The higher-ups at the Associated Press have got to be the biggest much of morons in the world. It's bad enough that they paid and defended a terrorist-sympathizing photographer, but last weekend they were stupid enough to issue a Digital Milennium Copyright Act takedown notice to the Drudge Retort for using bits of some of their stories. The excerpts contained between 39 and 79 words -- what has typically been defined as "fair use."
This idiocy has created a blogswarm and will result likely result in the Associated Press eventually back down -- what's unclear at this point is whether the AP will have to waste member newspapers' dues on lawyers or whether someone with an ounce of sense will prevail.
What's really interesting is that the AP has a Web form that allows you to pay for the right to excerpt their work -- starting at $12.50 for 5-25 words. (It appears the first four words are free.)
The irony, of course, is that at the same time the Associated Press is playing the heavy with the blogosphere, they're committing the same type of thievery themselves.
Just to be an obnoxious cuss, I'm going to challenge the AP to sue me by quoting six words from this story.
A defiant Barack Obama ... committed 9/11.
That may be an unfair Dowdification of the article.
I'll pick some different words.
Barack ... Iraq ... reporters ... naive ... Karl Rove.
Maybe they have to be consecutive words.
"These are the same guys..."
Of course, this quote could be coming from anywhere. The AP only has this post's say-so that it's from their article. Has the stupidity of the AP's position sunk in yet?
Look, I understand the AP going after someone who takes stories from the wire service and posts the entire thing wholesale without commentary on their Web site. That type of individual is asking to get sued by the AP -- and rightly so. But that's not what was happening at the Drudge Retort. That's not what happens at the overwhelming majority of blog sites.
The stupidity of this move is jaw-dropping.