Who are the "Media Bloggers Association" and what gives them to right to negotiate copyright with the Associated Press? -- UPDATED

The Associated Press has promised to meet with some organization I've never heard of called "The Media Bloggers Association" to work out the details of its frankly insane proposal to sell licenses to quote five or more words from AP stories.

Who are the Media Bloggers Association? Turns out it's mostly one guy, some right-wing attack-blogger who hangs around on the lecture circuit and ran a blog devoted to pissing on Keith Olbermann. Our Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blogged an extensive analysis of the Media Bloggers Association and its total irrelevance to blogging and its total unsuitability to representing "blogging" in some kind of negotiation with the AP.

The Media Bloggers Association substantially consists of one lackluster blogger named Robert Cox. His weblog, Words in Edgewise, and the MBA website, are two halves of the same site. Robert Cox isn’t all that interested in blogging per se. What he’s really into is self-aggrandizement by representing himself as someone who speaks for bloggers and blogging. An embarrassing number of organizations have fallen for this.

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Update: Regarding today's post on the Media Bloggers Association, whom the AP and New York Times said would "represent bloggers" in negotiations over whether the AP would be able to charge $12.50 for quoting five words from a news story (and only if you promised not to criticize the AP!), Mary sez, "AP (and the NYTimes) misrepresented that the MBA is representing bloggers
to negotiate a policy about use of AP story quotes.
I don't know Robert Cox, and wasn't familiar with the MBA, but some of the founding members
include Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen, O Willis, Rebecca MacKinnon and Micah Sifry.

Jay, Liza and others are saying that when the MBA represents bloggers in trouble with
the FBI, over C&Ds and with other issues, they've been helpful."

The NYT (in implying) and AP in it's headline and throughout the article outright, completely misunderstand this, and lead readers to misunderstand that there is even an institution that can "negotiate for the blogosphere." The blogophere is made up of millions of little spheres of conversation and influence, and those are made up of tens of millions of bloggers. It's utterly ridiculous and shows a complete lack of understanding of the blogosphere to believe there is some sort of institution on the other side of traditional media. The whole point of blogging is that people do what they want, that online publishing is completely atomized, and that if some sort of policy were to be negotiated with one small group, no one else would likely follow it *because Fair Use exists* and I would personally rather follow the constitution on this one.

I think it's time for a correction/restatement/clarification at NYT and a complete retraction at AP.

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(Thanks, Mary!)

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