AP to Track Online Content Usage

The Associated Press has taken the first move to protect its content online, with plans to create a news registry to tag and track all AP online content “to assure compliance with terms of use,” according to an announcement following a board decision.

“The system will register key identifying information about each piece of content that AP distributes as well as the terms of use of that content, and employ a built-in beacon to notify AP about how the content is used,” it adds.

“What we are building here is a way for good journalism to survive and thrive,” Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP Board of Directors and vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group Inc, said in a statement. “The AP news registry will allow our industry to protect its content online, and will assure that we can continue to provide original, independent and authoritative journalism at a time when the world needs it more than ever.”

AP added that the registry would initially cover all AP text content online, and be extended to AP members in early 2010: “Eventually, it will be expanded to cover photos and video as well. AP will fund development and operation of the registry through 2010, until it becomes self-sustaining.”

The AP Board of Directors announced in April, at its annual meeting, that the news organization would launch an industry initiative to protect news content from unauthorized use. At a meeting today, the board voted to approve creation of the news registry.

“The registry will employ a microformat for news developed by AP and which was endorsed two weeks ago by the Media Standards Trust, a London-based nonprofit research and development organization that has called on news organizations to adopt consistent news formats for online content,” the announcement explained. “The microformat will essentially encapsulate AP and member content in an informational ‘wrapper’ that includes a digital permissions framework that lets publishers specify how their content is to be used online and which also supplies the critical information needed to track and monitor its usage.”

The registry also will enable content owners and publishers to more effectively manage and control digital use of their content by providing detailed metrics on content consumption, payment services and enforcement support. It will support a variety of payment models, including pay walls.

In other action, the AP Board also voted to approve rate assessment reductions for broadcast members of the Cooperative. Under the plan, AP will reduce local TV members’ basic text assessments by 10 percent in 2010.

Nielsen Business Media