AP challenges fair use on the web

The Associated Press is testing the limits of fair use on the Internet by requiring licensing agreements before articles can show up in search engines and on Web sites. The agreement would apply to any ‘cited references that include a headline and a link to an article,’ the AP’s president and chief executive told The New York Times today.

With the industry struggling to stay afloat, this agreement would enable news organizations to gain a profit when search engines such as Google or Yahoo cite their articles:

News organizations already have the ability to prevent their work from turning up in search engines — but doing so would shrink their Web audience, and with it, their advertising revenues. What The A.P. seeks is not that articles should appear less often in search results, but that such use would become a new source of revenue.

But this agreement could lead to lower journalistic standards as news aggregators rush to produce their own articles to avoid paying for ledes. Or maybe all those reporters who are being laid off from newspapers can find new jobs in replication?

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