AP to Bloggers: We’re Not Trying To Sue You

Here at PRNewser, we’re not lawyers, so therefore we won’t speak to the legal implications of the Associated Press instituting guidelines on how bloggers can use their content.

You may have already read the above linked story from the New York Times‘ Saul Hansell that set off the firestorm. Basically, the A.P. sent a blogger a cease-and-desist letter, claiming he was violating copyright law by excerpting part of A.P. stories. Now, some are reporting they want to charge bloggers $12.50 to quote as little as five words from them.

If you’re looking for the official government definition of fair use, you can find that here. Additional legal perspective here.

The PR battle can almost be summed up in this one quote from Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P. “We are not trying to sue bloggers…That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music. That is not what we are trying to do.”

What a perfect analogy. Everyone still remembers how well the music industry did with suing their own customers, and clearly the A.P. doesn’t want to head down that road.

The problem is, now that the coversation has already been framed, (AP = bad, money hungry old media. Bloggers = good, little guy getting picked on) their PR department surely has some work to do. And, whenever PR mixes with the legal department, as it must in these cases, things tend to move a bit slower.

We’ll stay tuned to see in which direction the converation turns.