bloggin' all things brownsville

Monday, June 16, 2008

Associated Press Throws Stones, Lives in Glass House


I stole this tidbit from Eduardo Paz-Martinez’s blog:

“The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright. The A.P.’s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of “fair use,” which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances. Fair use has become an essential concept to many bloggers, who often quote portions of articles before discussing them. The A.P., a cooperative owned by 1,500 daily newspapers, provides articles and broadcast material to thousands of news organizations and Web sites that pay to use them." - TheHuffingtonPost.com

What a joke.

AP has been swiping articles from newspapers for years, slapping its name on them and denying proper credit to the original publication/reporter.

For those who don't understand the process, newspaper editors submit articles to the AP for consideration to be distributed statewide, nationwide or even worldwide to other media outlets. However, they drop the publication's tagline and rarely give the publication credit.

Here is an example of proper credit:

The Associated Press
The Brownsville Herald reported that Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada opposes the border wall.


Here is an example of what AP does:

The Associated Press
Brownsville's Mayor Pat Ahumada opposes the border wall.


Perhaps reporters should ban together for a class-action lawsuit against The Associated Press for plagiarism.

The AP is notorious for not giving credit where credit is due.

AP, forget the blogosphere. You are the mero-mero free-wheeler.

8 Comments:

Anonymous La Cindy said...

Also, I love that you quoted like 200 words from the HP for this story. Classic.

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

That's right! But, I gave them credit and the blogger who originally copied it!

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger BobbyWC said...

MZ, I will not defend the AP - we all know how they work - what has happened though is bloggers are just not blogging - they are taking entire articles while making money by advertising products or businesses on their blogs.

Congress is at its limits with google's policies of ignoring many federal laws because google believes law does not apply to the internet.

While I have not read much about Fair Use for some 20 years - what I do remember the money issue is the key issue - you can reference other people's works and make money if you properly give them credit - but you cannot take an entire article - post it on a blog and then charge people to advertise on your blog - you are basically stealing someone elses work and then making money by promoting it.

Now the AP cannot control summaries - a blogger can for example list headlines with links to any news organization of their choosing - for example -

Rawlings signs deal for new Harry Potter book (not true by the way) then you provide a link to the story - no one will ever be able to stop this

Again I am not defending the AP - the problem is some bloggers are making money on other people's works - this is wrong - but merely referencing a source and giving it credit is something the AP will never be able to regulate - it is the essence of all research - imagine what would happen to book publishing if every person cited had to be paid a fee?

Bobby WC

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Duardo Paz-Martinez said...

MZ,

...It appears something crucial was lost in the translation. The Associated Press,, as the story noted, is a "co-operative" owned by some 1,500 newsppaers worldwide. It does not steal articles. I wrote for the AP in Denver in the early 1990s and here's how it works: Because all dues-paying members agree to share news, the AP then becomes the middleman charged with recycling articles so that pages availed to "Region or State or National" coverage are filled, for example. It does not take stories from newspapers that are not "members" and it does not supply them to those who do not pay for said membership. It is free to edit as it wishes, usually for length. Bylines are either kept or removed by newspapers using the stories "moved" by the AP. The same goes for photos. I believe its interest in trimming wide use of its stories by Bloggers is rooted in complaints submitted to the AP by member publications. [Example: The Herald, a member of the AP, would lodge a complaint with the AP should you - or any other Brownsville Blogger - start "ripping-off" its stories for your use. The Herald likely wouldn't take you to court, asking the AP instead to do it on a much broader scope.] This is just so you know. I would re-cast your post. Thanks for the credit, but I credited my source, TheHuffingtonPost.com. Go Tiger!

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Duardo Paz-Martinez said...

One more thing: The Associated Press has its own stable of staff writers (I was one). They do enterprise reporting. These stories are then availed to member newspapers, who decide whether to use them and whether to use the byline. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I believe the AP has a correspondent (staff writer) in the Rio Grande Valley...

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

It appears something crucial was lost in the translation. The Associated Press,, as the story noted, is a "co-operative" owned by some 1,500 newsppaers worldwide.

Yes, you are correct.

It does not steal articles.

I prefer the word "swipes." Yes, the practice is apparently OK, because of the co-operative agreement, but it's a poor practice to not give proper credit when they can. Sometimes, an AP writer uses material from a publication, yet, doesn't credit that publication. That's blatant plagiarism.

I've even experienced a case of a local AP reporter simply changing the tenses on a Herald story and passing it off as her own.

When I was a Herald city editor, we had a reporter write an advance about an RGV troop in Iraq planning a Thanksgiving dinner. The reporter even interviewed members of the troop and family. After the story was published, we found out the dinner was canceled, because the troop had moved stations.

However, the AP reporter picked up the story, revised the tenses and ran the story on Thanksgiving Day as if the dinner took place. The dinner had been canceled! Scary stuff, right?

That's why, it's important to adopt the practice of giving proper credit, to prevent such instances of irresponsible journalism.

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

what has happened though is bloggers are just not blogging - they are taking entire articles while making money by advertising products or businesses on their blogs.

Very good point, BWC. I had not considered that problem.

Monday, June 16, 2008  
Blogger Kurgan said...

M,

As a self proclaimed and then accused "cut & paster", I fully familiarized myself with the fair use doctrine before hand.

Now that "cutting and pasting" is so prevalent, and in the eyes of a few, some type of lower literary life form, the issue has come up more often.

Ironically, Wikipedia offers a decent description of the four factor test of whether the useage qualifies.

Contained within one of the four is the concept of "direct market substitutuion" which is cutting and pasting, claiming it is your own work and then making money from it as an original work.

Enforcement of what has already escaped the Pandora's Box is another matter altogether, as the AP is aware.

REF: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080616/bs_nf/60306

K

Monday, June 16, 2008  

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