Associated Press breaks its own "fair use" rules

Associated Press, which dashed off legal letters to other news sites and blogs for using its copy a couple of years ago, appears to have broken its own rules.

Woot was recently acquired by Amazon.com and apparently AP half inched comment from Woot CEO Matt Rutledge’s blog  about the sale.

Woot was not upset about the comment being nicked. But the problem was that it was used in exactly the same way that AP was getting arsey about its news getting used.

The outfit had a look at the sort of charges that AP makes for using its material and worked out that the news agency owed roughly $17.50 for the content it borrowed from the blog post.

“Invoicing is such a hassle in today’s paperless society, are we right? How about this: instead of cutting us a check for the web content you liberated from our site, all you’ll need to do is show us your email receipt from today’s two pack of Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones, and we’ll call it even,” Woot said.

The headphone gag is all about helping you shut out the irritating sounds of people yelling about the actual meaning of “fair use”. It is also an online retailer so we guess it has a few extra headsets to try to flog.

AP has asked sites to remove content, or else pay for it, even if it has fallen under “fair use” laws. After there was a bit of an outcry about AP’s stance it has become a bit milder.