Associated Press: Unclear on the Concept of Fair Use
As Patrick Nielsen Hayden notes, the Associated Press, which ought to have some concept of “fair use,” is trying to make people pay for using quotes as short as five words long.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Al Gore announced his endorsement of Barack Obama Monday and promised to help the Democrat achieve what eluded him – the presidency.
In a letter to be e-mailed to Obama supporters, the former vice president and Nobel Prize winner wrote, “From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected president of the United States.”
What part of “fair use,” I wonder, does the Associated Press not understand? The answer, I’m sure, is that they understand it just fine, and are aware that it’s not likely that any court in the land would agree with a quote as short as five words constitutes an abuse of fair use.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dozens of gay couples planned to rush down to their county clerk’s office Monday evening to be among the very first to say “I do” under the historic court ruling making California the second state to allow same-sex marriages.
The May 15 decision by the California Supreme Court was set to take effect at 5 p.m. While Mondays are not exactly a big day for weddings, at least five county clerks around the state agreed to extend their hours to issue marriage licenses, and many gay couples planned to get married on the spot.
Now, I can see the issue if people are posting entire AP articles on their sites without compensation. But generally speaking, most people will quote a paragraph or two, and then link back to the original article so people can see the whole article — and incidentally, drive traffic to AP member sites, who are generally hungry for visitors, because that’s how they justify their ad sales.
OAKVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The floodwaters that deluged much of Iowa have done more than knock out drinking water and destroy homes. They have also spread a noxious brew of sewage, farm chemicals and fuel that could sicken anyone who wades in.
On Monday, Bob Lanz used a 22-foot aluminum flatboat to navigate through downtown Oakville, where water reeked of pig feces and diesel fuel.
“You can hardly stand it,” Lanz said as he surveyed what remained of his family’s hog farm. “It’s strong.”
My own personal fair use compass says to me that I should quote no more than three paragraphs out of an entire news story, and to of course, link back to the originating source. Anyone who visits this site over any period time also knows that I’m pretty good at trimming back comments in which a commenter has quoted too much of an article, or song lyrics, or whatever. Because I’m pretty strongly of the belief that fair use shouldn’t be abused, and that educating people on what is fair use is a good way to keep it strong and useful in our society.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war’s supporters.
I’m pretty comfortable with my own standard of what constitutes fair use, but if the Associated Press wants to argue with me about it, well, I suppose now they have a reason to come after me about it. I’ll be interested in seeing if they do. As an aside, I think it would be smart for AP to offer a blogger subscription account, in which bloggers are allowed to use full articles and photos in exchange for a reasonable monthly fee — reasonable for an individual to pay, mind you. That would probably solve a lot of problems right there. But that’s neither here nor there as concerns fair use.