This is troubling! The Associated Press has filed 7 Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests against a site called Drudge Retort (unaffiliated with Matt Drudge). The site is a largely user-generated blog that features headlines, excerpts from news articles, links, and discussion. The AP says this practice is a violation of their intellectual property. Some call it blogging! The AP's lawyer is having none of that:
you purport that the Drudge Retort's users reproduce and display AP headlines and leads under a fair use defense. Please note that contrary to your assertion, AP considers that the Drudge Retort users' use of AP content does not fall within the parameters of fair use. The use is not fair use simply because the work copied happened to be a news article and that the use is of the headline and the first few sentences only. This is a misunderstanding of the doctrine of "fair use." AP considers taking the headline and lede of a story without a proper license to be an infringement of its copyrights, and additionally constitutes "hot news" misappropriation.
Well. Like we said, troubling! And incredibly short-sighted and stupid!
If the AP "wins" (and they probably will), that could shake the internet to its core. Which, uh... mixed blessing?