Have you been following the developing row between the Associated Press and the Blogosphere? Catch up on what is happening here, here, here, and here. The basic rundown is that the AP just announced that to quote any more than 5 words from any of their articles, you must pay them a licensing fee. This license can be revoked at their leisure, and pretty much goes completely against Fair Use and common journalistic procedure. This is Big Media bullying 101, and will all calm down in a little bit, but not after some tears and lawsuits.
In the meantime, I’m extremely pissed off at the AP, a news gathering collective that I have an enormous amount of respect for. For decades the AP has brought some of the most important stories of our lifetimes to our attention, and covered them very well. I understand that they do not want their stories ripped off and reposted all over the place, but a quote is a quote, and if properly cited and referenced back to its source, there is no license required. What makes this story even more interesting is that in the face of the backlash, they are negotiating a truce with a previously unknown entity called the Media Bloggers Association, which according to BoingBoing, appears to be just one man with little interest in blogging. Yet he appears to be representing the blogosphere as a whole. This situation makes me so mad that I have come up with a plan. From now on, I’m going to quote 4 words or less from the AP, as often as I can. Get used to it, it is my new soapbox/protest.