AP Plans 'Aggressive' Effort To Fight News Thieves

The Associated Press and newspaper companies are planning an “aggressive” effort to fight news piracy on the Web, the AP reports (via Google).

The AP has not figured out how this will work, but one idea could “create a system that can help track whether news content is being legally distributed online,” according to the AP. Another project could “direct readers to ‘landing pages’ that could offer news from the AP and its members, rather than unauthorised sites.”

“We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories,” said AP Chairman Dean Singleton. “We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it any more.”

We’d caution against reading this as an assault at Google, as some reports have suggested. Google (GOOG) has been a paying AP subscriber since 2006, and is probably the most financially viable AP member.

Update: Or maybe it is. MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka: AP exec Jim Kennedy “confirmed that some of the AP’s ire is indeed aimed at Google, and that the drum-beating has a purpose. The search engine has a deal with the AP that expires at the end of this year, and the AP is setting the table for upcoming negotiations. Their main contention: Google is already using AP content in ways that aren’t covered by the existing agreement, and the AP wants to be compensated for them. Expect to hear lots more about this in future months.”

Meanwhile, the AP is cutting the price that its newspaper members pay to use its service by about 20%. The AP will also make it easier for papers — many of which are sinking rapidly — to leave the collective.

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