Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Associated Press wants bloggers to pay $12.50 to quote as few as five words from an AP article.

Not only does this show a level of cluelessness about the culture of the internet, it also appears to fly in the face of copyright law: everyone is entitled to fair use quotations of published works.

From the U.S. Copyright Office's web-site:
The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” (emphasis added)
I doubt that most of the AP's claims for remit from bloggers on the internets will pass legal scrutiny. The Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center's web-site is v. informative and has a good section on Fair Use.

Update: Mark Glaser on all of this. (h/t Atrios)