only a matter of a link or two. Hey thats what hat tips are for also - like a story , spread it around but credit where credit is due ALWAYS

  13. Anonymous Says:
  14. Hey Lib, great post and I was not aware that the AP was slanted to the right. That is an interesting point and I do remember seeing the drudge report story on Digg, if they did plagiarize, there is no excuse but if the AP is just going after them because it has spare time and money, well that is just plain wrong.

  15. Anonymous Says:
  16. Thanks for the thoughtful insight - I'm angry with AP (all the MSM, actually), but AP seems to be digging a hole.



  17. Fuck the AP.

  18. libhom Says:
  19. riverwolf: All of the takedown demands were for passages of content linked and attributed.

    Also, it was the Drudge Retort, not the Drudge Report that was APs target.

  20. Unknown Says:
  21. I've generally not found AP articles to be in-depth enough to link to.

  22. Unknown Says:
  23. reliable or not

  24. libhom Says:
  25. pagan sphinx: You make an excellent point about the lack of depth of AP articles.

    mauigirl: You are right about the threat to blogging.

    tengrain: We all should be angry at the corporate media.

  26. Robert Rouse Says:
  27. I can't believe I'm coming to the defense of the Drudge Report. All I can say is I am glad I don't have a blog or web site that is well-read.

  28. opit Says:
  29. I have no problem at all in never linking to an AP report or article. Links build traffic and ingrates spurning free referrals deserve to lose them.
    One of my biggest problems when I first started surfing online was lack of what I considered proven sources not dominated by corporate b.s. Today I have assembled enough to make a fair collection. Social sharing and new search tools now grow interesting material at ridiculous rates.
    I have to laugh, though. Looking at the selection includes stuff I once would have considered dubious. Today I am more comfortable with pieces which seem socially responsible and scientifically sound : those are the criteria more important than mainstream acceptability.
    If you come around for a look, be sure to check the Links page, where more permanent references land. The main is for current topics.



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