[digg-reddit-me]The Associated Press has apparently jumped the shark. In a headlong rush to protect their business model from the Future, the Associated Press has in the past year launched lawsuits against bloggers for posting the full text or excerpts of their articles without advance permission, against Shepherd Fairey for being inspired by an image of Barack Obama that was published by the Associated Press (though the photographer who took the photo alleges he was not an employee of the Associated Press and thus has independent rights to the photo), and against news aggregators for posting the titles and first sentence of Associated Press stories.
Clearly, the Associated Press feels under siege. So, at some point Associated Press has launched what I think is the most pervasive use of iCopyright by a major news organization. While a normal web page offers you buttons to format for printing, embedding, emailing, or social bookmarking a news story, if you click on the equivalent link on an ap.org news story, it launches its iCopyright page. (Given its wariness about this scary web, its of little surprise that the page offers no social bookmarking links.) For example, here’s the range of options I found on an article entitled “Obama challenges GOP critics on health care.”
Under “Post,” it does offer is a handy way to embed the article on your site – or a portion of the article. Now, I can understand the AP wanting some way to make money off of embedding a whole article on your site – or objecting to people doing so. This undeniably detracts from their revenues. But I love the fact that they expect people to pay $12.95 to embed an EXCERPT of one of their articles. Then at the bottom of the page, it warns you against piracy. The Associated Press seems to be asserting that Fair Use does not exist at all!
But this is where they really jumped the shark. They offer to allow you to email the article to “6 or more recipients” for a fee. Seriously:
I’m a bit surprised that the Associated Press does not have a section on who is allowed to link to their site or this article – demanding some form of payment for incoming links.