artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


19 October 2008

webfriends: i have an rss etiquette question. [More:]
Say I run a site of which a component is a calendar of local events.

Say that running this calendar is a fair amount of work for me, but it's a labour of love and I'm happy that people use it.

Say also that another, unrelated site is pulling and displaying my RSS feed without attribution, though the links for "more info" on each feed item will lead back to my (hypothetical) calendar.

With these conditions, would it be out of line for me to request that the source of the feed be attributed with (say) the name and a link to my site?

To add extra frisson, say my site is run with a very firm community-supported ethos and doesn't sell ads, and the site in question has a page with information about ad services, though they don't appear to have roped in any advertisers at the moment.

It's almost never out of line to ask nicely.
posted by grouse 19 October | 12:34
Could you just put attribution data in the feed so it automatically displays? Merlin Mann had a problem with people scraping his RSS feed and throwing it up on their sites as original content, so he created a new footer for his feeds and created a new post to 43folders explaining the footer. This had the double benefit of (1) explaining the new thing to his RSS readers, and (2) acting as a sort of douchebag-catcher. Sure enough, those sites that were scraping 43folders picked up the post and displayed it.
posted by middleclasstool 19 October | 12:40
Republishing RSS feeds is totally douchey. You'd be within your rights to send in a DMCA takedown notice, so you shouldn't feel any qualms about asking for attribution.
posted by cillit bang 19 October | 17:31
I'm Canadian.

(But even if I was from the US I wouldn't use a shitty law like the DMCA just because it suits me. I think the whole thing stinks.)

I will send a polite email -- thanks guys!
posted by loiseau 19 October | 23:50
I suggest that you get into the annoying habit of mentioning your calendar-of-local-events sites name. A lot.

I've had my fair share of scrapers (at some point it looked there was one a day popping up - at the time there was some simple softwae sold that apparently made scraping a whole bunch of feeds and re-blogging them dead easy) which not only scraped the site but also did it on similar sounding domain names and sprinkled with a mish-mash-design where all the major components & colors were lifted from other ad-sites. Tres Douchey.

Then there are some hobbyist that collect topics they like (on adland you can actually fetch a feed for every topic, say "print ads" or "games hard &software ads") and display them on their own blogs. I always assumed that this was a bit (for them) like having friends in livejournal, you know a place to catch up on the stuff they like to read. It might be confusing at first glance, with some other dudes name on each post I made, and his photograph in the sidebar talking about his blog, but as long as the read more leads to me, I don't complain.

Now, when there is no readmore, and nothing reveals where the words actually came from, oh man, that's really nasty. There was one of those out there that only revealed where a post actually came from in the hotlinked images in each post. If they're hosted on free hosts you can report them right quick. Nobody likes scrapers like that. Either way they never last long.

Then there are opposite scrapers, remember the boingboing-mirror that had no ads? Yeah, like that.

It's a tricky area, some say if you don't want your feeds republished, don't publish feeds. Which makes as much sense as "if you don't want your photos stolen don't put them on the web". Some get it, some don't, but arguably making it easy to republish makes it easy to 'steal', I guess.

I reckon as long as all links lead back to you, it's link-juice. But that 43folders solutions is a great one too.
posted by dabitch 21 October | 09:43
Could have sworn I closed that em-tag. I have now anyway.
posted by dabitch 21 October | 09:44
Oh, thanks for that dabitch. I do find it an interesting grey area. That's why I had to ask if it was cool to ask. I don't feel it's 'scraping' inasmuch as the feed already exists and that feeds exist to be syndicated (in theory).

I did email the guy last Monday and didn't hear back until I emailed him a second time last night. He responded OK, I guess, and said he'd attribute the feed to the site. We'll see.
posted by loiseau 26 October | 12:22
Last nail in the coffin? || SCIENCE!