Confusing NY Times piece up tonight first suggests that the AP has “retreated” in an “about face” after its hamhanded takedown notices sent to Rogers Cadenhead and his Drudge Retort.
But then near the bottom of the piece we learn that the organization is still demanding that Cadenhead delete the posts. On the one hand, AP execs are saying that they’ve decided to “suspend their efforts” to intimidate bloggers, yet on the other hand they are saying that “the organization has not withdrawn its request that Drudge Retort remove the seven items.”
Maybe this is a face-saving walk-back. But as long as the demand is still being made, the possibility of a really destructive precedent getting set also remains.
The really puzzling thing here is this:
“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”
What a bizarre notion! We are apparently going to serve our readers better by paraphrasing and linking than by quoting and linking (as I just did). This strains credulity. The “spirit of the Internet” has always been about linking and excerpting. Actually, the “spirit of the Internet” is probably even more about wholesale copying. But that spirit has always had to make tradeoffs with businesses like the AP. I hope the company’s leaders continue to step back from the absurd brink they’ve conjured for themselves.
(Simon Owens posted a brief interview with Cadenhead on this controversy but it doesn’t shed further light on that question.)
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