[Air-L] etiquette for reusing or reposting blog posts

Robert Cannon rcannon100 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 25 07:43:09 PDT 2008

--- On Fri, 7/25/08, Lois Ann Scheidt <lscheidt at indiana.edu> wrote:
> Aggregation bring in a very interesting wrinkle to the
> discussion.  
> They are, in essence, a passive way of appropriating posts,

Hum.  Not sure what you are saying, but I think you misunderstand how aggregators work.  Aggregators act basically like clipping services - filtering through the information noise of the Internet and providing a product closely tuned to the audience's interests - through tagging, social networks, or other means of distribution.  Aggregators do not copy the content, they aggregate links based on headlines and RSS feeds.  RSS feeds are a mechanism for authors to announce to the galaxy that their content exists.

"Appropriating" is a loaded negative term.  Aggregators (at least myself, digg, delicious, topix....) are not appropriating in that they are not taking the content of the authors.

On a typical day I might review 400 news and blog posts through RSS feeds, and boil them down to 20 posts directly related to Internet law and policy.  Nothing is appropriated.  The clips link directly to the original authors contents.  Many blogs and news feeds actively add their feeds to aggregators (indeed when I have heard from authors the most is asking why I DID NOT include their post).  Authors add their content to Digg.  Authors subscribe their RSS feeds to aggregators like TOPIX.  Authors want the existence of their posts advertised; readers want to be able to filter 400 posts down to 20 so they can follow their area of interest.  Aggregators are in the middle.

> in that the 
> addition of the rss feed to the aggregators cue is
> initially made by a 
> human being but after that all posts flow without
> intervention.  In 

Hum.  Again, not sure what you mean.  Posts are created by authors.  Posts are picked up by Aggregators.  In the Digg or Delicious models, some third party thinks they are cool, and tags them, and they become part of the social network.  Lots of human intervention.

> short, it is possible for a blog to be added to an
> aggregator without 
> the writers knowledge 

Again, hum.  Newsgator and Google Analytics will show you who is picking up your stuff.  It is pretty easy to know who is linking to you.  I think some CMS includes in it the function, "who is linking here"

and for their posts to regularly be
> presented on 
> the aggregation site without the writers knowledge or
> approval.  

Hum.  Approval is not needed.  It's Fair Use pursuant to the copyright law.  And again, most authors who put their content out, want it read.  Aggregators promote content.  The aggregator is linking to the content - not copying the content.

> course, since the initial feed was public, and most
> aggregation sites 
> clearly attribute the posts to the proper blog the author
> is cited.  So 
> the real issues become ones of ethics and audience.

What's the issue?

> As with all of the angles on this discussion...more
> research is necessary.

Actually, this area is will resolved.  It is well established that linking to people's content falls square withing copyright.  

See Is it Legal to Link 

Further, culturally, most people encourage you to link to their content.  Aggregators are linking to content in a large and organized scale.


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