23 April, 2014

You Can't Spell "Crap" Without "AP"

New CokeIn a move that’s bound to be just as popular as New Coke, the Associated Press may be charging bloggers (and anyone else) $12.50 for quoting five words from an AP article.  The venerable Eric McErlain tweeted about Kirk LaPointe’s blog post, and LaPointe mentioned the Mashable.com post with more information.  From Mashable:

The process goes like this: you copy and paste the excerpt or
article you want to reprint. Next you pick your price, ranging from
$12.50 for five words to $100 for 251 words or more. Here’s the price
list, if you are not an educational or non-profit organization (they
get a discount):

Not surprisingly, a backlash against the AP has already sprung up.  UnAssociatedPress.net has a petition to sign and more detail about the AP’s controversial decision.

What does this mean for bloggers?  For starters, it may be best to find other sources and stay away from linking to or using AP articles in posts, but be alert- who knows if other media outlets will attempt these same shenanigans?  For the sake of new media, let’s hope not. 


  1. Junior wrote:

    Oh, this will end well.
    Can they really do this? Isn’t there some fair use exception implicated here, or are AP going to try and charge people in coffee shops who happen to mention their articles aloud to one another for that privilege too?

    4 August, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  2. dc_homer wrote:

    Slashdotted yesterday.
    They’ll charge you for words they don’t even own.

    4 August, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  3. dc_homer wrote:

    Forgot to add link:

    4 August, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  4. Mike wrote:

    Is the AP trying to be the next RIAA? ’cause we see how well that worked out for the record industry, both in dollars and reputation.

    4 August, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  5. Fun times: the system doesn’t make certain that the text you want to buy is actually owned by the AP.

    4 August, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  6. Art wrote:

    I’ve been watching this stuff. It’s interesting. If I’ve learned anything from the Internet is it eventually makes content worthless. It’s done it to music, news, porn and it is happening to TV now too.
    The question is how to survive in a world where content is worth nothing. iTunes did it through convenience. It’ll be interesting to see how other industries react.
    Charging simply won’t work.

    4 August, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  7. Jeremy wrote:

    This is definitely a tricky issue. The AP is a business and will only operate if they can make money. They make money because newspapers and other old media outlets pay them for the rights to reprint their content.
    The problem is, text is easy to reproduce and has always been freely quotable as long as you cite your source. New media takes full advantage of this, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if people just read the quote on a blog and don‚Äôt check out the old media source, there is no incentive for the old media to use AP and therefore no reason for the AP to exist. If the AP doesn’t exist, there is nothing to quote in the first place.
    The paradigm has shifted and people expect their news to be free. The problem is news isn’t free. The model for the AP is rooted in an old media mindset, and it doesn‚Äôt know how to adapt it seems. I‚Äôm not sure how to fix the model, but charging to quote an article is not the solution.
    (Sorry for the long post, but this issue interests me.)

    4 August, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
  8. Cathy W wrote:

    Agree with Jeremy. Gathering news isn’t free for the AP. If the AP goes out of business that would be a major loss for all of us. Traditional media pay the AP to take part in their service and reprint the content. The AP’s content is their property. Folks have gotten used to reading most news sources on the internet for free. Just reading it, however, is vastly different than taking the content and republishing in a blog or any internet site that publish regularly, i.e., new media. (Might be the AP decided that it was hopeless to try to get internet sites to pay for a subscription and feel requiring a payment for each use is the only way to go.) The fees for copying, however, do seem excessive. The Washington Post article on Gawker taking content from a Post article is a view from the other side.

    4 August, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  9. Jeremy wrote:

    Exactly. The new media is a great source of opinions and links to news we may have otherwise missed. However, when it comes down to hard news, we still need the old media, and the old media need money to operate. Their current model may be outdated, but we still need the service they provide.
    The Caps are a little different in that they have embraced the new media (Ted being from that ilk himself). There are a bunch of blogs that are now credentialed members of the Caps media (I believe OFB is one of them). This allows new media to become primary sources and report the hard news. However, where would we all be without the Tarik El Bashirs of the world?

    4 August, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  10. Jimmy Jazz wrote:

    Did anyone not see something like this coming?
    Oh, and is it just for bloggers, or will academics and researchers potentially have to abide similarly?
    Just curious.

    4 August, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink