As if there wasn’t enough change on the Internet these days the Associated Press (AP) is now putting together a program that will cost anyone who uses anything that they publish a minimum of $12.50. While that may seem a bit much it gets even worse when you discover that that price is for using just 5 words or less of their material! We touched on the subject recently and this update suggests that things may be getting really weird since desperation rarely yields good results.
Mashable gives the lowdown on how this is shaping up and while pictures are worth a thousand words it may be best to look at this rate scale before we move on
The Associated Press is doing their best Twisted Sister impersonation by screaming “We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore” but at what cost? The Mashable article points to the already bizarre requests they have for their employees regarding social media so this apple doesn’t seem to be falling too far from the tree, so to speak.
What is interesting is this idea the AP has that more harm than good comes from the wider distribution of their material. I don’t get that personally. I suspect that if they effectively close off the wider distribution and awareness that the Internet’s channels offer, they will be cutting off their news noses to spite their face. Yes, they are a tremendous content creator and have been for a long time. Those times, however, have changed significantly and they haven’t.
What if people who only read a newspaper or access a newspaper online saw the AP’s work? With the numbers dropping like a rock in that area and the threat of them plummeting further once most go to their own paid content model the AP may be planning its own extinction. At least they may get a few bucks for their less widely read material. Would congratulations be in order for causing their material read by less people and some new player come in and become the AP of the modern era?
Ben Parr says it well when it comes to where this thing may be headed:
We don’t know the answer to this conundrum. But we do know that the AP’s current plan is riddled with holes. Laws protecting fair use come into play and are essential to freedom of the press. The AP really needs to define their policy on fair use vs. reprinting. It also seems obvious that no small-scale publisher is going to pay $12.50 to quote a line from an article, when quoting and linking on the web are common practice.
So if you are the AP do you throw a publisher’s equivalent of a hissy fit to get more from less? Wouldn’t it be better to further explore how to cooperatively work with other content distributors and publishers to maximize the reach and impact of their material rather than limit it?