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Showing posts from March, 2006

Code, and other laws... (part 1)

There are tens of millions of RSS and Atom feeds published on the Web.  And nearly all of them are copyrighted.

If an author doesn't explicitly give up all rights to a work, which might be a bit tricky,it's automatically copyrighted in the United States and most othercountries.  Of course the same is true of web pages.  But web pages aremostly intended to be viewed in a browser.   Feeds are generallyintended to be syndicated, which means that their content is going tobe sliced and diced in various and unforeseeable ways.  This makes adifference.

In what ways is an application allowed to copy and present a given feed's content?  To start with, it can do things covered by fair use (*). There are some interesting issues around what exactly fair use means inthe context of web feeds, but ignore those for the moment.  What aboutcopying beyond what fair use allows? 

It would be awfully helpful if every feed simply included a machine readable license.  For example, a <link rel=&q…

New Feature: Common Feeds Icon

Another update to Journals this week was the switchover to the Common Feeds Icon (). This is the same icon used by Firefox, and soon Internet Explorer and Opera.  Also, AOL's Favorites Plus.  It's also being adopted by web sites at an astonishing rate.

(Why a new icon to indicate feeds?  Because "RSS" doesn't exactly scream "dynamic feed of updates for this web page".  And lots of people our testing thought the tiny icon said "R55", which is even more useless.)

Rogers Cadenhead has a nice discussion here (see the comment thread too).

There's a debate over whether this icon should indicate an action (subscribe to this feed) or be a link to the feed resource (see the feed, and maybe subscribe).  I personally don't think this is a huge issue, as long as a user isn't left staring at XML source.  If an application only lets you do one thing with a feed, jumping directly to subscribing seems like a good idea.  If you can do multiple things…

New Feature Demo: Flickr Photos

One of the little things we did for our latest update was to open things up a little bit to allow some types of iframes inside entries -- basically iframes from trusted sites.  We'll be adding to the list of allowed sites as we go forward.  Right now Flickr makes for a great demo: