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Backtype obeys robots.txt rules. That said, the value a system like this adds outweighs the cons for me.



So what? A lack of a robots.txt rule doesn't imply "I can take other people's content, reproduce it wholesale, remove it from context, and put it on other people's sites or otherwise do what I want to it" does it? A lack of a robots.txt rule doesn't imply "I can ignore copyright law" does it? A lack of a robots.txt rule doesn't imply that the /author/ of the stolen content, perhaps with some suggestion of an implicit endorsement, wants it shown on some random 3rd party site does it?

I'm sorry for being so old fashioned as believing in the simple concept that when I comment on site A it doesn't mean I automatically want it reproduced in full on site B, C, D and E. I'm sorry for being so old fashioned in believing that as the author it removes value from /my work/. I'm sorry for being so old fashioned for complaining when these "advantages" aren't "advantages" for me but rather some 3rd party company or blog who are trying to profit from my work instead, perhaps even suggesting some implied endorsement, and being so old fashioned to /dare/ raise an objection when they try and do so.

Sorry for being so old fashioned that thinking that any company that is based around the concept of taking other people's content and reproducing it wholesale without considering the wishes of the copyright owners or authors is fundamentally flawed as a business and raises many dubious ethical and legal questions.

Or, perhaps, I should put my objections in a more concise manner that you'll understand. How can I, as an author, do this:

  User-agent: *
  Disallow-Author: Halo
Or, perhaps the bigger bolder question I want answered is /why/ should I have to do that, and what makes you believe you have the right to take my rights away from me? Why is it more acceptable to take this same prose and put it elsewhere as I wrote it as a comment instead of an article? And, no, "adding value" isn't a one-stop shop get-out clause; grave robbers added value as well, afterall.

Oh, and your site doesn't seem to support people who edit their comments correctly; they appear as duplicates.


As an author of articles I can say I get annoyed that all the comments from my readers (I do this socially not professionally - so mainly my friends) are stuck in facebook, google reader or twitter and not on my site. These big apps by go away but I've had my "blog" for almost 10 years, I'd rather be in control or have a copy of the discussion.


Welcome to the internet. Are you at the mercy of others? Yep. Is this legally dubious? Sure. Is everybody syndicating and remixing away? Hell yeah. Welcome to a world where you can pay for the privilege of being copied, just so your name spreads more widely. http://akkartik.name/blog/2009-03-26-03-16-33-soc

I'm reminded of websites that don't want others to link to them. Or of the losing battle of the RIAA. You can waste your breath fighting it. Or you can focus on how to keep people listening to you.


is there any way to prevent someone from doing this besides appealing to their ethical sensibilities? i suspect intuitions about "my rights" in cases like this are rooted in a zero-sum-economy psychology which just won't translate to the internet.


Do you dislike being indexed by Google as well? How is Backtype any different?


Does Google scrape content in whole, separate them from the original page and reuse them on other people's commercial websites without my permission? Y'know, the same difference between Google and a website that steals articles from other sites and reproduces them in whole for ad revenue, which is exactly what this site does but because 'it's comments' it's suddenly magically considered okay?


But isn't that up to the blog/site owner whether or not they want to be included in Backtype? And if the users don't like it one way or the other they can choose to go elsewhere.

I guess I've never viewed my comments on other people's sites with such strong ownership.


It is up to the owner (and their terms and conditions, natch). But it should be opt-in, the same way any other sort of permissive content licensing is explicitly opt-in, and the same way it's bad form to take content that isn't permissively licensed and reuse it on other sites without explicit permission. There's no reason why taking comment content should be treated differently from taking article content.

Hijacking other people's content without permission should not be considered a business model.

And for all the people who have modded me down, why? Explain the flaw in my logic, or is it a case of "Well, I like it and he doesn't so I'll mod him down"?




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