Is fair use now copyright infringement?

It appears that the Associated Press has joined the list of news organizations going after those who would choose to extract their newswire stories and post to their site. Mathew Ingram broke this story on his site Ingram 2.0 late last week.

This is nothing new for the newspapers and world news organizations, as there have been several cases filed over the past few years against Google News and other Online news reporting agencies for “the misappropriation of hot news” by posting current AP stories on their sites. The difference this time is that the party the AP is raising a stink about is NOT an “official” news site, but rather a non-commercial group blog site, the Drudge Retort. (a left-wing version of the Drudge Report where users comment and post articles).

I think the AP is in the wrong this time. The Drudge Retort does post AP articles, but always provides a link back to the original article. If the Associate Press chooses to pursue this, it will only serve to damage their less than spectacular reputation-

1. It’s hypocritical….they encourage people to subscribe to their RSS feed but want to prosecute bloggers who POST their stories with a link back? What is an RSS Feed?!

2. If they succeed, (until overturned) they’ll be forever known as the organization that tried to silence free speech and fair use. C’mon! It’s the NEWS- the AP does not OWN the news.

In my opinion, the AP is shooting themselves in the foot big time. We’ll be watching this one closely.