Are we free to use and edit RSS content as we wish?

by madison_avenue 23 replies
Are we free to use and edit RSS data as we wish? Are there any copyright restrictions on this form of data. Or is it like content from article directories where we are obliged to give a link back to the writer?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #content #edit #free #rss
Avatar of Unregistered
  • you need the authors permission to use the rss feeds unless they are creative commons copyright, ESPECIALLY if you plan to make money with their rss feeds.
    Signature


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[486928].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Jon Alexander
    That about says it all. Unless it's released into the public domain, the copyright will belong to someone. You could argue that releasing it as an rss feed puts it in the public domain, but teh courts might think differently...
    Signature
    http://www.contentboss.com - automated article rewriting software gives you unique content at a few CENTS per article!. New - Put text into jetspinner format automatically! http://www.autojetspinner.com

    PS my PM system is broken. Sorry I can't help anymore.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[486933].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
    If for example a company releases press release on RSS? Would we be able to use this on our site?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[486963].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      If for example a company releases press release on RSS? Would we be able to use this on our site?
      A press release is specifically intended for verbatim distribution without additional permission. It's an unusual case, much like articles in directories for that purpose.

      RSS syndication is an area where people like to just make assumptions, and use things in whatever way is convenient. They justify it with silly arguments, but they really, usually, don't care if they're right or not. It's a case of, "We can do it, so we're right to do it."

      Be careful. For example, my blog has a notice by the top feed link that says, "Please note that these are for personal use only. You may not republish this material without express permission."

      Like most copyright issues, the safest and smartest approach is, "When there's doubt, ask. When there's no doubt, it doesn't hurt to ask anyway."


      Paul
      Signature
      .
      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[486987].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author PatDoyle
    I think it is ok to post the feeds as they are - that is why people send out their feeds. But you must include the links. This gives people a link back. But you can't take the content and modify it. The content still belongs to the author. I do believe that by publishing a feed, you are implying that others can syndicate it (with links intact).
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487196].message }}
    • Originally Posted by PatDoyle View Post

      I think it is ok to post the feeds as they are - that is why people send out their feeds. But you must include the links. This gives people a link back. But you can't take the content and modify it. The content still belongs to the author. I do believe that by publishing a feed, you are implying that others can syndicate it (with links intact).
      you might think different if you were publishing full feeds instead of snippets
      Signature


      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487210].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
      Originally Posted by PatDoyle View Post

      I think it is ok to post the feeds as they are - that is why people send out their feeds. But you must include the links. This gives people a link back. But you can't take the content and modify it. The content still belongs to the author. I do believe that by publishing a feed, you are implying that others can syndicate it (with links intact).
      Yes I think that's it. If you get a RSS feed through Yahoo pipes, Google News, Amazon etc surely you must be able to display(with links intact) this Feed, otherwise why are they making it available? Why would you ask them for permission to display the feed?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487231].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by madison_avenue View Post

        Yes I think that's it. If you get a RSS feed through Yahoo pipes, Google News, Amazon etc surely you must be able to display(with links intact) this Feed, otherwise why are they making it available? Why would you ask them for permission to display the feed?
        Check their Terms of Use to see why they are making it available. Typically, RSS feeds are made available for the convenience of readers, for their readers' own personal use. With a feed reader, I can follow my favorite sites all in one place without the hassle of visiting each one individually. And, if a site doesn't have a feed, I may replace it with one that does. So, that's why some sites make an RSS feed available.

        They don't necessarily make it available for commercial use by others and, in many cases, probably don't make it available for that use at all! Of course, there are exceptions. Some businesses running affiliate programs may have feeds available for their affiliates to use, and so on.

        But, you should never assume an RSS feed is free for the taking and using, link back or not. Read the site's Terms of Use and, if they don't answer whether your intended use is okay, contact them. If you don't get a clear answer, don't assume you can use it.

        And, never use the "If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume it's okay" trick. That's certainly not going to hold up anywhere, I'm sure. How do you even know they received it? Or the right person received it? Or it didn't end up in a spam box and never get opened? No, in the lack of a clear answer, assume you do NOT have permission to use it.
        Signature

        Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

        Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487258].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by PatDoyle View Post

      I think it is ok to post the feeds as they are - that is why people send out their feeds.
      I publish my content through RSS so my readers can access it in a format that is convenient for them.

      I absolutely do NOT publish my content through RSS so that be stolen and published on other sites without my permission.

      When I want to make my content available for others to publish, with a link back, I will release such content to article directories. But, my RSS feed content is not free for the taking; it is there for the convenience of my readers.

      That being said, some people do publish content via RSS so that others may use it and incorporate it into their sites easily. But, you should never assume that anything on an RSS feed is intended for such use. Such assumptions can lead to problems, such as waking up and finding out your site has been taken down by your web host due to a DMCA complaint.
      Signature

      Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

      Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487238].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
        I totally agree with you Dan. The feeds that I put out are to inform or entertain my readers and not to suppy someone who can't be bothered to create their own work with free content. And I'm not saying the OP is guilty of that but there are plenty of people who are.

        How many times have you seen people using BBC feeds simply because it's possible to do so? I point this out to someone a few months ago and his response was "my mate does it and he gets away with it". And that's in spite of this on the Beeb's site:

        "You may not copy, reproduce, republish, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use bbc.co.uk content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any bbc.co.uk content except for your own personal, non-commercial use."



        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I publish my content through RSS so my readers can access it in a format that is convenient for them.

        I absolutely do NOT publish my content through RSS so that be stolen and published on other sites without my permission.

        When I want to make my content available for others to publish, with a link back, I will release such content to article directories. But, my RSS feed content is not free for the taking; it is there for the convenience of my readers.

        That being said, some people do publish content via RSS so that others may use it and incorporate it into their sites easily. But, you should never assume that anything on an RSS feed is intended for such use. Such assumptions can lead to problems, such as waking up and finding out your site has been taken down by your web host due to a DMCA complaint.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487268].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Sorry, doop post. Server was timing out.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487883].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I publish my content through RSS so my readers can access it in a format that is convenient for them.

        I absolutely do NOT publish my content through RSS so that be stolen and published on other sites without my permission.

        When I want to make my content available for others to publish, with a link back, I will release such content to article directories. But, my RSS feed content is not free for the taking; it is there for the convenience of my readers.

        That being said, some people do publish content via RSS so that others may use it and incorporate it into their sites easily. But, you should never assume that anything on an RSS feed is intended for such use. Such assumptions can lead to problems, such as waking up and finding out your site has been taken down by your web host due to a DMCA complaint.
        Hi Dan,

        Is this your RSS pheed on Feedburner:
        Believe. Act. Achieve! - dcr Blogs dot Com

        It clearly says on this page:
        Embed this content on your site

        Now you're not going to invite me to use your content on my site, then slap me with a DMCA are you? How strong do you think your case is in court, with a invitation to use your pheed on my site in black and white?

        Funny thing is, if you use Feedburner's method of embedding, it will be "server side", meaning you don't even get credit for the link.

        My comments on this thread aren't just about using RSS, it's also about protecting your own rights. You want certain rights, but give them away when you use a third party.

        IMO, Paul's done it the right way. He clearly states the usage he grants for his RSS pheed right by his button. However, if he used Feedburner, he's probably giving away these restrictions.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487911].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Sorry, doop post. Server was timing out.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487912].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Kurt,
          Assuming that the publisher of your pheed gives you a link (dofollow), how do your prove damages? I think I can prove, using basic SEO knowledge, that I HELPED you. So proving damages would be hard, and you know as a lawyer, this is really what copyright suits often come down to.
          I can make a case, using basic SEO knowledge, that you're damaging me. Using basic SEO knowledge.

          You've got one part of this wrong, though. You only need to prove damages to collect in court. You do not need to prove anything but ownership to compel someone to stop anything that's deemed infringement.
          One could make a case that as long as you have an edit button for that post, that it isn't "set".

          And how can you copyright protect a document that isn't finished? If this was possible, any author could claim, "That's what I was going to add!".
          I doubt very much that any competent judge would buy that argument. That's like saying, "Once you copyright a book, you can never update it."

          Not gonna wash, Kurt.

          As far as what someone was going to add (or not), that's irrelevant until they actually do it. Red herring.
          Does allowing people to post comments on your blog mean the document isn't set?
          Another red herring. Comments are copyright their creators. That's an established point of law, barring a clearly posted and conspicuous agreement that the owner of the site receives copyright as part of the terms of use.

          This stuff is established in case law regarding forums. Which also demolishes the "It's not set" argument.
          Now you guys come in and threaten those that want to use RSS for it's INTENDED PURPOSE
          Conventions change. Part of life.
          This has a big impact on other being afraid to use my RSS for its intended purpose.
          All they need to do is what I always suggest: Look for explicit policies. If they can't find them, they should ask.

          The real challenge is that you want everything to be automated, and the formulas set so that human action is reduced to an absolute minimum.

          I do not cede my rights to someone else's desire for convenience and profit at my expense.

          I will be looking at the Ping info and terms of service, though. Thank you. I've just removed Feedburner.


          Paul
          Signature
          .
          Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[488058].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Kurt
            Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

            Kurt,I can make a case, using basic SEO knowledge, that you're damaging me. Using basic SEO knowledge.
            Paul,

            OK, go ahead. I'll enjoy this debate.


            You've got one part of this wrong, though. You only need to prove damages to collect in court. You do not need to prove anything but ownership to compel someone to stop anything that's deemed infringement.I doubt very much that any competent judge would buy that argument. That's like saying, "Once you copyright a book, you can never update it."

            Not gonna wash, Kurt.
            Paul,

            That's your opinion, although you state it as fact. This is why books update their copyrights.

            In reality, if someone asks you to remove their pheed, you do so. As much out of courtesy as any legalities.

            And the use of "only need to prove"...Every lawyer I've spoken to says this proving damages the tough part. First, you have to prove wrong-doing, then the hard part is proving how much you were damage, in specific monetary terms.

            Just how do you plan to prove how many sales you didn't get?

            BTW, the "set" concept comes from a copyright attorney, it isn't my original idea. And, it's one everyone should be aware of, and able to defend if you want to take a copyright case to court.

            Unlike you, I never said it would or wouldn't hold up. I merely brought up the point for Brian to comment on, since he is an attorney. Giving specific legal advice as you just did, is not only a disservice, it's dangerous.

            I know one thing, if I was on EITHER side of a copyright case, I'd want to be aware of the concept, and I sure wouldn't dismiss it as easily as you did, at least without a few resources to back up your opinion.

            In the end, it often comes to what the jury thinks, and IMO, as a defendant, you should probably give them as much to think about as possible. And as a plaintiff, one should be prepared to argue their side of the matter, not simply dismiss it.

            Not to mention, the concept of being "set" is a secondary defense...The main defense being that an RSS button (with no further restrictions obvious/near the button) is the primary defense.

            As a defendant, you only need one defense to stick, and even though I'm not a lawyer, I suggest you use as many as possible. The concept of "set" is just another option.

            And, I also suggest anyone in this situation bring up the concept of being "set" to they lawyer and not listen to either Paul or I. Again, I never said it was a defense, I merely wrote "what if?"

            This isn't an excuse to use other's content just because you can get away with it...It's more helpful to those trying to protect their content, as there are issues concerning copyright they may not be aware of.

            As far as what someone was going to add (or not), that's irrelevant until they actually do it. Red herring.Another red herring. Comments are copyright their creators. That's an established point of law, barring a clearly posted and conspicuous agreement that the owner of the site receives copyright as part of the terms of use.
            Wrong usage of the term "red herring", as it isn't meant to distract. If being "set" is a legal defense, it will be up to you to prove the document was finished.

            The point about comments is a separate, but related issue and one worthy of discussion, as many blogs now offer two pheeds, one for owner posts and one for comments.

            So now the question becomes, are you submitting someone else's content to the ping sites, without their permission?

            But we do agree that the blog owner doesn't own the comments, and if there are more than one comment from different people, there isn't a single owner of the pheed.

            BTW, on my Duelz forum, I stipulate any and all posts made to the forum are posted to the Public Domain. You have to agree to this before you can register (post).

            This stuff is established in case law regarding forums. Which also demolishes the "It's not set" argument.Conventions change. Part of life.All they need to do is what I always suggest: Look for explicit policies. If they can't find them, they should ask.
            Again, you're making a specific claim, stating it as fact, yet present no evidence. I merely brought up a point that anyone on either side of the issue should be prepared to argue. You're saying to dismiss it without any thought, solely based on your own declaration. Again, very dangerous to hand out specific legal advice.

            I suggest that we should be prepared to argue both sides of the legal discussion, as we may find ourselves on either side at any given time. You suggest we should just forget about an entire legal concept.

            [quote]
            The real challenge is that you want everything to be automated, and the formulas set so that human action is reduced to an absolute minimum.

            I do not cede my rights to someone else's desire for convenience and profit at my expense.
            [quote]

            Me either, which is why I don't like people like you claiming you represent the wants and needs of every publisher of an RSS pheed. Your position has been stated by yourself and others on this thread. I'd say an objecting opinion is needed.

            Not to mention it is YOU trying to take away MY rights, not the other way around.

            I will state my own opinion:

            Yes, I want people to see my RSS button and know it is OK to use my RSS pheed, in respect to "fair use"...Meaning don't modify my words, or use my pheeds out of context on harmful sites like hate or child porn sites. I believe "fair use" covers me there, so I don't need to draw up any specifics.

            And yes, I want it automated. I don't want them to have to contact me, or search my site. I want it as easy for them to use my content as possible, and not add hurdles.

            Unlike some, I believe it is a privilege and a benefit to have an RSS picked up by other webmasters.

            And this is the ORIGINAL purpose of RSS...To automate the syndication of content from one website to another.

            It is you that wants to change the original intention and purpose of RSS. You want to take something that is in the public and pervert it to fit your own particular situation, and expect everyone else to conform to your own specific whims and wishes, instead of using it for what it was created to specifically do, which is allow for syndication of content from one site to another.

            And I'd say some Warriors here agree with me, every one that bought an RSS pheed submitter, for example. The main benefit of submitting to RSS directories is so other sites pick up your pheeds. If you think people use the ping sites to look for pheeds to enter into the RSS readers, you're probably not going to get the benefit of pinging you were looking for.

            No one is stopping you from developing your own XML and hiring a programmer to develop a reader for your XML so you can syndicate your content to only those you wish.

            I will be looking at the Ping info and terms of service, though. Thank you. I've just removed Feedburner.

            Paul
            You never even bothered to click on your own RSS URL (through Feedburner) to see what it says? Yet you expect others to do the same, looking for specific policies?

            If you don't know your own policies, I suggest it is unreasonable to expect others to know them. However, IMO, the posting of an RSS button does indeed state a specific policy, unless there's an obvious disclaimer.

            But glad you got that cleared up.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[488342].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by PatDoyle View Post

      I think it is ok to post the feeds as they are - that is why people send out their feeds. But you must include the links. This gives people a link back. But you can't take the content and modify it. The content still belongs to the author. I do believe that by publishing a feed, you are implying that others can syndicate it (with links intact).
      No Pat, that is entirely incorrect.

      There are many reasons to have a RSS feed. As you note, the content belongs to the author. That means only the author can decide who, and how, the feed will be used. It does not give you any rights, nor does it imply any rights - just having an RSS feed.

      Of course, there are those who say their feeds can be used, or they submit a feed to a site where the terms state that by submitting a feed permission is granted for others to use it.

      It's really no different than those who believed (and some still do) that by publishing a web page there is "implied" consent to copy / syndicate / steal / use, etc, the information.

      There isn't any consent.

      For instance, my RSS feeds are created for very specific purposes, one of which sure isn't for someone copy them for their Adsense splog.

      Anyway, that's a rule of thumb. No need to get into fair use issues here. Just want to correct a wrong interpretation of the law and to make sure no other Warrior reading the thread gets the wrong impression.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487256].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        No Pat, that is entirely incorrect.

        There are many reasons to have a RSS feed. As you note, the content belongs to the author. That means only the author can decide who, and how, the feed will be used. It does not give you any rights, nor does it imply any rights - just having an RSS feed.

        Of course, there are those who say their feeds can be used, or they submit a feed to a site where the terms state that by submitting a feed permission is granted for others to use it.

        It's really no different than those who believed (and some still do) that by publishing a web page there is "implied" consent to copy / syndicate / steal / use, etc, the information.

        There isn't any consent.

        For instance, my RSS feeds are created for very specific purposes, one of which sure isn't for someone copy them for their Adsense splog.

        Anyway, that's a rule of thumb. No need to get into fair use issues here. Just want to correct a wrong interpretation of the law and to make sure no other Warrior reading the thread gets the wrong impression.
        Hey Brian,

        I'll debate this...

        >It does not give you any rights, nor does it imply any rights - just having an RSS feed.

        No, but putting up an RSS button does. It's an invitation for someone to syndicate your content. That's the purpose of the button.

        Not to mention, RSS was invented as a means to syndicate content from site to site. Aggregators came later. Putting up an RSS button on your blog is an offer for someone to use and syndicate your content. You have control over the amount of content that is syndicated. If you only want titles and no descriptions, you have that power.

        If you don't like it, take down your RSS button. But having a button can't restrict use of your RSS pheed, as this would expect your visitors to be mind readers.

        Assuming that the publisher of your pheed gives you a link (dofollow), how do your prove damages? I think I can prove, using basic SEO knowledge, that I HELPED you. So proving damages would be hard, and you know as a lawyer, this is really what copyright suits often come down to.

        I don't like the comparision that because someone publishes a page that they intended it to be stolen. There's a difference between posting a page and posting an RSS button.

        Next point, let's say you have a blog that clearly states that I can't use your RSS pheed.

        However, you willingly ping your RSS pheed to numerous RSS directories. The TOS of these directories says I can use them on my site. Now I pick up the 3rd party pheed.

        I say, I'm using them in fair use. I'm not picking up your pheed from your blog, I'm doing it from the third party site. By submitting to them, you have accepted their TOS.

        And if I create a search engine for RSS pheeds, I believe the law has already said I can use snippets. See court rulings concerning Google and copyrights.

        Of course, now we have the concept of a document being "set". This means that you must be sure that your post won't be added to, modified or changed, before you have copyright protection. One could make a case that as long as you have an edit button for that post, that it isn't "set".

        And how can you copyright protect a document that isn't finished? If this was possible, any author could claim, "That's what I was going to add!".

        Does allowing people to post comments on your blog mean the document isn't set? Which also brings up, are you claiming copyrights for the comments posted by others are your blog?

        It's the "johnny come lately's" that are ruining RSS for it's intended usage, which is to get one's content syndicated across the Net. How about those of us that WANT our content sydicated and picked up by as many other sites, blogs and newsletters as possible?

        Some of us like exposure and links. Some of us think RSS is the best way to get links.

        I want the links. I want the exposure. I want my pheeds on as many blogs and sites as possilble. Now you guys come in and threaten those that want to use RSS for it's INTENDED PURPOSE. Maybe we should sue you guys? Hmmm, that's a thought... J/K LOL

        What version of RSS are you using? Are you aware that Netscape holds copyright to version .91 of RSS? And therefore, maybe the other 2 popular versions of RSS...Now wouldn't that be a funny if someone claims copyright violation while they may well be in violation themselves, merely by using RSS?

        Having said this, I either "scrub" my RSS pheeds using my own tuelz, or I generate my own, or use merchant RSS pheeds, so the RSS for content thing doesn't affect me (although it does my customers). What affects me is all this non-sense about protecting your pheeds. This has a big impact on other being afraid to use my RSS for its intended purpose.

        I will agree that having an RSS pheed isn't "implied consent". However, posting an RSS button changes this, as it's an invitation. It's your responsiblity to add "for desktop software only". It's unreasonable to expect someone to read your mind, considering the reason RSS was invented in the first place.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[487828].message }}
  • Of course, now we have the concept of a document being "set". This means that you must be sure that your post won't be added to, modified or changed, before you have copyright protection. One could make a case that as long as you have an edit button for that post, that it isn't "set".

    And how can you copyright protect a document that isn't finished? If this was possible, any author could claim, "That's what I was going to add!".

    Does allowing people to post comments on your blog mean the document isn't set? Which also brings up, are you claiming copyrights for the comments posted by others are your blog?
    where does this "set" theory come from? Link please.

    If a publisher plans a second edition of their book they don't own copyright to the first edition cause it was never "set"? Sounds goofy.

    And why call it a pheed (photography feed) all the time?

    Regardless of the side of the debate you stand on:

    I would never explicitly tell someone to use other's rss feeds because if the other doesn't agree that syndication is ok they will report them to high heavens, from their host to their registrar to adsense to whomever they can to get them to stop.
    Signature


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[488420].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    No, you are not free to use and edit RSS content as you wish.

    Are you allowed to do something with it? Yes, but those rights are going to vary.

    The key to your question was the word 'edit'.

    While this case isn't about RSS, it's an excellent example of the potential pitfalls of editing someone else's work - EVEN if you think it's fair use.

    AP alleges copyright infringement of Obama image - Yahoo! News

    All the best,
    Michael
    Signature

    "Ich bin en fuego!"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[488433].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics