20 June 2008

Drudge Retort

The Associated Press has called off the dogs, um, the lawyers in its brief confrontation with the Drudge Retort. This is being billed in some places as a clash of "old media" versus new. Maybe.

The Drudge "Retort," by the way, isn't a typo. This aint' the same as this.

The Retort began with the intention of parodying the already infamous Drudge Report, but over time has evolved into a left-leaning social networking site. The proprietor regularly posts short excerpts from wire services stories in order to get conversations among the subscribers underway.

The AP objected to this uncompensated use of its material, and the founder of the Retort, Rogers Cadenhead, lawyered up. His lawyers said lawyerlike things about how the snippets from AP stories that Cadenhead employed were "fair use," how they not only didn't deprive the AP of readers but actually helped it acquire readers, etc.

The AP has retreated, and declared that the matter is closed. And the blogosphere celebrates.

I'm not sure there's anything to celebrate here. All that is clear to me is that nobody has yet figured out the economics of the internet, nor the economics of the news business in the world the internet is refiguring so dramatically. What can you charge for and what can you not?

It is (and the King of Siam will presumably hire a lawyer if he reads this) a puzzlement.

Etcetera etcetera.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.