Schwimmer makes some good
points in his
clarification to his decision to ask Bloglines to remove his feed. A few
points in particular warrant further discussion.
Creating the free content for advertisements that Bloglines will sell
to other trademark law firms. This isn’t baseless conjecture - read
this discusssion of Bloglines’
advertising keyed to the content of blogs. At least with Google’s
contextual ad program, the blog creator gets some money.
The question I have is how is this different than if say FeedDemon or
Newsgator decided to release a free version of their aggregator that
included targeted ads. Tyme White
there is a big difference between Bloglines search/preview feature
where anyone can view a blogs content and someone adding the feed for
private viewing. The argument of desktop readers having ads is
completely different - that would be for private viewing only by the
user and the ad would NOT be on the feed, it would in the software.
Seems to me it’s only a difference in mechanics. Most aggregators
contain search features as well. Wouldn’t be hard for them to include
targeted ads. Not only that, it’s still making money off your content.
Even a desktop aggregation company could print the following ad…
Find out how our sales team can help you reach you reach new customers
with targeted advertisements on ACME Aggregator. Contact
email@example.com for more information.
In my view, there’s a big difference in what Bloglines is doing and some
website blatantly ripping your content. I can see the problem if
Bloglines was a profit motivated legal website and the main content of
the site was taken from legal blogs that provide feeds. With Bloglines,
the primary usage is for private users to subscribe to feeds. Yes, your
content is available via search, but it’s the same as with Google.
Likewise, don’t you want people to find your content, regardless?
Tyme goes on to say…
The bottom line, if money is being made off of a feed it could be
deemed commercial use and you should receive permission from the
author before redistributing unless the content is considered public
Does that mean Google must ask permission to display your site in search
results which might contain ads for your competitors (which was recently
ruled completely legal).
Suppose you send copyrighted email to a gmail user? Does it infringe on
your copyright that Google can target ads to be displayed alongside your
I don’t ask these questions to be contrarian, but to really understand
the issue. As I see it, yes martin is right. He does have the right to
control his content. But true wisdom is knowing when one should
excercise a right. As Scoble points
…(by the way, how come you guys aren’t yelling about Google’s
caching? Did you see that all your pages are cached over on Google?
That breaks with traditional copyright law too, but so far we’ve been
cool with that too. Why? It helps everyone.
My advice to Martin is that yeah, you’re right. You have a copyright
over your content, but think about the big picture. You’ve definitely
got yourself noticed. Now let Bloglines use your content for fun and
profit, become a blogging hero, and watch your own clientele list and
profit grow as a result. Everyone can win in this situation. Don’t try
to force a new technology to fit within the confines of an outdated
copyright system that’s winded and unable to keep up.
Probably the best thing to come out of all this is a discussion of
copyright as it pertains to an entirely new medium. Let’s hope the right
decisions are made that reflect the cooperative nature of RSS.