AP recently announced that it was going to "develop a system to track content distributed online to determine if it is being legally used." As we know from last year's dust-up over fair use of AP articles, AP doesn't really understand the word fair. And it appears, AP doesn't understand the word affiliate, either (or YouTube, for that matter).
AP has a YouTube channel. Those videos have embed codes. An AP affiliate, WTNQ-FM, received a cease-and-desist letter from an AP vice president of affiliate relations for posting videos from the AP's official YouTube channel on its Website.
AP should talk to the RIAA; they seem to be just as confused about the world of the Internet. Let's look at this:
WTNQ-FM is an AP affiliate. Why bug your own affiliate about using AP media?
You have a YouTube channel. Either the person in charge of that channel doesn't understand the concept of embed codes or they wanted people to be able to embed the videos.
At the bottom is a video that captures Skype interview with Frank Strovel, an WTNQ-FM employee, in the video below.
Christian Grantham: So what's going on with the Associated Press here?
Strovel: OK, here's the deal. Our radio station here, we are an AP affiliate. OK, we switched from our top-of-the-hour news from CNN to the Associated Press back in December, I believe. We're an AP affiliate. On our website, I've been embedding YouTube videos from the AP channel; you know, the subscription channel I have on YouTube. And you know, I'm using This Day in History, I put that on our website; sports updates, you know, they put a morning sports update on a video; I would put that on our sports page. You know, because they're AP, we're AP, it all fits together.
Well, I get a cease-and-desist the other day from the Chicago offices. From AP, we're stealing their licensed content by taking it from YouTube and putting it on our website, according it to them.
Grantham: Well, why did they put it on YouTube? Why not turn off the embed codes, then?
Strovel: I asked him that very question. "You have a YouTube channel, that you want people to subscribe to. You post about a dozen or two dozen videos a day on there with embed codes on there; you encourage people to embed them on their websites, why is it a copyright infringement, why are we violating some license agreement? And we’re an A.P. affiliate for crying out loud!" I stumped him on that one.
Today, we talked again. He still had no answer as to why they are posting content on YouTube for embedding when it’s apparently a crime to do so. I think I’ve set his office into a bit of a tizzy. He said he has talked to his superiors and still has no answers to my questions but they are “looking into the matter”.
They want us to subscribe to a “free” service that will allow one main video player to be embedded on our site (above the fold) that will offer different videos from the Associated Press and that could even bring us “revenue sharing”. I guess they have ads embedded in the player and any clicks on it will result in a few pennies thrown our way. Whatever.
Sounds like AP will be removing the embed codes from their videos soon, or at least that the left hand does not speak to the right hand. Something like that.
This person Strovel is speaking to is apparently a VP of affiliate relations. It would be humorous if it wasn't so ridiculous, that a person in a VP role doesn't even understand embed codes and how YouTube works.