Updated April 9 at 10:55 a.m. PDT with AP comment.
Maybe the Associated Press can file this one under "That's news to me."
At least one representative of the venerable news agency, which recently declared that it was tired of the Internet riding on its coattails, was apparently unaware the agency had an official YouTube video channel.
The AP recently sent a letter to WTNQ-FM in Tennessee--an affiliate of the Associated Press, by the way--accusing the country music radio station of copyright violation for embedding videos from the AP's official YouTube channel on its Web site, according to a station employee's blog. The AP channel includes embed code for its videos, which allows any Web site or blog to embed the videos on their sites--a feature that can be turned off.
Separately, on Monday the Associated Press said that it would go after news aggregators and other Web sites that "walk off with our work under misguided legal theories."
Frank Strovel, WTNQ's operations manager, writes in a blog that the station received the following message from the AP's regional radio representative in Chicago:
I noticed you are posting our video content with out a license and have to ask you to remove the AP video content from the site ASAP. If you would like to know more about our web services please contact me.
"Not exactly a cease and desist letter, but the point is the same," Strovel said.
Strovel, who said he was "stunned" by the letter, called the representative to discuss the matter. Here is Strovel's version of how the conversation went:
I said, "How is it a violation of a license agreement if you are actively posting the video on YouTube--on a channel you specifically created to share content--with embed codes for people to post in their websites? Are you telling me that you put it there for people to use......but if they USE IT they're violating your rights?"
The basic reply was, "Well, I'll have to investigate that issue further but in the meantime you need to pull all of our videos off your site."
Strovel said he pulled the videos on Tuesday but called the representative back on Wednesday for answers to his questions.
"He still had no answer as to why they are posting content on YouTube for embedding when it's apparently a crime to do so," Strovel said. "I still want an answer to my original question and so far they are baffled and cannot give me one. They actually seemed to act like they didn't even know they had a YouTube channel!"
An AP representative on Thursday characterized the episode as a "misunderstanding."
"There was a misunderstanding of YouTube usage when the Tennessee radio station was contacted by the Associated Press regarding the AP's more extensive online video services," Paul Colford, the AP's director of media relations, said in a statement provided to CNET News. "No cease and desist letter was drafted or sent by AP to the station at any time. The AP was trying to offer the station a superior service for their needs."
News of the exchange began spreading Tuesday after Strovel Twittered about the station's predicament. The news was picked up by the Knoxville News and then by local video producer Christian Grantham, who conducted the following video interview with Strovel: