Transformative use? You be the judge.

CHICAGO (ATL) — The Associated Press is suing a digital news distributor, claiming it infringed on AP copyrights. In a story posted yesterday, the AP reported: “The Associated Press is suing a digital news distributor, claiming it infringed on AP copyrights.”

Apparently, something called Meltwater News Service has been stealing content from the AP and repackaging it as part of its service provided to clients who want to see what is written about them in the press.

After the jump, learn more about this execrable practice….

The AP story goes into greater detail about why they needed to file suit against Meltwater. To wit:

“Meltwater News is a parasitic distribution service that competes directly with traditional news sources without paying license fees to cover the costs of creating those stories,” Tom Curley, AP’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “It has a significant negative impact on the ability of AP to continue providing the high-quality news reports on which the public relies.”

One might think that the AP would present only one side of this important debate, but one would be wrong. The story actually quotes Meltwater CEO Jorn Lyseggen, who takes umbrage (if that’s even a word) at the AP’s claims:

“This is the first we have heard of the AP’s concerns and we are surprised,” Lyseggen said. “From their press release, it appears that the AP misunderstands how our service works in many key respects. It is unfortunate that the AP did not seek to discuss this with us prior to taking this wholly unnecessary step.”

Pretty strong stuff. The AP would not comment to the AP on Lyseggen’s statement:

The AP declined to comment on Lyseggen’s statement.

Meltwater claims that it’s doing nothing wrong and abiding by U.S. copyright law. Lyseggen goes on to claim that Meltwater provides a service that is very similar to Google and other search engines that find relevant information and send users to the websites posting the content. As the AP story notes:

Lyseggen… insists Meltwater is very similar to Google and other search engines that find relevant information and send users to the websites posting the content.

The AP goes on to specify just how Meltwater has gone about making money by allegedly stealing the AP’s work and refashioning it as their own. I would imagine that, as its revenue shrinks, the AP has sought to wring more money from the Internet and mobile devices. I would further imagine that, in order to identify copyright offenders, the AP would need to develop some kind of service that could track the use of stories on websites, blogs and other Internet forums. The AP details some of this and more at the end of their piece:

As its revenue shrinks, the AP has sought to wring more money from the Internet and mobile devices.

To identify copyright offenders, the AP helped develop a service called NewsRight that tracks the use of stories on websites, blogs and other Internet forums. NewsRight was spun off from the AP last July. It’s now backed by the AP and 28 other news organizations, including The New York Times Co. and The Washington Post Co.

The End.

AP Sues Meltwater News Claiming Copyright Offense [Associated Press]


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