By: Jennifer Saba
The Associated Press is moving to protect its content by partnering with the technology company Attributor, which will track AP material across the Internet. The arrangement will allow Attributor to “fingerprint” AP copy down to a level where it can be identified anywhere on the Web.
“Our goal is to get a feeling for some of the useful ways to monitor content,” said Srinandan Kasi, vice president, general counsel and secretary at the AP. “We are looking at it not just to protect our rights but to derive some intelligence.”
The Redwood City, Calif.-based Attributor can keep tabs on text but extracting what Attributor CEO and co-founder Jim Brock calls the “DNA” of the material, which boils down to a specific paragraph or a few sentences. With that information, Attributor can watch where the content is going in turn giving publishers a map. Publishers can then determine where, how, and when the content is used.
“Right now publishers are in the dark,” said Brock. “They don’t have full visibility with the content once it goes online. The first step is providing that visibility. With that, as we talk to publishers, we find great interest how re-use could be understood.”
Kasi said that he does not know how much AP content is used by those who are not licensed. “I don’t think I would have a way of quantifying it,” he said adding that AP was unable to trace it.
For now, AP is using Attributor’s platform to first monitor use of text across the web but eventually it will test out video and still images with Attributor.
Initially AP plans to test-drive the technology to see where the organization can find opportunities: “As the web becomes web 2.0 driven it needs more flexibility and licensing. Some of these automated tools become important” to determine which licensing models are benefiting you, Kasi said.
Ken Doctor, an affiliate analyst with Outsell Research, thinks that anything AP is testing could pave the way for other newspapers. “I think it’s part of a pattern on the front-end. Content needs to be freely distributed, but that doesn’t mean free. If that is to happen we need to know where it is.”
Knowing where the content is can also give newspapers a bigger piece of
revenue. “It’s important for publishers to have a platform on which to
communicate with content hosts, the search engines and aggregators, and ad networks — particularly those that work in a contextual way,” explained Brock. “It allows everybody to get their fair share.”