WordGate — AP says 4 free, pay at five!

My posting yesterday naively assumed that it would be “fair use” to quote at least a 75-word chunk of an Associated Press article, or other any other copyrighted work, because that was what I recall from various journalism classes.

Now science fiction writer Nielsen Hayden proves me wrong by 71 words. He reveals that AP allows just four free words and shows the price list that starts the charges at $12.50 for five words.

Cory Doctorow, another science fiction author who writes for the influential blog BoingBoing, found further reason to fault AP by plucking the following clause out of the AP’s per-word license. He writes:

If you pay to quote the AP, but you offend the AP in so doing, the AP “reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time if Publisher or its agents finds Your use of the licensed Content to be offensive and/or damaging to Publisher’s reputation.”

Amy Gahran, a commentator for the Poynter Institute, put the controvery into context in a post whose titled answers its own question: “AP versus Bloggers: Hurting journalism?

What happens when bloggers realize that AP and other corporate media back a so-called shield law that would offer some protection to paid journalists but exclude bloggers.