Something Is Rotten In Denmark: The A.P., NYTimes and MBA Love Triangle

I’m not normally one to subscribe to conspiracy theories, but something is just plain rotten in this whole New York Times/Associated Press/Media Bloggers Association love fest.

As I wrote earlier today, the New York Times just won’t stop defending the Associated Press and their position that quoting from their articles is a copyright infringement (it isn’t). The NYTimes’ Saul Hansell has now written three blog posts and one feature article on the mess, all defending the A.P. None of those articles disclose the NYTimes’ partial ownership or board seat with the A.P.

In the first article, Hansell wrote that the A.P. was negotiating with the Media Bloggers Association to negotiate guidelines around use of A.P. content, even though copyright law already sets forth very clear guidelines on fair use. Any more restrictive measures wouldn’t be enforceable, but the A.P. has shown that it’s willing to use it’s army of lawyers to make life hell for anyone that tries. The easy way out is to simply pay the A.P. for quotations of more than four words.

Throughout Hansell’s posts there is a noticeable lack of criticism towards the A.P., or even recognition that this is a two sided issue. In his third post, this source left a comment basically retracting all the original material.

So that part of the story is still playing out, but this Media Bloggers Association keeps popping up in the conversation. Why did the A.P. choose them to represent bloggers? Why is the association’s Robert Cox spamming any blog (including ours) with factually incorrect pro-A.P. propaganda?

Why have I never heard of the Media Bloggers Association before last weekend? Why are they considered a representative body for bloggers, and why doesn’t the New York Times question that relationship?

The Media Bloggers Association has business ties to the A.P.. How can they possibly represent the interests of bloggers without prejudice?

Read Making Light for a more detailed investigation into this mess, as well as Mathew Ingram’s commentary. Jeff Jarvis continues to hold on to this story like a pitt bull (I nominate him to represent us bloggers, he’s clearly not a shill for the A.P.).