Saturday, August 29, 2009

bloggers are harming newspapers?

Note: Either Safari or blogger is having formatting problems. If this post, not yet seen on the blog, is formatted strangely, I wash my hands of it. If you find spelling and grammatical errors, I'm probably to blame.

GI Korea has a post up about AP news expecting/requiring bloggers to either embed an AP article -with ads but with no charge to the blogger, or pay to quote excerpts.
As GI Korea says, "Interesting stuff and really something that shouldn’t be too surprising considering how more and more newspapers are going bankrupt." Still, I think newspapers are going bankrupt for other reasons. Bloggers who link back to the original article are likely to encourage visits to the paper's website, rather than discourage them.

Now, I would say that some bloggers, myself occasionally among them, do harm newspapers - or try to. Some of the reporting in Korea is terrible - from poor English to extreme and obvious bias, these papers need to improve their game.Oh, the news media in North America that credulously post anti-vaxer nonsense also deserve some attention. A few years ago, many people commented that Jon Stewart's The Daily Show was offering better 'fake news than the legitimate networks could manage. Part of why I blog is to encourage mainstream media to offer better information to the public. I blog that information because the newspapers often don't.

Anyway back to GI's post. They want to charge people for posting excerpts? I can understand it if no link is given or citation listed. I even want to charge my own students to drive the rules of plagiarism into their heads. Is there a problem of length? Are some bloggers posting two paragraphs of a three paragraph story?

I understand that AP can easily search for their content and find those who post it, but charging such people would be very problematic. GI's post is about 'protecting content' and I had figured it was about a new kind of DRM or way to make their pages non-copyable.

Well, its a new world and we're all still trying to find our way in it. We always will be. We sure won't be going back to the 'good ole days' and we never will be. I hope newspapers can find a way to be commercially viable, but bloggers won't be going away.

Updated before I posted:
Boingboing looked into the subject over a year ago.

The New York Times, an AP member organization, refers to this as an “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt.” I suggest it’s better described as yet another attempt by a big media company to replace the established legal and social order with with a system of private law (the very definition of the word “privilege”) in which a few private organizations get to dictate to the rest of society what the rules will be. See also Virgin Media claiming the right to dictate to private citizens in Britain how they’re allowed to configure their home routers, or the new copyright bill being introduced in Canada, under which the international entertainment industry, rather than democratically-accountable representatives of the Canadian people, will get to define what does and doesn’t amount to proscribed “circumvention.”

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