The Associated Press has pulled out of negotiations with Pet Holdings because LOLcats-style captions are against their journalistic integrity.
I’m not sure which is funnier — that the prestigious Associated Press was considering aligning itself with the LOLcats founder, or that its excuse for pulling out of the deal had to do with “journalistic integrity.”
According to a report by the LA Times Technology Blog, the Associated Press was in talks with Pet Holdings — the company that owns such viral blogs as “I Can Has Cheezburger?” and “Failblog” — to allow Pet Holdings to use AP images. Pet Holdings planned to turn AP images of celebs and politicians over to Internet users, so that said users could plaster the images with LOLcat-style captions.
Pet Holdings owner Ben Huh told the LA Times on Monday that the Associated Press nixed the deal because of concerns over journalistic integrity. More specifically, “They felt that allowing the unwashed masses to [alter image captions] would be against their journalistic integrity.”
I Can Has Cheezburger? (ICHC) is a popular blog that features funny photos of cats PhotoShopped over with misspelled and grammatically incorrect captions. The captions are intended to look like a cat wrote them (here we assume that a cat with the ability to take a photo of itself, PhotoShop the photo, and upload the photo to the internet would be incapable of using correct spelling or grammar).
The AP images would be used at ICHC’s sister sites, Pundit Kitchen and ROFL Razzi. Pundit Kitchen and ROFL Razzi are blogs where politicians and celebrities, respectively, get the LOLcat treatment.
However, getting photos of politicians and celebs for LOLcat-ization is not as easy as getting random internet users to take pictures of their cats — and Huh and Pet Holdings soon discovered that wire services aren’t big fans of having their images messed with. So, in an effort to make peace with content owners, Huh and Pet Holdings have been in talks over the past few months with Getty Images, the Associated Press, and Corbis Images.
Getty eventually signed on, but Corbis is still in talks and now the Associated Press has withdrawn from the deal.