don’t believe what they tryin’ to say; you know it’s just gossip comin’ down the wisecracker line

By now, you have probably heard about the Associated Press’s ludicrous efforts to charge webloggers for quoting AP articles. The notion of licensing something that every scholar on the subject recognizes as “fair use” should get you giggling, but the rate schedule they propose – $12.50 for 5 words – should put a stitch in your side.

Many popular webloggers, such as John Scalzi, have taken the obvious step of quoting massive sections of AP articles at length and daring someone to sue. I approve this effort. I encourage you to try it on your own blog, in the sanctity of your home or office.

But under the Periscope, we just have to do better.

Washington, DC (AP): Jim Kennedy, the AP’s director of strategic planning, confessed to a multi-decade addiction to crystal meth in a press conference this afternoon, providing a motive for his company’s bizarrely draconian policy on fair use quotes announced earlier this week.

“I’m an embarrassment to my family,” he said on Friday, scratching at the open sores on his skin.

“I have dishonored the already tarnished tradition of American journalism,” he added, speaking over the sounds of teeth falling out of his mouth like hail. “Would someone like to take a swing at me? Anyone?”

Kennedy then stumbled down from the podium and attempted to provoke a member of the media into punching him, relying on outdated ‘yo mama’ jokes and his generally slovenly appearance.

Veteran correspondents described Kennedy’s degradation as “no worse than an Ari Fleischer press conference.”

And:

New York, NY (AP): Robert Cox, so-called head and sole member of the Media Bloggers Association, emerged from the Guggenheim Museum this morning after being reported missing eleven days ago.

Gaunt, pale and two weeks overdue for a publicized meeting with the Associated Press over its new content restrictions, Cox was rushed to Manhattan General to be treated for dehydration and malnourishment.

Speaking briefly with reporters, Cox claimed to have been lost inside “the impenetrable labyrinth” that is the Guggenheim, having absolutely no idea how to escape for the last fourteen days.

He also added some disparaging remarks about the work ethic of black people.

Betsy Ennis, spokesperson for the Guggenheim, expressed her confusion about how any vertebrate mammal could get lost inside the museum.

“You just keep f___ing walking,” she told press on Friday.

And I think I have one more:

Atlanta, GA (AP) – Judge Susan Black of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the Associated Press’s suit against Markos Moulitsas, Glenn Reynolds and Cory Doctorow this morning, ordering the publishing company to pay court costs, punitive damages and “ten rounds in a ducking stool.”

“The principle of fair use in quotation dates back far enough,” Judge Black said in announcing her decision, “that we must resort to medieval measures against a party that apparently doesn’t f___ing get it.”

A ducking stool, used in colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, is a chair with attached restraints swung into a deep river from a protruding beam. This punishment was typically reserved for scolds, nags or quarreling married couples over three hundred years ago.

Irene Keselman, AP’s Intellectual Property Governance Coordinator, could not be reached for comment, as the abstract concepts of “fair use,” “copyright” and “squeezing blood from a stone” eluded her. The AP’s legal counsel was explaining how the case unfolded, through the use of shadow puppets and stern, loud repetition, when this article went to press.

“My fingernails taste funny,” said Keselman, shortly before getting her head stuck through a railing and weeping for help.

Bloggers Moulitsas, Reynolds and Doctorow heralded the decision as a “triumph of common sense.” All three of them were grateful the trial came to a quick end.”

“Finally,” said Moulitsas, “I can get back to apologizing for the Democrats.”

“And I can start worrying about dark people again,” said Reynolds, high-fiving Moulitsas on the courthouse steps.

By my rough math, I’ve quoted roughly 500 words of Associated Press content. That means I owe the AP at least $100, presuming their sliding rate schedule doesn’t go higher.

Would someone do me a favor and contact the AP’s Intellectual Property office and point them to this page? I’d very much like someone to review the content that I quoted, to make sure that I pay them exactly what I owe and not a penny less. In fact, if I could get second opinions from several members of the Associated Press’ decision-making staff, legal counsel and shareholders, I’d appreciate it.

Update: I reported myself to save some time:

I believe that the listed webpage is violating the standards set by the Associated Press Excerpt for Web Use Guidelines, as found at http://license.icopyright.net. I think it’s important that someone review the site in order to levy the appropriate fees.

Don’t let that stop you from reporting me as well, of course.

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8 Responses

  1. Fun fact: $12.50 will get you two Heinekens at Yankee Stadium.

    Maybe the AP has tickets and wants to be able to get some beers.

  2. It’s New York City, what makes you think they tip the beer guy?

  3. Ah, right. They are journalists, after all.

  4. Flynn: Gah! In our never-ending battle for control of the internet, you have one-upped me again. This round goes to you, Professor Coldheart. But can you handle my… DEATH RAY?

    Johnny Sidekick: Oh no, Professor Coldheart! And you’re all out of Econorays!

    Professor Coldheart: I know, Johnny. Stay behind me as I ponder this sticky situation. It’s going to take more than an Econoray and a right hook to defeat Flynn this time… but what?

    Flynn: What indeed, Professor Coldheart! What indeed! (laughs maniacally)

    (v.o.)

    Will Professor Coldheart escape from the fearsome Flynn’s despicably daring death ray? Tune in next week on… Coldheart the Hero!

  5. You keep saying “econo”-something as if my core audience weren’t entirely composed of people I know. People … like YOUUUUUU!

  6. “My fingernails taste funny,” said Keselman, shortly before getting her head stuck through a railing and weeping for help.

    Everytime I read this I laugh a little bit harder.

  7. w00t! Positive feedback loop! Infinite recursion!

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