|RSS Feeds and Copyright?|
Is an RSS Feed an implicit authorization for use of content?
If a site has an RSS feed, does that make that content implicitly available for use on other sites?
I would believe if the feed is a "snippet" of an article it would be freely available as "fair use". What if the whole article is available as RSS. Would not "fair use" still be a deciding factor for copyright issues?
If a site makes the whole article available via RSS for its readers to read in RSS readers, that site would still have full copyright of the article. That would not dirctly imply that any website could use it as if it was their content and use it in full.
What are your experiences/thoughts with this?
I think you have to take into account that some users don't understand RSS. Their blog system may automatically republish the entire article, but the blogger may not understand the full implications of this, or they may simply not have figured out how to switch it off or how to make it publish snippets instead of full articles. So although the RSS may exist, and it's a format that lends itself to republishing, that doesn't mean that it automatically grants the right to copy that content.
In practice, this is pretty simple: don't republish full-text RSS feeds unless permission is specifically granted. And set your own RSS feeds to display only snippets, with links back to your website, unless you actually want other people to copy your content.
|I would believe if the feed is a "snippet" of an article it would be freely available as "fair use". |
Can anyone with IP experience care to comment on this?
I am not referring to republishing of the entire article/new story, merely the headline and paragraph (snippet) actually contained within the RSS feed itself.
Let's say we wanted to aggregate a number of rss feeds, and then filter them through our own set of criteria, before displaying them on a client's web site.
If we ensure there is always accreditation to the original publisher on each snippet PLUS a link back to the original article are we going to be in the clear from a legal perspective?
What say we picked up hundreds of feeds and just one of them had a clause, tucked away in the terms and conditions of their website, that said no commercial use of their RSS feeds is allowed? I am wondering whether there has there been any legal precedent set here. I would like to think that if someone is making an RSS feed available, that anyone can use it for just about any purpose so long as proper accreditation is provided.
I think RSS implies that distribution is acceptable. But copyright law applies just the same as if you wrote a research study, a novel or indeed any other writing.
You need to complete read and understand the terms and conditions that the site is providing the RSS feed for.
almost all rss feeds are provided for use for private and/or non-commercial use. That means you can use it personally in a news reader or your phone or other device for personal use.
However if you put it onto a website then you are now likely outside that permitted purpose. This is especially true if you have ANY sort of advertisements (Google, Yahoo, Etc) affiliate links or any offers.
Additionally even if you don't have any ads and you are only providing it so that others can access it on your site to "generate traffic" or as a "free service" you are violating that explicit permission.
|I think RSS implies that distribution is acceptable. |
Substitute "a web page" for RSS and see if it still makes sense.
I don't think there is any difference. They are just different technical protocols. I would think that whatever law applies to one would apply to the other.
|I don't think there is any difference. They are just different technical protocols. I would think that whatever law applies to one would apply to the other |
IMO Syndication has clear implications, beyond those implied by a language.
|IMO Syndication has clear implications |
But that's just a word, and there isn't even agreement that the word applies.
Really Simple Syndication
RDF Site Summary
Rich Site Summary
Now, if you see it as as a site summary, how is it really different from a web page?
And, while they are referred to as "feeds", there's nothing being pushed - it's being pulled - the "feed" part is really in the client, not the server.
Are we to rely on what something is called, (by whom?) in order to make a legal distinction? When nobody can even agree on exactly what it is called?
Or should we rely, instead, on what it is?
And how does it's name (which may or may not be what it's called figure-in?
|`Don't stand there chattering to yourself like that,' Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time,' but tell me your name and your business.' |
`My NAME is Alice, but -- '
`It's a stupid name enough!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. `What does it mean?'
`MUST a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.
`Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a sort laugh: `MY name means the shape I am -- and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like your, you might be any shape, almost.'
- Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carrol
|there isn't even agreement that the word applies |
Ok you got me there - although I think the 'syndication' term is much more widespread ;)
But regardless, I think my point is valid. In computing names are usually chosen because they reflect something of the nature of the thing being named. The related language used around RSS is instructive - you mentioned 'feeds' yourself, for example. Names are not just abstract jumbles of letters, whatever Alice believes, but I'll avoid getting Wittgensteinian about it :P
|Are we to rely on what something is called, (by whom?) in order to make a legal distinction |
No, although I suggested an implication rather than a legal distinction.
If you choose to publish in a format designed for portability and widely used as a syndication method, I think you'd be hard pressed to make a good complaint and feign surprise that the data provided ended up being republished by aggregators or downloaded locally by feed readers. I don't think the same applies to a webpage, or at least to nowhere near the same extent.
Old topic, but I just saw it. I just want to point out that almost every columnist and comic strip that you've actually heard of is syndicated. That doesn't mean that you can just republish their columns or comics without permission or without fees.
Syndicated just means distributed. It says nothing about the conditions of that distribution.
Concerning snippets - see this [webmasterworld.com...]
|What say we picked up hundreds of feeds and just one of them had a clause, tucked away in the terms and conditions of their website, that said no commercial use of their RSS feeds is allowed? |
In that case, you shouldn't make commercial use of that one RSS feed. The fact that all the others don't prohibit it is irrelevant to the one that does prohibit it.
|You need to complete read and understand the terms and conditions that the site is providing the RSS feed for. |
Amen. And that's each and every one of those sites.
I would read the Terms of Service for the site on what the allowed use is.. RSS may be provided for personal Use Only, but any other use will not be permitted. Don't assume anything.