Intellectual Property

The Fight to Protect Online Content

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As technologies that enable the free use of digital content improve, technologies to try to track and monitor that free use do as well:

The Associated Press is moving to protect its content by partnering with the technology company Attributor, which will track AP material across the Internet. The arrangement will allow Attributor to "fingerprint" AP copy down to a level where it can be identified anywhere on the Web.

……Attributor can keep tabs on text but extracting what Attributor CEO and co-founder Jim Brock calls the "DNA" of the material, which boils down to a specific paragraph or a few sentences. With that information, Attributor can watch where the content is going in turn giving publishers a map. Publishers can then determine where, how, and when the content is used.

From Editor and Publisher. Link via Comics Reporter.

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  1. Publishers can then determine where, how, and when the content is used to sue everybody in sight.

  2. The technology to look for purloined AP copy is more popularly refered to as a “lie detector”.

    Thank you, thank you.

    More about Reason’s new blogad (the one to the left as I type this) at the link. Someone call Ezra!

  3. Wait. This is a bad thing? Or a good thing?
    Has Reason abandoned the concept of intellectual property, or … what are you trying to say, Brian?

  4. PCAS,

    He reports. You decide.

    (Speaking of intellectual property…)

  5. Yeah, what are the real implications of this?

    – R

  6. The AP charges its members so they can use its content, so yes, it’s a problem if people are stealing it and posting it online for free.

  7. But wouldn’t discussion of AP material on blogs, forums, and other web-based venues be covered under fair use?

    I don’t understand how it possibly can’t be.

  8. The Associated Press is moving to protect its content by partnering with the technology company Attributor, which will track AP material across the Internet. The arrangement will allow Attributor to “fingerprint” AP copy down to a level where it can be identified anywhere on the Web.

    This already exists, at least for most copy. It’s called “Google”.

  9. Pious, most, but not all, Reason guys are against IP rights.

    I suspect there is a better way to handle IP than how it is now handled. For one thing, consistency demands that you don’t change the rules mid-stream as was done to protect Mickey Mouse.

    I also wonder if the little tracking nanos can follow AP content as it is converted to .pdf files and then put on my site with a link.

  10. But wouldn’t discussion of AP material on blogs, forums, and other web-based venues be covered under fair use?

    The question is not whether people can quote freely from AP stories, or discuss the material. The problem is wholesale copying of entire articles and posting them on an unauthorized Web site. Newspapers deal with this all the time. I work for a paper, and people are constantly trolling our content, copying it, and posting it on blogs and other sites. The company I work for owns the material, and stealing the content hurts our online hits, and therefore our revenue. We catch people doing it all the time, and while we don’t sue (or haven’t yet) we do tell them that they are free to LINK to our story, but not to post it.

  11. TWC:
    Text embedded in a .pdf is searchable and copyable.

    Pious, most, but not all, Reason guys are against IP rights.

    I find that disgusting and ironic, all at the same time. I shall feel free, then, to steal all the material on this Web site and put it on my blog. Ooh, just noticed a little thing at the bottom of this page:
    ?2007 Reason Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
    Hmmmm.

  12. PCAS, thanks. I understand that .pdf is both copyable and searchable but I’m wondering if AP’s fingerprint becomes embedded in the .pdf file when it is created. I suppose it does.

    I will occasionally make a .pdf file of an article. Sometimes it is because the article that I link to will not be available for long. Sometimes it’s because sites like NYT require registration. In any case, I always link.

    I can fully understand the frustration that comes with plagiarized original material. I don’t see a problem with the typical blogger excerpting bits and pieces and linking to the original source. I doubt that you do either.

    Then there is the absurd, in this shameless bit of self-promotion I send you to TWC website to view a video. The guy who did the clever animation is going to have to re-animate it because the car in the video looks an awful lot like the Chevron cars and Chevron is giving him grief over it.

  13. Eric.5b wins the thread

    it’s called Google

  14. What could be better than linking to the AP’s article on the subject?

    Kevin

  15. Has Reason abandoned the concept of intellectual property

    Yeah, like, six years ago.
    Get with the times, maaaan.

  16. So cluod we jsut scamrble wdros lkie tihs?

  17. “I find that disgusting and ironic, all at the same time. I shall feel free, then, to steal all the material on this Web site and put it on my blog. Ooh, just noticed a little thing at the bottom of this page: ?2007 Reason Magazine. All Rights Reserved

    Good burn! Reason is also for open immigration, so they’re probably harboring terrorist Mexicans at their DC offices, and most of the writers probably are illegals too. It’s probably also true that their anti-tax stance means they all cheat on their taxes.

    If I were going to be serious for a minute I would note that Reason isn’t anti-copyright, just against raising the level of copyright protection so high that it becomes corporate welfare. Hmmmmmm.

  18. Yet newspapers and magazines work completely differently. They’re consistently able to produce highly unique content every single month that’s unlike anything that’s ever been published. How do they do that?

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