How To Tell If You’re An Idiot

You work for the AP, and are trying to convince the world that Fair Use doesn’t exist.

Some geniuses at the Associated Press has started promulgating the policy that bloggers and web sites must pay them to link to and quote AP stories — just like we just did, below, with the story on Big Bird. The AP thinks that Heathen should PAY them because we quoted an excerpt of the story, and never mind that people interested will click through and read the whole thing, thereby adding value to the AP’s content and the AP’s paid distribution channels (like Yahoo News, to whom we link below). Usage such as this is typically seen as Fair Use, and requires no license or permission. That’s how references work. It’s how research works. And it’s how the web works — and, as noted, how the web drives traffic to interesting sites and stories, a dynamic that you’d think the AP would be embracing.

This move is a stupendously bad idea, and impossible to defend legally besides, and the AP deserves to be heartily embarrassed as a consequence. And it gets worse: read the link above (to the analysts at Techdirt) to learn more about how the AP seems to think they can prohibit you from quoting them if you say bad things about the AP, for example. This isn’t idle policy; they’re actually acting on it.

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