"Welcome to a world in which you won’t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you’ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish," writes Doctorow.
I sympathize with these critics. Such restrictions, if enforced, would be intolerable.
The AP's problem is that sometimes the headline is the whole story; the AP pays a lot of money to have a network of reporters so that someone is there when the bombs go off. It's looking for ways to get paid for that network in a declining market.
Sending takedown notices to bloggers who post 50-word quotes is not the right way to do that; the right to quote is a fundamental freedom, as I quoted Lawrence Lessig saying yesterday. But I can relate to the ambivalence of NYT Bits blogger Saul Hansell on this issue; like him, I'm both a reporter and a blogger. Like him, I'm concerned about the level of vitriol in the blogosphere about this issue, and I hope cooler heads prevail and seek a negotiated solution.