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- Legal Use of RSS File
July 30, 2007, 4:12 pm
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Many websites provide RSS feed of their items, posts, or listings. One
of my clients wants to show parsed RSS file content from various third
party websites on his website with a link to those websites. This will
be some sort of categorized directory of items pointing links to other
websites where these items originally came from. My concern is if this
is legal. Could you explain?
On the other hand, I see Google Groups content all over the Internet
including my posts. So, if someone "takes" Google's content, how
Google reacts to this?
And even more... Google search also gets all websites content and
links to them in search results. If this is legal, then would my
original question answer "YES"?
Thanks for advice.
July 30, 2007, 5:15 pm
Re: Legal Use of RSS File
IANAL, but I suppose it depends how you're providing this data to your
end user. In any case, if you politely ask the owners of the websites
you fetch the data from (describing how the data will be used by you
and how it will be presented on your website) before including the data
in your own listings, you'll find that most site owners will be happy
to allow it.
Content on Google Groups isn't property of Google (or even any
subdivision of theirs). Google Groups itself fetches the vast majority
of its contents from Usenet newsgroups, such as alt.www.webmaster, so
Google really have no say in it other than which groups they wish to
This should provide you with more background information on the
relationship between Google Groups and Usenet:
Wikipedia also has a comprehensive article about Google Groups:
If it wasn't legal, then what would be the point of having search
engines at all? In any case, you can opt out of showing up in the
Google search by using the robots.txt exclusion standard (either using
a robots.txt file, or by using meta tags).
Kim André Akerĝ
(remove NOSPAM to contact me directly)
Re: Legal Use of RSS File
On 30 Jul, 17:12, vunet...@gmail.com wrote:
You're right to be concerned. You can only do this if the provider
permits it. RSS can be used for content where this is either permitted
(and indeed encouraged), or not permitted. It _could_ even change
permission at the level of the <item>, not the overall feed!
So check the specific feeds you're being supplied with. What do they
say? Note that a copyright message alone does _not_ mean that you
can't use it -- there may also be some expressed licence that permits
you to use it, and of course this wouldn't "remove" the author's
copyright. After all, RSS is a format for publishing aggregatable
There are many ways to specifically express licensing with RSS. One of
the better ways is by using Creative Commons markup. Their website
http://creativecommons.org also has much useful background on web
copyright, as does the Wikicommon project associated with Wikipedia.
If the feed states some licensing conditions, then follow them.
If the feed is publically visible, doesn't state anything specific
about licensing, and _even_if_ there's a copyright statement on the
feed, then you have reasonable grounds for assuming that legal fair
use of this RSS content would include its use for reproduction,
syndication and aggregation according to the normal established
practice with RSS. To remain within this "fair use" you should not
infringe any moral rights (i.e. claim that its your own creation) or
breach any copyright (they may well require you to reproduce their
copyright statement unchanged). An action such as stripping out links
from the RSS could (and probably ought to be!) construed as breaching
this fair use and implied licence. In the absence of any other
statement, treating the content as being subject to a CC-by-sa licence
(read the Creative Commons site) would be justifiable as reasonable
behaviour according to established practice.
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