When Woot announced last week that it was going to be acquired by Amazon.com, just about everyone wrote about it. However, of the many media organizations that covered the deal, only one has floated a policy that would charge bloggers for the kind of excerpting that’s historically been considered fair use. So, when the Associated Press, in writing about the Woot-Amazon deal, borrowed some of Woot’s own verbiage, the deal-a-day site struck back and told the wire service it expected $17.50 for the words. Or the AP could just buy two pairs of Sennheiser in-ear headphones and call it even.
We’ll let Woot put it in their own words, though we really don’t need a new set of earbuds:
“The AP, we can’t thank you enough for looking our way. You see, when we showed off our good news on Wednesday afternoon, we expected we’d get a little bit of attention. But when we found your little newsy thing you do, we couldn’t help but notice something important. And that something is this: you printed our web content in your article! The web content that came from our blog! Why, isn’t that the very thing you’ve previously told nu-media bloggers they’re not supposed to do?
So, The AP, here we are. Just to be fair about this, we’ve used your very own pricing scheme to calculate how much you owe us. By looking through the link above, and comparing your post with our original letter, we’ve figured you owe us roughly $17.50 for the content you borrowed from our blog post, which, by the way, we worked very very hard to create. But, hey. We’re all friends here. And invoicing is such a hassle in today’s paperless society, are we right? How about this: instead of cutting us a check for the web content you liberated from our site, all you’ll need to do is show us your email receipt from today’s two pack of Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones, and we’ll call it even.“
The AP report on the Amazon deal quoted roughly a sentence and a half from a post written by Woot CEO Matt Rutledge. However, given that the AP has previously suggested that writers pay for the right to quote as few as five words, $17.50 for Rutledge’s 17 words, seems like a deal. Though at $6.99 plus $5.00 for shipping, the earbuds are a much better deal.
Do I now owe someone something?