Monday, June 16, 2008

AP boycott working

By Libby

Don't let anyone tell you bloggers don't make a difference. Cernig has the complete story and a lot of reaction from the big bloggers, so I'll just flag the NYT piece which I believe is the first MSM notice of the action, outside of my blog post at The Detroit News, which doesn't quite count since I don't carry much weight alone.

It seems the buzz has reached the muckety mucks at the AP and they've admitted they were “heavy-handed” with The Drudge Retort and are rethinking their policy. But they haven't backed away from their take down order against the Retort, even though the NYT quotes a Colombia Law professor saying, as I thought, it's likely the AP would lose the case if it went to court.

I love this quote from the AP execs:
After that, however, the news association convened a meeting of its executives at which it decided to suspend its efforts to challenge blogs until it creates a more thoughtful standard.

“We don’t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere by being heavy-handed, so we have to figure out a better and more positive way to do this,” Mr. Kennedy said.
What pall? We're doing fine without them. Read that to mean they've probably already noticed a drop in traffic. A whole lot of bloggers have now publicly stated they would boycott and I've noticed in the last two days, that nearly everybody, even if they didn't publicly commit, has been linking to other news sources. Even the aggregators seem to be avoiding any AP stories. Frankly, I think content quality has already improved with people sourcing from the smaller services that write better stories. For myself, I'm going to be avoiding AP from now on, even if they do back off.

It remains to be seen how this all shakes out, but as long as the AP doesn't provide a clear and fair standard for linking to its stories that doesn't exceed the statutory limits already set by fair use and continues to harrass Drudge Retort, the boycott is still on and I urge all bloggers to join the action, for your own protection if nothing else. They could coming after you next. You can track the latest developments at UnAssociated Press the semi-official HQ of the boycott.


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Blogger Robert J. Domanski said...

I think the boycott is completely counter-productive.

Critics of the Associated Press' policies are correct in their assertions, and their watchdog vigilance serves us all well. However, such cyberactivists ought to realize that, to protect open communication, loud public criticism serves them better than a boycott of the very information they are trying to defend.

4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Rob. I understand your point but I have to disagree. In the first place, AP isn't that respected anymore and the boycott isn't preventing discussion on the news. The AP just steals source material and rewrites it anyway, so it's not that difficult to use the orignal source work and there are other wire services that cover the same news and frankly, do a better job of covering it.

The only thing this boycott will do is help AP realize the value of blogger links. In essence, they're the ones shutting down the discussion by threatening bloggers with legal action over pretty clear fair use linking. Essentially they're saying fair use isn't good enough for them and they want to keep all their content to themselves unless we pay for it. Who can afford that? And pretty silly considering we're essentially giving them free advertising for their product.

7:16:00 PM  
Blogger libhom said...

AP slants its content far to the right to please its corporate customers, making it highly unreliable. The boycott could have a good impact if more people question AP.

10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It funny libhom. Both sides complain about the AP. The wingnuts are forever claiming they're flaming liberals and we complain they're corporate lackeys.

Basically, they're not that great but they took over the news when everyone just started taking their feeds instead of doing in house reporting, so we all linked to them.

I'm thinking at the very least, we'll strengthen the competitors a little by linking to them instead. I notice most bloggers are avoiding linking to them even if they haven't publicly declared for the boycott.

9:44:00 AM  

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