The is a major brouhaha developing over fair use of wire service stories. This conflict has apparently started with some take-down notices from the Associated Press to the “Drudge Retort.”
The heart of the matter seems to be that the site reproduces links, titles, and leading sentences of AP news stories, without other comment enhancing the content. However, the stories usually result in visitor comments which, as a matter of natural course, add value to the original stories. There was also a report that AP wants to be paid $2.50 per word for any quote that exceeds four words, and there seems to be an objection to bloggers’ reproducing the titles of the stories, although that would be the accepted practice in the footnotes or a bibliography in a book or term paper as taught in high school and college English.
There are stories of negotiations going on, and the outcome is unclear. There will be more details added later here or on related blogs.
A typical news story about the incident comes from Workbench, here.
Here is a discussion from “buzzmachine” on the “ethics of the link layer” in journalism, including blogger journalism, here.
The account from the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) is here.
AP maintains that this controversy represents an intellectual property control and “ownership issue.” It could argue that the practices of some blog sites simply reproduce content and may deny the content originators legitimate revenue. But there are “philosophical” questions beneath, as to how visitors acquire news, and the legal observation that “facts” themselves cannot be owned (even though reporters work very hard to get original scoops).