Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blog Plunder

So I am reading Twitter posts by the people I follow last evening and I notice Queen of Spain says:

If we're all our own f'ing brands now how in the HELL do I control that when ANYONE can take my shit & post it like I freaking WORK for them about 1 hour ago from web

I am intrigued...so I go back and read the trail of conversation. Here is the gist of what I uncover.

*dramatic pause...

Or rather the boy decided to get out of bed and torment the cat, go for a washroom break, ask for water, and remind me that he wanted to take the stuffed dog to school tomorrow.

end pause*

So, there is the web site called BlogNetNews which claims to be a blog aggregator - one that "jumps a generation ahead."

They state in their "About"

We are going to use your feeds and the feeds of top bloggers from your online community to create new content and information that will organize this slice of the Internet making it work better for bloggers and their readers.

What?! Your going take blog feeds and ones by "top bloggers" without their permission? Just plop it on your own site, where YOU collect the ad revenue and yet YOU create NOTHING. How exactly are you creating "new content...to organize this slice of the Internet"? Is this your 1-10 rating system perhaps? The ability to show the "most clicked" or "hot comments"?

It would be one thing if the site had permission to use the bloggers' content- but it seems from reading Queen of Spain's various tweets - she was never asked to contribute - rather her parenting blog suddenly appeared on BlogNetNews. And, BlogNetNews won't remove her feed.

Now to give credit to BlogNetNews, like other aggregators, if you want to read the entire post, or if you want to comment you are directed to the blogger's site. You can only read the first 7-10 lines of the post on BlogNetNews. Which means that BlogNetNews could potentially drive traffic to these blogs. At the same time, the Permalinks link back to BlogNetNews. And, the way the URL re-routes to Queen of Spain is odd...

I am no expert in Intellectual Property and copyright, but I certainly hope that when I write this blog, or my MEGO blog, that I own that content. Obviously, other bloggers are free to quote me - that kind of access exists in copyright of any written material - printed or or digital. But, to take the entire feed as your own content without permission, without authority is unethical.

Access CopyRight in Canada recognizes 3 content users: Educational Institutions, Businesses, Public and Not-for-Profit.

Prior to copying, emailing, scanning, or faxing materials from periodicals, journals, newspapers and books, businesses need to legally secure permission from the copyright owner.

The same goes for Public and Not-for Profit - only educational differs where a licence:

gives educators and students advance permission to copy from millions of copyright protected newspapers, magazines, journals and books from around the world, complementing what is allowed under fair dealing, educational exceptions under the Copyright Act, and through the public domain.

I could find very little on copying digital content on the site, only licensing information to copy to digital formats (scans, Intranets etc).

However, this little tidbit suggested that when it comes to online content:

If no copyright notice is provided, or if the copyright notice does not allow the use you want to make, a good starting point for getting clarification or permission is to send an email to the site’s webmaster.

Obviously the web is a very different beast, where a "printed edition" doesn't stem from one particular country where a licensing agent such as Access Copyright can help to determine help negotiate agreements between intellectual property owner and interested party, but it seems only common courtesy to do as Access Copyright suggested - and ask for permission!

What do you think?


Visit Queen of Spain for her communication with the editor of BNN and if you are were unlucky enough to get scraped - make sure you contact him (his contact info is on her post).

City Mama also posts a link to another post which gives you more background on BNNs editor, David Mastio. Ironically, Mastio is a former GWB speech writer! And, quite obviously a serious douchebag.


Just Janice said...

GeekMommy also had a great idea - to start off each post with a "If you aren't reading this post on www.bloggerssite.com then this feed is being ripped off..." or something to that effect. Also, you could only publish a summary of your feed - in WP this is set in: Options-Reading-Syndication Feed. Last week I had two posts scraped - I could tell bc I had trackbacks sent to my site from the scraper's site. They didn't even credit me properly. I'll be making the changes that I just suggested above later today.

Queen of Spain said...

Fantastic post! As of about 4 minutes ago my feed was removed. Proof that if you make enough noise sometimes stuff gets done.