Associated Press Wants To Set Rules For Blog Usage

Seems the Associated Press wants to meet with members of the blogging community to set rules for how their content is used online, following the 'interaction' between AP and the Drudge Retort over usage.

AP had sent a letter to the Drudge Retort - part of the larger Drudge Report group - demanding that they take down 7 stories that heavily referenced AP stories. On saturday AP sent a follow up letter dropping the request and apologizing for the "heavy handed" letter.

The New York Times reported:

Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.

The quick about-face came, he said, because a number of well-known bloggers started criticizing its policy, claiming it would undercut the active discussion of the news that rages on sites, big and small, across the Internet.

Since then AP has reported it will hold a meeting with bloggers - specifically "to meet Thursday with Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, as part of an effort to create standards for online use of AP stories by bloggers that would protect AP content without discouraging bloggers from legitimately quoting from it."

Criticism of the original action of restricting use of AP stories has been extensive in the blogosphere - do a blog search.

Everyone should be on the side of the Drudge Retort on this one - especially given they link out to news sources and track comment numbers that give people an idea of the popularity of various stories.

The fact that AP is now 'meeting' with bloggers - well the Media Bloggers Association - whose site seems motivated:


"The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen."

Shows they want to control how their information is used - understandable given they are paid by newspapers and other sources for providing that news that bloggers grab for free.

Short passage quotes with attribution have always been a standard use of other sources of news even in the print medium - especially in editorials.

What AP is missing is that most of the users are giving links back to their source and thus giving more authority to them as a permanent web news reference. Hope that gets tabled by the bloggers they speak with.

As the print industry continues to shrink there are many stories of their efforts to reach out to the online world, guess AP is a little slow on reading their own articles.

Maybe they read some of the blog posts about the controversy and decided it was time to reach out. The growth of Google News as a source could have had an impact.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.