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News: Feed Access Control Standard for RSS and ATOM

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  • Randy Morin
    from Bloglines http://www.bloglines.com/about/specs/fac-1.0 Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To allow access means a feed may be
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 1, 2006
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      from Bloglines
      http://www.bloglines.com/about/specs/fac-1.0

      Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To
      'allow' access means a feed may be redistributed to other public
      sources, including search.


      RSS Example

      <rss version="2.0"
      xmlns:access="http://www.bloglines.com/about/specs/fac-1.0">
      <access:restriction relationship="allow" />
      <channel>
      <title>Bloglines | News</title>
      <link>http://www.bloglines.com</link>
      <item>
      <title>Ping Away, Bloggers</title>
      <description>Hello World</description>
      <pubDate>Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:03:11 PDT</pubDate>
      <guid>http://www.bloglines.com/about/news#103</guid>
      </item>
      </channel>
      </rss>
    • James Holderness
      ... FYI, in the Atom WG there has been discussion in the past of a feed license extension [1] that could possibly be used to do the same sort of thing. It s
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 1, 2006
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        Randy Morin:
        > from Bloglines
        > http://www.bloglines.com/about/specs/fac-1.0
        >
        > Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To
        > 'allow' access means a feed may be redistributed to other public
        > sources, including search.

        FYI, in the Atom WG there has been discussion in the past of a feed license
        extension [1] that could possibly be used to do the same sort of thing. It's
        more flexible (in that you can assign any kind of license to a feed), but it
        would be more difficult to support.

        Personally, if I were a publisher I'd prefer something somewhere inbetween.
        I'd like to be able to say, for example, yes you can search my feed, but no
        you can't republish it. The bloglines proposal seems very limited with its
        allow/deny all-or-nothing approach.

        Also, what about robots.txt? If you wanted to prevent a search engine from
        indexing your feed couldn't you just use that? Or is that not an option for
        most users?

        Regards
        James

        [1]
        http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-snell-atompub-feed-license-06.txt
      • Jason Douglas
        Agreed. We ve seen the need for at least three different permissions for web-based aggregators so far and I m sure we ll see more over time: 1. Not allowed.
        Message 3 of 11 , Aug 1, 2006
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          Agreed. We've seen the need for at least three different permissions for
          web-based aggregators so far and I'm sure we'll see more over time:

          1. Not allowed. Publisher is denying aggregator right to retrieve feed for
          subscriber (e.g, unacceptable commercial use).

          2. Don't index the feed. For us, this means don't have it show up in search
          results for other users to discover and subscribe to. This is usually
          necessary for "individualized" feeds... things like netflix queues,
          personalized newsletters, etc.

          3. Don't resyndicate the feed. Many web-based aggregagtors have public
          APIs... what if a publisher is willing to let the aggregator support
          individaul subscriptions but not re-syndication?

          Of course #1 and #3 require voluntary compliance... at least for #2 there's
          a clearer motivation for everyone to support.

          -jason


          On 8/1/06 11:02 PM, "James Holderness" <j4_james@...> wrote:

          > Randy Morin:
          >> from Bloglines
          >> http://www.bloglines.com/about/specs/fac-1.0
          >>
          >> Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To
          >> 'allow' access means a feed may be redistributed to other public
          >> sources, including search.
          >
          > FYI, in the Atom WG there has been discussion in the past of a feed license
          > extension [1] that could possibly be used to do the same sort of thing. It's
          > more flexible (in that you can assign any kind of license to a feed), but it
          > would be more difficult to support.
          >
          > Personally, if I were a publisher I'd prefer something somewhere inbetween.
          > I'd like to be able to say, for example, yes you can search my feed, but no
          > you can't republish it. The bloglines proposal seems very limited with its
          > allow/deny all-or-nothing approach.
          >
          > Also, what about robots.txt? If you wanted to prevent a search engine from
          > indexing your feed couldn't you just use that? Or is that not an option for
          > most users?
          >
          > Regards
          > James
          >
          > [1]
          > http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-snell-atompub-feed-license-06.txt
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • rcade
          ... It s not clear how the access tag would be used in relation to the creativeCommons tag that s already in wide use for more fine-grained policy:
          Message 4 of 11 , Aug 2, 2006
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            --- In rss-public@yahoogroups.com, "Randy Morin" <randy@...> wrote:
            > Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To
            > 'allow' access means a feed may be redistributed to other public
            > sources, including search.

            It's not clear how the access tag would be used in relation to the
            creativeCommons tag that's already in wide use for more fine-grained
            policy:

            http://backend.userland.com/creativeCommonsRssModule

            If I'm using a creativeCommons tag that OKs non-commercial
            redistribution, does access override this?
          • Bill Kearney
            ... for ... It s unclear whether the tools would actually go so far as to check for it s presense, not to mention the added hassle of another file in another
            Message 5 of 11 , Aug 2, 2006
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              > Also, what about robots.txt? If you wanted to prevent a search engine from
              > indexing your feed couldn't you just use that? Or is that not an option
              for
              > most users?

              It's unclear whether the tools would actually go so far as to check for it's
              presense, not to mention the added hassle of another file in another format.

              This also touches on the notion that 'other parts of the process' handle
              things. I've always been a big fan of letting the RSS file speak for
              itself, not depend on the underlying transport to express data. Like the
              URL itself, timestamps and the like. To me it would seem advantageous to
              publish this data in the feed itself, not separately.

              And to really reach out there, I'd love there to be a standard method for
              handling 'extra meta'. As in, a single URL within the feed that points to
              an XML document with all sorts of extra data that wouldn't be needed in most
              repetitive subscription sessions but would be useful during new
              subscriptions. Seems like it'd also be a fine place to express more nuanced
              variations of licensing data. Now, I'm sure this opens a whole other can of
              worms for the "readability in browser" crowd but I'm sure some clever devil
              could transmogrify it appropriately with CSS. But it'd sure be handy to
              have a standard way of doing this...

              -Bill Kearney
              Syndic8.com
            • Sam Ruby
              ... I love the question, but I ll raise you one: If one were contemplating either creating a feed or creating an extension, where might one go to find a
              Message 6 of 11 , Aug 2, 2006
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                rcade wrote:
                > --- In rss-public@yahoogroups.com, "Randy Morin" <randy@...> wrote:
                >> Used to indicate the re-distribution restrictions for a feed. To
                >> 'allow' access means a feed may be redistributed to other public
                >> sources, including search.
                >
                > It's not clear how the access tag would be used in relation to the
                > creativeCommons tag that's already in wide use for more fine-grained
                > policy:
                >
                > http://backend.userland.com/creativeCommonsRssModule
                >
                > If I'm using a creativeCommons tag that OKs non-commercial
                > redistribution, does access override this?

                I love the question, but I'll raise you one:

                If one were contemplating either creating a feed or creating an
                extension, where might one go to find a complete list of RSS 2.0
                tags that are in wide use?

                Recently there was a hue and cry that RSS 2.0 can't serve as a vehicle
                for un-encoded, well-formed XHTML. Randy responded with a pointer to a
                weblog entry of mine which showed that it had been done years ago, by
                myself and Don Box. Both of us have since ceased to use this element,
                and James previously demonstrated that among all of the erstwhile
                replacements for the multi-purpose description element, xhtml:body is
                among the least well supported.

                All of this could be improved with a little education.

                One could start by polling existing consumers to see what they support.
                As an initial start, consumers based on the Universal Feed Parser
                (including Planet) have their behaviors documented here:

                http://feedparser.org/docs/

                More specific examples can be found at the following:

                http://feedparser.org/docs/reference-feed-license.html
                http://feedparser.org/docs/reference-entry-content.html

                - Sam Ruby

                - Sam Ruby
              • James Holderness
                For those of you not following all of the blogs that have been discussing this topic, here are a couple of other alternatives I ve seen mentioned. Via Sams
                Message 7 of 11 , Aug 3, 2006
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                  For those of you not following all of the blogs that have been discussing
                  this topic, here are a couple of other alternatives I've seen mentioned.

                  Via Sams blog [1], Mihai Parparita says Google Blog Search has a similar
                  element that they've supported for a while. He provided two informational
                  links [2][3], but neither made it particularly clear to me how exactly the
                  tag was supposed to work.

                  Greg Reinacker [4] and Niall Kennedy [5] have both discussed proposals for a
                  noindex tag of some sort in the past, but I'm not sure whether they got any
                  significant support.

                  RSS 1.0 has a creative commons module [6] that could assumedly be used just
                  as easily with other feed formats, but as with the Atom license proposal [7]
                  and the creativeCommons module [8] that Rogers mentioned, I'm not sure how
                  easy it would be to use in this context. I've also seen it said that a cc
                  license can't be used to restrict anything - it can only grant rights.

                  In the end, though, I suspect the de facto standard will just be whatever
                  someone like Bloglines and/or Google choose to implement. No matter how good
                  any other proposals might be they're essentially useless if there is nobody
                  supporting them.

                  Regards
                  James

                  [1] http://intertwingly.net/blog/2006/08/02/Feed-Access-Control#c1154539474
                  [2] http://cvs.livejournal.org/browse.cgi/livejournal/cgi-bin/ljfeed.pl
                  [3]
                  http://www.livejournal.com/community/lj_dev/695091.html?thread=7503923#t7503923
                  [4] http://www.rassoc.com/gregr/weblog/archive.aspx?post=791
                  [5] http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2006/02/feed-exclusion.html
                  [6] http://web.resource.org/rss/1.0/modules/cc/
                  [7]
                  http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-snell-atompub-feed-license-06.txt
                  [8] http://backend.userland.com/creativeCommonsRssModule
                • Jason Douglas
                  Yahoo! supports the noindex meta tag from HTML, pretty much exactly as outlined here: http://dannyayers.com/2006/08/02/in-band-robots -jason ...
                  Message 8 of 11 , Aug 3, 2006
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                    Yahoo! supports the noindex meta tag from HTML, pretty much exactly as
                    outlined here:

                    http://dannyayers.com/2006/08/02/in-band-robots

                    -jason


                    On 8/3/06 4:48 PM, "James Holderness" <j4_james@...> wrote:

                    > For those of you not following all of the blogs that have been discussing
                    > this topic, here are a couple of other alternatives I've seen mentioned.
                    >
                    > Via Sams blog [1], Mihai Parparita says Google Blog Search has a similar
                    > element that they've supported for a while. He provided two informational
                    > links [2][3], but neither made it particularly clear to me how exactly the
                    > tag was supposed to work.
                    >
                    > Greg Reinacker [4] and Niall Kennedy [5] have both discussed proposals for a
                    > noindex tag of some sort in the past, but I'm not sure whether they got any
                    > significant support.
                    >
                    > RSS 1.0 has a creative commons module [6] that could assumedly be used just
                    > as easily with other feed formats, but as with the Atom license proposal [7]
                    > and the creativeCommons module [8] that Rogers mentioned, I'm not sure how
                    > easy it would be to use in this context. I've also seen it said that a cc
                    > license can't be used to restrict anything - it can only grant rights.
                    >
                    > In the end, though, I suspect the de facto standard will just be whatever
                    > someone like Bloglines and/or Google choose to implement. No matter how good
                    > any other proposals might be they're essentially useless if there is nobody
                    > supporting them.
                    >
                    > Regards
                    > James
                    >
                    > [1] http://intertwingly.net/blog/2006/08/02/Feed-Access-Control#c1154539474
                    > [2] http://cvs.livejournal.org/browse.cgi/livejournal/cgi-bin/ljfeed.pl
                    > [3]
                    >
                    http://www.livejournal.com/community/lj_dev/695091.html?thread=7503923#t750392>
                    3
                    > [4] http://www.rassoc.com/gregr/weblog/archive.aspx?post=791
                    > [5] http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2006/02/feed-exclusion.html
                    > [6] http://web.resource.org/rss/1.0/modules/cc/
                    > [7]
                    > http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-snell-atompub-feed-license-06.txt
                    > [8] http://backend.userland.com/creativeCommonsRssModule
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • James Holderness
                    How does that apply to feeds though? Do you retrieve the HTML from the permalink for each feed item to determine whether it has a robots meta tag? Do you
                    Message 9 of 11 , Aug 3, 2006
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                      How does that apply to feeds though? Do you retrieve the HTML from the
                      permalink for each feed item to determine whether it has a robots meta tag?
                      Do you retrieve the feed's "homepage" link and look for a robots meta tag
                      there?

                      Regards
                      James

                      Jason Douglas wrote:
                      > Yahoo! supports the noindex meta tag from HTML, pretty much exactly as
                      > outlined here:
                      >
                      > http://dannyayers.com/2006/08/02/in-band-robots
                    • Jason Douglas
                      No, I definitely wouldn t tie it to the feed homepage. We just had people stick it in the feed itself: Obviously
                      Message 10 of 11 , Aug 3, 2006
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                        No, I definitely wouldn't tie it to the feed homepage. We just had people
                        stick it in the feed itself:

                        <xhtml:meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>

                        Obviously not something we've publicized... we've just used it upon request
                        (not a lot). However, I thought I'd mention it as part of the discussion of
                        alternatives.

                        -jason


                        On 8/3/06 6:06 PM, "James Holderness" <j4_james@...> wrote:

                        > How does that apply to feeds though? Do you retrieve the HTML from the
                        > permalink for each feed item to determine whether it has a robots meta tag?
                        > Do you retrieve the feed's "homepage" link and look for a robots meta tag
                        > there?
                        >
                        > Regards
                        > James
                        >
                        > Jason Douglas wrote:
                        >> Yahoo! supports the noindex meta tag from HTML, pretty much exactly as
                        >> outlined here:
                        >>
                        >> http://dannyayers.com/2006/08/02/in-band-robots
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • James Holderness
                        Cool. That s a neat solution. Regards James
                        Message 11 of 11 , Aug 3, 2006
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                          Cool. That's a neat solution.

                          Regards
                          James

                          Jason Douglas wrote:
                          > No, I definitely wouldn't tie it to the feed homepage. We just had people
                          > stick it in the feed itself:
                          >
                          > <xhtml:meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>
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