Rich Ord of WebProNews has reported a bizarre lawsuit that could make us check if we have been transported back in time to 1999. Read it and contemplate what harm Associated Press (AP) could do to the Internet if it wins this lawsuit.
This post and millions of other blog posts are linked to and snippeted by syndication mechanisms every day. AP is suing because Moreover aggregates news and sells the aggregation to subscribers (I am not one of them); unfortunately, the case goes beyond AP’s need for recompense. A win could cause others to sue, for example, Google for crawling their website and reproducing snippets in search results. AP’s lawyers used this language:
6. Defendants are also trespassing on AP’s chattel by using search robots or “crawlers” to retrieve information from AP’s computer servers in order to display, archive, cache, store, and/or distribute AP’s proprietary works.
That sounds exactly like Google, Live Search, Yahoo and many other search engines.
View a copy of the lawsuit here.
I posted a comment below the WebProNews article suggesting that a passive boycott of all email domains owned and used by AP staff, as well as their IP address range might be an interesting thought.
Those destinations should be blocked by network administrators within their own network — not suggesting any illegal action here. It is like adding ap.com to one’s email spam filters. Such a boycott is not likely to happen, but if it did, it would take AP reporters back to the pre-Internet days when they had to dial directly into the office or use intermediary sites to file their stories. This wouldn’t stop them from working, but a daily inconvenience might be a lasting reminder.
What do you think?