Wednesday, June 18, 2008


You may not have had much spare time for reading recently (I haven't) so I'm just catching up with the dust-up between the AP and bloggers. The issue seems to center on whether AP was zealously protecting its content from unauthorized appropriation, or browbeating bloggers who made fair use of small snips and in turn directed valuable traffic back to the service.

Those questions are well engaged by Cory Doctrow, Jeff Jarvis and many others. The New York Times wrote and then blogged about it, too.

Amidst this controversy lurk some significant truths for us. I think Jarvis is fundamentally right (oh Jeff, how it hurts to say it) about what he calls the link ethic in the world of blogospheric information and how he extrapolates that as "the link economy."

His prescription for newspapers may be a little simpleminded, but it's catchy – and it just might be true: Do what you do best, and link to the rest.

It's worth your time to read further. Here's a taste of Jeff:

... there is value in our links and the AP, if it understood this new economy would understand that it is a gift economy and links are presents that can be given or earned but not bought. But the AP is still operating in the content economy, which values control instead. That age has passed.

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