Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Associated Press Eats Its Own in Attempt to Quash Aggregators

A couple of weeks ago a series of tweets carrying news that the Associated Press tried to force a media website not to use its YouTube content got past my radar, but it was caught by East Tennessee blogger Michael Silence. You might wonder what the problem is, since the AP copyrights it material. Blogger and radio station official Frank Strovel was at the center of the website drama and underscores two significant problems with it.  First, the AP allowed embedding on the videos that Strovel's station was posting to its website. Second, Strovel's station is a dues-paying AP affiliate!

The person at the other end of Strovel's tweets was blogger Scott Adcox, who also happens to partner with pro journalist/blogger Trace Sharp in one of the cutting edge Tennessee projects focused on the rapidly changing culture and technology of journalism, NewsTechZilla. Cutting edge project then picked up this story and ran with it, reporting that the AP had issued a cease and desist letter to its "offending" affiliate as part of what seems to be a crackdown on those who would "walk off" with AP work.

Nashville blogger and TV producer Christian Grantham interviewed Strovel about the affair, and shared that interview on YouTube:

Eventually, the AP backed down and apologized to their affiliate. As of this writing, the AP still allows the public to embed its YouTube videos, which means that they should not be trying to intimidate anyone who posts their video to another website consistent with the concept of fair use.

Segments of the mainstream media are obviously bent on turning the demise of their industry in to a witch-hunt, conducting a scorched earth campaign that even hurts their own. Rather than being reactionary, the AP needs to pause and develop constructive strategies for adapting to the rapidly changing conditions around them.

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