The Associated Press has announced that it is taking a hard stance on sites that aggregate its news content, which may have an effect on the future of search.

Monday the AP Board of Directors announced that it would launch an industry initiative which would track its online content to make sure it is being used legally. Dean Singleton, AP chairman, said the organization would pursue legal action against websites that do not properly use licensed content.

It has long been the opinion of search engines that using a small portion of content from news sources like the AP fall under the fair use doctrine, but it appears the AP is taking that stance to task with its new initiative.

"We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories," Singleton said at the AP annual meeting this week.

Sue A. Cross, a senior vice president for the AP, told the New York Times that the group’s intention is to make sure that the top results from a search engine are "the original source or the most authoritative source."

For websites, this may mean that original content is all the more important as news organizations like the AP begin to crack down on misappropriation of online content.