New Restrictions – Better Plan?

This past Monday, The Associated Press announced plans to “aggressively” seek out those on the internet who violate copyright.  These plans come amidst other efforts aiming to save money and cut costs in the tide of the social media upswing.

While there is some validity in the AP’s desire to protect their property, one must ask the question: Is this the best way to go about doing that?  According to this article, those in charge at the AP are gearing up for a fight.  They are “mad as hell” and they are going to stop at nothing to stop what they see as unlawful use of intellectual property.

Exactly how they go about protecting their news is still to be determined, but for now I’d like to pose the question: Should the AP seek out ways to stop the distribution of the news that they put forth and how exactly would they go about doing that without infringing upon fair use?  And even more, what exactly is fair use? 

The line in this particular situation is a little ambiguous and altogether sticky.  On the one hand, the AP absolutely has the right to make sure that the information that they collect, organize and write stays within their realm of control.  On the other hand, once that information is put out into the World Wide Web, it is generally seen as public domain and thereby the attempt to somehow prosecute for copyright infringement would seem to be both a waste of time and money.

So what’s the solution?  Is there a happy medium?  Is the principle of fair use valid protection for those bloggers who cut and paste AP news onto their sites?  What say you, oh internets?

Bottom line is this: The AP is a valid and longstanding news tradition.  This day and age, however, the news is transmitted in ways that are far broader than any other time in history.  It’s not going to get any easier for organizations like the AP to both distribute their information and also protect it.  So where does the balance lie?  That seems to be the unanswerable question these days.


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