[free-sklyarov] FC: AP reportedly doesn't like quoting one sentence from articles

Brooklyn Linux Solutions ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Thu Aug 16 12:26:13 PDT 2001

about has an interesting news system with contracts that go beyond the
scope of this

On 2001.08.16 13:17:13 -0400 Jon O . wrote:

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Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 10:48:01 -0400
To: politech at politechbot.com
From: Declan McCullagh <declan at well.com>
Subject: FC: AP reportedly doesn't like quoting one sentence from articles
Cc: info at ap.org, copyright at ap.org, holovacs at 1st.net
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A Politech irregular, Jay Holovacs <holovacs at 1st.net>, reports the 
Associated Press has pressured about.com to remove excerpted AP stories 
(with links to the offsite complete text) from the site if even one 
sentence is quoted.

Two items follow:
1. Mail from Jay with links to about.com's moderator announcement
2. A note to Jay from Austin Cline, the about.com forum moderator



From: "JayHolovacs" <holovacs at 1st.net>
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan at well.com>
Subject: Re: New copyright interpretations
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 20:40:17 -0400


I believe you can log on as 'guest' at .


if you don't wish to register.

quote from the host:
"I have some bad news to convey to everyone - AP and other news services
have decided to be quite strict in how they interpret their copyrights.
Before, it was always assumed to be OK if we just quoted a couple of
sentences from a news story and then provided a link - it was copying all
most of a story which we had to avoid.
But not any more. Quoting even one sentence, if it conveys the gist of the
entire story, isn't something that they want to permit now.
They are serious about this. They have already been in contact with About
over Guides who have done nothing more than quote the first couple of lines
on their sites, along with a link back to the full story. "



 >How much publicly available description of these restrictions do you
 >have here? Especially do you have a quote of the way that AP worded their

I don't have access to any of that information. Even if I did, I
doubt I would be allowed to tell people - this is lawyer stuff, and
so it's all probably confidential.

But it is unlikely that About would have told us to remove the AP
stuff from our sites (and, when it was brought up, say that we need
to be careful about what appears on the forums) if they didn't think
that AP had a case. Demanding this of the Guides creates both more
short-term work and more long-term work. It's annoying for everyone
and doesn't serve any good end otherwise.


The main issues seems to be quality, rather than quantity. Quoting
the first couple of sentences of an article is not much in amount,
but it might convey the gist of the article - all of the basic
information. In doing so, you eliminate the need for most people to
go on and read the whole thing. This, then, reduce the value of the

By that standard, of course, you should be able to quote something
low-quality in an article, but which sounds good. For example "And
the author of this article says "This is the best thing since sliced
bread!" - you aren't quoting something that gives away all the
information, just something you find interesting.

Finding that a high-quality passage is a copyright infringement when
a low-quality passage of similar length is not is not common, but
mostly because it doesn't come up much. It is, however, something
that has been ruled on in favor of copyright holders.

I hope this helps...


Austin Cline:  http://atheism.about.com

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