AP Targets Online Theft

The Associated Press Monday announced a string of changes that included a new effort to protect content from online theft, a further reduction in some rates, and a change in the notice requirement for members to drop the service, from two years notice to one.

“We’ve listened to the needs of our members, and come up with a revised plan that is clear, simple and flexible, and that also provides them with significant rate relief to help during these tough economic times,” Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP Board of Directors and vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group, told AP’s annual meeting in San Diego. “We feel it is critical to help our members during these extremely difficult times, and these numbers show our deep commitment to doing that.”

The details are outlined in an AP release below. And here’s an interview with Singleton:

The Associated Press Board of Directors today announced it would launch a newspaper industry initiative to protect news content from misappropriation online.

AP Chairman Dean Singleton said the news cooperative would work with portals and other partners who legally license content – and would pursue legal and legislative actions against those who don’t.

“We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories,” Singleton said at the AP annual meeting, in San Diego.

As part of the initiative, AP will develop a system to track content distributed online to determine if it is being legally used. AP President Tom Curley said the initiative would also include the development of new search pages that point users to the latest and most authoritative sources of breaking news.

In addition, further significant rate reductions and new content options for member newspapers were announced Monday at The Associated Press annual meeting, in San Diego.


The pricing changes will bring a further $35 million in rate assessment reductions for 2010, while providing the option of a “Limited” service for newspapers with minimal world and national coverage needs. AP will continue to provide Member Choice Complete service for newspapers that want full access to AP’s worldwide reporting. The changes are a direct result of member input and are being instituted through revisions to Member Choice, AP’s text news pricing and product plan.

Also as a result of member feedback, AP has introduced an option, effective from Jan. 1, 2010, for members to elect to cancel their membership on one-year notice. Those who elect to continue under the long-standing two-year notice requirement will receive an additional discount on their assessment. The not-for-profit cooperative has already introduced flexible new licensing that allows its members to develop new revenue by using AP content in local niche publications, weeklies, online products and other special products.

“We’ve listened to the needs of our members, and come up with a revised plan that is clear, simple and flexible, and that also provides them with significant rate relief to help during these tough economic times,” said Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP Board of Directors and vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group Inc. Singleton spoke to members at AP’s annual meeting, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. “We feel it is critical to help our members during these extremely difficult times, and these numbers show our deep commitment to doing that.”

On Saturday, at its quarterly meeting, the AP Board of Directors also discussed the need for rate, term and product changes for segments of the local broadcast market. AP is preparing broadcast plans, to be addressed in July at the board’s next meeting.