In the name of “defin[ing] clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt” the Associated Press is now selling “quotation licenses” that allow bloggers, journallers, and people who forward quotations from articles to co-workers to quote their articles. The licenses start at $12.50 for quotations of 5-25 words. The licensing system exhorts you to snitch on people who publish without paying the blood-money, offering up to $1 million in reward money (they also think that “fair use” — the right to copy without permission — means “Contact the owner of the work to be sure you are covered under fair use.”).
It gets better! If you pay to quote the AP, but you offend the AP in so doing, the AP “reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time if Publisher or its agents finds Your use of the licensed Content to be offensive and/or damaging to Publisher’s reputation.”
Suggestion to the AP: Take one of those lawyers that you’re cocking and locking to launch at bedroom bloggers like me, and have him go look up something called fair use. You might be surprised.
The Associated Press reminds me of a dinosaur, peacefully munching ferns in the jungle, and when it sees the giant meteor hurtling through the sky that spells its doom, it rears up and hisses at it. As one of the comments at Free Republic put it: “At first I thought market evolution was killing off the lamestream media. These days, I’m convinced the MSM is determined to commit suicide as quickly as possible.”