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Hey, Associated Press: You owe me at least $132,125!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 17, 2008 10:37 PM

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(Photoshop credit: The Ugly American)

The Internet firestorm over the Associated Press’s heavy-handed attempt to bully bloggers over fair use article excerpts has been absolutely schadenfreude-licious. Now, it’s time to turn the tables. If your blog or blog commenters have ever been quoted by the AP, listen up: It’s time to prepare a bill and demand payment.

First, a quick recap: AP showered a left-wing site with cease-and-desist letters, prompting many political and tech sites to boycott AP content. The latest uproar involves the AP’s pricing scheme charging bloggers $2.50/word and then scaling for excerpt usage. Here’s a screenshot of the media giant’s web usage agreement:

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So they wanna play that game?

Ok, let’s play. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, of course. Unlike the AP, bloggers appreciate getting linked and excerpted. That is how we roll in the 21st century.

But let’s apply AP standards for the hell of it. I have found two recent examples of the AP quoting from this blog without linking to the quoted posts or obtaining my consent for a usage agreement. In April, AP quoted from the comment thread in this post about Absolut’s Aztlan vodka ad:

More than a dozen calls to boycott Absolut were posted on michellemalkin.com, a Web site operated by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. The ads sparked heated comment on a half-dozen other Internet sites and blogs.

“In an Absolut world, a company that produces vodka fires its entire marketing department in a desperate attempt to win back enraged North American customers after a disastrous ad campaign backfires,” a person using the moniker “SalsaNChips” wrote on Malkin’s Web site.

That’s 42 words. Cha-ching-ching-ching.

In May, AP again quoted from this blog, excerpting the column I posted online about the keffiyeh kerfuffle:

The kaffiyeh, Malkin wrote in a column posted online last Friday, “has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not-so-ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons.”

That’s 44 words. Cha-ching-ching-ching.

According to the AP, it has:

-1,700 U.S. daily, weekly, non-English and college newspapers;

-5,000 radio and television outlets taking AP services; and

– 850 AP Radio News audio affiliates.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that half of all those clients published the AP dispatches quoting this blog’s content without prior usage agreement (which would be 3,775) and let’s apply the exact same fee structure AP wants to impose on the blogosphere ($17.50 for 26-50 words). I calculate that the AP owes me:

$66,062.50 x 2 = $132,125.

(A substantial portion of that sum would go to commenter SalsaNChips, of course. See? Commenting at MichelleMalkin.com pays! Well, theoretically.)

There may be other articles that quoted blog content from MichelleMalkin.com and HotAir.com. I’m keeping a look out.

And there are a few other bloggers quoted recently by AP who should consider sending joke bills, too.

Take Patterico, whose enterprising work on the Judge Kozinski case I mentioned this morning. The AP quoted from one of his blog posts just yesterday. Sample:

A federal appeals court judge under scrutiny for sexually explicit videos and photos posted on a personal Web site is the victim of distortions and “outright lies” published by the Los Angeles Times, his wife charged Monday.
Marcy Jane Tiffany, wife of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, described some of the material stored on the home computer as raunchy and juvenile. Only about a half-dozen files among hundreds had a “sexual aspect,” but they were not pornography, she said.

“Alex is not into porn — he is into funny — and sometimes funny has a sexual character,” Tiffany wrote in a nearly 2,000-word defense of her husband, posted on a Web site called patterico.com.

And it goes on. Writes Patterico tonight:

In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.

I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.

So am I going to be an ass and threaten to charge them, or sue them, or demand that they remove the quotes? Of course not. They benefited from my content and I benefited from their link.

If he did decide to send a bill under the terms of my table-turning fee structure, that would be:

$50 per URL= 3,775 x $50=$188,750.

Dude. That’s a hefty windfall. Sure you don’t wanna reconsider?

More potential blogger debt collectors:

*The Stranger blog
*Actress/blogger Zhang Ziyi
*The Huffington Post
*Musician/blogger Pete Wentz
*A blogger at Glamocracy
*An American Idol fan blogger

If your blog content/comment threads have been quoted by the AP, let me know what your bill would be. If you’d like to design/photoshop a generic joke bill or AP usage agreement plan that we can fill in and send to AP, please feel free to send along!

MSM thuggery is the disease. Mockery is the best medicine.

***

The blogosphere lets it rip:

From Jim Lynch: “Going beyond what has already been reported, the AP has expanded their current position and announced that they now own the rights to all words, phrases and letters of the alphabet, and will be charging bloggers accordingly.” Triple-snort!

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Ace of Spades: “Here’s my counter-offer: I will limit the the words actually quoted from AP stories, limiting myself to paraphrase and direct quotes of relevant officials. (AP can’t copyright someone else’s words — at best, they can pitch an unfair trade practices beef, but that’s a harder case to make.) Furthermore, I will no longer provide any links to any AP stories anywhere, and in fact may not even bother to mention the story comes from AP. I will cite instead a “news organization.” If AP wants a link, it can begin paying me $25.00 per link. I charge for advertising. There’s my counter-offer. It’s not negotiable.”

DoublePlusUndead: Fun with ellipses!

Charles Johnson: “If they plan to enforce this mind-bogglingly stupid policy, it will be interesting to see what happens with sites like Digg.com — which are nothing but excerpts from news articles, with hundreds of AP stories being posted every day.”

Via Brian at Snapped Shot, who has been entangled in his own blogger battle with AP:

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AP has managed to bring left and right bloggers together like never before. Check out Memeorandum:

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Macsmind’s tab
: $6,300.

Sticky Notes
devises a handy quote-a-meter to help you calculate how much you’ll owe AP if you excerpt them. Still looking for someone to make one of these for AP to calculate how much they owe us.

Bob Owens: Where’s my fact-checking fee? Har.

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