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Comment Word Permutations (Score 4, Interesting) 158

These publishers need to learn a little about combinometrics. The Associated Press said they wanted to be able to copyright phrases as short as five words. Consider a 500 words story which would have 495 five word phrases which could then match up to anything that was ever written -- or just try googling for the exact string. I just googled the string containing the 2nd-6th words of this comment, "said they wanted to be", and got 3.2 million hits. If AP had gotten their way with the copyrights bit, AP would have had to have determined who had the rights to this phrase and negotiate use with the owner. Then AP would have to search for the owner of the string containing the 3rd to 7th words, "they wanted to be able" which had 7.8 million hits. And so on. Further this would have to be repeated for six, seven, ... word strings. Someone must have pointed out to AP how they would be not just hoisted, by destroyed by their own petard. This inane copyright that the German publishers are proposing would end up preventing them from writing headlines.

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