Content Fingerprinting and Citizen Journalism

Editor & Publisher details a new venture between the Associated Press and Attributor, a service provider that will fingerprint and track the use of AP content on the web.

The Associated Press is moving to protect its content by partnering with the technology company Attributor, which will track AP material across the Internet. The arrangement will allow Attributor to "fingerprint" AP copy down to a level where it can be identified anywhere on the Web.

"Our goal is to get a feeling for some of the useful ways to monitor content," said Srinandan Kasi, vice president, general counsel and secretary at the AP. "We are looking at it not just to protect our rights but to derive some intelligence."

The article further suggests that the AP will be looking for ways to license its content based on the content-tracking system. While this presumably will primarily be aimed at news aggregators and similar sites and services, citizen journalists making use of AP stories and images may find themselves to be subjects of the AP's interest as a result of the automated system. For those interested in how a citizen journalist might make appropriate use of third-party copyrighted content, keep an eye out for the launch of the CMLP Legal Guide, one section of which will address fair use of print and other content from outside sources.

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