RSS Feed Stealing?

Scott Leslie is concerned that someone has taken his entire feed and used it in a way that contravenes his Creative Commons license, which happens to be the same one I use for this site.

A quick aside – if you don’t understand CC licensing, you should review the license explanations before you start using other people’s work on the Web, and if you are a teacher, you should ensure that students understand copyright and copyleft.

In my comment to Scott, I noted that there is another organisation, The Human Capital Institute, that uses many RSS feeds (including mine) but makes you register for their “service” before you can read a complete post. Some might think that this too would contravene the copyright license that I use. Here are two other CC-licensed sites I noticed from the same website:


InternetTime Blog

I also noted that many blogs do not have clear copyright statements, like The Learning Circuits Blog, which means that they are fully copyrighted, so that taking an entire feed would likely infringe copyright. If you have a blog or website and want to share, then you should use something as simple and easy as a Creative Commons license. However, it obviously doesn’t mean that everyone will play by the rules.

Update: Following my notification of copyright infringement to the Human Capital Institute, they promptly deleted my feed from their resource list.

9 Responses to “RSS Feed Stealing?”

  1. Karyn Romeis

    Recently, my technorati picked up that Stephen Downes had mentioned my name in a post. No problem, there – only too pleased to have done something worthy of the attention of someone like Stephen! Only the entire post, lock, stock and barrel was duplicated in another site. Sneaky feed thief has no way on his site for one to contact him or comment on the post to draw this to his or anyone else’s attention. Stephen hs spoken to the culprit about it before, but he is persistent. I noticed Vicki Davis was having similar problems with someone in China. And I found one of Tony Karrer’s posts repeated somewhere else.

    I can’t get my head around why anyone would want to do something like that. My head just doesn’t work that way.

  2. Chris

    Schools need to have a media studies class to explain advertising, copyrights, and other day-to-day requirements of living in a media-filled world.

  3. Harold

    I guess that people do this because it is possible to make money, directly or indirectly, and as Google becomes the all-powerful arbiter of Internet whuffie, it will continue.

  4. Jennifer Maddrell

    Icky … I sent them an e-mail and made the post linked above. Won’t change anything, but I couldn’t let this one slide … like I said … icky …

  5. Harold

    Good points on your blog post, Jennifer. I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting because I do want my feed to be used. However, I figure if anyone profits from it, I should get first dibs 😉

  6. Emma

    I’ve noticed the same thing … my posts appearing elsewhere – with clear indication of where they’re from.

    WOnder if we’re all falling prey to the same borrower… (though it’s not the HCI in my case). There’s something in Chinese (also mentioning Steven Downes, technology4teachers & another site.

  7. Christy Tucker

    The way I understand CC licensing, they could take your entire feed if they met the two requirements you’ve provided:
    1. Attribution
    2. Noncommercial

    I think that the membership request does make it appear to be their work rather than yours, which at least skirts the edge of attribution.

    I don’t see anything on HCI’s website which says that they are a nonprofit group, so I assume that they are making money. That means they are definitely violating the terms of your license.

    They can link to you, like a real blog roll, and give you additional traffic. 🙂 They can quote you, as long as they make it clear that you wrote it. What they are doing right now is exactly what you called it: stealing.

    People don’t have a clue about licenses for online content. Personally, I don’t think that CC licenses are that hard to understand. Copyright and fair use are confusing, so I can forgive people for that. But I’ve caught too many SMEs–many with PhDs–copying and pasting content from online sources to think that most people have even a passing understanding of copyright. Whoever set this up at HCI may just be clueless rather than malicious, so you might try contacting them to see what happens.

  8. Harold

    Good synthesis of the issues, Christy – thanks.

    Emma; I think that the Chinese blog is someone translating Stephen’s OLDaily and re-posting it. Personally, I’d say that’s a valuable and free added service and not feed stealing.

  9. Karyn Romeis

    I gathered the same about the Chinese site, but that wasn’t the one I was referring to in my comment. That one was English language.


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