The AP Has No Idea What They’re Doing

The AP means business on this “let’s start suing people” tip, which I posted about yesterday. The first shot rang out yesterday when the AP sent a cease and desist order to WTNQ-FM in LaFollette, Tenn. for embedding videos from AP’s YouTube channel on their website. Perfectly reasonable, right? Well, no. Not so much.

Christian Grantham at WKRN wrote about the situation in his blog, with the telling title “AP execs are clueless about their own YouTube channel.” It turns out that not only does AP have a YouTube channel, but the videos on that channel are all embedable by anyone and their web team is constantly updating it with new material. Watch, I’ll do it right now:

This is completely within my right. If you look in YouTube’s terms of service, you’ll find this bit of information in reference to user submissions:

You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service.

In other words, I have the right to embed any video on YouTube as long as the video permits me to do so. Because AP’s channel allows embedding, I don’t have to circumvent YouTube’s security in order to display it.

Meanwhile, AP legal has no idea that this exists. Neither does AP’s Vice President of Affiliate Relations in Chicago, according to Grantham.

If there’s a better image of why newspapers are sinking into the abyss, I sure can’t think of it. It’s amazing to think that in an organization as vast as AP, it would have executives that fundamentally do not understand the internet and are willing to seek legal action on the basis of their lack of understanding. And not only legal action, but action against an AP affiliate.

But it gets even more damning than that. AP charges news outlets good money for the ability to post AP video to their websites. The Vision did it for a little while, but stopped because we weren’t getting anything useful out of it. Why is anyone buying into this model when AP is offering the exact same videos on YouTube for free?

This completely insane cautionary tale is still on-going, an employee at the station has been blogging and Twittering about his (futile) attempts to straighten this mess out.


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