Sunday, September 10, 2006

Screen Scraping and legal conversations

No comments :
The Between the Lines podcast is one of the regular podcasts i listen to and last week on the way to work i tuned in to listen to Dan Farber and Denise Howell on Google Apps, Lawgarithms, YouTube futures and more… . Denise is appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer and the author of ZDNet's new Lawgarithms blog. i added it to my reading list.

They had an interesting conversation that is being discussed by others about copyright in the Blogsphere (e.g. RSS syndication via scraping) and the new Bizdev 2.0 which she referenced as basically as simple as flickr posting open APIs and developers kits- with term of services that imply an automatic partnership with potential creators of mashups with absolutely no business development on either side - and the terms of service agreement that the user has agreed to is the only legal requirement.

I have had this post on the legal ramifications of screen scraping on my edit board since last week after i read this piece in Plagiarism Today about Dapper. I ran into his blog as I was reading the conversation about RSS scraping on Robert Scobles Blog. In his post about Dapper -Jonathan Bailey writes:

While being easy to use or free is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, in the rush to enable users to make an API for any site, they forget that many sites don't have one or restrict access to their APIs for very good reasons. RSS scraping is perhaps the biggest copyright issue bloggers face. It enables a plagiarist or spammer to not only steal all of the content on the blog right then, but also all of the content that will be posted in the future. This is a huge concern for many bloggers, especially those concerned about performing well in the search engines.

i had seen Dapper on TechCrunch and i got excited, i dapped and the UI was hard, but by last week the UI experience was a bit better- labeling and functional changes. I thought about it often following the day of my post but I was having a hard time creating a Dapper- mostly because i didn't feel comfortable screen scraping news sites- since i work for a news content aggregator and know copyright issues quite well. Since the
Plagiarism Today piece, Dapper has made some changes including a Opt-Out option for publishers and others. I think Dapper is pretty cool and is one of many companies that will continue to allow consumers to define how we -as end-users with limited programming skills-interact with information technology in the consumer and enterprise space- they will just have to figure out how to go about it without allowing their users to break the law.

No comments :