When Is Fair Use Not Fair?

That is the question that will hopefully be answered when the Associated Press publishes their revised set of Fair Use guidelines after sending the Drudge Retort a letter requesting that seven items be pulled off the site according to the NYTimes. The seven items in question were between 39 to 79 words. Seems like a reasonable length to me for a quotation but the A.P. disagreed. The letter sparked an outrage by a number of bloggers forcing the A.P. to temporarily retreat their stance on bloggers violating their Fair Use policy.

Mr. Kennedy of the Associated Press believes

that it is more appropriate for blogs to use short summaries of A.P. articles rather than direct quotations, even short ones.

The good news is, the A.P. is not stupid as Mr Kennedy points out

We are not trying to sue bloggers,” “That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music. That is not what we are trying to do.

Taking a look at the Fair Use document from the official Copyright website, here is a clear indication that a court case is needed:

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

What is your stance on this issue of quotation and Fair Use? It would be interesting to see the A.P. actually go after a blogger for using a quotation which was under 100 words and claim that they violated the concept of Fair Use. The results of the case would create a better understanding of what can be construed as Fair Use giving the rest of us bloggers a metric to gauge upon.

4 thoughts on “When Is Fair Use Not Fair?

  1. I would find it humorous if the A.P. really did decide to now allow bloggers to use quotations from their published works as they are North Americas largest publisher. I would think that a move like that would hurt them in the long run.

  2. The AP just basically pissed in every bloggers Cheerios and they are not happy about it. They’ll either retract what they did with their tail between their legs or find a sudden drop in the number of readers.

    I’ve been reading around some different sites regards this and some smaller newspapers already hate them for taking credit for their work (AP strips credit on photos and credit themselves to it).

  3. I think they misunderstand the meaning of Internet… and how much they own for Blogs to quote their content… may be, they can create a special content, just for bloggers to quote…

  4. I don’t get it. So if I paraphrase or summarize a story from the A.P., I don’t have to mention them at all. But if I decide to do the right thing and quote their stories, I could get into trouble. After all, the actual incident that inspired a story is not copyrighted, only the exact words. Very interesting.

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