It is an automated form, thus explaining how one blogger got it to charge him for the words of a former president.
The problem is not just that they use an automated form to issue their “licenses” (although the automated form does make it easy to mock them). No, the problem is that they also make bizarre, sweeping copyright claims about “their” content. Their automated form is a trap for the ill-informed, and the rest of the AP is doing yeoman’s work to keep the quoting public ill-informed.
As the AP stated more than a year ago, the form is not aimed at bloggers.
I am a blogger, but the “license” fees they charge would be equally absurd for any medium. It’s just as much fair use for a Fortune 500 company to quote a half-dozen words from an AP story as it is for a blogger. The public domain is open to everyone. The form is a lie, and saying “We’re not lying to bloggers” is merely a way of ducking the true issue.
It is intended to make it easy for people who want to license AP content to do so.
As applied to short excerpts and material not taken from AP stories (think about the user who’s trying to quote from two stories and enters text from the non-AP one by accident), no license is required. In this context, “mak[ing] it easy to license AP content” in that context means making it easy to send the AP money by mistake.