AP’s Nonsensical News Protection System

Like many of us, Ed Felten at Freedom to Tinker was puzzled by the news-article registry system announced by AP last week. After taking a look at it, he concluded that, yes, it makes no sense whatever and isn’t worth the fretting that’s emanating from some quarters. Key quotes:

As far as I can tell, the underlying technology is based on hNews, a microformat for news, shown in the AP diagram, that was announced by AP and the Media Standards Trust two weeks before the recent AP announcement.

Unfortunately for AP, the hNews spec bears little resemblance to AP’s claims about it. hNews is a handy way of annotating news stories with information about the author, dateline, and so on. But it doesn’t “encapsulate” anything in a “wrapper”, nor does it do much of anything to facilitate metering, monitoring, or paywalls.

It seems that there is much less to the AP’s announcement than meets the eye. If there’s a story here, it’s in the mismatch between the modest and reasonable underlying technology, and AP’s grandiose claims for it.

The AP and its newspaper owners are starting to remind us the music industry and its attack-dog RIAA. That’s sad, in the extreme.