Fuck You, Associated Press

The Associated Press have now devised a new set of rules for what it considers to be fair use. If you are a blogger quoting more than four words from one of the AP’s articles, the AP now expects you to pay a license.

This is, as anyone with a basic grasp of copyright knows, absolute bullshit. It is an arrogant tactic from a news organization that truly believes that bloggers are ignoramuses.

So that I might make a specific point about why I believe this concept to be profoundly ignorant of existing copyright law, I hereby announce that the following post is not being prepared for commercial purposes. I do not intend to profit from this post. I merely wish to educate both the public and the AP about the fair use provision of the Copyright Act (that’s 17 U.S.C. § 107 for those playing at home):

A defiant Barack Obama said Tuesday he would take no lectures from a girl whose lemonade stand was robbed of $17.50. Serenaded by a gay men’s chorus, showered with rose petals and toasted with champagne, Obama, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the event, said he made the decision Monday and stressed it was his alone.

Despite his criticism, on May 5, while campaigning in North Carolina, McCain said he was willing to consider the same proposal.

It didn’t seem unusual to see the AP go beyond what’s legally permissible. The decision required a court’s approval because Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes.

“If we’re banning things such as long-tailed plant-eating dinosaurs, and two carnivorous ones do not have any imminent concern that Kandahar is about to fall to the Taliban, we want to fight until the death,” said a spokesperson for the Associated Press, who, if they truly have their legal knickers in a bunch, may wish to count the precise percentage of material that is being used for this post.

Let us consider instead how these phrases tell a rather goofy story that harms nobody and that does not smear the Associated Press in the slightest. Let us consider how by linking, this blog generates interest in these particular articles. Roughly around 100 words have been used from Associated Press articles. Therefore, if I write a 1,000 word post, I should be on solid ground, with a mere 10% of this post referring to previous material. I have no real desire to say anything here in 600 words that I could just as easily say in 300 words. So to ensure that I am on legally airtight ground, I will simply type the sentence “My cocker spaniel had a hernia” fifty times. This is a phrase of my own invention. But I encourage everyone to use it. I promise you that I will not sue you if you do.

My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia. My cocker spaniel had a hernia.

Now where were we?

Let us also consider whether any of the particular phrases in the AP’s articles are particularly unique and whether they be given this sense of propriety.

The phrase “It didn’t seem unusual to see,” culled from an AP article, was used by Ted Perry on Page 175 of his book, My Reel Story. Should Ted Perry send me a cease-and-desist letter because I have used the phrase in an entirely different context? No. In fact, I did not know who Ted Perry was before looking up the phrase. If the AP wishes to send me a bill for the use of this phrase, should not Ted Perry in turn send the AP a bill for using his phrase? No.

The draconian conditions being asked for here are simply not within the reasonable scope of how human beings transmit language to each other. By this measure, should the television networks fine anybody who uses more than four words of a sitcom catchphrase? Should the advertising agencies do the same thing for their slogans? These other companies understand that conveying a reasonable portion of a storyline or a slogan is what causes the information to be transmitted.

Under these oppressive and undemocratic circumstances, it is important to point out that “fuck you” and “Associated Press” go together like a tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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