The Associated Press has strengthened attempts to track the use of its content online and monitor potential breaches of its copyright on the web with the creation of a 'news registry'.

The new system will automatically notify the agency about how its content is used and store information identifying each piece of AP content distributed and its terms of use.

Text content online will initially be covered, but the agency plans to expand the registry to include member content by early next year, it said in a release.

The registry will make use of the new microformat for metadata introduced by the AP earlier this month, which has been added to all its news stories online to encourage an industry standard for tagging.

According to today's release, the registry will make use of the microformat, hNews, as it also contains a 'digital permissions framework', which allows publishers to specify how their content is used online and enables them to track its re-use.

The agency had announced plans for a new online copyright initiative in April, following several high profile cases of alleged copyright infringement of AP material. The agency has also previously used firm iCopyright to monitor breaches of its copyright online.

The AP has said it is continuing to explore ideas of search pages - webpages aggregating links to 'authoritative' local news content, to guide and direct users to AP and its members' content.

According to the agency's statement, the creation of the news registry will also help its members analyse and monitor reuse of material, for example, by offering metrics on content consumption.

Yesterday online copyright tracking firm Attributor announced it had signed up more than 1,000 members to its Fair Syndication Consortium, which enables publishers to approach parties who re-use their content with a revenue-sharing arrangement.

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