Is this post illegal?

Read this before it’s too late.

Tom Curley of the Associated Press and Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp are putting us in the blogosphere on notice:  Re-publish our content and we will make you pay.

According to an AP story, the two men made their comments addressing the World Media Summit in Beijing.

“The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators — the people in this hall — who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph,” the News Corp. chief executive said.

Curley spoke out earlier this week about the AP’s new plan to track down people who use the organization’s material without permission.  (Can you say RIAA anyone?)

The AP already plans to roll out a system, called a news registry, that will track its content online and detect unlicensed uses in ways that could help boost revenue for the not-for-profit news cooperative, which was founded in 1846, and its member newspapers. The system will be tested in six weeks by nine newspapers as well as a sports statistics provider run jointly by AP and News Corp.

The AP and its member newspapers contend that unauthorized use of their material is costing them tens of millions of dollars in potential advertising revenue at a time when they can least afford it.

It’s unclear whether a post such as this one and others on our site would be targets.  We do our utmost to avoid plagiarizing by diligently sourcing our material, but certainly no one gave us permission to use the AP story that provided the basis for this discussion, so perhaps we are “content kleptomaniacs?”

But where does fair use play into all of this?  And is this really the right move for content creators? 

If most Web traffic comes to news sites through search engines these days, don’t the newsrooms need the search engines, too?

Of course, Curley and Murdoch are right that they are losing money and aggregators and bloggers are surely partly responsible; I’m just not sure this is the solution.

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