When I met with Jim Brock, CEO of stealth-mode start-up Attributor, in New York City earlier this month, he shared with me his vision for mapping, tracking and assisting in appropriately monetizing the proprietary content of publishers across the Web.
Brock also was itching to share with me his "big news" about Attributor's first big client, and it indeed is big, as Brock was able to share with me today.
Attributor announces that it has been retained by the Associated Press to provide Web-wide monitoring and analysis of the online use of AP content with the aim of identifying unauthorized use.
Attributor technology will be used to fingerprint AP copy and to identify and document its display wherever it appears across the Internet.
Brock told me today "Attributor aims to bring transparency and accountability to the online content economy."
In gaining the confidence of AP, not only has Attributor landed its first paid client, it is collaborating with "one of the largest producers and distributors of online content."
What is in it for AP?
The leading news orgnization is intensifying its efforts to protect its copyrights on the Web and hopes to uncover new sources of revenue. In subscribing to Attributor's service, the AP will track how its stories are distributed across thousands of Web sites. Plans include eventual expansion for monitoring of the use of photos and videos on the Internet, as well.
Brock told me, "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 AP is putting it more bluntly. Srinandan Kasi, the news cooperative's general counsel:
What we are trying to say is that if someone wants to use our news, they have to pay for it.
Why is Kasi attracted by the Attributor solution?
Attributor so far has indexed more than 13 billion Web pages, providing the AP with a potentially powerful tool for better understanding how its content is being consumed online and, ultimately, detect copyright violations.
Rather than trying to scan all the material that AP produces each day, Attributor initially will focus on a few hundred stories likely to attract a lot of readers. Web sites that are updated frequently will be tracked more intensively. The AP can log in to Attributor's service to track usage and flag potential copyright violations.
AP will compensate Attributor depending upon usage levels.
"It's the start of a movement," Brock enthused. A real "Claim Your Content" movement!