The AP Takes on File Sharing

The Associated Press is taking on file sharing. In an attempt to control unlicensed use of material it has generated and protect its financial model, the Associated Press is discussing how to deal with search engines and unauthorized use of its licensed content.

I understand the problem and sympathize with the economic challenge. But the music industry took a similar approach and hasn’t exactly prospered.

What is missing is the basic premise. The kids who share music files don’t see themselves stealing intellectual property or taking from the corporate bottom line, they see themselves sharing with their friends. This use of the Internet as a way to extend community and personal relationships flies in the face of the traditional gatekeeper role of content distribution. It blows it away.

That’s what the Internet has done. It was built into the medium from its birth. See Cluetrain Manifesto , the earliest assessment of the importance of an open Internet.

So corporate control of information as manifested in the AP effort will continue and some form of payment for information will eventually develop, I suppose. But the model isn’t yet clear, iTunes and Google ads notwithstanding, and AP doesn’t sound like it’s found it.

If the music industry is any guide, reacting, controlling, cease and desist letters and lawsuits don’t make for an expanding business model.

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