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AP Will Sell You a "License" To Words It Doesn't Own 340

Posted by kdawson
from the almost-as-ironic-as-disappearing-1984 dept.
James Grimmelmann performed an experiment using the AP's form to request a license to use more than four consecutive words from one of their articles. Except that he didn't paste in words from the (randomly chosen) article, but instead used 26 words written by Thomas Jefferson 196 years ago: If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea. The AP cheerfully charged him $12 to use Jefferson's 26 words. Both Boing Boing and TechDirt have picked up the story so far. Grimmelmann adds an update to his blog: the AP has rescinded his license to Jefferson's words and issued a refund for his $12. They did not exhibit the grace to admit that their software is brain-dead.
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AP Will Sell You a "License" To Words It Doesn't Own

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  • Free press (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mendoksou (1480261) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:19PM (#28934425)
    Should be changed to "$.46-a-word" press.
  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:19PM (#28934429) Homepage
    I'm afraid Mr. Grimmelman has a severe English comprehension deficiency. The instructions are a single sentence, clear as day. It says paste the article text you want to use. Not " paste whatever you like, and if our javascript form counts the words for you then consider it assertion of copyright by us.".
  • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:25PM (#28934475)
    The Associated Press collects articles from reporters all over the world. I doubt those reporters submit articles royalty-free. How does the AP tie licensed text back to the article it applies to? Clearly they don't bother.
  • by Mendoksou (1480261) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:27PM (#28934499)
    Good point. And they did refund the money. I guess the flaw is assuming that the user wants to play by the rules, and I suppose we'd be complaining even at the unnecessary restrictions to account for the users who do not. We can make any machine look stupid when we misuse it.

    The beef here I think is that they have the 'audacity' to sell the license... but now that I think about it, it's still a much better system than trying to contact a real person and deal with it. Still, I don't think it should be too hard to have a JavaScript check to see if the words come from the actual article. At the very least that might help prevent people from accidentally misquoting it if they are silly and type by hand or copy the wrong article or whatever.
  • why is it great? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:30PM (#28934523)

    All this tool does is count the number of words in a block of text. Every word processor and text editor I can think of has this feature already built in. And the premise that the copyright owner should be able to charge on a per-word basis (especially in text made up largely of quotations from other sources, as most AP articles are) is truly preposterous.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:34PM (#28934563)

    But I think his point was to ridicule the ridiculous assumption from AP that they should be able to restrict access to and license on a per-word basis any text "more than four consecutive words" in the first place. The Jefferson quote helps him make the point. The fact that the software is basically just a word counter adds a level of lol, but I don't think that was the main point of this experiment.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:42PM (#28934635) Journal

    We can make any machine look stupid when we misuse it.

    Rule #1: Never trust user input.

    Still, I don't think it should be too hard to have a JavaScript check to see if the words come from the actual article.

    LOL @ Javascript
    They need a database of every AP article ever published.
    Then they can either hash the pasted text & try to find
    the source or they can require you to provide a citation.
    Either way, you don't want to do that client-side with javascript.

  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:48PM (#28934695) Homepage

    No, it's not.

    It's like Comcast charging you for another provider's cable.

    If you don't own something you can't license it out, pretty simple. AP's clusterfuck of a piece of software they're using to determine what's theirs and what's not is the issue here. Relying purely on software without decent beta testing (which seems to happen more often than not) is one of the most retarded things you can do as a business.

  • by Liquidrage (640463) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:49PM (#28934701)
    They don't need a database of every article published. They offered a service that made it easy to obtain permission to use text from works they hold a copyright of and someone purposefully misused the system to attempt to prove a *worthless* point.
    Now, I find the whole need for the system stupid, I can't believe most uses wouldn't be under fair use anyways, and I'm sure the AP eats babies.

    However, there is nothing inherently wrong with the service, all this person did is make me think he's an ass out trying to prove a misguided point. So the AP took his money when he went to them offering it? Wow! Horrible.

    Get back to me when the AP sues him over misusing the system. That would be worthy of a story.
  • Re:Hanlon's razor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:52PM (#28934727) Homepage Journal
    Why would you put words they don't own into their licensing software? Is it malice or stupidity on your part?
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:55PM (#28934751) Journal

    I see nothing wrong with what AP did here. This is like complaining that Comcast will let you pay your cable bill even if you don't watch any TV. Yeah, they will. So?

    Why the heck is this modded troll? 'troll' != 'i disagree with this person'.

    The parent raises a valid point. If you are stupid enough to offer me money for a copy of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Thomas Jefferson's or William Shakespeare's writings or anything else in the public domain, why shouldn't I accept your money? The AP's software may be brain dead but to say that this represents an industry "smothering itself with a pillow" rather misses the point.

    I would also add that of those cheering the downfall of the AP aren't likely to be too happy with the eventual consequences. The blogosphere may do a fair job of covering Washington (although most of it so slanted to one side or another as to make Fox News look fair and balanced) but the coverage of local issues and politics is sadly lacking.

  • Re:Hanlon's razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Monday August 03, 2009 @06:56PM (#28934761)

    Why would the AP charge for words it doesn't own? Is it malice or incompetence on their part?

    Well, why would anyone request a license from AP for words that AP doesn't own? Is Grimmelmann too incompetent to figure out why the whole premise of his exercise is inane, or is he maliciously trying to portray AP as greedy when their only "sin" here is not making their systems impervious to idiots who would throw their money away?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#28934805)

    All the AP is offering to sell you is a license to tread on any copyright they may own with regard to the work in question. In the article's case, they didn't have any copyright to enforce with regard to Jefferson's work, and the author was stupid to pay for something he didn't need a license to reproduce.

    Tell you what: send me the address of a parcel of real estate and $45 per parcel, and I will execute a deed disclaiming any interest I might have in the parcel(s) you've selected. That's essentially what the AP is doing here, but in my example, it's obvious that the guy paying the $45 is the idiot, not the guy receiving it.

    The whole thing reminds me of an ancient Slashdot troll, whose posts consisted entirely of "Don't forget to pay your $600 SCO licensing fee, you cock-smoking teabags!" How come we didn't get stories sympathetic to people who actually paid SCO for something that SCO didn't have the right to sell them in the first place?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#28934807)

    I'm afraid the AP has a code deficiency. You you telling me they cannot validate the text against their OWN article database before "licensing" its usage? Are they arrogant enough to assume that almost all combination of words that been used in their reports? They apparently got the credit card automation to work properly.

    This is behavior you would expect from some cheesy Nigerian scam artists, not a supposedly prestigious news source.

    Sorry the AP deserves the embarrassment they got.

  • by j1mmy (43634) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:03PM (#28934829) Journal

    What if Jefferson's quote had been used in the article?

  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:08PM (#28934871)
    I completely agree. If you bring your own bag of chips into a gas station mart, walk around a little, and then hand it to the cashier, they'll scan it and charge you.

    I can see somebody at the AP raising an eyebrow and asking "So you want to pay us $12 to promise not to sue you for using text in the public domain? Uhhh OK we promise." It's the researcher that's baiting them and causing problems; there's no problem on their end.
  • Re:Godfatheads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:09PM (#28934891) Homepage

    ...is the same thing that exposes their stupidity.

    I think that was the whole point to the exercise...missed by some above. The content provider trying to extort people into paying license fees they may not need. This exercise demonstrates that the content provider in question can't positively identify their own material or material that they can't legitimately claim as intellectual property. They can't conclusively back up the need for anyone to license a particular piece. They're ignoring the context, intended use and trying to rewrite fair use by their own definition.

    This exercise exposes that it's a scam, an online shake down. I think it actually works against their IP claims.

  • by Harlequin (11000) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:16PM (#28934945)

    I think the suggestion that it's brain-dead would work with your analogy thus. It's like going to a gas station and walking around a gas station that only sells Doritos and handing them a bag of Kettle Chips. Presumably, their system should read the bar code and tell you that they aren't sold there (how can it figure out how much to charge if they don't sell that product).

    If you offer to license part of an article, you would similarly expect the AP system to at least do some sort of sanity check to see if the text you're quoting came from that article.

    What if you made up a quote like "Today, Reuters announced they were declaring bankrupcy" and licensed it from the AP. Could you then attribute that quote to the AP? Do you think their system should allow that?

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:21PM (#28934985)

    If you don't own something you can't license it out, pretty simple.

    You can, however, relicense something that's in the public domain. You're not even obliged to tell them it's public domain.

  • Re:Hanlon's razor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:29PM (#28935029) Journal

    To demonstrate how stupid it is. The whole point of the tool is to tell you how much (if any) you have to pay them - if you already know that, what's the point of the tool?

    Consider, supposing I want to licence an article, and within that article is a large chunk of text that's quoted from Jefferson or whoever. This suggests that it would happily include those words in the cost calculation. I guess it's their right to charge whatever arbitrary value they like for a whole article, but this is all the more reason for stories like this to be publicised, so that people are aware of how the tool works. Plus, what if someone did want to quote a Jefferson quotation that happened to be in an article? The point is that they'll happily claim ownership, so it's important for people to be aware of how brain dead and simple the tool is.

  • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castles ... s ['els' in gap]> on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:31PM (#28935045) Homepage Journal

    And the premise that the copyright owner should be able to charge on a per-word basis

    Stop.

    A copyright holder can charge on any basis they damn well want. Either you have a valid fair use case, and can ignore them, or you don't, and have ZERO RIGHT to use their work without tehir say-so.

  • by mino (180832) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:34PM (#28935069) Homepage

    Sigh, what a total non-story this is. It's an estimation tool, people. If you're dumb enough to use it in the wrong way, then... you know, hooray for you.

    It's like a tool on a carpenter's website to get a fence built. Fill in what material you want, how high the fence will be, the perimeter of your block, and whether you want it finished or painted. The site gives you a quote for the fence. Then ring the carpenter, say "I've got the money now, can I pay you BEFORE you do the job?". Give the carpenter the money, and OH HA HA MR CARPENTER I SURE TRICKED YOU I JUST PAID YOU TO BUILD A FENCE FOR A PROPERTY THAT'S NOT EVEN MINE THAT IS THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR I AM SO CLEVAR.

    Err.. yeah, good for you, I guess. Want a cookie?

    How is this noteworthy?

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday August 03, 2009 @07:40PM (#28935123) Homepage

    That's true. Jefferson's 1813 letter to Isaac McPherson concerned itself with inventions and patents, which had been an area of special interest to Jefferson as he was 1) an inventor; 2) Secretary of State during a period where he had responsibility for reviewing patent applications and issuing patents; 3) opposed to monopolies as a general rule.

    However, it is widely recognized that Jefferson's argument, which is made at a very high level, is perfectly applicable to copyrights. After all, copyrights and patents are more closely related to one another than to, say, trademarks, or anything else, and at that high of a level, the underlying logic is basically the same.

  • by 2short (466733) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:03PM (#28935265)
    "AP's clusterfuck of a piece of software they're using to determine what's theirs and what's not is the issue here. "

    There is no such piece of software. AP makes no claim that their software does that, nor anything like it. Their software counts the number of words in a passage you provide. That's all. I appears to achieve this simple task perfectly. Whether this is due to good beta testing, we can only speculate.
  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:04PM (#28935267)

    What if you made up a quote like "Today, Reuters announced they were declaring bankrupcy" and licensed it from the AP. Could you then attribute that quote to the AP? Do you think their system should allow that?

    Quick! Someone do this before the AP fixes its software! I bet they'll spend the next year or two sorting through the fallout of such an attribution...

  • by residieu (577863) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#28935351)
    Yes, and when they were informed of the mistake, they gave the money back. Just like when you notice the 20 pound notes, you gave the money back.
  • by Albanach (527650) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:16PM (#28935359) Homepage

    While I can see the argument that it's unfair to charge for a license to words they don't own, it does raise other issues. There's a risk of them selling a license to something that's copyright which they don't own. What use is a licensing service if you still have to do due diligence afterwards?

    Secondly, even where they did cover an event, they may end up selling rights to quotations or even speeches they don't own.

    Here's an example: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hEgzmDPlmhHVfmc1U9rZXLmsQiuwD999J9Q00 [google.com]

    An entire speech by Obama four weeks ago, reprinted by the AP. The final line reads "Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. "

    Did the AP write the speech? They claim copyright over it and reserve all rights to it. Presumably they'll happily charge many hundreds of dollars to anyone wanting to reprint it to. Now to most folk, a speech by Obama would be obviously not owned by the AP, but what about quotes from other people?

  • Or not... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:20PM (#28935373) Homepage Journal

    No, it's not.

    It's like Comcast charging you for another provider's cable.

    No, and I think most denizens of Slashdot would understand this: it's like Comcast (or the AP) having a bug in their software. Is the lesson here that organizations should have clauses in their contracts that their programmers are liable for any and all injuries to the organization's reputation caused by bugs in their software? Frankly, I should hope not. But that sure is the way we're pushing.

  • by mldi (1598123) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:37PM (#28935473)

    If you don't own something you can't license it out, pretty simple.

    You can, however, relicense something that's in the public domain. You're not even obliged to tell them it's public domain.

    At which point someone should turn your skull into a fucking canoe with a .50 cal rifle.

    Following your logic, I am going to start billing people for fire, the wheel, and cutting blades.

    Like bottled water?

  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:02PM (#28935619)

    I see an idiot not following directions and getting what he deserved.

    I see an idiot who doesn't understand the broader implications. There is such as thing as fair use. AP however wants to deny fair use.

    Falcon

  • Re:Or not... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:15PM (#28935697)

    It's like Comcast charging you for another provider's cable.

    No, and I think most denizens of Slashdot would understand this: it's like Comcast (or the AP) having a bug in their software.

    Yes, and I think most denizens of Slashdot would understand it's not a bug when something is compleatly left out, such as having software check whether the operator has the rights to sell a license. Furthermore it's not a bug when validation is left out of a program, it's poor programming. It would have been quite easy for the AP programmers to have the program test whether the quote was even in the article. Heck I've never worked as a programmer, or in any other high tech field, yet I know that.

    Falcon

  • Re:Hanlon's razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:30PM (#28935817) Journal

    That someone decided to pay the AP for a worthless license and the AP decided to issue a worthless license doesn't mean anything. No laws were broken. No trust broken. No rights violated. The person did this with intent to gain a worthless license even. He got what he paid for.

    What if the guy had used a paragraph from Dr. Phil's latest book?
    The AP accepted money and offered a license for a copyright they do not own.
    That is a contract and is arguably fraud.

    It's not as simple as "asshat does something stupid".

  • License this! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:59PM (#28936045) Homepage Journal

    Aug 3, 9:36 PM EDT

    Car buyers returned to American showrooms in July

    By KEN THOMAS and TOM KRISHER
    AP Business Writers
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    DETROIT (AP) -- The government's "cash-for-clunkers" program drew car and truck buyers back to American showrooms last month, making July the best month for auto sales in nearly a year and offering powerful evidence that the rebates were working as senators debate whether to continue them.

    In fact, some automakers, dealers and government officials declared an end to the industry slump that nearly claimed the lives of General Motors and Chrysler.

    "We certainly expect that we've seen the worst of it," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor Co.'s vice president of U.S. sales, whose sales rose 12 percent over July of last year, the second-best in the industry, behind only Suzuki.

    "We're not saying it's going to be a high bounce back. We think it will be good, solid, steady growth."

    Even though the overall U.S. market fell 12 percent when compared with July of last year, gleeful automakers reported vastly better sales than in the dismal first half of 2009.

    In Washington, the White House urged the Senate to approve $2 billion without delay or risk ending the big rebates for car buyers by week's end.

    Buyer demand was so strong that the government had nearly spent in one week the $1 billion that Congress had expected to last until Nov. 1.

    "I think probably this is the greatest one-week energy conservation program that may have come out of Washington or anywhere else," said George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst.

    Without the clunkers program, July sales probably would have been about the same as June, Pipas said.

    Democrats remained concerned about lining up enough support for the incentives, which offer up to $4,500 per vehicle. The House approved the rebates last week before heading home for the August recess.

    Automakers and the Obama administration said the clunkers program did everything it was designed to do - replace inefficient sport utility vehicles with more efficient cars, boost auto sales and help lead the economy out of recession.

    Gas-guzzling vehicles from the 1990s were stacked up on nearly every new car lot in America. As of Saturday, the government reported that 83 percent of the trade-ins under the clunker program were trucks, and 60 percent of the vehicles purchased were cars.

    July was the best sales month since August 2008, when the industry sold more than 1.2 million vehicles before the financial meltdown began.

    Still, the sudden spike in sales depleted dealer stocks of nearly every major automaker, leading many observers to predict that prices will almost certainly climb later this year.

    The Ford Focus, which gets 35 mpg on the highway, was the No. 1 purchase of those trading in clunkers.

    While the cash-for-clunkers program surely drew out buyers who would have come later in the year, Zuchowski and others said much of the clunker sales were from pent-up

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:10PM (#28936127) Homepage Journal
    This is just like when you get up an go to the zoo, and buy an ice cream cone with vanilla and strawberry ice cream, and you go into the penguin house and when you are in there a polar bear breaks out if its cage and you are trapped in the penguin house with you ice cream cone, and you notice that Natalie Portman is sitting next to to you covered in hot grits, and then, like, the polar bear breaks down the door and as he comes in...

    Wait a second. Its NOTHING like that.

    Its more like the AP hired some developer to write a tool license out its twenty three kajillion words of content automatically and told them they wanted it done by Tuesday. Do you really expect someone to write code that would contextually differentiate public IP content from private on the fly? Really?

    While we are wishing for silly shit, I wish I was really the one in the penguin house in the story with my best grits spoon.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 03, 2009 @10:23PM (#28936215) Journal

    Sigh, what a total non-story this is. It's an estimation tool, people.

    Where did you get the "estimation tool" analogy from? From reading TFA, it is clear that he wasn't just told that he'd need to pay "about $12" to license this. No, he was actually asked to pay $12, paid, and received a license. How is this an estimation tool if it actually sells you stuff? It is an automated sale system that sells stuff that its owner is not entitled to sell. Furthermore - and much worse - said automated system also makes legal claims in the name of its owner - "(c) Associated Press. All rights reserved" - that are outright false.

  • by jesset77 (759149) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:08PM (#28936495)

    Do you really expect someone to write code that would contextually differentiate public IP content from private on the fly? Really?

    No, but I had rather hoped that before selling me a licence to content, AP's software would at least check to see if the text I was after belonged to them or not. TFA discusses public content, simply because that by definition cannot belong to AP. AP has all of their content digitized (how else would they know what to sue over?) so the matter of checking my request against that content is covered by this groundbreaking algorithm [wikipedia.org].

    Rule #1 of laying property claims: mark off your god damned property. If you can't be bothered to tell where your property ends, then it's not really yours to begin with.

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:08PM (#28936501) Homepage
    Heh, reading the comments to this story and my conclusion is you guys are a bunch of fucking idiots. Anyone with any common sense, including a judge, would immediately note that you're supposed to use text from the article you're claiming to be taking excerpts from. And anything else is the user being an idiot trying to game the system. Common Sense, do you have it?
  • by agrippa_cash (590103) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:10PM (#28936509) Homepage
    Copyright exists to encourage new works. If your judgment, expressed through your selection and arrangement of public domain elements is more than minimal, you can claim a copyright. A book of public domain phrases used to tell a story would be copyrightable. A book of phrases in alphabetical order would not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:16PM (#28936533)

    Still not right. You drive onto a Ford lot in your Subaru then ask the salesman how much you owe him. He tells you an amount and you pay it.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:21PM (#28936553) Journal

    Common Sense, do you have it?

    My common sense tells me that it is generally not a good idea to have a fully automated, non-human-verified system that issues legal documents, claims, and threats in the name of the owner.

  • by SCPRedMage (838040) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:17AM (#28936839)
    You're absolutely right. They should validate the submitted text against every single AP article ever copyrighted.

    I mean, there's only, what, twelve of them, right? That database shouldn't take long to search through every single time someone clicks "submit"...

    Seriously, people. AP hasn't tried to claim copyright over the submitted Jefferson quote. They just didn't make sure that they owned the rights before selling a license to someone who came to them to SPECIFICALLY buy a license from someone he damn well KNEW didn't own it. AP has done nothing wrong here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:28AM (#28937119)

    AP has done nothing wrong here.

    Nonsense. If AP doesn't know whether they own their own content then who does? AP is just trying it on. Dishonestly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:50AM (#28938083)

    I mean, there's only, what, twelve of them, right? That database shouldn't take long to search through every single time someone clicks "submit"...

    I realize you're trying to be sarcastic, but-- yes, it SHOULDN'T take long. Just like it doesn't take long for, say, Google to search billions of web pages anytime someone clicks on "Search".

    Of course, there is a remote chance that you're right and that it would indeed take too long. But in that case, I'm sorry, that'd be AP's problem; they'd have to come up with another system, one that actually works. Charging for things they don't own just because they can't tell whether they own them is never acceptable.

    Put another way: imagine you go to a clothes store, and there's an automated cash register that scans the items you're carrying when you leave and charges you accordingly. Now imagine that the system doesn't know what the store is actually selling and what it isn't, so EVERYTHING you're wearing gets charged to your card. And imagine when you call the store out on it, they argue that they can't possibly know what their inventory contains, so they consider it fair to charge you for every piece of clothing, no matter whether it's theirs or not.

    I think most sane people would argue that a) this is not OK and b) that the burden is on the store to find a different, better solution here.

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker&gnu,org> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @05:17AM (#28938221) Homepage

    They just didn't make sure that they owned the rights before selling a license to someone who came to them to SPECIFICALLY buy a license from someone he damn well KNEW didn't own it. AP has done nothing wrong here.

    Well, if their software made sure he already knew AP didn't own the quote, I agree. Please show me the mind-reading code and I'll shut up.

    Otherwise, what could have happened is that someone by accident pays AP for a license to use something which AP doesn't own; or even worse, that AP issues an illegal license offer. As someone has already suggested, buy a license to RIAA lyrics from AP; go tell on AP to the RIAA; watch RIAA and AP duke it out in the two-men-enter-one-man-leaves arena.

    What AP has done wrong (unless their code can read minds) is enable something very wrong.

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