The way in which news is delivered online could soon change as the definition of fair use and copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is currently being hashed out between the Associated Press news agency and the blogosphere.
News aggregation site Drudge Retort has been served with seven separate takedown requests from Associated Press (AP) for when its users submitted stories containing quotes or exerpts of quotes from AP-owned stories.
Roger Cadenhead, who sits on the editorial board of Drudge retort, said on his personal blog: “I’m currently engaged in a legal disagreement with the Associated Press, which claims that Drudge Retort users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing ‘hot news misappropriation under New York state law’.”
Linking to, sharing and quoting stories of interest is a core function of sites like Drudge Retort, Digg and Reddit, which all rely on submitted content to serve up popular stories.
“Sharing links to news stories of interest has become an essential component of how millions of people read and evaluate the news today,” said Cadenhead.
“When linking to articles, bloggers commonly include excerpts of the article for the purposes of criticism or discussion.”
Cadenhead explained that some AP member sites even encourage this behaviour while Yahoo! News says: “We do encourage you to use the RSS feeds that we provide or create your own RSS feeds of content found on Yahoo! News.”
“Wade Duchene, the attorney who helped me win the domain name arbitration for Wargames.com, says what we’re doing on the Retort is the ‘absolute definition of fair use’,” he concluded.
In a letter to Cadenhead an AP representative said: “I hereby demand that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the page or material claimed to be infringing.”
By Marie Boran
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