Just a quick pointer to a post by Jeff Jarvis who has some interesting observations about blogging ethics in the context of linking and quoting from other sources. Seems the Associated Press has attempted to get some bloggers to stop using pull quotes (even as short as 35 words) from its stories and, somewhat understandably, the blogosphere is rebelling. Jarvis is leading the charge, and describes the ethic of link and quote as this:
It says to our readers: Donâ€™t take my word for it, go see for yourself. And: Hereâ€™s what the source said; I wonâ€™t rephrase it but I will quote it directly so you can see for yourself.
I’ve always thought that this was one of the powerful qualities of blogging, the ability to send the reader back to the original to see the context for the writing. It’s what made me love teaching journalism with blogs, because it was so easy for me to follow my students’ line of thinking, but because it also gave me a great opportunity to talk about the issues of plagiarism and fair use and copyright with my kids. And, like Jeff, it’s what I want and expect now from traditional journalism, whether newspapers or magazines. It’s an expectation that makes print more and more difficult for me to read. It’s an expectation that I have of just about all non-fiction writing.
What’s interesting is that when I teach blogging workshops, this concept is not an easy one for people to wrap their brains around. The ease with which we can link and connect ideas makes this vastly different from the analog world. And the importance of links in connecting people is one of the foundational points in all of these discussions.
The continual disruptions to traditional journalism continue to fascinate me, another reason that I’m really looking forward to PDF next week.
Without commenting on who is right legally in this case or on what constitutes fair use, let me point out that it makes no difference whether or not one can link easily, whether or not e-world is different from print-world, or whether or not these links are foundational in connecting people. Until the law on fair use is changed or until the courts decide that e-world is sufficiently different from print-world to justify a different understanding of copyright and fair use, all that matters is what the law is and what the courts say it is. Our “expectations” do not overrule the law.
Instead of focusing on our “expectations,” it would be helpful to do any of the following: (1) look at this particular case (or what bloggers or doing generally) to determine whether or not fair use was violated, (2) consider how to avoid violating fair use, (3) consider the implications of fair use violation in the blogosphere, (4) and any other connection that would take us further in learning about this topic.
Will Richardson says
@Charles I don’t think there is any disagreement that this is fair use. 33 words in an article of over 300 words surely falls under the standard. I agree that copying total articles onto your own Website or blog is not fair use.
I do think the ability to link easily does make a difference, however. I remember not so fondly the days of index cards and footnotes, and I’m not saying we simply throw out those standards, but we do need to reconsider them.
Harold Jarche says
This is easy for me. I won’t link to any more AP stories. If all bloggers do this, AP will lose significant Google juice and may become irrelevant on the Web. If I was Reuters, et al, I would smell an opportunity. Someone should make a “No AP Links” logo 😉
They have some stuff here for you:
Linking to sources and whetting the appetite with a quote from one’s source is the power of online work. It seems the Associated Press feels threatened by that. What matters is the opinion of the people who vote the justices to the courts and representatives/senators to the Congress. It is political.
This government was founded upon the ideas of democracy. The Bill of Rights is one of our important documents. Until THAT changes all that matters is who gets voted to the Congress or the courts.
The power of the courts derives from the power of the people. Those who feel disenfranchised need to exercise their constitutionally-given power to change the system. Use it or lose it.
In most cases, established systems are slow to change. Just look at how slow the educational system at large is to embrace and implement technology. (The total technological use in my daughter’s 3rd grade class last year consisted of typing out stories they had already written. Yippee!!)
The internet is a seismic social and educational shift that has crept on us over the last 18 to 20 years. It’s not surprising that these conflicting paradigms are slow to be resolved.
My point was that we should look at whether or not it was really fair use instead of being sidetracked by our “expectations.” And you’ve begun that now, saying “33 words ….” However, the number of words in relation to the whole article is only one part of fair use.
Another aspect is to contribute something new. If all that is being done is copying the the title and first paragraph of the article without commenting on it at all, which seems to be the case in the first example, “Clinton Expects Race to End Next Week”, then nothing was added, and so it wouldn’t seem to fall under fair use. Because the post was withdrawn, I can’t see whether he wrote something in addition to that quote, but I’m guessing not as his focus seems to be on the 108 comments of others and he states that the example was “one of the six disputed blog entries.”
Perhaps we could ask another question, Do the comments of others count as contributing something new to a quote? Or does the original poster have to contribute something new, too, to fall under fair use?
Well, blogging is relate to journalism, here we share our ideas and views, but most of the internet SEO’s use this as an art of driving traffics from the text to its links.
Well i dont see any harms in it, we can keep on exploring it and this concept is not an easy one for people to wrap their brains around..
So lets keep on blogging!
In related news, some newspapers are all up-in-arms over bloggers using their videos…which they provided the embedding code themselves. Go here to see the bloggers’ response.
I just learned something new. I thought to be fair use, it had to meet all four criteria, but according to David Ardia’s article AP Takes on Drudge Retort Over Copyright Use (PBS’s Idea Lab), it’s a “balancing test” among the four. So, depending on the court’s judgment, a short excerpt, even without a contribution, might be considered fair use.
Correction. That information came not from David Ardia but from David Mastio, who responded to my question in a comment on Ardia’s article.
I’ve long suspected that the mainstream media is at odds with the blogging community, if for no other reason than suddenly everything they write is put under a microscope. AP just doesn’t want any competition here. They hate to think that they’re going to have to be accountable for their own thinking errors.
Alan Kwan says
To complain about being linked or quoted is to not understand the modern media. AP and the likes are no longer the only information authorities out there. The grand standing is nothing more than the last breath from the past.
Gary S. Stager says
Why shouldn’t journalists and publishers get paid for their work?
Here’s a suggestion for edubloggers who believe that all intellectual property should be free – let’s stop paying teachers.
They just deliver content that is freely available elsewhere, right? Why is hard earned public money being given to teachers? They’re so 1.0!
C’mon teachers, get on board and do your job for free! Conferences can pay keynote speakers with links, rather than that tired old money.
>>Hereâ€™s a suggestion for edubloggers who believe that all intellectual property should be free – letâ€™s stop paying teachers.<>Câ€™mon teachers, get on board and do your job for free! Conferences can pay keynote speakers with links, rather than that tired old money.<<
Hmmmm… does this mean he’ll get rid of all those ugly, user-annoying ad links on district administration dot com?
Gary S. Stager says
I share your horror at the questionable design of the magazine’s web site. That said, they pay me to write for them and then get th right to deface my work in any way they please 🙂
Teachers aren’t paid for their content (one hopes), but for their time, their expertise, the way in which they arrange and deliver content, etc.
Sure, you could just spend a few years in a public library or surfing through the web, but you’d have no one there to help you understand how the information is organized, how to situate it within appropriate contexts, or how to acquire the skills necessary to work with and produce content of your own.
I’m not arguing that all “ip” should be “free as in beer” … certainly journalists (if they’re any good) do similar work to teachers: researching, arranging, and situating information. That’s work, and they should be paid for that work.
But information cannot be anything other than “free as in liberty” unless we all suddenly decide that democracy is a very bad idea and we’d prefer to be told only what the state feels we need to know (or the “content creators” feel we should have access to).
Bill Fitzgerald says
While your sarcasm is duly noted, it’s called fair use: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
I posted in more detail on my blog.
Gary S. Stager says
The zeal expressed by copyright holders trying to maintain value in their property is matched, if not surpassed by the folks who think that everything should be free.
I understand fair use. I also understand that producers have a right to try and profit from their efforts.
Theo Kuechel says
If AP are so worried or precious about their ‘content’ perhaps they should stick their ‘content’ behind a password or subscription service – lets see how many would subscribe. Or perhaps, AP really object to linking and pull quotes – they might do better to stick to traditional print media! How on earth can a adding a link or using a pull quote equate to stealing their property? One would suppose tit get traffic to their site, to read the original? Seems to me they don’t understand the dynamics of the web, or they might just be stupid. How they define an extract or a quote as ‘property;’ is beyond me.
Your throwaway line about “folks who think that everything should be free.” does not add any value to the debate. For example people who choose to use ‘free’ content such as the LOC on Flickr, but will happily pay for other services that give them value for their money. Might I suspect a quote from AP seems unlikely to fall into that category
Or, of course you comment might just be a ‘wind up’?
Terry Freedman says
Couldn’t agree more, Gary, as I said in my rant 2 years ago: http://terry-freedman.org.uk/artman/publish/article_565.php. The web seems to be full of people who think everyone apart from themselves can exist on air!
Bill Fitzgerald says
@Gary, @Terry —
Positing this as an either/or is both a misdirection and an oversimplification. While there are plenty of people who feel entitled to anything for free, we don’t need to accept that view as a valid concluding point to the discussion. I see this as an unfortunate consequence to the many interesting (and shortlived) web20 services that used free as a business model.
Commodifying content, in the manner of traditional publishing/IP law (think DRM, Mickey Mouse, etc) doesn’t seem to be working. Rather than wringing our hands about the miserable freeloaders who want everything for free, I suggest we focus our efforts on a balanced approach that compensates content creators for their work while supporting fair use of that content.
But pitching this as an us/them does little to further that discussion.
Arthus Erea says
You obviously do not understand fair use. Read
Tell me: how does excerpting 50 words of an AP article when talking about an election *not* fall under fair use?
I’m not as tech savvy as the other commenters, but it seems to me that quoting someone is a compliment and should be accepted as such.
And really, a good blogger links back to the original AP story, so chances are you’re gaining an audience and visits to a site.
The AP, if I’m not mistaken from my college experience, gets paid by story pick ups by newspapers. Is this their attempted entry into the online world? By having new media pay for the same rights? Seems like they missed the pricing mark then.
This may be oversimplifying, but don’t writers from a magazine, etc.. get paid by said publication? If I go to the library or read a newspaper and use a quote from a paper-text is that not similar to linking in a blog? As long as it is cited, it does not violate copyright, though again that is a simplified understanding I’m sure. Many news sites ask for membership fees to access content perhaps AP should think about that route, though they are also entitled to choose how they want to share, or market, their words with the world.
Arthus Erea says
You hit the nail on its head. This is the exact right (fair use) which the AP is attempting to do away with. Fortunately, the AP isn’t a governing body and can’t make its own copyright law.