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Podcast Hijacking

It seems to me that this is a copyright issue. If someone takes your RSS - content you've created - and re-pulbishes it without permission, how is it not a copyright violation?

By publishing the XML, you grant users the right to read the file (that's all an aggregator does), but not to re-publish it.

4 Responses to "Podcast Hijacking"

  1. "You grant users the right to read the file... but not republish it"

    That's not exactly clear unless the feed itself makes that clear. The "syndication" past of RSS was at least a substantial part of the intended purpose: republication of content on "syndication" sites.

    I think the purpose of newsfeeds has evolved to a point where they are now the equivalent of the HTML itself - a standardized file format designed to be read by a particular type of application. Most folks don't even make the conscious choice to publish a newsfeed - it's built into the blog software and turned on by default.

    In my old feed, I expressly included a full copyright notice. I haven't tweaked my new one for that yet. If you want to make absolutely clear that your newsfeed is not for repub, you might want to include express language to that effect in the feed itself.

  2. Ok, dummy shoulda read the article first.

    I'm not exactly clear on the mechanism of his this "hijacking" occurs but it seems clear that there would be some kinds of legal remedy. At a bare minimum, extorting payments after intentionally diverting a podcast listing would be considered a form of "unjust enrichment" in which the extortionist unjustly receives a benefit (the payments).

    This may also violate common-law trademark protections, and if any copies are actually made, copyright law as well. Based on the article, it does not appear that the jackers are making their own copies of any protected material, so copyright would not seem to apply.

  3. Actually I believe they have a domain name (any domain name) and then they copy the XML file to that domain (say, ""). Then they go register THEIR domain and XML file as the official one, keeping it current with the latest XML so the listeners don't notice anything going wrong.

    So, if I've understood it correctly, they most certainly are making a copy of the file.

    That, or they've got a PHP script that grabs the guy's file and presents it as coming from their site, which would effectively be the same thing as copying it. It'd also be bandwidth theft.

  4. Yes, this seems like a clear case of copyright violation.

    The originator of the RSS feed ought to put an explicit license in the RSS file, but the law is on his side anyway. (Unless he has been distributing the RSS feed under a Creative Commons license or other license which allows redistribution.)