Tuesday, June 24, 2008

AP Guilty of Plagiarism

I said it:

I wrote a while back about how an AP reporter literally rewrote my article on the Harry Potter trial. I was slightly flattered, though a bit upset that I wasn't even mentioned - but that was before I found this out.

Apparently, the AP is upset over bloggers linking to their articles and wish to change the laws surrounding the practice. According to everything I've read on the matter, the AP is 100% in the wrong; so long as the articles are simply quoted and a linkback is provided, no law is being broken.

And I have to mention that technically, even though the article which blatantly ripped me off did not quote mine, it certainly didn't use any other sources - it cannibalized my post all the way down the line - but that does not constitute plagiarism. That's why I entitled the post thusly: AP saying bloggers cannot quote from their articles - even with a linkback to the source - is tantamount to my claim that the reporter who ripped-off my entry (point-by-point, along with citation of the sources I researched, as well as including my very analysis) plagiarized my post; they're both leaps in logic with only kernels of truth.

Still, I have never advocated quoting entire posts/articles in one's blog and have never practiced such; why would you ever have to, when you can just link directly to it? In fact, I have railed against this very practice time and again; to simply copy and paste someone else's work is "scraping" and most of the Blogosphere is against that. But what the AP wants is the result of sheer and willful ignorance as to how the Web works, and sheer and willful ignorance is stupidity.

For as much as I loved Suck and credit them for my blogging style, I was completely against their little lawsuit, too.

Back when Suck was really losing its shirt, the team brought a suit against some guy for deep-linking to some of their content! Completely unwarranted and very obviously a desparate, low-down attempt to drum-up some much-needed cash, Suck argued that we should be limited as to what content we can link to - that anyone linking to a site's content should have to link to the homepage of the site! Imagine if they had been successful with this; it would have rendered the entire Web, and hyperlinking specifically, absolutely useless!

But Suck apparently hit upon something certain other websites would like to see, as well. Businessweek recently instituted a policy forbidding deep-linking to their site. Other sites apparently have similar TOS, but rarely enforce them.

Just so you know, The Weirding actually knows a little about this media and highly encourages linking to any and all content you find!
This content is specifically presented so you can use it! Obviously, we would rather you link to it than plagiarize it, scrape it, or just rewrite it without crediting those of us who actually did the work.

This means you, AP.

And what use would it be if the only link you could provide was to a general homepage? How useful is it to tell people, "I learned about this on this site, but you'll have to do a search to find it once you get there because I am not allowed to link directly to it or put it in my own words or actually do anything with it"? The whole idea is ignorant - no, just stupid - and antithetical to the form.

Try applying the AP's approach to print: you can read about something in an encyclopedia, but you can't rewrite/reword it, quote it, or cite it. Aha! Now you see how stupid this whole concept is.

Further, deep-linking actually helps the site to which you are linking in more ways than one:
  1. It drives traffic to the site.
  2. It increases impressions for PPV ads.
  3. It improves PageRank and other ranking standings, as these services discount the popularity of sites whose only incoming links point to their homepage, as these links are often achieved through nefarious means; deep links to a site improve that site's authority and credibility.
Only stupid people do not know this. That means you, AP, Businessweek.

You're old, you're stupid, you're greedy, and you're guilty of the very things you wish to stop others from doing.

Print is dead.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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