You are probably right. But there is another interesting question - is for-profit news aggregation, where you quote a part of the article, fair use? Bloggers do that, user-powered aggregator sites do that, but is it fair use? Because in most cases, the quote itself carries a news value, and those quoting websites are commercial venues. I am just asking...
I've always found it quite strange that the people who make the money off an article (assuming diggs/reddits etc are generating revenue) are those who merely aggregate content and submit it to these sites. They add nothing to the equation.
Aggregators certainly can add value. The aggregator makes a choice of which articles to include vs which to omit. This is an editorial decision. This in turn allows readers to find content of interest to them without having to hunt for it themselves.
That's a pretty interesting position. So basically you are saying someone can take the best of all the articles on the web, without any payment (or even a link), put ads all over it, and the person who wrote the article doesn't get anything, just because they are not as good at you at seo?
I know that's the status quo, but I don't think it's fair or sustainable.
The only person who is gaining value from this in my opinion is the aggregator. Someone like digg which links to the original article is fine imho; but if they link to another non-primary source without original content/discussion then it's pretty murky waters.
I'm not going as far as to claim that aggregators should quote whole works entire. Far from it. I'm merely claiming that a compilation (of links, or quotes, or what have you) is editorial in nature in-and-of-itself.
And I am certainly not claiming that doing any of this sans attribution should be permissible. Proper attribution is crucial and hyperlinks make it so easy that there is no excuse for e-plagiarism.
> just because they are not as good at you at seo?
It has nothing to do with SEO, and everything to do with convenience. Think about early /.. Since I enjoyed reading the same kinds of things as cmdrtaco, not having to Lycos (hehe...) news was a pretty big value add. I can go to one URL, get all of the tech news, and save a ton of time.
As far as determining if something 'has value' or not, we can just look at the facts. If an aggregator wasn't adding any kind of value, nobody would be going there. It's not like buying a URL and putting up some ads means you make instant cash. You still have to get visitors to come to your site somehow, and you do that by providing value to your audience.
It's more difficult to prove, but having been for commercial use doesn't preclude fair-use:
"While commercial copying for profit work may make it harder to qualify as fair use, it does not make it impossible. For instance, in the 2 Live Crew—Oh, Pretty Woman case, it was ruled that commercial parody can be fair use."
But is user generated content for commercial use? I mean if bots are submitting it fine, but how do you go about a human submitting something to a commercial site? It's easy if the site says it owns all submissions, but what if it doesn't?