Associated Press to drive traffic to new AP-hosted website

The Associated Press (AP) is planning to prevent members and customers from publishing some of the AP’s news content on their websites. AP will instead have other news sites link directly to the main AP website for that content.
The Associated Press has put together a briefing of their plans sent to AP members late in July. The document labeled “AP CONFIDENTIAL — NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION” was sent to Nieman Journalism Lab, a project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. Titled “Protect, Point, Pay — An Associated Press Plan for Reclaiming News Content Online,” the document outlines a tracking device that will be attached to future AP content. The Protect, Point and Pay directive will put a copyright on AP content. Nieman Lab reports:

“So a headline item that says, ‘Mid-air collision outside of New York and tourists die,’ let’s say. You can imagine, in the New York area, there are lots of media covering that story.” Kasi, the AP’s general counsel, “it’s not to suggest that there’s a legal distinction.”

The newswire coverage would remain in place, but at a lesser degree than the more complex and unique materials. In easy-to-understand terms, the AP wants users to pay for the content and to drive additional traffic to their site. That move could put bloggers and smaller journalism sites at risk if they use AP content. It could also have those users refusing to take a chance with AP content, thus reducing traffic to AP’s site. AP will be using a microformat called hNews, Ars Technica reports. The program annotates news stories with information about the author, dateline and other key meta targeting aspects. It is open-source software. That software is already in use by some other media outlets in an effort to ensure users tag all sources used. It remains to be seen if AP’s plans will strengthen their hold on news content or if it will have news media sites turn away to other sources.

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