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News aggregators & other headline issues

11:42 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was just wondering... there are quite a few news aggregator sites around these days that scrape headlines off sites and regurgitate them as RSS feeds for rent.

Thing is - it isn't hard to write code to do the same thing for your own site (i.e. to aggregate your own news). But how does that tie in with copyright issues, or is it still very grey?

For instance - if I were to write my own spider that checks headlines / bodies on a few sites every day for keywords, then adds those headlines (as links to the original sites/articles of course) to the originating site; is that 'different' to if I'd read 20 sites myself and posted a link to 'an interesting article I found' manually?

8:05 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's the approach to it that would make only a little difference.

Whatever method you use to "take" information from another site it is protected by their copyright. Bear in mind the server load, too, otherwise your site may end up being classed as a sponger.

The other site has done the work to create and assemble the material so they would take a dim view of someone sponging.

If you intend to do as you mentioned, you will need to contact the site owner for permission to do so, especially if the plan is to do that automatically.

2:54 am on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What about aggregating / posting RSS feeds that are available on other sites directly?

And posting the headline / summary from the RSS and the link back to their site?

5:52 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It depends on the site. Generally, if they just stick a link to their RSS feed on their site, they *want* you to use it. After all, it's another way to generate traffic to the news site.

Other places, like the Associated Press, allow you to use their RSS feeds for free if you're non-commercial, but require you to license the feed content if you're a commercial entity. However, this is spelled out on the RSS links page, and generally is any time there's a restriction on its use. Just keep an eye out for restrictions, but otherwise you're ok.