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Monday, June 06, 2005
RSS Ripoff Merchants, Creative Commons, FeedBurner
Read/Write Web's Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 30 May - 5 June 2005 points to a discussion that I was following last week on what MacManus was calling "RSS Ripoff Merchants" -- companies that offer software or services that exist to ahem find and repackage content pulled from various sources around the Web.

Since I've been seventeen different kinds of busy for the last few weeks, I didn't get around to posing on it (or on any of the other posts that I've been meaning to get to).

The thread did resonate in an interesting way with one thing that's been in my head recently, though, so I wanted to get it out: while copyright is secured automatically as a function of creating something, copyright for...oh, say, blogs, for example...is a slightly odd case. Many people take a "common sense" approach, implicitly allowing significant amounts of re-use and assuming that others will use blog content "appropriately" -- quoting posts, or republishing them with attribution -- because that's the way blogging has worked thus far.

Now, common sense has as its basis community, and what is common sense to the community of bloggers may not be common sense to the larger world. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a mechanism that allowed us to make explicit the terms under which the content that we create may be used?

Yes. Yes, it would. While adding a creative commons license to your Web site or feed doesn't prevent others from using the content that you create in inappropriate ways, it does, at least, make it clear to others how you will allow your content to be used...you're communicating your standards and preventing the honest misunderstandings if not the outright abuse.

And one more side note: thanks, FeedBurner! It took a total of three clicks to add the appropriate CC license to my feed. With the sixteen kinds of busy that I still have to deal with for a few more weeks, I like it when people do work for me.
That's an excellent point Whitney. I especially like how you framed it as "common sense" as a community of bloggers. I've pretty much decided to go with CC too. I guess any and every copyright license has its hassles, but at least with CC everyone pretty much knows where they stand.

cheers, Richard MacManus
I like this phrase :)
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