« The Meme of Seven | Main | Obama: Not Naive, Merely Clueless »

June 18, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

Yeah, I really do think.

Pardon my confusion. Many moons ago the upstart blog rabble were told in no uncertain terms that we are by no means to give ourselves airs by comparing ourselves to professional journalists:

Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.

We are, for instance, to be distinguished from the folks who do this sort of thing for a living because we do no original research, relying instead upon information supplied by investigative reporters and their sources. The argument, as I take it, is that even though (unlike, say, newspapers - who are a for-profit venture) we make no money from blogging, it would be "unfair" for us to "profit" by appropriating - even with credit and a link to the source - work done by professional journalists without paying them for their efforts.

Fine. So although professional journalists do not wish to recognize bloggers as fellow professionals, and although we are not paid for the work we do, we are supposed to pay them when we quote their work and link to it online?

Where the group had previously invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and sent cease-and-desist orders to at least one blogger, seeking the removal of excerpted content (in some cases as few as 17 words in length), now the press service has attached an "Excerpt for Web Use" charge for passages as short as five words in length.

The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.

Oooh, cherie! That last is downright princely in its generosity. Do I detect the faintest whiff of desperation? But the best is yet to come. Though bloggers are nevaire to arrogate unto themselves the privileges of le class journalistique, the reverse is (quelle surprise!) not true! Bloggers may not be journalists, but journalists have declared themselves free to be bloggers! What's theirs is not ours, but what's ours is most definitely theirs, and for free, too:

So the AP has been threatening bloggers who quote their stories:

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.

Even after an AP spokesman acknowledged that the organization’s tactics were “heavy-handed,” they still didn’t really back off:

Still, Mr. Kennedy said that the organization has not withdrawn its request that Drudge Retort remove the seven items. And he said that he still believes that it is more appropriate for blogs to use short summaries of A.P. articles rather than direct quotations, even short ones.

“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”

Now, in a slightly ironic twist, the AP is taking content from a blog site. Namely, mine.

In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.

I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.

Sacre bleu! Hypocrisy from the Associated Press? We are shocked to the very marrow of our bones! Orin Kerr opines:

Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, and Patterico have noted the apparent irony that the Associated Press quoted 154 words from one of Patterico's blog posts soon after threatening bloggers for quoting fewer words than that from Associated Press stories.

I am no copyright lawyer — don't try this at home, kids — but I'm not sure I get the inconsistency. The 154 words that the AP quoted weren't words written by Patterico: They were words from Mrs. Kozinski that she then submitted for publication to Patterico. I am no copyright lawyer — note repeated caveat — but I would think that Patterico had an implicit license to publish Mrs. Kozinski's message but did not himself get the copyright in it. If that's right, copying from Patterico's blog didn't violate Patterico's copyright. But then as I said, I am no copyright lawyer.

The Princess is not a lawyer either, but I'm not sure one needs to be a lawyer to understand this. I believe Mr. Kerr has missed the point precisely because he is thinking as a lawyer rather than as a journalist.

What the AP (a for-profit venture) did, essentially, was to appropriate wholesale, without a link and without compensation, the work product of Patterico. Now you might say, "That quote consisted of her words only - therefore it's not, strictly speaking, his work."

This is where I would argue you are wrong, because it was his post on the subject that drew her email in the first place, and his ... dare I say it? longstanding professional reputation as a blogger who fact checks the LA Times which has prompted many such sources to contact him. Unknown bloggers rarely if ever draw such attention. The interesting - and, if you happen to be the AP - unpalatable - wrinkle here is that Ms. Tiffany went to a blogger and not to the dead tree media to "get the word out". That alone represents a rather startling power shift in how information is disseminated to the American public.

But for Patterico - one of the despised blog rabble - the AP would not have Ms. Tiffany's words at all, and they had to go to a blogger to get the scoop.

As Glenn Reynolds rightly observes, the AP is trying to levy a standard on bloggers that it is unwilling to live by, itself.

Good luck with that.

Posted by Cassandra at June 18, 2008 06:29 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2203

Comments

This is the reason athat I porposefuilly use misspellings in all of my works of art.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 18, 2008 10:43 AM

You couldn't make this stuff up because most would find it hard to believe that a business could be so arrogant and hypocritical. I can't help but wonder if this is a desperate attempt to increase revenue in their declining market or is their lack of self-confidence bordering on paranoia?

This episode reminds me of the movie "History of the World, Part 2" where Cloris Leachman refers to her rabble as "Dumb scum" during the lead up to the French Revolution. Her character portrayal was hysterical and reminds me now of the A.P. all wheezy and tubercular yet elitist to the end.

Posted by: vet66 at June 18, 2008 11:56 AM

As Glenn Reynolds rightly observes, the AP is trying to levy a standard on bloggers that it is unwilling to live by, itself.

Yawn. They hold others to all sorts of exacting standards by which they are unwilling to live.

Being *truthful*, for one...

Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 11:57 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/18/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at June 18, 2008 12:50 PM

Let the war on the Associated Pirates begin.

They want a war, they'll get a war.

Btw, I think it is rather insulting to businesses to call a propaganda network for America's enemies a "business". If they are in business, it is to manufacture death and deal out lies.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 18, 2008 05:21 PM

Now Ymar.... let's not be hasty. Prostitution is a business too you know.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 18, 2008 05:26 PM

In this case, isn't that redundant?

Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 05:50 PM

At least prostitutes give you something to remember - or so I'm told.

(Trust me, VC, you'll never get a bigger opening than that!)

(Um...wait! That's not what I meant! I mean you know what I thought I meant! I mean.... Ah teh hell with it.)

Posted by: spd rdr at June 18, 2008 05:58 PM

i am surprised that the ap would want this battle. the blogosphere sends thousands and thousands of readers to their sites. we should be charging them for all the traffic they get! ;)

Posted by: zoey at June 18, 2008 07:37 PM

We are, for instance, to be distinguished from the folks who do this sort of thing for a living because we do no original research, relying instead upon information supplied by investigative reporters and their sources.

I was unaware that journalists were doing original research. It seems to me that what they mostly do is reprint innuendo and rumor, often unattributed, while doing no actual research to see if there's any, you know, actual factual basis for the statements.

I am reminded of when I read about Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate reporting. Ben Bradlee made them actually find confirmation from other sources for the information Deep Throat was giving them before the Washington Post would publish it. Think anyone does that today? Hell, no. They splash anything across their pages with no thought to giving their readership any reason to think that there's been any effort to determine the truth of what's being presented. Then they wonder why they're losing readership in droves.

Posted by: RonF at June 18, 2008 09:35 PM

Cass, this is off topic a bit, but I wanted to say here and now, thank you for sticking it out with blogging. I have learned so much from you not only about being reasonable (I am not. I am Virgo. Therefore, all utterances by us are usually right and if one argues we fix them with a freezing stare and silently stalk from the room), but about good writing (the Brett Series is not a case study for that but since I added to the mayhem, I can say that), analysis and humor.

Your thinking and writing has enriched me and made me think. In fact, it was TOB that sort of got me to wondering about going back to school and now, well, it is happening. The Snark Commandos, aka the Knavery have been fantastic...as has the Donovan's site. I will pop in and thank him too, so he should consider himself warned.

Posted by: Cricket at June 18, 2008 11:08 PM

Uh...wait a minnit...bloggers do no original research? Oh they haven't read one of your statistical oeuvres?

spd, I understand there is an NEA grant to help with that.

Posted by: Cricket at June 18, 2008 11:11 PM

Cass is insanely funny and entertaining. I can't stay away for long.

Btw, the Associated Pirates are the ones most notorious for using stringers. That's where the "associated" comes in, you see.

Now they are talking about how bloggers don't meet their standards of picking up stories that other people have sold them?

The AP don't have standards, what they have is a bounty on their heads which is paid to those that collect on it, like as is normal for pirates.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 18, 2008 11:45 PM

Good luck them trying to collect anything from me, though. I live in Malaysia, the most bass ackwards place on the face of this planet in terms of IP and copyright.

Not that I'd ever use anything from AP.

Posted by: Gregory at June 19, 2008 01:06 AM

"Now, in a slightly ironic twist, the AP is taking content from a blog site. Namely, mine."

Send 'em your bill, darlin'...at their quoted rates.

Posted by: camojack at June 19, 2008 01:10 AM

We are, for instance, to be distinguished from the folks who do this sort of thing for a living because we do no original research, relying instead upon information supplied by investigative reporters and their sources.

That's rich. I'm what's known in the trade as a Primary Source, both for factual information (statistics) and background reference, and I've been credited as such *in print*...

Posted by: BillT at June 19, 2008 01:22 AM

Oh, good Lowered. Cricket's a Virgo *too*?

Posted by: BillT at June 19, 2008 01:24 AM

Cricket, you're very kind. I apologize for the lame blogging of late. I've had a lot on my plate at work and a lot going on at home, so there hasn't been as much time for me to spend on writing.

I'm trying to get more organized so I can get more done during the day. Hopefully, that will help. There are just a lot of big changes going on in my life right now and I'm a bit distracted.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 19, 2008 05:12 AM

Yis, Mr. T, I am a Virgo too..not to be confused with virago, which is a messy sort of way to deal with conflict. Shrewish, in fact. I think we even share the same DOB.

Bwahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: Cricket at June 19, 2008 09:43 AM

Cass, don't worry about that...take care of your family and the rest will fall into place. I have Mr. BillT (Oh Nooooo!!!) to pick on while you are off doing your things. He can tease me about my vertigo and I can tease him about not having chok'lit covered cherries.

heh.

Posted by: Cricket at June 19, 2008 09:46 AM

...and I can tease him about not having chok'lit covered cherries.

*happy sigh*

The Cricket We Know and Love has taken a sabbatical from enlightening her Virgil as she travels the circles of Higher Edification.

And, in the interest of retaining the (thus-far) GA rating of the thread, I'll refrain from commenting about the military ramifications of the adjectival usage of the noun "cherry"...

Posted by: BillT at June 19, 2008 11:11 AM

Online course are virgin territory for me...you just can't get the full flavor of participation, but then again, with the aforementioned essay analysis, the demographics are a hoot. IOW, the young moms are against guns and think Molly's brilliant rhetoric silences all critics.

Nuh uh.

Posted by: Cricket at June 19, 2008 01:39 PM

From the quote:

"Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age, ..."

Like Katie Couric?

"The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps."

Like Michael Yon?


Posted by: ZZMike at June 19, 2008 01:59 PM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)