Monday, March 25, 2013

More on Google Reader's death - are RSS feed users a bunch of thieves?

In the process of researching the FeedWordPress plugin used by Eddie Awad, I ran across this post. Because the writer is sensitive to "fair use," I will be limited in my quotes from the original post.

RSS feeds are pub­lished for indi­vid­ual, pri­vate con­sump­tion; they are not a blan­ket license to, or waiver of, reprint rights. Taking and repub­lsh­ing content–no mat­ter how much or how little–without the orig­i­nal author’s per­mis­sion is a vio­la­tion of U.S. and inter­na­tional Copyright laws. There are excep­tions, of course, detailed in the Fair Use doc­trine, but such excep­tions are very spe­cific and do not apply to the vast major­ity of sites using FeedWordPress, Autoblog, and the like. In fact, Charles Johnson, the cre­ator of FeedWordPress is in con­stant and fre­quent vio­la­tion of copy­right law because the appar­ent major­ity of his blog’s con­tent is stolen with­out the orig­i­nal authors’ permission.

The author, Pariah Burke, was apparently quoting from an earlier (no longer available) post from a person named JohnTP. JohnTP's blog content was apparently ripped off in toto by people using FeedWordPress to access his content.

Now ripping off content is bad, but that does not make FeedWordPress itself bad. A tool is a tool. Contrast this to the example that I previously discussed, in which Oracle writers are literally BEGGING Eddie Awad to aggregate their feeds. In fact, when Awad switched from Google Reader to FeedWordPress, he did some spring cleaning and inadvertently removed a blog from the feed that shouldn't have been removed.

Now I'll grant that Pariah Burke wrote that post on the evils of FeedWordPress way back in 2007. However, it's possible that Burke's views have changed in the intervening years, based upon a Google+ post of his. Again, in the interests of fair use, I'll confine myself to quoting only three words from Burke's Google+ post:

Save Google Reader!
blog comments powered by Disqus