Posted on June 23, 2008 in AP, copyright, Fair Use, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

The Associated Press’ recent takedown requests have caused a lot of fear around reusing AP’s content online. This post is designed to give people a few tips for reusing content that do not include accepting the AP’s ludicrous licensing terms.

Best practices for using your rights:
1. Rewrite headlines – Use some creativity in your reuse.  There is no need to copy the usually dry AP headlines directly.  Facts are not copyrightable; use the same facts to build a new headline.
2. Add value – Fair use is about more than just a copyright infringement defense.  If you are adding value with comments or notes your use is more likely to be deemed fair.
3. Only take what is necessary – If the AP publishes a 500 word article and you only need 100 words to make your point, only use 100 words.  Taking more then what is needed lowers your chances of fair use.
4. Transform the work – this is similar to adding value except that it often includes uses that the original author may not have intended. Transforming the use into a public good such as a search function or a public place for discussion takes the work beyond its original scope and may limit direct competition between your use and the original market for the use.
5. Be Critical – Fair use is the First amendment codified in the copyright act. Critical negative speech has much more protection then mere copying or positive commentary. If the AP is unlikely to authorize the use because of negative commentary, the use is more like to be protected.
6. Give credit – The AP will find your use of their work one way or another. Giving credit and linkbacks to the original source will make you look better to a jury. If you come off as hiding your use and plagiarizing it will look much worse.

We are not lawyers and this is not legal advice. Do not trust us with the wellbeing of your dogs, first born children, prized infringement-free websites, etc.

If the AP decides to enter into RIAA style abusive lawsuits with bloggers, the only advice I can give is to join EFF and fight back. Do not let the AP kill the internet! Use your first amendment rights to guarantee rights for future generations.