Two different companies are in the news today as they attempt to cope with the Internet.
The first company is Associated Press. AP decided to create their own "fair use" policy and they've sent "cease and desist" letters to bloggers that quote brief snippets from AP news stories. As noted on Techdirt, AP doesn't have the legal authority to determine its own private version of the fair use doctrine — fair use is a legal concept which grants people certain rights, and the doctrine exists whether or not AP agrees to it. I support Techdirt's decision to avoid quoting the Associated Press henceforth — if AP doesn't want the free publicity, which makes their news more valuable and their company more profitable, then by all means let's not give them any free publicity.
The other company is Sony, which is more or less famous for the extent and egregiousness of their blunders, such as installing dangerous spyware on millions of computers. Sony is about to release a new direct-to-DVD television show; to promote the show, Sony will make a few eight-to-ten minute long condensed versions of the episodes available online.
As usual, Sony's obsession with control over "content" results in poor marketing decisions. If Sony makes a few complete episodes online, viewers could see the episodes and then decide to purchase the DVD. By making just snippets available online, viewers who want to see complete episodes may turn to file-sharing services instead; at that point, why bother purchasing the DVD from Sony? Obsession with control leads to loss of control.
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