Monday, 17 August 2009

Associated Press's tracking "beacon" is Javascript

You'll have heard of Associated Press's announcement about their new "news registry" and the puzzlement over how the hNews microformat could provide tracking of use of AP content on other websites.

Zachary M Seward of Nieman Lab has now obtained obtained a copy of the detailed internal Associated Press paper "Protect, Point, Pay" - and he also managed to have a long chat with Associated Press's general counsel Srinandan Kasi and others.

Mr Seward clarifies that the "tracking beacon" will just be a bit of Javascript code included in AP subscribers' news feeds. So again the code can be easily deleted from copied content. If it gets copied across at all via a simple Copy / Paste. Which is why for belt and braces the AP are still going to crawl the Web looking for copied content.

The good news is, it seems AP do want to encourage re-use of their content, in a way - the issue is communicating their real intentions clearly and unambiguously.

(Via Tom Morris.)

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