If you haven’t been following the case of the Associated Press (AP) vs the Blogosphere, the AP is claiming its right to copyright over AP content prevents fair use of that content, and that blogger’s wishing to print 5 or more words from an AP article must pay a minimum of $12.50. It’s complete rubbish under law and unless a copyright friendly judiciary decides to do away with the doctrine of fair use completely, AP won’t last more than 5 seconds in court.
But lets look a little deeper here, because this isn’t a case of one small media company taking on blogs, this is nearly the entire print media, and for good measure television and radio as well. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which is the vast majority of all mainstream media outlets. Through AP the mainstream media has declared war on blogging, and established law isn’t going to stop them trying to milk every last cent they can from bloggers who may not know any better, and like the music and movie industry before them, they will attempt to pick off blogs one by one with legal threats. Internecine warfare perhaps?
Could it also be the last throws of an empire of news exclusivity that stands on the precipice of defeat? Perhaps not into oblivion in a Battle of the Bulge, but more along the lines of the The Second Battle of the Somme? I don’t subscribe to the mainstream media will die meme that is often a popular call in some blogging circles, but there’s little doubt, proven by evidence that the mainstream media has entered a period of contraction in the English speaking world, a contraction of which at the moment knows no end.
The real question going forward is whether the mainstream media, through its proxy the AP, ends up having a serious case of Third Reich delusion in these closing days of the news war and will only stop when it is finally killed, or whether they realize soon that the battle cannot be won and instead aim for a peaceful resolution. Make no mistake, the AP has about as much chance of winning this as New Zealand would have if it tried to invade the United States.