September 18, 2009

AP News Registry aims at most flagrant infringers

AP IP

More details about Associated Press’s move to protect its content unveiled at Seattle summit

JD LasicaI left the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association Summit of newspaper publishers and ad managers yesterday just as two executives from the Associated Press were winding up their presentation on the new AP News Registry.

The new initiative, announced in July, contains two key components:

• All AP stories will be released online wrapped in a new microsoformat that includes rights info, who created it, etc.

• The wrapper also will carry a built-in “digital beacon,” or tracker, to monitor use of the content by others to track usage and compliance. (As I understand this, the content is not encrypted but carries a lightweight bug technology.)

As a social media consultant and journalist who spoke at the summit just an hour earlier, I asked whether the dialogue and AP’s plans were public information, and Kevin Walsh, AP’s Kevin Walsh, Vice President of Marketing, responded, “It is now.”

AP’s plans were met with the predicable negative reaction in the blogosphere (see, for example, the comments at bottom of this article). But AP should be credited with its transparency during this process, and from what I heard at the summit, its plans make a lot of sense. Thousands of sites are unfairly piggybacking off the work of journalists, and if newspapers and news organizations like the AP are to survive, there has to be a mechanism for compensation.

As an internal AP document titled Protect, Point, Pay – An Associated Press Plan for Reclaiming News put it: “The evidence is everywhere: original news content is being scraped, syndicated and monetized without fair compensation to those who produce report and verify it.”

Fair use won’t be easy to define

It’s a topic I have some familiarity with, having written Darknet and reported on Hollywood studios and media companies’ reluctance to embrace their digital future. At the time I wrote the book, there was widespread music file sharing (there still is) but also an increasing recognition that the original Napster was misguided and the music industry needed to devise legitimate forms of compensation for the artists. (Apple’s iTunes and Rhapsody are among the companies still trying to create a frictionless business model.)

My view on the new AP initiative is similar: Some reuse of AP’s content is socially and legally acceptable, but there needs to be limits. What will matter, in the end, is how this plan will be carried out by AP and the cooperative’s members. If they go too far and claim “all rights reserved” around the first two sentences of every AP article, the blowback will be enormous. Fair use exists, and in the past the AP has paid too little heed to those concerns — even though AP reporters rely on the same fair use doctrine in their reports nearly every day. (For example, I didn’t get the AP’s permission to use the graphic at the top of this post.)

Todd B. Martin, AP’s Vice President, Technology Development, reassured the publishers in the room that the intent of the news registry isn’t to go after every blogger who borrows a snippet of an AP news story.

“We’re focused on removing the ambiguity around the use of our content.”
— Todd B. Martin, VP for technology, AP

Instead, Martin said, “We’re not going to stop a blogger from cut and pasting an article. But we are giving you visibility into the 20,000 other domains where your content appeared and the top users and where it was monetized. So you can get a list of the top 100 [infringing] sites with over 100,000 views, and then facilitate business development opportunities” with the sites in question. The registry, Martin said, would help create new business opportunities and products and also buttress more rigorous legal enforcement of the AP’s intellectual property. Continue reading

June 14, 2009

PNN: A blog platform for women

Personal News Network from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaHere’s an 8-minute video interview with Leigh Behrens, president and editor-in-chief of PNN.com. The Personal News Network is a community site and blog platforms that targets mostly women, “the fastest-growing segment of user-generated content creators,” Leigh says.

PNN allows you to easily get up and running with a blog and add your own voice and “to begin to grow your own social content on the site,” she says.

“The feedback we keep getting is that there’s really a kind of an intimate, personal and supportive feeling that goes back to our name — Personal News Network. People like the idea that they can share their thoughts and ideas in an environment that’s really supportive.”

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May 1, 2009

Business School for Bloggers

Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

JD LasicaI‘m in Chicago at the second SOBCon — Business School for Bloggers — with some of the top social marketing experts in the land. Above is Chris Brogan (see Shaving My Head for Charity) & Julien Smith, who gave a presentation today in advance of their book “Trust Agents,” due out in August.

Among the folks on hand here: organizer Liz Strauss, Chris Garrett, David Bullock, JasonFalls, KD Paine and many others. Today I conducted a video interview with two experts in website accessibility; will post it later this month.

I won’t be blogging the conference, but will be posting photos, posting video interviews in the coming weeks, and twittering the highlights.

February 26, 2009

Is email marketing still relevant in a 2.0 world?

Chris AbrahamWhen I realized that I could download the OPML file from the Power 150 site and then hack it around into a contact list of over 900 of the top advertising, marketing, PR, and SEO bloggers on the planet, I did so.

Ever since, I have been scheduling calls with all of the folks I have been admiring on a daily basis. Two days ago I spent an hour on the horn with Lee Hopkins, “one of Australia’s leading thinkers on communication strategy in an online environment,” who is, in fact, one of the World’s leading thinkers on communication strategy in an online environment.  We had a great chat — and amazing talk!

At the end, Lee asked me if he could blog the conversation and I jumped at the opportunity and late last night Lee published Is email marketing still relevant in a 2.0 world? which is not only the most complete description of what we at Abraham Harrison LLC do on a daily basis but it is said in a better, more comprehensive, way than I could even conceive of doing myself.  Here it is, in full.  Be sure to visit (and subscribe to) Better Communication Results, Lee Hopkin’s blog.

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February 19, 2009

Bloggersbase: Where readers have influence

Ayelet NoffWith so much information on the internet today and the content continuously growing, it can be very difficult to discover an online media site where your voice can be heard.  Uncovering a place where you can make a difference and have an influence is even more difficult. A new Israeli start-up, BloggersBase.com hopes to fill that void.  This unique blogging platform is an online citizen journalism magazine that is powered by its readers. Here, readers and bloggers alike can discover top quality content while simultaneously influencing the magazine.

1BloggersBase.com is a competition-based content discovery platform where bloggers submit content on a variety of topics, and based on readers’ ratings, the highest quality content is discovered and featured on the site. The magazine consists of multi-authored blogs, each on a different subject.  There are four main topics categories: Entertainment, Technology, Lifestyle and World Affairs, containing together ten different blogs. Based on reader ratings and responses, the highest quality content is discovered and featured on the site.  The rating system is not the standard vote “up or down/yes or no” as seen on other social networks such as Digg or Mixx, but rather is on a scale of 1-10 and is based on a variety of criteria from professionalism and relevance to writing style and creativity.

The more accurately you rate, the higher your influence becomes in deciding which content makes it to the main blog.  This reader influence is one of the things that make BloggersBase such a unique platform.
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