Kindergarten, Cut and Paste and the AP

Now, the below diagram isn’t a sarcastic Boomtown/Kara Swisher creation. It’s not from TechCrunch. It’s not even from Ezra Klein, the Post‘s king of whimsical and informative charts.

It’s from the AP itself, explaining it’s new rights management system (the AP News Registry) for its content (via BoingBoing):

As Cory Doctorow goes into in his post at the BB, “A lot of copyfighters were mystified by the Associated Press’s recent announcement (complete with a bonkers diagram straight off a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s) that they had spent millions of dollars on a DRM system for news that would limit how you could paste the text you copied from your browser window…This is a seeming impossibility…it just seemed too weird to think that no one at the AP had said, ‘Wait, what? This is dumb.'”

Jumping back to that wonderful diagram, here’s my sticking point: it is undeniable, from a usability standpoint, that the more steps that you add to spreading information, it will get to less people. Sure, there’s a chance this model actually may protect some of the AP’s specific original content. But there may be one additional step to getting to the consumer: full buy-in from the editorial universe.

The way I see it, this actually hurts publishers more than the AP (of course, that chart is so confusing, there may be nine extra steps to protect them, however, I’m getting off track). There are still a ridiculous number of derivative placements that stem from each posting. Is the AP planning on holding them hostage to this system? More steps, more checks and, of course, more dollar signs are the last thing the newspaper industry needs – especially those publications that rely on AP to fill out their content on a daily basis.

Information is to be shared, not hoarded and certainly not passed through a series of tubes until it’s potentially rendered useless to that very fact. We’ve been cutting and pasting since we’ve been toddlers. We figured out to make photocopies of news stories, the power of e-mailing and tweeting links; it’s taken millions of dollars to create this system and it will take less than a week for someone to beat it and go back to our blasphemous, pirating, copy-and-pasting ways.

Accept it and change, or keep trying to live in your old paranoid, business model. Your choice.


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