Andy on the Road

17 June 2008

The Associated Press aims to disenfranchise free press

Filed under: missingthepoint,politics,seriesoftubes — Andy @ 10:22 am

Hey, remember 15 hours ago, when I addressed the AP’s desire to work with bloggers and develop a rational licensing strategy? Remember how that, while I stressed the AP couldn’t set the terms of fair use, they were at least holding meetings to negotiate a fair balance? Remember how the AP stressed they weren’t going to act like the RIAA on this one?

Well, out the window all that nice talk goes.

Boing Boing is reporting this morning that the Associated Press has released their so-called quotation licenses. Here are the fees:

  1. 251 words or more – $100
  2. 101-250 words – $50
  3. 51-100 words – $25
  4. 26-50 words – $17.50
  5. 5-25 words – $12.50

Yeah, that’s right. The AP wants to charge you $12.50 to take five words our of their article. Unless those 5 words are like the first 5 notes in Strauss’ Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I’d say it wouldn’t be worth your money.

What’s far worse is that these blind blanket licenses do nothing to consider the finer points of existing fair use law. No effort is made to gauge substantially, nor is any effort made to gauge the derivative work. The AP’s actions do nothing to consider why we hold that highly factual works are more likely to be taken from fairly. We stress the balance of a free press in this country, and part of that balance is not only avoiding government censorship of the press but also allowing any and all to criticize  or expound upon the existing press. In order to do that, quotation is not a fee you pay – it’s your statutory right that we must defend now.

Nielsen Hayden puts it quote well:

Welcome to a world in which you won’t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you’ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish.

Welcome to a world in which you won’t own any of your technology or your music or your books, because ensuring that someone makes their profit margins will justify depriving you of the even the most basic, commonsensical rights in your personal, hand-level household goods.

The people pushing for this stuff are not well-meaning, and they are not interested in making life better for artists, writers, or any other kind of individual creators. They are would-be aristocrats who fully intend to return us to a society of orders and classes, and they’re using so-called “intellectual property” law as a tool with which to do it. Whether or not you have ever personally taped a TV show or written a blog post, if you think you’re going to wind up on top in the sort of world these people are working to build, you are out of your mind.

I would urge all of my fellow bloggers to not pay for what the law provides you with for free. And if you do, I have some beautiful snake oil I would be glad to sell you.

1 Comment

  1. […] I mentioned last week, along with Public Knowledge, Digital Media Insider, and BoingBoing, the Associated Press created […]

    Pingback by First Four Words « Andy on the Road — 26 June 2008 @ 10:37 am

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