The cost of free advertising

by twit

So the Associated Press had a bit of a mental misfire the other day and freaked out at the Drudge Retort

Copyright, fair use and the freedom of speech, nobody seems to quite know how to define it, but people tend to think they know it when they see it… at least according to the New York Times on June 16, 2008:

The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.

… Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated.

in the meantime, here’s a video about “fair use” and copyright law in general:

and here are some reasons to stay tuned to these issues, via MSNBC on June 13, 2008:

Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, said more than 100 judgments valued at $17 million have been handed down against bloggers over the last three years — about 60 percent for defamation, 25 percent for copyright infringement and 10 percent involving privacy.

Wired has more:

“If AP were to go after some small fish and get a ruling that running two sentences of stories was copyright infringement, that would have a chilling impact across the net,” Cadenhead said. “The law lacks a bright line.”

For its part, the AP is doing an about-face of sorts.

It realizes that if it followed the logic of its take-down notices with Cadenhead, a zillion other sites would also get take-down notices.  Much of the blogosphere would likely be in violation — and a whack-a-mole litigation machine would follow.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some suggestions for bloggers:

None of this should stop you from blogging. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle legitimate free expression. That’s why EFF created this guide, compiling a number of FAQs designed to help you understand your rights and, if necessary, defend your freedom.

To be clear, this guide isn’t a substitute for, nor does it constitute, legal advice. Only an attorney who knows the details of your particular situation can provide the kind of advice you need if you’re being threatened with a lawsuit. The goal here is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.

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