AP Going With Attributor to Track its Content

One of the toughest jobs for one of the oldest "distributed content" companies -- especially in the digital age -- is to track where the stuff it produces ends up.

Now The Associated Press is going with "fingerprinting technology" from a company named Attributor (which I wrote about for Jack Myers Media Business Report last week). Attributor ingests text (and will later ingest images, video and sound, its execs says) and compares the material, or pieces of it, to the billions of website and pages it constantly scans on the Internet to see if folks are using anything without authorization.

Attributor then allows the AP (or other clients) to send a message to the site that's picked up the content, requesting that it be, say, taken down, or used appropriately, that revenue be shared -- various combinations and permutations.

There had been hint that AP was going to go with Attributor, which is still in what Attributor is calling private Beta. Attributor put out a press release last night:

Attributor Is Tapped by The Associated Press to Track Use of AP Content Across the Internet

Attributor to identify unauthorized use of AP text content.

Redwood City, Calif. – May 31, 2007 – Attributor Corporation announced today it will provide web-wide monitoring and analysis of the online use of Associated Press content.

Attributor technology will be used to fingerprint AP copy and to identify and document its display wherever it appears across the Internet. The arrangement with Attributor is part of a larger strategic initiative at AP to safeguard intellectual property rights to its content and to enable new licensing and distribution models.

“Our agreement with Attributor will enable AP to safeguard its investment in creating and distributing news reports, while assuring licensees that unauthorized use will not diminish the value of their licenses,” said AP General Counsel Srinandan Kasi. “These services are part of the next-generation licensing and enforcement services we plan to provide to our global network of members and subscribers.”

“Attributor aims to bring transparency and accountability to the online content economy. As one of the largest producers and distributors of online content, AP is a perfect first implementation for our highly scalable platform,” said Attributor CEO Jim Brock. “In addition to helping publishers of all kinds protect the value of content assets for authorized licensees, we will also help them capture additional editorial and advertising value.”

The Attributor platform will continuously monitor billions of pages on the Internet and perform comparison analysis against AP content to provide a customized view of content usage, including a context sensitive understanding of compliance with applicable licensing and legal requirements. The arrangement will initially cover AP text, which represents one of the largest daily sources of original content in the world. AP content in other media formats will also be tested with Attributor’s comparison technology.

Attributor's services also will be used with organizations that exchange or distribute editorial content or information through AP. Attributor and AP also intend to explore the development and distribution of potential editorial, licensing and advertising applications based on the Attributor platform and AP’s content distribution systems.

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