Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bloggers: Is AP wrong on copyright issue?

Quick post -- more to come.

It's about the imbroglio between Associated Press and bloggers, with AP demanding that they not selectively quote from an AP story, then link to the site where it's actually published.

I'm not surprised Associated Press calls the issue "Hot News Misappropriation," because it would be next to impossible to claim "harm" from copyright infringement by someone quoting selectively and linking to already-published articles.

But while it's a stronger claim, "Hot News Misappropriation" (A useful summary of cases here) could be very difficult to prove in the case of selective quoting and linking. This concept applies most strongly "before" news hits the public realm, or at least simultaneously with publication. That's when the news has the most value, because stealing it at that point CAN cause harm. Imagine stealing a reporter's story and printing it before it hits the press. Or linking to it in the seconds and minutes (not hours) after the story is distributed by AP. That's Hot News Misappropriation, as has already been defined in the courts.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. But I have managed intellectual corporate properties for years, hiring some of the best intellectual property lawyers to handle the actual legal work.)

No comments: