A question about mashups and CreativeCommons licenses

I’ve set up my first two mashups using Yahoo pipes recently. Before I went ahead and made these humble experiments pubic, it had me thinking. Well, if I can combine our RSS feed with Flickr images, what’s to prevent others from doing things with our feed that we don’t intend?

After all, we specify – within our Podcast feed (not our plain rss just yet), using the <license> element, that this feed is made available under a creative commons license that specifically prohibits derivitive works.

Is a mashup a derivitive work? Seems like one to me.

I did a cursory search of the web and found an interesting article by Jonathan Bailey which suggests that rss feeds are, by definition, public domain protected, syndicated property and should be respected as such. (thanks for the correction).

He also describes three approaches for removing a feed from the yahoo pipes service.

I know this is not the time for locking up our content, but maybe it’s prudent that we change the license for our feeds to something that is more reflective of its actual purpose and use (although perhaps retain the NoDerivs part of the license as a sub-element of each item within the feed – as opposed to the feed iteself).

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  1. Jonathan Bailey’s avatar

    I believe that you are strongly misinterpreting my article. I was NOT saying that RSS feeds are public domain. They are certainly not. I was simply saying that that is how Dapper treats RSS feeds in its default setting. That was a criticism of Dapper.

    For more information on RSS feeds, implied license and why scraping is NOT acceptable, see this article on my site:


    Very sorry for the confusion.

  2. admin’s avatar

    Not a problem Jonathan. I appreciate the correction and the distinctions you make in your second article. Well said!

  3. Jonathan Bailey’s avatar

    It’s no problem. Thank you for the correction. I realize now that my original comment was a LOT more harsh than I wanted it to sound. I should never post anything until I’ve had my coffee.

    I think I’ll make that my new rule.

    Sorry if I came across as being more upset.

  4. Randy’s avatar

    “mashup” sounds like a professional wrestling thing. you’re not wrestling, are you?

  5. Craig Rosa’s avatar

    I was not aware of the CC licensing possibilities for RSS – I am going to check that out!


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