FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Securing and Licensing RSS Feeds

Now that blogs have become so popular and so essential to public discourse, issues related to rights and access will undoubtedly rise to the forefront. The more we rely on blogs as information sources -- and as commercial interests move into the blogosphere -- the more important it is to resolve questions such as:

  • If a blogger wants to charge a fee for his/her content, how can he/she secure the blog and RSS feed so that only paying subscribers can have access?
  • What are the limits of bloggers' liability? Clearly, laws addressing libel and slander apply, but can they be sued for providing information that later proves to be inaccurate?
  • What are the limits to fair use in reblogging? Most bloggers appreciate their posts being reblogged, but not all might, and some will assuredly claim that their posts were reblogged out of context.
  • Or, what are the reblogger's responsibilities to the original blogger if they reblog an item and then charge for access to it?

Rights agreements such as Creative Commons address many of these issues, but only to a point. Creative Commons provides a framework for respecting the rights of content creators, but it's voluntary and wholly dependent on mutual respect. If one chooses not to honor the terms of a CC license, there's little that anyone can do to enforce it.

Media commentator Steve Yelvington discusses various feed licensure approaches, including accuracy disclaimers and the fine line between personal and commercial use. Also, bloggers have begun pondering ways to secure their RSS feeds, including use of public and private keys.

Source: Techdirt