RSS copyright

There’s an interesting thread about RSS plagiarism surrounding a handful of blogs at the moment. The central question is whether aggregation sites (one called Top Ten Sources in particular) that reproduce content from RSS feeds in full is a violation of copyright law.

Jim Moore, of Harvard Law School, weighs in on the linked page:

RSS content is also part of a worldwide web commons. When you put it out, you presume if will be read, used, aggregated, etc. If you want to create a private feed, do so. If you want to feed only headlines and summaries, like the New York Times, do that. It is entirely your choice.

But don’t get all self-righteous and attack services like TopTenSources or Pubsub or Bloglines or Squidoo or Blogbridge or Newsgator or Yahoo or Google feeds who try to make content findable and useful. If you want to participate with your content, do so. If you don’t, don’t. But don’t try to regulate innnovation and downstream processing of the commons.

I completely agree – RSS is a format designed for syndication, and by making it available you are implying that people can use it – but would be interested to hear your thoughts.

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