Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fair Syndication and copied content

It's unfortunate that the authors equated 'copied' with 'stolen' but Attributor's idea seems fair at first glance if it allows for the following:

1. It facilitates social distribution, that is, the reposting of entire articles without having to seek permission
2. It allows blogger to profit from their aggregating or curating activities while creating a simple solution for any ad revenues generated to be shared. This is fine if the publication owns the copyright. What happens to the freelance writer who granted a paper one-time rights?
3. It allows for non-commercial use. That is blogs like this one that don't collect ad revenue.
I run this blog entirely for my own convenience and benefit--it's just so I can find articles again--which is why I mostly point and copy rather than point and comment. But if I help a reader finds content from another site, I hope this would be seen as a benefit to the publication (eg helping to generate buzz) rather than 'stealing'.

Should Ad Networks Pay Publishers For Stolen Content? The Fair Syndication Consortium Thinks So.
by Erick Schonfeld on April 21, 2009

As newspapers and other publishers watch their revenues diminish, one common refrain among them is that maybe they should somehow go after Google or Yahoo for aiding and abetting the destruction of their businesses and sometimes the wholesale theft of their content. We’ve seen how the Associated Press wants to handle this: by aggressively going after anyone who even borrows a headline. Today, a consortium of other publishers including Reuters, the Magazine Publishers of America, and Politico are taking a more measured approach, but one which will no doubt still be controversial. They are forming the Fair Syndication Consortium, which is the brainchild of Attributor, the startup which tracks the reuse of text and images across the Web for many of these same publishers.

The Fair Syndication Consortium is initially trying to address a legitimate problem on the Web: the proliferation of splogs (spam blogs) and other sites which do nothing more than republish the entire feed of news sites and blogs, often without attribution or links. There are tens of thousands of these sites, perhaps more. Rather than go after these sites one at a time, the Fair Syndication Consortium wants to negotiate directly with the ad networks which serve ads on these sites: DoubleClick, Google’s AdSense, and Yahoo primarily. For any post or page which takes a full copy of a publisher’s work, the Fair Syndication Consortium thinks the ad networks should pay a portion of the ad revenues being generated by those sites.