The AP recently raised eyebrows last year when it announced its intent to charge bloggers who quote from an AP story, and again more recently when it announced vague plans to track the spread of AP stories through secret embedded codes.
The AP’s position is that if search engines are making money delivering customers to AP content, then the AP should get a piece of the action. Here’s a suggestion that might actually work, without trampling the fair use doctrine in the dust, and without relying on magic digital pixie dust tracking technology.
Financial wires have long charged higher rates for the timeliest
delivery of such information as stock quotes, so the approach is not
without precedent. As more and more news organizations wrestle with the
need to create premium products, the AP’s experiments will emerge as
valuable case studies in high-stakes bets.
could take any number of forms, including early access to an index of
stories that would enable participating search engines to begin
crawling the news sooner than the other guys.
under discussion is the earlier release of actual stories, in effect
setting up some AP customers as places that users would come to rely on
for the earliest look at AP content.
What’s interesting about
these ideas is that they could generate much-needed revenue without
jeopardizing journalism’s civic purpose of wide distribution of news. —Bill Mitchell (Poynter)