(Robert, don’t rush for the unsubscribe button bud.)
Well, there have certainly been some interesting developments over the past week while I was busy gorging on turkey and other tasty treats down in San Diego.
What’s more interesting is that he’s doing this with an ultimatum; essentially, if you don’t like it, he won’t read you any more (which also means he won’t link to you). In short, you can read this as “give me your content or lose access to my distribution,” which essentially makes this the same game that the Search Engine Cos are playing with Big Media (though the search engines are generally careful not to present the full text of a page other than via their ‘cache’ link).
Now let’s be clear. Compared to Google, Scoble represents a token amount of traffic to my site. While my Scobleometer Reading indicates that I say something he finds interesting once every 10 days or so (and I’m generally surprised by what he links to), I’ve never been quoted on his home page nor had a blog-to-blog conversation/debate as he often does with Dave Winer.
But the real issue here (yes yes, there is a point) is that because Scoble reads me via a Feed, he probably doesn’t realize that there’s a copyright statement at the bottom of every page on my site (i.e., every blog post). He doesn’t realize it because a) he’s probably visited my site exactly once to subscribe to my blog, and b) because my Feed doesn’t codify the permissions for use of my content.
Now let’s be clear. One of the overriding assumptions of blogging is that you want others to read and comment on your posts; I’m hardly about to sue Robert or Microsoft over this (although the latter is interesting, albeit likely futile, from a deep pockets perspective…). But I do have reasonable expectations over how he and others might use my content commercially, and certainly want attribution for my efforts.
And so, my request of Scoble, Winer, Anker, Lessig and the other blog-powers-that-be is this: let’s get this right in the next iteration of RSS, Atom et al. Let’s have a way for people to explicitly indicate codified licensing/permissions in their Feeds, for both their posts and for any enclosures. This is key to efforts like JD Lassica & Marc Canter’s ourmedia.org project, and will likely only increase in importance as more and more “professional” use of blogs occurs.