Associated Press Fires Off Cease And Desist Letter

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And here is the kicker, the newswire told an AP affiliate not to use its videos on it’s YouTube subscription channel, which have an embed code.

The saga started yesterday when Frank Strovel of WTNQ-FM 104.9 in Lafollete, Tennessee was sent a cease and desist letter from the Associated Press regarding the embedded videos on the station’s website.

The issue is that WTNQ is an AP member. And so it began, as Strovel made various phone calls to the Associated Press asking what the deal was. The YouTube videos on the AP subscription channel have embed codes on each one for anyone to use.

And WTNQ had a licensing fee with the Associated Press anyway.

Michael Silence saw the importance of the story yesterday afternoon during an exchange between our own Scott Adcox and Strovel on Twitter and posted the information on his blog No Silence Here.

Strovel wrote yesterday afternoon on Twitter:

FrankStrovel@sadcox They asked us to taken them down. I asked, “Why do you have a YouTube page w/ embed codes for websites?” Still… they said NO.

Strovel reported this morning on the Morning Browser hosted by Christian Grantham in a Skype interview that when he spoke to the vice-president of AP affiliates, that the staff member would have to “look into it.”

Apparently, this is one of the first instances to appear on the Tennessee radar as the New York Times is reporting that the Associated Press wants more control.

Taking aim at the way news is spread across the Internet, The Associated Press said on Monday that Web sites that used the work of news organizations must obtain permission and share revenue with them, and that it would take legal action against those that did not.

A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds.

They said they did not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it.

H/T Jack Lail

The question comes down to why the AP would send a cease and desist letter to one of it’s own affiliates? Why would AP upload videos with embeddable code to YouTube for use anywhere, and then draft a letter such as this?

Strovel said one of his arguments back to the executive he spoke to yesterday was that the station had never had any problems such as this when they utilized CNN.

The Associated Press might want to take heed of that message regarding competitors such as CNN.

He also reported this morning that he would have a copy of the cease and desist letter available this afternoon and a statement on the how the radio station is dealing with this development.

Strovel’s personal blog is Left of the Dial.

You can also follow his FriendFeed here.

Amazing.

More as the story progresses …

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Tags: Associated Press, Frank Strovel, Michael Silence, Scott Adcox

11 Comments

  1. Paul Chenoweth said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    Odd hardly describes this. Did the post with the video include proper attribution to AP?

  2. Ron said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    I know the AP isn’t putting up videos that aren’t branded to death with the AP watermark, so the station shouldn’t have any requirement to provide additional attribution over what’s already superimposed over the video. This is the same company that wanted to charge $12.50 for a 5-word quotation and continues to ponder lawsuits against the very news blogs and websites that drive traffic to (and raise interest in) its online presence. The AP just doesn’t know how to deal with how the Internet is changing its business model.

  3. Scott Adcox said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    You’d think the “AP” logo at the bottom of every video on their YouTube channel would be plenty though, you know?

    Do they really not know they chose to allow their videos to be embedded by anyone and everyone?

    It’s really sort of sad that whoever made this decision has such a poor understanding of their own business.

  4. Ginger said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    The AP needs to put its energy into gathering and reporting the news rather than frivolous C&D letters and lawsuits.

    From this action, it is clear they have no clue about new media. They are the ones who look like the fool here.

  5. Laura Creekmore said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    Here’s what I want to know. How much longer is anyone in the news business/content/whatever going to let AP kick them around? This isn’t the first Internet-related temper tantrum AP has thrown. In fact, it’s been all too long since we’ve heard from them, so I guess the Google and YouTube stuff this month is their way of reminding us that in fact, they STILL don’t get the Internet, and at this rate, are unlikely to do so.

  6. Ron said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    Here’s a funny thing I ran across related to this particular quote: “A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds.”

    Google pays the AP for the right to run AP stories. They have had a partnership with the AP and other news monarchies since 2007 (http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/original-stories-from-source.html). So the AP is concerned about a company’s legitimate paid use of AP content. This just PROVES that the AP is totally incompetent!

  7. Frank S. said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    A couple of things to make clear…

    The cease & desist we received came in an email from the Chicago office which I still have. It was not a legal document but a terse statement from them that we were in violation of a license agreement and that videos had to come down ASAP.

    Also, the AP rep I’m dealing with is a “regional radio representative” and works with affiliates. But he was clearly not aware that so many of us were using their videos from YouTube. In fact, in the days since we got the email asking us to pull the videos he has said that they are “noticing other AP affiliates are doing it too” and they were “looking into that”.

    The reason (and this is my own theory) I think they picked on us is because this radio rep from AP has been trying to sell me on some expensive audio service they have (that CNN Radio gives affiliates for FREE) for months now and he checked out our website to see what we were doing for content and he saw AP videos and freaked.

    I was in Knoxville today at a training session for some new radio software I have to learn. He called our LaFollette office while I was gone but was given my cell number. When he called, I interrupted a meeting to talk with him and I still got no real answers. He was still unable to say why they have videos on YouTube for embedding…yet it’s illegal for us to use them. The party line is: you’re violating a license agreement (us being the radio station). Is it just because we’re a radio station? Is anyone in trouble for embedding?

    He had no answers.

    He said they are still working on “the YouTube issue” and promised he’d update me.

    I am not holding my breath.

  8. Christian said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    Frank, is all this trouble selling you on the expensive audio service? They might go further sending you donuts.

  9. Jamey Tucker said April 8, 2009 | Permalink

    As an anchor at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama in the ’90s, I remember our news department also getting a ‘cease and desist’ letter from the AP.
    At the time we were recording a 5 minute local news segment that ran on local cable systems each half-hour of CNN’s Headline News.
    Those 5 minute segments were not allowed to include any content we gathered through the Associated Press.

  10. Backroadsnews said April 9, 2009 | Permalink

    Desperate times, desperate measures.
    In my opinion, the AP’s days are numbered and this will hasten its demise.

  11. jagosaurus said April 9, 2009 | Permalink

    Related: Fair Use for Fair People

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