Smarter commentators than this one--no really, they exist--have already tackled this issue, so I will be quick in my comments: Fuck the Associated Press for thinking their content is so fucking special that people who quote more than 4 words of an article should be paying them money.
It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of, and it doesn't stand a chance of being a real long lasting policy (they may have already backed off by now, I don't know. I don't care). Even dreaming up a scheme like this shows a level of evil that I'm not going to support at any level, even my own teeny tiny blog level.
Can you imagine spending money to quote Nedra Pickler? To read Nedra Pickler? If anyone owes anyone money for that privelege, the AP should be paying me, goddamnit.
To quote Patrick (who doesn't mind, because he's a fairminded person. He won't even charge me, I bet!) from Making Light: (and who I found via Cory at BoingBoing)
"Welcome to a world in which you won’t be able to effectively criticize the press, because you’ll be required to pay to quote as few as five words from what they publish.
Welcome to a world in which you won’t own any of your technology or your music or your books, because ensuring that someone makes their profit margins will justify depriving you of the even the most basic, commonsensical rights in your personal, hand-level household goods.
The people pushing for this stuff are not well-meaning, and they are not interested in making life better for artists, writers, or any other kind of individual creators. They are would-be aristocrats who fully intend to return us to a society of orders and classes, and they’re using so-called “intellectual property” law as a tool with which to do it. Whether or not you have ever personally taped a TV show or written a blog post, if you think you’re going to wind up on top in the sort of world these people are working to build, you are out of your mind."