Cut And Paste Is A “Misguided Legal Theory” According to A.P.

A year ago last January, I wrote “How To Become Irrelevant Online” about Associated Press’ intention to battle aggregators and bloggers over the fair use doctrine. I never wondered what became of their legal intentions because I can do without A.P. as a source. However, the story has bubbled up again and it’s worth re-examining, simply due to the hideousness of it all.
According to The New York Times:

Associated Press said on Monday that Web sites that used the work of news organizations must obtain permission and share revenue with them, and that it would take legal action against those that did not.
The A.P. will “work with portals and other partners who legally license our content” and will “seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don’t,” the A.P. chairman, William Dean Singleton, said Monday in a speech at the group’s annual meeting, in San Diego. “We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.”

TechCrunch says, “the worst part about their whining is that it is completely hypocritical.”
Danny Sullivan explains just how simple it is to turn off the Google juice dispenser.

Get your tech person to change your robots.txt file to say this:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /

Done. Do that, you’re outta Google.

Of course, no publisher in their right mind will ever do that. No Google juice, no traffic, no income. So, as upset as news execs may be with the new media landscape, there’s no going back, no putting Genie back in his bottle.
Look, we all know what desperate times the newspaper business is facing. The news business is one of many that have been taken down a notch by the rise of people-powered digital media. But lawyers and the suits they bring are not the answer. Adjusting your business to the new reality is the answer. Yes, that takes brains and balls. That’s the cost of being in business. Always has been.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.