Denise Howell has been analyzing the implications of copyright law for RSS/Atom syndication on her new Lawgarithms blog at ZDnet. Clearly stating that many of the issues are currently unsettled, Denise encourages "participatory law" and asks readers to provide "reasons why RSS publishing isn't like free magazine publishing"... There are quite a few reasons, I think. As one digs into this subject of the law of syndication, it will become apparent that there are many, many interesting issues to be dealt with. For instance, one very significant difference is:
The publisher of a magazine has total control over the presentation of content in that magazine. However, the publisher of an RSS/Atom syndication feed has very little, if any, "control" over the presentation of data published in a feed.
The implication of this difference is that we might be making a mistake when we compare web and RSS/Atom syndicated content to normal text-based paper publications. It might be more useful to consider such content as though it were computer programs or even music!