Category Archives: Mobile

The Veteran Newbie, But Is It Legal?

Mobilizing the river of news
Dave Winer is working his magic again. The father of blogging, RSS, OPML, and XML-RPC was growing frustrated trying to get readable news feeds on a mobile device (Blackberry, Treo, Q, etc.), and whipped together a script for delivering clean, text (no graphics) feeds that update every 10 minutes.
I always find it amusing when someone who has been deeply immersed in one area of technology, suddenly “discovers” a completely new area of technology and starts acting like a complete newbie. I’ll christen it “The Veteran Newbie Effect.” Dave Winer is certainly an experienced veteran of the tech industry, but I think that he’s been so completely absorbed by RSS and blogging and podcasting for the past several years that he’s vastly underinformed about many other areas of the industry. In this case, a little more research would have revealed that there are lot’s of ways to read news and browse websites using mobile devices. I’ve been doing it for many years now using various smartphones and Pocket PCs. I currently use an iPAQ 4700 Pocket PC with Egress for RSS reading and Opera for web browsing. I download podcasts directly to the PPC via WiFi and listen to them using PocketMusic. I’ve got a 6GB CF microdrive and a 4GB SD for storage. I also use it to watch video from time to time. I could even record, edit and upload podcasts using Resco Audio Recorder if I were into that sort of thing.
What Dave has done with the software he created is interesting because it’s an approach that hasn’t been done before, it’s just not necessary.
More importantly though, I wonder if it’s legal. I think that what he’s doing is taking multiple content streams from one source, stripping out the graphics if any, and republishing them from his own server under his own domain name. If that is in fact what he is doing, isn’t that a copyright violation? And isn’t using a domain such as a trademark violation?
I’ve got a lot a respect for Dave’s contributions over the years, but I think that he may have misfired a bit on this one.