Rhetorics of scraping
Michael Fry does not like people syndicating his comic strip, Over the Hedge:
United Media does not offer RSS feeds of their strips, with or without advertisements, so therefore these scraped feeds are the only way to follow such comics. Fine, they don't want this scraping to happen, that is their right, but I do find the rhetoric that is used here, completely and utterly stupid.
Why the fuck would removing advertisements be the same as holding a gun against someone's head!?! That is blatantly absurd - the former is the same as going to the toilet during commercial breaks, the latter is a threat to take a life of a person! There is nothing similar in these two cases. There's also the delusion of "lost sale" here... If the Hedge is not available to me via RSS, I'll just simply stop reading it. There is no "lost sale" in advertisements in this case - and even if I went to that site, I would have ad blockers in my browser.
The other side of me just wonders, why is "making Hedge so easily and freely available" undermining economics? If your economics consists of making life difficult and expensive for the users, then perhaps yes, but if your point is to sell books - aren't you better off telling everyone about your great thing? You know, advertising?
Anyway. There are many services that still do this scraping thing, all over the world. All it requires is a few lines of Perl or Python for anyone with an inch of coding ability. If you can read the HTML, you can scrape it. My fear is that once content producers realize this, they will start to offer their products embedded inside Flash files, or custom image plugins, or perhaps in DRM-protected videos (containing nothing but the image). Perhaps all text will be sent as images to stop scraping, or all sites will be turned to Flash. This will kill usability on so many fronts it's not funny anymore, and drive away users instead of getting more of them.
But what should be understood that scraping as such is not legal. You can, by sending a simple email, to shut down an offending site. You can stop it, once it starts to happen, using normal legal recourses. You just can't prevent it without losing your customers. Please don't even try...
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|"Main_blogentry_250505_1" last changed on 25-May-2005 11:23:04 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|