AP News Registry Gets DOJ Thumbs-Up

APLogo.jpgThe U.S. Department of Justice gave AP’s News Registry the thumbs-up in a business-review letter requested by AP.

When AP announced the News Registry in July, it said the initiative would be used to tag and track all AP online content in order to ensure compliance with terms of use, registering key identifying information about each piece of content AP distributes, along with the terms of use of that content, and employing a built-in beacon to notify AP about how the content is used.

From a page titled The Facts About AP News Registry:

The Registry employs the hNews microformat to encapsulate AP and member content in an informational “wrapper” that not only offers publishers a way to prime the content better for search purposes, it also includes a permissions framework that lets them specify how and when their content is to be used online.

In its initial phase, the Registry will provide content providers with a common repository for usage information. But ultimately, it could enable new ways of doing business by offering them the opportunity to let their content flow where consumers want to see it, as well as a common way of analyzing use across all platforms.

From the business-review letter, written by Christine Varney, assistant attorney general in charge of the DoJ’s Antitrust Division:

The registry would consist of a centralized digital database containing news content from multiple content owners. It would allow content owners to register and list individual items of news content, specify the uses others may make of that content, and detail the terms on which such content may be licensed. The registry would enable content users to determine quickly the licensing and use terms applicable to a specific content owner or to individual items of registered content.

The AP’s registry may provide a new, efficient way for news content users to identify applicable terms of use and purchase licenses for Internet news content. The registry may benefit both news originators and content users by reducing the transaction costs associated with securing licenses for Internet use.

The registry would be a nonexclusive method of accessing, licensing, and using content on the Internet. It would be open, on nondiscriminatory terms, to all owners and users of Internet news content. Content owners would be free to select which, if any, content to include in the registry. They would be allowed to offer registered news content outside of the registry. They would also be free to join other competing Internet registry services.

Content owners, including the AP, would not set, formulate, benchmark, or suggest any licensing terms for any other content owner’s news items listed in the registry. Each participating content owner would set unilaterally the licensing terms for its own content, without the involvement of either other owners or the AP.

The AP also would institute and maintain firewalls to prevent the registry from being used to disseminate revenue, use, traffic, and transactional information among participating content owners. In addition, the AP intends to limit public information sharing among competitors by allowing only registered content users to access public licensing terms.

AP president and CEO Tom Curley said:

The News Registry is a breakthrough innovation to help content creators get transparency around how content is used online and use that information to help develop exciting new products for news consumers. We’re delighted that the Department of Justice recognized the need for such a service and how it can benefit both consumers and those who provide them with authoritative news.