Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Copyright, Aggregators, and Readership

I’ve been thinking lately about licensing my content under a Creative Commons license, maybe non-commercial, attribution. As I think about such things, I look for scenarios where I’d be sad I’d done such a thing.

While I haven’t come up with any, I’ve been noticing lately that more and more of my readership comes via a variety of aggregation sites, like Radio Userland, bloglines, Newsgator, or even LiveJournal, where there are, I think, two or three RSS feeds for this blog. There are also more specialized sites like Infosec Daily or Jose Nazario’s SecBlogs. Some of those aggregators seem to intersperse ads with the blog postings. (I’d thought that Dayioglu was doing this, although those ads seem to be from SecurityFocus, not Ioglu.)

As blog reading becomes a more popular hobby, bandwidth costs might become an issue for medium-popular blogs. Aggregation, where someone else carries those costs, might be a good thing. (I think it will only be a problem for medium-popular blogs because the top blogs can get advertising, the small ones can use free or inexpensive services.) It doesn’t seem that the Creative Commons adds or subtracts from this: If you want to aggregate my work for commercial purposes, you need a license.

I’m curious: Are there good reasons to not put a blog like this one under a CC license?

2 comments on "Copyright, Aggregators, and Readership"

  • Harry says:

    There’s a minor cloud over CC right now thanks to a poor decision regarding marketing, but the licenses themselves remain useful. They’re suitable for people whose blogs are, in part, a public service. The BBC recently adopted it for their media archive, which is interesting, if not especially relevant to your situation.

  • dbs says:

    I’m curious about the two angles to your question. On the one hand there’s the question of licensing, which is a thorny one. Licensing has become very complex, particularly with the proliferation of complex “public” licenses such as the GPL which are frequenly misunderstood.
    I’d be curious to find a good “Here are the various licenses that are available for published content, here are the goods and the bads” reference.
    The other side of the question is bandwidth and aggregation questions. There’s always the push-pull balance of publication for profit (a commercial news source), income to cover costs (banner ads), publication for professional commentary (such as EC), and publication for fun (Livejournal). Aggregation has the problem that generall the revenue site is moved from your site to the aggregators, except in the case of embedded ads (which are becoming more popular). I think the question really has to start with what sort of online publication are you doing, and do you want that to generate revenue directly? If the answer to the second half of that is ‘no’, then things get a LOT easier. 🙂

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