After Uproar, AP Will Outline Policy on Web/Blog Excerpts

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By: E&P Staff

After a protest about its crackdown on a blog known as The Drudge Retort, The Associated Press said that it will, “for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.?s copyright,” The New York Times reports tonight.

“The A.P.?s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of ‘fair use,’ which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances,” the Times observes.

“Fair use has become an essential concept to many bloggers, who often quote portions of articles before discussing them.”

Last week, AP sent a letter to the Drudge Retort site — its a left version of the popular Drudge Report with an added social networking aspect — asking it to remove several items that contained quotes, ranging from 39 to 70 words, from AP articles. Many in the blogosphere protested, and they had plenty of bandwidth to have an impact.

Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The AP, now tells the Times that the news organization has decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was ?heavy-handed? and that AP was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.

?We don?t want to cast a pall over the blogosphere by being heavy-handed, so we have to figure out a better and more positive way to do this,? Kennedy tells the Times, adding that the AP would sit down with representatives of the Media Bloggers Association.

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