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Susan Gunelius

Associated Press Says Bloggers Beware

By June 17, 2008

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Last week, the Associated Press filed a lawsuit against a popular blog and social website, the Drudge Retort, citing several entries on the blog that referenced Associated Press articles and claiming those articles violated fair use rules. Many of the entries in question contained fewer than 30 words sourced from the original Associated Press articles (one included just 8 words).

Today, the New York Times reports that the Associated Press has backpedaled a bit stating they were heavy-handed in their initial threats to the Drudge Retort, but the Associated Press is working to create a specific policy that will tell bloggers how and when they can link to and refer to Associated Press articles.

This incident serves as a warning to bloggers to remember to cite sources, provide attribution and follow copyright and fair use laws. The following article will help you navigate some of these rules and regulations: Copyright and Fair Use Considerations.

June 18, 2008 at 2:45 pm
(1) Daniel Beegan says:

I am a former AP writer and editor and still belong to the retiree members council of CWA-TNG. I am speaking only for myself, not AP or the Union.

I would be very annoyed to have my work ripped off without credit and would be equally annoyed to see the AP news report used without the company getting any money from it. It’s not that I’m in love with management, but I do realize that if the company isn’t making money from the work of its employees, how is it going to pay us wages and benefits.

June 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm
(2) weblogs says:


I think the concern from bloggers comes not from those that are truly stealing content but who appropriately attribute the source (and link to it) who were sued by the AP. One such instance cited in the AP lawsuit referred to an entry on the Drudge Retort that copied just 8 words from an AP article.

The AP has now issued a fee schedule for bloggers to pay if they reference AP articles as sources and copy as few as 5 words from an AP article (you can read about that here). Ironically, the AP copied 154 words from Patterico’s Pontifications recently and has yet to pay anything to the owner of that site.

The issue is what consitutes fair use. Citing 5 words with a link to the original source doesn’t seem like a fair use violation. Bloggers don’t like to have their content stolen anymore than the AP does, but when proper attribution is given, citing fair use violation is a fine line that it appears the AP has taken a bit too far.

June 23, 2008 at 2:27 pm
(3) Marcel says:

I will never use anything from the AP again. I will ask my bloggers to never use AP.

June 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm
(4) Dennis Clemente says:

Is there a maximum no. of words that one can attribute from an article? 150 words? No limit? As long as there is proper attribution?

November 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(5) a1405600 says:

I’ve said that least 1405600 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

March 5, 2012 at 7:19 am
(6) shesUnsurry says:

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