View Thread > Internet & Society > Editing Blogs > Very clever solution
This question was stolen (with permission!) from the blog of John Palfrey, Executive Director of the Berkman Center.
Blogger #1 posts frequently during the course of most days to his publicly accessible web site. Blogger #1 syndicates his work via an RSS feed to anyone who wishes to pick up that feed. Blogger #1 retains full copyright in his written work. Though it's not strictly required that he do so under copyright law, Blogger #1 has made clear in various places, including the footer of each page of his blog and in the text of his RSS feeds, that he retains full (c).
Blogger #2 receives the RSS feed from Blogger #1. Blogger #2, in fact, configures a computer program to receive this RSS feed quite frequently from Blogger #1's site over the course of several days. Blogger #2 reposts the relevant content from Blogger #1's RSS feeds (i.e., not including XML tags in the reposting) verbatim. In fact, Blogger #2 reposts every version of every blog posting to the republication site, apparently to highlight edits made to Blogger #1's postings over the course of each day. Blogger #2 uses color to highlight the edits that Blogger #1 has made.
Blogger #1 objects to Blogger #2's verbatim republication of Blogger #1's feeds.
What recourse does Blogger #1 have? Has Blogger #2 violated the copyright of Blogger #1 by copying the text verbatim? Has Blogger #2 created a derivative work of Blogger #1's posts by highlighting the changes? Can Blogger #2 rely upon a fair use exception? Consider carefully the impact of the *entirety* of the copying in the 4-factor test (http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/copypol2.htm#test). Or, perhaps, can he rely on an implied license to republish in the manner that he has?
Since Blogger #1 has claimed full copyright, i think Blogger #2 violated the copyright of Blogger #1. I don't really understand the copyright law in the U.S, but in Taiwan copying the text verbatim definitely violets our copyright law. To judge whether it is a derivative work, we should consider the difference between the original work and derivative work by percentage.
Sure Blogger #2 can rely upon fair use. But i don't know why Blooger #2 excluded the copyright claim/original author's name when he reposted these content. When dealing with this issue, what I consider first is not the copyright law, but is the respect of the authors. For me, what Blogger #2 has done shows little respect to Blogger #1.
I consider posting a blog on the net as a type of public communication, which is generally covered by copyright. Assuming that Blogger Blogger 1's blogs are original works, I think he could claim copyright protection, and besides the fair use issue, paternity of the work (which is a moral right), shall always be respected, furthermore, it cannot be waived.
Fortunately, or at least how I read the question posed, the issue of copyright is restricted to Blogger #2's republishing, including the copyright within the text, placed there by Blogger #1. Since attribution is accomplished with inclusion of the author, date, title, description, etc. provided by the RSS feed, we can focus on the issue at hand, i.e., whether republishing on another's web page constitutes copyright violation.
A book publisher relies on such protection, mainly to prevent other publishers from putting out identical books without payment to the first publisher. On the Internet, we might want to carry this thinking to include control over others who might republish our web pages without compensation, or we might simply want to control which web pages can republish our works, period.
The Klu Klux Klan web site might not be an acceptable web site that we would want our material on. The New Yorker web site might be an acceptable web site that we would want our material on. Should we, as individuals, be able to censor the Internet?
One of the options Blogger #1 can consider, would be to include, along with the copyright information within his text, a disclaimer to Blogger #2's post. Something along the lines of, "Blogger #2 posts are not appreciated, even though they aid in distribution of my work. I base this disapproval on the fact that Blogger #2 is a jerk."
Now, Blogger #2 has this statement accompanying all of his posts. What happens, who knows?
But what if a hundred other bloggers start doing the same thing? The "not appreciation" notice gets pretty long and begins to distort the original work.
I'm wondering how heavily the non-profit nature of the original work should be valued under the fair use factors test <http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/copypol2.htm#test>. The US laws give market impact such great weight. What exactly is the market here?
If the disclaimer text can be appropriately and constantly displayed on the page "generated" by Blogger #2 confusion on who has created the content is likely to stop. However, Blogger#2 may come up with some technical wizardry to actually make that disclaimer as discrete as possible (e.g. at the very bottom of the page i.e. when one has scrolled down)
Censoring Blog #2 would go against the whole purpose of the internet.
So my preferred way forward would be to give visitors of Blog #2's page an option to be re-directed to Blog #1's URL explaining that "content of this blog comes from Blog #1 without any new entries/ideas/concepts"
I see your point, but I disagree. You direct all forms of public communication as protected, with your use of the generic word "generally". People volunatarily post on a web blog to discuss and disseminate. If they seek to gain from this as protected works or protected information, they shouldn't involve themselves on blogs. Case in point - Presidential candidate Howard Dean's web blog which Professor Lessig is heavily involved with. Should political blogs such as these be considered original works?