[free-sklyarov] [declan@well.com: FC: More on AP not wanting one sentence quoted from articles]

Bob Smart bobds at blorch.org
Thu Aug 16 19:49:06 PDT 2001

On Thursday 16 August 2001 12:23, you wrote:

>  >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.

I don't think it's unlikely at all. and there is an end served--although 
you're right, it's not a GOOD end.  My experience in a similar situation 
involving cryptographic patents and Compu$erve was that Compu$erve couldn't 
capitulate and present their little butts to the intellectual property thugs 
fast enough.  Partly, this may be a manifestation of cowardice...but largely 
it's recognition that entities like Compu$erve (and probably About, although 
I have less direct experience with them) are NOT in the information 
distribution business, they're in the information RESTRICTION business 
because that's how their whole business model is constructed.

It's not about fear that AP has a case so much as it is a natural instinct to 
fawn on anybody that tries to prohibit any form of communication without 
payment.  After all, if it's wrong for you to quote a newspaper article 
online, surely it must also be at least a little bit wrong for you to quote 
something you saw in an About post...which means if I want to know what 
you're talking about, I have to put a nickel in to read it directly on About 
instead of getting it second-hand (and worst of all, FREE) from you.

The only these intellectual parasites think they can stay alive is to CREATE 
scarcity in information (where, as somebody else recently noted, no such 
scarcity naturally exists).  The adage has long been that "freedom of the 
press belongs to those who own one," and the current owners would like very 
much to keep it that way--which means ANYTHING that empowers you to speak OR 
listen without their mediation is a direct threat to their whole way of life.

They're not worried that AP might have a case.  They're MUCH more concerned 
about the possibility that AP might lose, if it ever came to that...and one 
way to prevent that speculation from being confirmed is to voluntarily act as 
if AP had already won.


What I wrote above is hereby dedicated to the public domain and may be freely 
used, in whole or in part, with or without attribution.

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