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$12.50 to quote 5 words of an AP story (icopyright.net)
154 points by mcantelon on Aug 2, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments

According to the T.O.S., you can't lawfully quote an article if you intend to criticize it?

Derogatory and Unlawful Uses:

You shall not use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to the author, the publication from which the Content came, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or depicted in the Content. You agree not to use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to or damaging to the reputation of Publisher, its licensors, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or referenced in the Content

If you pay them money.

If you quote them without paying, exercising your right to fair use, then you can criticize them all you want.

I pasted my own work into the text box, and it tried to charge me money. It also let me buy, "fuck you, ever heard of fair use". (OK, I used a fake credit card number, but it got all the way to failing credit card authorization. Disgusting. Why do they think they can legally resell my work!?)

I guess it's an assumption that if you try to buy it from AP, then you have already concluded that the text is copyrighted by AP. I doubt they have instant access to everything they've ever written...

This is just disgusting.

chances are there is an AP article that has "This is just disgusting" in it...you are lucky you only used 4 words, 1 more word, and you'd have to pay $12.50

You are correct… http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_200957.html contains the four word quote.

It isn't just the AP, it's also Reuters, The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, The Boston Globe, and Ziff Davis Media that use iCopyright.

Well, fuck them all then, $12.50 / 5 words is laughable from anyone, even if it's the ghost of Alan Turing with a terse solution to the halting problem.

Hmm. I'd pay that.

Much higher resale value.

Why? It's still legal to quote them according to fair use, so who cares what they put on their website?

You are probably right. But there is another interesting question - is for-profit news aggregation, where you quote a part of the article, fair use? Bloggers do that, user-powered aggregator sites do that, but is it fair use? Because in most cases, the quote itself carries a news value, and those quoting websites are commercial venues. I am just asking...

I've always found it quite strange that the people who make the money off an article (assuming diggs/reddits etc are generating revenue) are those who merely aggregate content and submit it to these sites. They add nothing to the equation.

I don't see this as fair use.

Aggregators certainly can add value. The aggregator makes a choice of which articles to include vs which to omit. This is an editorial decision. This in turn allows readers to find content of interest to them without having to hunt for it themselves.

That's a pretty interesting position. So basically you are saying someone can take the best of all the articles on the web, without any payment (or even a link), put ads all over it, and the person who wrote the article doesn't get anything, just because they are not as good at you at seo?

I know that's the status quo, but I don't think it's fair or sustainable.

The only person who is gaining value from this in my opinion is the aggregator. Someone like digg which links to the original article is fine imho; but if they link to another non-primary source without original content/discussion then it's pretty murky waters.

> just because they are not as good at you at seo?

It has nothing to do with SEO, and everything to do with convenience. Think about early /.. Since I enjoyed reading the same kinds of things as cmdrtaco, not having to Lycos (hehe...) news was a pretty big value add. I can go to one URL, get all of the tech news, and save a ton of time.

As far as determining if something 'has value' or not, we can just look at the facts. If an aggregator wasn't adding any kind of value, nobody would be going there. It's not like buying a URL and putting up some ads means you make instant cash. You still have to get visitors to come to your site somehow, and you do that by providing value to your audience.

I'm not going as far as to claim that aggregators should quote whole works entire. Far from it. I'm merely claiming that a compilation (of links, or quotes, or what have you) is editorial in nature in-and-of-itself.

And I am certainly not claiming that doing any of this sans attribution should be permissible. Proper attribution is crucial and hyperlinks make it so easy that there is no excuse for e-plagiarism.

It's more difficult to prove, but having been for commercial use doesn't preclude fair-use:

"While commercial copying for profit work may make it harder to qualify as fair use, it does not make it impossible. For instance, in the 2 Live Crew—Oh, Pretty Woman case, it was ruled that commercial parody can be fair use."


Yes, but if they are adding nothing to the content but ad's, is that fair use?

But is user generated content for commercial use? I mean if bots are submitting it fine, but how do you go about a human submitting something to a commercial site? It's easy if the site says it owns all submissions, but what if it doesn't?

One of the four things that can (safely) make something fair use is if it's transformative, which news aggregation is.

Is there some case law or legislation you can point out that aggregation counts as transformative?

I hope that it would be. But my non-legal view of the term transformative says aggregation is not.

Then you will have to make up a new headline/title for the story that wasn't taken out of the article.

It is, but it's a bargain compared to a Verisign SSL certificate.

If you stick to ASCII and take the generally accepted average of 5 letters per English word, the AP are charging $12.50 for 200 bits. VeriSign's "Secure Site Pro with EV" costs $1499 for 256 bits and it's only good for a year!

It's their data. They can do whatever they want with it.

Yes. But they also can't prevent others from doing what they want with it, within the law of course (ie fair use).

It's every bit as arguable that it's data generated by the commons, which they merely aggregate and circulate.

"It's my business, I can refuse to hire blacks if I want to."

Haha that's a bit of a stretch! If it's their own internal data and they want to monetize it in this way, the market will decide whether the price they set is worthy of the product being sold.

While I might disagree with the usefulness/pricing of their data considering widely available alternative sources it isn't exactly on par with maligning someone's civil rights :D

I fail to see the connection.

Ridiculous and suicidal, I would say.

Not really, other newspaper/magazine companies are doing it too, it isn't just AP as the submitter would like us to believe.

Then, if many people decide to commit suicide, they actually don't die ;)

Apparently it's not news: Founded in 1998, iCopyright has generated millions of dollars in new licensing revenue for online publishers, and has seven patents pending in the field of automated copyright licensing and permissions.

But it's not really that big if in 11 years they generated just millions of dollars...

they're actually probably a company that makes no sense at all and whose short-lived moment of (apparent) grace has just come (and will vanish soon)

No problem. Using my handy AP obfuscator...

For compliance reasons, please identify the web site where you will be posting or linking this article.


For compliance reasons, please aardvark identify the web site aardvark where you will be aardvark posting or linking this aardvark article.

A new market for Firefox AP de-obfuscation plug-ins?

You could always quote the AP article and just remove all the spaces, turning it into one gigantic word.

Sort of like:


That would bring it under the 5 word threshold for which you need to pay, although it would definitely cause havoc with layouts on websites.


It isn't just the AP, it's other publishers that use this site too.

The problem is iCopyright, not the AP.

Are you saying iCopyright is licensing AP content w/o their consent?

They don't appear to be escaping the input when you click preview. I wouldn't be handing these fools my credit card.

I'm thinking this is a good time to start an AP for blogs where bloggers can write articles to be syndicated among other blog.

What's the point of that? We already have hyperlinks.

Many people don't click links in blogs, they mostly prefer to read their favorite sources.

Luckily, "The AP are idiots" is only four words.

Don't worry - it looks like there's an educational/non-profit discount of 40%. So generous!

If only my work were valued at 50¢/word...


Hey, you can get 25 words for the price of 5 - a $50 value!

But wait, that's not all! If you respond now we will include a handful of prepositions and a huge pile of adjectives for no extra charge!

Good that Fravia didn't live to see this!

WTF? Doesn't fair use exist?

Why not make a few bucks off of people that don't know their rights? It works for the criminal justice system...

What if you had somebody read the AP article, and then you quote that person?

"The AP reports that GM's sales are down last quarter, says John Smith."

Then you'd just be quoting a source. Would that be infringement?

Wait wait wait, this is a sensationalist headline. The submitter obviously picked an AP story to frame them as evil.

iCopyright is the company that provides this Fair Use-violating service and here are some of their clients http://info.icopyright.com/conductor.asp * The Globe & Mail * REUTERS * Associated Press * The Toronto Star * Ziff Davis Media * The Boston Globe

Because a company is a client of iCopyright doesn't necessarily mean they're using the same product/service as AP or employing the same pricing model. iCopyright, like most companies, likely provides more than one product/service.

If you read the page, you could see that all of them are using the same set of products/services, namely iCopyright Conductor which is the reprint/DRM bullshit.

Don't just tar & feather AP, tar & feather the whole bunch that are clients of this company!

I think the pricing is more of an issue than the tech. If AP were asking for 12 cents rather than $12.50 for 5 words the reaction might be different. What are the pricing models of these other companies that you suggest are equally at fault?

How long has the republish button been there?

I think I owe them a lot of money. Do the words have to be consecutive ? In order ? In the same article ?

That's going to make the AP a lot of money I bet.

It's going to be hard to get on without them, but we're certainly going to try our best.

btw, I'm fairly sure there is a legally allowed minimum that you can quote from anything under fair use.

It is my understanding that the law says nothing definite about what is fair use, it only gives guidelines about what shall be taken into consideration when determining whether it is. That's a big part about why exercising your right to fair use exposes you to frivolous lawsuits that you have to be able to defend yourself agains.

Why is this comment being voted down?

So what would happen if a user posted a comment with an excerpt or submitted it to Digg?

Would AP force the sites to take the comment down or Digg to remove the story?

whats the legal status if i translate it or use 1337speak?

I sell you 5 words for 10$. Also my words will rhyme and you can resell them. For each time you resell them you get a discount of 2$.

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