The Ashes

Technology, Science and other news
April 9, 2009

AP’s “Killing Frenzy” Gone Crazy

Posted by : admin
Filed under : General

AP Youtube Associated Press (A.P.) has launched a global action against people and sites that use their news without their consent. Their action is directed towards news aggregator sites such as Google News. And that is ok, considering that most sites like these do nothing else but copy news and earn money by selling publicity on their site. Of course, they mention the source, but that does not make it any better since news agency make a living by putting together information and that information is being used to bring other people money.

But it seems that A.P. is basically on a killing frenzy and that they should check what is going on in their back yard first. The story that i am about to tell is quite interesting.

A country radio station from Tennessee, WTNQ-FM was publishing videos from the AP official Youtube channel on their Website. They have received a “cease-and-desist” letter from a vice president of Associated Press. So far, there is nothing wrong in this picture…

The thing is that A.P. is allowing the embed code on the videos they published. Basically, they allow anyone from around the world to publish that video on their website. And that is in the Youtube terms of use. I am now guessing that since that channel is official, it was created by an A.P. employee. And again, it seem natural that that channel was approved by the directive committee and that the person that created the channel knew that by allowing the embedding code, they give that option to anyone around the world. Ok, now we reach a partial conclusion : either the people that created the channel did not follow their instructions and the radio station cannot be blamed, or the orders were to allow the embed code so that the news will virally spread and the radio station cannot be blamed.

So far we have reached the conclusion that the radio station did not do anything wrong. But there is still more to come…

The nice thing is that WTNQ-FM is an AP AFFILIATE. This gives them the right to use any information that AP has, even if other sites cannot. It is in their MO that the owners both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staffers. Now I do see a big problem.

How can you attack an affiliate for something that not only is in their rights, but also in anybody’s rights? It seems to me that AP does not have a clue about what is going on in their own backyard. But if only they stopped this action when they found out all the details. Here is a quote from Frank Strovel ,an WTNQ-FM employee twitter account :

I was on the phone arguing w/ AP today. We were embedding their YouTube vids on our station’s site. We’re an AP affiliate.

And then added :
They asked us to taken them down. I asked, “Why do you have a YouTube page w/ embed codes for websites?” Still… they said NO.

Below you can find an interview of made by the local video producer, Christian Grantham. Here is a quick quote from that interview that basically resumes the whole story :

• Strovel: And we’re an A.P. affiliate for crying out loud! I stumped him on that one. . . . What is really shocking is that they were shocked that they’ve got a YouTube channel that people are embedding on their Websites. He seemed shocked by that. ‘Oh, I am going to have to look into that” is what he told me.

Grantham: What an idiot!

Strovel: I know, I know.

While I do encourage AP’s action against web news aggregators, this whole story shows that sometimes you can go a little crazy…

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