The Associated Press Threatens Legal Action against Google, Other News Aggregators

Pulkit Chandna

News spreads like wildfire on the internet. However, print publications and news agencies, which spend their precious human and financial resources on accumulation of news stories, are forgotten in this rapidity. Though many major websites do compensate news agencies, a lot of the websites don’t even bother with properly crediting them. The Associated Press has now adopted a more stringent approach towards unauthorized reproduction of its content.

Dean Singleton, the man who heads the news cooperative, delivered a stern warning to websites that unlawfully reproduce content owned by it. Singleton threatened intransigent offenders with legal action at the cooperative’s annual meeting in San Diego.

"We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories,” Singleton said, tacitly pointing to the “fair use” legal doctrine. AP executives revealed to The New York Time that they were concerned about search engines and news aggregators.

But Google doesn’t seem to share any such concerns. "We believe that both Google Web Search and Google News are fully consistent with copyright law -- we simply link users to the site at which the news story appears,” a Google spokesperson told InformationWeek. The spokesperson went on to add that it is technically possible for the news agencies to prevent their content from being indexed by Google.

The news cooperative is working on technology that will help keep a tab on the spread of its content. The only problem is that the internet is virtually nebulous and news stories spread like wildfire on the internet. So will it pursue everyone guilty of unauthorized reproduction of its content? “Everyone” may imply millions of bloggers. Will it do a RIAA and opt for mass lawsuits? No, it doesn’t appear to be the case. It is, ostensibly, keen on going after the big fish.

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