Jawdropper of the Day 2: AP Wants to Charge Bloggers Per Word

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The Associated Press has not only jumped the shark, they’ve leaped over that baby like Carl Lewis: AP sets up a toll booth for bloggers citing its stories.

The AP’s disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it’s now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles — as few as five words.

A meeting between the Associated Press’ Vice President for Strategic Planning Jim Kennedy and Robert Cox, who heads the Media Bloggers Association, is now planned for Thursday of this week. The subject at hand is the AP’s attempt to find a new way of sharing AP content, which now involves a fee per excerpt based on its word length.

On the heels of a blogosphere revolt last week because of its harsh actions against social news site The Drudge Retort, the AP regrouped over the weekend to take a less litigative — but more bureaucratic — approach to dealing with those who wish to quote its material.

Where the group had previously invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and sent cease-and-desist orders to at least one blogger, seeking the removal of excerpted content (in some cases as few as 17 words in length), now the press service has attached an “Excerpt for Web Use” charge for passages as short as five words in length.

The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.

Meanwhile, they continue to provide RSS feeds for free, in a classic case of one hand not knowing what the other’s doing.

if they plan to enforce this mind-bogglingly stupid policy, it will be interesting to see what happens with sites like digg.com — which are nothing but excerpts from news articles, with hundreds of AP stories being posted every day.

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