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AP to Tag and Track All of Its Content
PaulPA




msg:3958896
 1:45 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not exactly sure what the ramifications are but this seems to be a unique approach to ensuring its work is protected.

AP Press Release [ap.org]

 

eventus




msg:3959002
 3:54 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

This has been tried before... without much success.

I'd venture that this is yet another phenomenal waste of money on APs part.

engine




msg:3959091
 5:30 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Associated Press To Clamp Down On Unpaid Use Of Articles [nytimes.com]
Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.

Asked if that stance went further than The A.P. had gone before, he said, “That’s right.” The company envisions a campaign that goes far beyond The A.P., a nonprofit corporation. It wants the 1,400 American newspapers that own the company to join the effort and use its software.


PaulPA




msg:3959187
 8:14 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'll be interested to see how this "news registry" evolves and how some will try to defeat it.

jdMorgan




msg:3959229
 10:00 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

If this 'digital wrapper' is client-side scripting, then a text-based search engine robot won't see it anyway.

And if they do see this wrapper, the description in the article makes it sounds like it's also used for keyword-stuffing, and most of us here with any SEO experience know the result of doing that.

... data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches.

They're trying to have their cake and eat it too, as stated in the article. Displaying headlines and a snippet from the article certainly sounds like fair use to me, and as I see it, their only real recourse is robots.txt:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Once they're almost bankrupt as a result, then G, Y, or M can buy them out.

I'm often on the other side of the copyright argument, fighting scrapers on my sites, etc., but this twisted concept of "paid-fair-use" would assess a fee on the street-corner paperboy for calling out the headlines in order to sell his newspapers -- to the detriment of the paperboy, the newspaper's publisher, and the passers-by who don't have change or time to buy the paper, but hope to hear (generally) what's going on...

The search engines' best tactic in this case seems to be to force a confrontation in court -- or to simply blacklist the news providers that sign up to this program.

The 'papers' just need to do a better job at monetizing their sites in order to remain viable in the www age -- and they rightly should do so, because somebody has to pay the reporters, journalists, photographers, fact-checkers, editors and Web-workers for the valuable service they provide. Or maybe it's time to revive micro-payments...

Jim

engine




msg:3959433
 8:25 am on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's the complete content scrapers abusing it that are causing the biggest problem, imho.

I see it that the search engines are doing a service, for free.

The 'papers' just need to do a better job at monetizing their sites in order to remain viable in the www age -- and they rightly should do so, because somebody has to pay the reporters, journalists, photographers, fact-checkers, editors and Web-workers for the valuable service they provide.

I completely agree with that.

The concept of protecting their interest is fine, as far as i'm concerned. I just won't give them any traffic and it will go elsewhere.

ogletree




msg:3959458
 11:28 am on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I so just wish google would deindex all these people.

henry0




msg:3959478
 12:38 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Correct me if I am wrong, in this scenario WebmasterWorld will need paying a fee for each featured link/article/summary that is a actual home page feature
Is that a fair assessment?

farmboy




msg:3959488
 1:11 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

A couple of suggestions for the AP and newspapers that use AP material:

1. Put a link on your site that is easy to find and easy to use (no forms to complete) to allow easy reporting of copyright violations - especially those situations where someone copies and reproduces an entire article.

2. Assign someone the occasional task of reviewing a few sites that receive your feeds and when you find blatant misuse, make an example of the site owner. Word will get around.

FarmBoy

maximillianos




msg:3959489
 1:13 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the reality of the web AP. Scrapers have been milking my articles for years. I also learned not to waste too much time trying to stop it. Just focus on growing a quality site and the search engines seem to sort the rest out.

JAB Creations




msg:3959496
 1:46 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission...

...yeah it took me years and years to learn robots.txt too...oh wait it didn't! In fact I found a local copy here [webmasterworld.com] to be quite entertaining.

- John

JS_Harris




msg:3959598
 10:06 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Same old rhetoric, to the AP - quit being lazy buggers and use robots.txt to block search engines and then go after the webmasters who break the rules, the search engines are making it EASY for you to find them and the search engines would HELP you do it. I just no longer care to hear anyone blame search engines that simply report whats out there.

The AP of today is about making money, not getting the news out there apparently.

moonbiter




msg:3959601
 10:23 pm on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

The most appropriate comment I saw about this: Maybe someone should explain to the Associated Press just how unimplementable this is. [reddit.com]

JS_Harris




msg:3959637
 12:07 am on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

That does about sum it up moonbiter :-)

If the AP had broken the story that Michael Jackson died would they really expect nobody to write about it since they broke the story? c'mon...

farmboy




msg:3959670
 2:52 am on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the AP had broken the story that Michael Jackson died would they really expect nobody to write about it since they broke the story? c'mon...

I am not here to defend the AP, but I think that misses the point.

If they broke the story with an article that Michael Jackson died, there is nothing wrong with bloggers and others writing, "apparently Michael Jackson has died, here's a link to an article with details." That would drive people to the article and drive advertising revenue for the site.

The problem is when a blogger, for example, copies the AP written/researched/fact-checked article and puts it on his blog. This uses the work effort of the AP without the AP getting the traffic and thus no revenue.

The snippet thing is an in-between area. Guidelines on the US Copyright office site clearly indicate someone shouldn't copy and paste so much of the article that a person wouldn't need to visit the original site to get the full context.

FarmBoy

JS_Harris




msg:3959678
 3:31 am on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to argue with you Farmboy but we disagree.

Quote from the AP article
"What we are building here is a way for good journalism to survive and thrive," said Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP Board of Directors and vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group Inc. "The AP news registry will allow our industry to protect its content online, and will assure that we can continue to provide original, independent and authoritative journalism at a time when the world needs it more than ever."

questions
- who controls the registry?
- who handles disputes when freedom of speech is infringed?
- why does Dean Singleton think the world is starved of good journalism?
- Why doesn't Dean Singleton see that absolute control of the news is a bad thing? Absolute anything easily becomes corrupt.
- Why doesn't Dean Singleton use robots.txt and file complaints against the parties who copy content instead of blasting the search engines?
- Most importantly, am I the only person who thinks full control of the news (register news before reporting?!) combined with a clear attack on search engines that report what's out there is a very bad thing? Rights get ignored this way, and worse.

I disagree strongly with Dean Singleton I suppose. An AP news registry to protect AP content online is an expensive version of a robots.txt file and good copyright attorney at best, at worst however it opens doors for corruption on a much larger scale than ever before.

Right now whenever any agency tries to keep something quiet you can bet someone, somewhere is finding out about it and it gets reported somewhere too. If all news must be served through a registry... I think we all know what to expect next, other countries work like that already.

Edit: btw, good journalism survives and thrives on its own, people don't flock to crappy news sources unless they want to be entertained. If Dean Singleton simply wants to control the medium we call internet to earn more profit from reporting news there's already something crooked going on.

Twitter is also positioned to release news faster than the AP already, does that have anything to do with a proposed registry and view that the world is not getting what it needs?

ogletree




msg:3959690
 5:18 am on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Every newspaper could go out of business tomorrow and there would still be lots of good Journalism. There is no shortage of journalists. There are way too many.

vincevincevince




msg:3959697
 5:40 am on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

The AP releases stories which comprise a combination of facts and quality journalism. The quality journalism is covered by copyright, and it is entirely right that it be protected against unlicensed reproduction. The facts are not protected, despite what the AP says its "position" is.

The real problem here is that the journalism from the AP is not an attractive enough proposition. Publishers do not want to buy it. Instead of paying for the 'quality journalism' from the AP, they find it is more cost effective to write their own story based upon the facts reported by the AP and other sources.

I see three main factors pulling publishers away from the AP content:

1) My observation of the market over the last decade has been that the AP has not improved the quality of its journalism and continues to churn out dry fact, quote, background work. Against this, independent journalists, bloggers and editors have made great strides forward in providing interesting, engaging, informative and entertaining articles such that their internal output is far ahead of the AP in terms of reader attraction.

2) All or nothing. Things might have changed, but last I investigated the matter, the AP required you to pay a license which covers a whole package of news on an ongoing basis. If I am a specialist widget mag, and the AP runs maybe half-a-dozen widget stories a year, it is vastly unprofitable for me to take out a licensing package just to run those six stories. Someone mentioned micropayment earlier; and I think that is right - however it should be micropayment to the AP, to pick up a single article in isolation.

3) The final nail in the coffin of the AP is duplicate content. Any publisher running AP content knows that it will get very little search engine traffic because it will be duplicate content. Why turn up on Google News for a hot story in a link labelled "749 similar stories" when you can write your own story and come up as a full sized result, second in the SERPs?

Personally I don't see the AP making it another ten years without a radical rethink. After all, news spreads through blogs, twitter, forums, email, SMS and many other services even without the AP.

farmboy




msg:3959779
 1:28 pm on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

who controls the registry?

The AP and its member organizations such as newspapers. It's a private entity.

who handles disputes when freedom of speech is infringed?

Where is the freedom of speech issue? There is no government body involved.

why does Dean Singleton think the world is starved of good journalism?

Saying he wants good journalism to survive and thrive is not the same as saying he thinks the world is starved of good journalism, it's looking to the future. I think the AP has produced some lousy journalism in recent years, but that's no reason to distort what was quoted.

Why doesn't Dean Singleton see that absolute control of the news is a bad thing? Absolute anything easily becomes corrupt.

Again, I think that's not the proper context.

Why doesn't Dean Singleton use robots.txt and file complaints against the parties who copy content instead of blasting the search engines?

Newspapers and other news organizations pay the AP a fee in return for the ability to use the content produced by the AP. Every one of their news organizations would have to use robots.txt and that wouldn't prevent the people who copy and paste text.

...and file complaints against the parties who copy content...

I wish they would take action against those parties. Maybe they are and there is so much stolen content that effort seems futile. Maybe they are about to increase actions against those parties.

...instead of blasting the search engines?...

Evidently the AP and/or member organizations think there is a good reason to be upset with search engines. I don't understand that angle. Perhaps the reasoning will become more clear over time.

Most importantly, am I the only person who thinks full control of the news...

If we're back to this not writing about Michael Jackson's death thing then I think this is another overstatement.

...it opens doors for corruption on a much larger scale than ever before.

You're free to operate offices and hire reporters around the world to dig up and report on news events. Nothing is stopping you from doing that. But you're not free to sit back while the AP, or anyone else, puts forth the money and effort to develop stories and then take those, without proper contribution or attribution, and use them for your own means.

Right now whenever any agency tries to keep something quiet you can bet someone, somewhere is finding out about it and it gets reported somewhere too.

And that someone, somewhere deserves to profit/be properly credit for his or her effort.

If all news must be served through a registry... I think we all know what to expect next, other countries work like that already.

News you or anyone else develops wouldn't be subject to the AP registry.

Edit: btw, good journalism survives and thrives on its own, people don't flock to crappy news sources unless they want to be entertained.

That's exactly the problem with the AP issue and theft of original content in general. People who produce good material thrive on their own. People that can't produce anything other than crappy content don't thrive and some of them want to take good material from others and use it as their own.

Twitter is also positioned to release news faster than the AP already...

There is a difference between "releasing" news and gathering news to develop a story. As far as I know, Twitter hasn't invested in a team of reporters, writers, editors, fact checkers, photographers, etc. around the world.

If GM sends out an open press release today announcing they will make a car that gets 100 mpg next year and someone on Twitter repeats it before AP, then good for the Twitter person. If the AP works to get an interview with the CEO of GM, asks good questions during the interview and exclusively learns that GM is about to produce a 100 mpg car, that's AP's story and Twitter should give proper credit and send visitors to the AP story for details.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:3959790
 1:57 pm on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

The real problem here is that the journalism from the AP is not an attractive enough proposition. Publishers do not want to buy it. Instead of paying for the 'quality journalism' from the AP, they find it is more cost effective to write their own story based upon the facts reported by the AP and other sources.

There are people who define the concept of "fair use" in a way that attempts to rationalize the copying of entire articles. Likewise, there are people who would define "facts" very liberally and in their own favor.

Using the GM example, suppose the reporter interviewing the CEO learned the GM car:

1. Gets 100 mpg
2. Be on dealer lots in July 2010
3. Would be available in 10 colors
4. Would cost $40K
5. Would be named "Freedom"
6. Would weigh 5,000 pounds
7. Would have a laptop computer charging station inside

Some people will write an article using the above information without crediting the reporter/news organization and simply claim to be reporting the facts. But those "facts" are the story, developed exclusively by the reporter.

Publishers do not want to buy it.

This is beginning to sound like the old napster debates.

Some publishers, newspapers who are AP members for example, do pay for it - to the tune of more than $100,000 per year. Some publishers, someone with a blog, an Adsense account and dollar signs in his eyes for example, don't want to pay for it and don't want to go out and do the work to gather the story.

Some people work and purchase their own bicycle. Some people don't want to work and would rather steal someone else's bicycle.

I see three main factors pulling publishers away from the AP content:

1) I agree

2) Like I said, this is really beginning to sound like the old napster debates. .

3) So it's OK to use someone else's content in the way you want if it results in better search engine positioning for yourself than doing it properly and legally? Surely that's not what you're saying.

Personally I don't see the AP making it another ten years without a radical rethink. After all, news spreads through blogs, twitter, forums, email, SMS and many other services even without the AP.

I agree with the first sentence because the AP has been putting out some very biased reporting, photoshopped pictures, using sources of dubious credibility, etc.

As for the second sentence, much of that news comes originally from an AP developed story. Not all, but a huge portion it. If the AP disappeared today, a lot of blogs, forums, twitter, etc. would no longer have the AP to leech off of and would have to resort to spreading gossip and rumors or leeching off some other news organization.

"News" is just a rumor until someone does the work to verify, check sources, fact check, etc.

FarmBoy

ogletree




msg:3959814
 3:44 pm on Jul 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

farmboy it is rare that the ap has information that would not have been found out otherwise. When there is an interview a whole bunch of people wanted that interview if the AP did not get it some other news person would have got it. These people all want the same interviews and fight over them.

With the same logic you could say that 50 years ago the phone companies and us mail was making a lot of money off of AP stories. People would call each other and mail each other the news. They could only do this because they were paying for the mail or the phone. They would talk about it on the train. Does that mean the train should pay the ap because news was talked about on it.

2clean




msg:3960134
 7:55 am on Jul 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

vincevincevince. AP's a pretty big authority source, and they've been around since, 1846. Let's distinguish a little here between news fact and news commentary. Bobsnewsblog isn't going to swing it for me as a newsworhty source. After an authority source has delivered a piece of news, I might go to Bobsnewsblog for a piece of commentary.

Neither, is Twitter a news source, as has been suggested, it is a tool that can be used as a news delivery mechanism. If you want to see where the problem lies, you need to take a look at how many followers AP has on their Twitter Page, [twitter.com...] 405 isn't that many all things considered. This indicates a reluctance to embrace the changes that are taking place, but that's a different discussion.

Has anyone here done tests with RSS feeds and manipulations via Yahoo Pipes. As a pubilsher it would make me feel quite uncomfortable so I think that their point is validly raised.

Based on the Twitter example, I doubt even whether most newspapers are aware of the extent of the scraping that be taken place on their RSS content.

JS_Harris




msg:3960408
 5:28 pm on Jul 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

2clean, their point is validly raised. A minority of sites do copy AP articles verbatim though I challenge you to find a single one ranked above the original on any major search engine. It's a problem all webmasters eventually deal with using established methods.

The proposed solution creates more new problems yet likely won't solve the original problems.

Twitter isn't a news source but you very likely will hear about breaking news on Twitter long before it's published by the AP. When something worth talking about happens it's talked about instantly and RT'd faster than anyone can publish an article and get it to their affiliates. (and if it has to pass through a registry first, forget about it).

If a news story is twittered for hours before the AP releases a "registered" story... well lets just say the AP would publish nothing at all if it had to be first with any news, not bad considering twitter isn't a news agency.

edit: Twitter also shatters the old saying "the medium is the message" because today "the immediacy is the message". That's significant because the AP is the medium and a majority of the population now flock to immediacy. Dean may want to revive the medium, I think he'll cause more damage than good regardless of how noble his intentions. I suspect Dean is feeling a squeeze not only by copied content but by people not visiting the sites that foot AP bills because of the growing number of alternatives available.

Syzygy




msg:3961384
 11:39 pm on Jul 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Anyone view the nice little AP flow diagram? [ap.org]

PaulPA




msg:3962093
 10:55 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice - I wonder if they paid for those images!

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