It seems that the AP sent a takedown notice to an independent blog site called the Drudge Retort, demanding that they stop quoting AP stories and linking back to them.
The news media and bloggers are having a field day with it. Things did NOT die down over the weekend. In fact, if anything many people are just winding up to have their say.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch responded to the AP's actions by noting that the AP is wrong -- and banning AP stories. Mathew Ingram, technology writer with Toronto's Globe and Mail is just one of the chorus of veteran journalists and editors opining that the AP needs to get a clue. Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine goes further and says, "For shame, AP."
What's at issue is the interpretation of copyright law and what constitutes "fair use." If the quoting of the AP articles is fair use, then it's protected under copyright law. If it isn't fair use, then it's not protected.
There's even a handy 4-part test of what constitutes fair use.
Sounds like an easy issue, right? Just look it up and see what's fair use, right?
Wish that it were so ....
Not only is the law notoriously open to interpretation, but the AP now wants to make up its own rules. The New York Times reports this morning: "The Associated Press to Set Guidelines for Using Its Articles in Blogs."
As fascinating as this whole debate is, let me get to the point of my article:
This blogging stuff is harder than it looks, y'all!
Sakes alive! And here you thought there was nuttin' to it. :)
Instead of sitting in your living room and blogging in your jammies, it turns out that you actually have to know stuff, such as copyright law. Yep. And it's not just for quoting news articles. Use of images is subject to copyright, so you have to know where to purchase royalty-free images, at places like iStockphoto. Or else be a talented photographer and create your own images.
On top of that, you have to have some basic graphics skills so you can resize and crop images. A little photoshopping never hurt, either.
And you have to know how to write. Oh yes indeed. It actually takes the ability to put some sentences together.
And you have to have something to write about, so you've got to know where to find information, too. You either have to be a news journalist or you have to have strong opinions and be a columnist who writes about news that other people dig up.
You have to understand technology, so you can fix little stuff, like when your entire blog gets accidentally deleted or your WiFi access goes down.
You have to be good at promotion and marketing of your blog online. Knowing some social media marketing also helps. After all, it would be helpful if someone other than your mom actually reads your blog.
So, let me see. If you want to be a blogger, you have to be a:
- copyright lawyer
- graphics designer
- Internet enthusiast
- investigative reporter or opinion columnist or both
- network administrator
- Internet marketer
- social media maven
And you've got to do all that to even think about making money from a blog -- i.e., be an entrepreneur.
Hmmm, think about that before you decide to chuck your existing job and take up blogging as a business. :)