There’s an interesting debate around syndication licensing going on, launched by Martin Schwimmer, with the important links aggregated by Scoble (here, here, here). I think the conclusion is obvious; some people, including me, need to have different licenses for site and feed.
Schwimmer may not have a firm grasp of the issues, but he does have a point; it’s reasonable to be concerned about Person A building a business around Person B’s feed.
Reasonable to be concerned, I say; but not reasonable to try to stop happening. At the end of the day it’s just nuts to try to fine-tune what other people do with your syndication feed. Which is to say, if you’re putting your full content in your feed, I think you’re pretty much giving it to the world. Whether you want to or not, it’s in the nature of the syndication beast. Not just RSS; Atom ain’t gonna change this.
Here at ongoing, quite a few fragments are not all there in the feed; and none of the photos are. For a variety of reasons, outside the scope of this debate, that’s not going to change. And whether or not I like what people do with my feed (I mean this seems kind of lame, but harmless), I don’t see much point in trying to control it.
I don’t want others trying to cash in on my long essays and pictures though, and I’ve already gone after people who are replicating the whole thing, and I’ll do it again any time I see it happening.
The problem is, though, that what I’ve just said here is inconsistent with what I say on my copyright page. I think my Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0) arguably says you can’t reproduce my feed for your own business purposes, i.e. do what Bloglines does.
It seems to me the right solution is obvious; rewrite things to apply a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license to the syndication feeds, while retaining Attribution-NonCommercial coverage for the full text and photos; hmm, an initial read suggests I need separate licenses for text and photos.
Or am I missing something obvious? By the way, Lauren pointed this out to me months ago, but neither of us thought it was that big a deal.