To publish full RSS or not to publish full RSS

In General on 6/5/2005 at 1:14 pm

I was pretty chuffed when Derek Powazek actually posted a comment on my whinge about him not providing full RSS feeds… so chuffed, in fact that I’ll reprint it here:

“I prefer to only include excerpts in RSS, because I don’t want my content to appear elsewhere in totality. If someone wants to excerpt it in a rss reader or on a website, that’s fine, so long at there’s a link to the rest. But if I had full content in the feed, then what’s the point of the website?

I make a website, first and foremost. The RSS is icing.” – Derek Powazek

Which made me think, and comment that, for me the RSS feed is more the flour than the icing, going along more with Scoble’s unsubscribe / subscribe policy of favouring full feeds.

But then in pops another Darren piece on copyright infringement by blogstars:

“BlogStars is one of those blogs that is really not a blog. It is a public News Aggregator, disguised as a blog really that publishes other people’s RSS feeds – in full.”

Which made me think… well… I guess that my CC license prohibits reproduction for commercial purposes… but I’ve got no trouble (actually I rather like it) if, say, Judith cites me (and Weblogs Inc are ads ahoy!) so wouldn’t me objecting, on a license front to, say, blogstars citing me (like they ever would :o) be hypocritical.

Am I, by publishing a full RSS feed in essence agreeing for my work to be syndicated somewhere else?

Part of me thinks that I am… and makes me wonder if I should do summaries instead (more palatable for the reader too?)

Whaddya reckon?

  1. I just don’t think that anyone, anywhere, could see publication of full RSS as a license to re-transmit your work in totality. Of course, I don’t really care, as long as I get a link back… and it all comes down to motives. I’m not into blogging with a profit model, I write for my own enjoyment, and if more people see my work, I’m A-OK with it.

    (Also, I would rather be re-published in full w/o permission than have an image hijacked. Use my ideas, but don’t mess with the resources I pay for.)

    Please don’t switch to summaries or excerpts! I read your blog via RSS. Do you really need me to come to the site?

  2. I recently had one of my posts re-posted in full at another site. I was bothered more by the sin of omission–no trackback, no comment on my blog, just an impersonal reprint–than anything else.

    This issue has been on my mind a lot the last week as I’m launching a personal project to aggregate blog and news stories about a particular topic. My original plan was to automate everything using the tricks I’ve learned with RSS and search tools. I decided against it because I’d prefer to create a community. So I’m looking at hours of reading and posting and linking and trackbacks and comments. The experience of having my article reprinted was the deciding factor. You know, do unto others…

    Anyway, please keep the complete feed!

  3. I have limited text to 300 chars, is it correct in your opinion? I’m looking for feedback, please have your say at my site.

  4. here my URL, sorry

  5. The ‘blogstars’ example cited is one of the less offensive examples of people republishing a feed in that it at least contains the title of the originating blog, a link to that blog, and the article links. Some of the examples I have had to deal with included full republishing of my posts without any mention of the originating source. But that said, it seems to me that examples like this do run afoul of the stated Creative Commons license. From the way I read it, the ‘By Attribution’ clause has the requirement that the republisher

    “give the Original Author credit reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing by conveying the name (or pseudonym if applicable) of the Original Author if supplied; the title of the Work if supplied; to the extent reasonably practicable, the Uniform Resource Identifier, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated with the Work, unless such URI does not refer to the copyright notice or licensing information for the Work” (there’s also a bunch a stuff about keeping the license intact that I think applies).

    Personally, I wish this wasn’t buried in the legalese, and I wish the ‘By Attribution’ clause just had a simple modifier or statement to the effect of what kind of attribution was required by the author. But as I read it, something like Blogstars, in making no effort to cite the original author (whose identity one could easily discover) is breaking both the spirit and the letter of the Creative Commons license.

    I appreciate the authors concerns about people re-publishing his feed in its entirety, but for my own purposes it is the rare site that I will keep in my aggregator that doesn’t provide me with a full feed (Auricle is pretty well alomost the only one). So please keep publishing the full feed (or else make a real effort to provide substance in the part of the article that does make it into the feed, otherwise I may just skip over good stuff that I would have loved to read).

    Cheers, Scott

  6. I use Sharpreader and I like it when people publish the full articles. I think it is a bit inconvenient when people insists on having the readers go to the website to get the article. But I understand it for people that has advertising and tries to make some money off their blogs.

  7. In April I got an email from the guys at CircleID asking to reproduce one of my posts. Now based on my CC license they could of, without asking. However they did and not only that set up an account for me to redirect readers back to my main blog. To me this is a fantastic example. However even if they did not ask me but still provided a link back would have worked. The bit they would of lost was because they told me I was able to answer comments on their site about the post, if they had not asked then I may not have known and then the conversation would not have been able to continue.

  8. Thanks for all the comments, your advice is much appreciated indeed!

    Y’know, I think that RSS is a conversation with people over time… it’s not an advertising opportunity whether your a consultant, company or Adsenser beyond talking about what you do to people who you have a connection and ongoing relationship with.

    If people are reading by RSS then I don’t really need to advertise, do I, they’re already there.

    I think, though, that there are a few areas where it might be good to do reduced feeds, for example if you’re providing a ‘service’ rather than publication (such as problogger) and also if you’re hoping (as I think Derek might be) to stimulate discussion on the site… bring people closer to the comments.

    Other than that, on reflection, I don’t think there’s any benefit to limiting RSS feeds to readers. So stuff that idea :o)

    But the CC thing is an issue… to tell the truth I’d quite like to be able to put some sort of ‘fair use’ consideration in there… something like ‘up to a maximum of 75% of the post’… attribution is great, but I think there needs to be some sort of limitation there, perhaps???

  9. Hey you can get me in full RSS. I’m just glad for anyone that wants to read my bullshit. I don’t see that RSS would give you any more rights to republish something just because it it very easy to do technically. It is possible, but a bit more difficult to extract the info from the regular web page, it is possible. But just because it is possible does not mean you have the right to do it.

  10. I guess that’s true… it’s just that CC is a bit unsatisfactory, perhaps, in some way here.

  11. […] o publish a complete RSS feed or story excerpts. It reminded me of a recent post by James, To publish full RSS or not to publish full RSS. At issue in James’ post is the possibility of somebody republ […]