When Robert Scoble declares The Era Of blogger’s control is over, you should pay attention. In a series of conversations that sound eerily reminiscent of newspapers complaining about the era of free content and the music industry complaining about ripped off content, the blogosphere is abuzz about what happens when your blog content gets hijacked, collected and you lose the ability to get an ad served against your scribbles.
What happens is Shyftr. Shyftr (Share Your Feeds Together), as the New York company explains combines social networks and RSS syndication feeds. Ah, were it that simple. However, these are not partial feeds (fractured feeds in the social network parlance), but full feeds. So you write a blog post, it gets shyfted and you get shafted. Or at least all the discussion around your post can take place somewhere else.
Louis Gray, who writes the Silicon Valley Blog, has this to say about Shyftr and like services, “As a blogger, I am a content creator. I don’t want my content stolen, or reposted without attribution or under somebody else’s name. But I am also a huge advocate of RSS and continuing to adapt where the conversation is being held. Just as my blog’s RSS views have undoubtedly eclipsed my blog page views, I would not be surprised to see that more comments on my posts might eventually live outside of my blog.”
The Deep Jive blog puts the harshest light on Shyftr type services. “I’m no copyright guru, and I don’t pretend to know all the details of what that entails, but what I do know is this: unless and until there is a general consensus about what the rights around RSS feeds are (because my bias is that there is absolutely no implied rights to reproduce carte blanche), I think there is a moral and ethical obligation to obtain content from the content owners about reproducing feeds in their entirety, particularly if its going to be used as part of public service which a) has or will generate profits from a service which is based on those feeds and therefore is a b) service which cannot exist without reproducing (i.e. “copying”) those feeds.”
Like I said, all this reminds me of the newspapers arguing about bloggers stealing their content and the music industry complaining about pirate file sharing services stealing their music. Now it is the bloggers turn.