Blogging and the Associated Press
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Recently, the Associated Press stunned the blogging world when they announced that they would start setting guidelines for how writers could use their quotes. What does this mean? Well, from now on, bloggers will no longer be able to freely quote from AP articles… even if the quotes link back to the original website. If writers do otherwise, they could get into legal trouble.
In fact, this is already happening with the Drudge Retort. Existing as a parody to the “Drudge Report,” the Drudge Retort often took quotes from AP articles to help support its own content. Yet nothing was plagiarized, as the quotes were always credited back to their original sources. In addition, the excerpts were very small. Containing 79 words or less, the content used couldn’t even make up a small paragraph. But to the Associated Press, the quotes were not only excessive but also illegal.
As a result, the Drudge Retort received seven DMCA notices. What is the DMCA? Known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the DMCA is used to help prevent copyright infringement on software, Internet content and other "virtual" materials. So, if a person receives one of these notices, they need to comply immediately, since the next step usually involves a trip to the courthouse. And, if a person is actually found to be guilty, they could pay thousands in fines or spend up to 10 years in jail.
Now, what does this all mean for bloggers and Internet writers in general? What does it mean for the Associated Press? This article will attempt to answer these questions by providing an in-depth, common-sense analysis of the situation.
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