Recently I blogged about newspapers running blog summaries in their pages, and also my idea of a turnkey online rights clearance mechanism. Now I find that Scoopt has just announced a service that goes some way toward combining the two, in the form of a seamless “buy a post” button at the bottom of your weblog sidebar. The editor who wants to use your post in a commercial publication simply buys it off the button, via Scoopt. Presumably, once you’ve been published a few times, you might even be able to get a press card from the NUJ. Scoopt is British, has fair terms, pays bloggers transparently by PayPal within 30 days, and already has a good track record of selling pro-am photos to the mainstream press. If a publisher asks you for further “off-blog” writing, they pay Scoopt a “finder fee” of 15 percent. I signed up for it…

Buy content through ScooptWords

Seeing as how the average press album review seems to be around 120 words these days (hardly enough for a Parsons or a Swells to draw breath), there’s perhaps hope for blog content to cross over.

Semi-professionalisation may bring perils, though. For instance, the rights watchdog Reporters sans Frontières has recently issued a rebuke against a ludicrous decision in Aosta, Italy. An Italian court there actually convicted a blogger “suspected of creating a US-hosted blog in 2005” and, although it couldn’t be proved he was the author of the comments, has fined him 13,500-euro. Blogger Roberto Mancini, a former vice-president of the Italian version of the NUJ, had been a little too scathing about local toadies. Even the judge admitted that “the information posted on the blogs was partly true, but was not reported appropriately”. Mancini was also held responsible for comments left on his blog. And this is the corrupt state that will supposedly give journalist Oriana Fallaci a fair trial? A country where, according to a recent report…. “almost one in ten members of the Italian parliament is either on trial, awaiting an appeal or has a conviction”

Meanwhile, over in the good old USA, an appeals court recently ruled that bloggers are covered by the First Amendment. “We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish ‘legitimate’ from ‘illegitimate’ news”, said the decision.