The AP is again trying to blame bloggers for bringing about the downfall of the news business. In an article yesterday, AP reports the findings of a recent study by Attributor Corp. which claims that 1.5 times more people read pirated articles than legitimate articles, housed at their originating organization, or at a fully-licensed AP site.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. Attributor sees a Step Three: Profit! lining in that cloud:
However, the problem, flagged by copyright cop Attributor Corp., could turn into a golden opportunity if media companies figure out a way to mine advertising revenue from the traffic flocking to their pirated stories posted on blogs and other sites.
Attributor, which makes software that trolls the Internet for copyright violations, estimates the average Web publisher could collect more than $150,000 in additional revenue by selling ads alongside its unlicensed material.
It’s an unscientific estimate, based on an assumption that advertisers would pay $1 for every 1,000 pages of unauthorized material viewed on Web sites that aren’t owned by the copyright owners.
If anything, Attributor believes its calculations understate the opportunity for fleeced publishers. The Redwood City-based company already is working with a few media companies that could generate more than $1 million in annual advertising by enforcing their online copyrights, said Rich Pearson, Attributor’s vice president of marketing.
The problem, aside from still not understanding the benefit of having thousands of blogs pointing to your content? The excerpt above counts as piracy for the benefit of the study.
Attributor’s study, conducted from Sept. 12 through Oct. 12, reviewed 30 billion Web pages hosting copies of stories from more than 100 major Web sites. None of the sites belonged to Attributor’s current customers. After excluding all properly licensed content, Attributor then discarded any page that copied less than 50 percent or fewer than 125 words of a copyrighted story.
Oops. Just upped the word count again.
If Attributor – and the AP – wanted to find actual piracy, they should look for whole-article lifting. That happens every day, and should be attacked and stopped.
But focusing only on the actual pirates wouldn’t get them to the big shocking number they want, to make their wrong-headed point, now would it?