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Digg: “Fair Use” or Stealing Content?

I was trying to figure out why Marcy’s very important post on KSM being waterboarded 183 times in one month went nuclear on Digg, but she wasn’t seeing any traffic from it on her site. Turns out there’s a reason:

Digg takes the entire post, 100% of it, and all the comments, and puts it under their own banner. Even if you comment on Marcy’s post, you stay on Digg.

There’s a lot of controversy right now about aggregation — some websites claiming, with varying degrees of legitimacy, that if they take the first two paragraphs of an AP or a NYT article and then link through to the rest, that it’s "fair use." But taking someone’s entire website, the design, the content, the comments and the user interface is so far outside the boundaries of any copyright law I understand that I don’t know how any lawyer attempted to justify it.

Anyway, we just took our Digg tags down off the site and won’t be returning them until such time as Digg changes their policy. The claim that it increases traffic is bunk, at least for us — I’ve been watching referrals, we’ve had a bump but it’s all coming from the Huffington Post, not Digg. We got more traffic from an Atrios link that went up at 11:30 last night (a site that got 50,000 page views yesterday). For the tech savvy, here’s How to Block the Diggbar.

Digg co-owner Kevin Rose was less than thrilled when someone did the same thing to them:

On the March 4 episode of Diggnation, a Web show which Rose co-hosts, he discovered that Truveo, a video search engine, was displaying Rose’s Revision3 website in an iFrame — the technical name for showing another site’s content within their framework.

"Oh, someone is taking your [expletive deleted]," said Rose, who is also the co-founder of Revision, to his partner, David Prager. "Why is Truveo doing this?"

Rose claims that Digg is a company worth $200 million. How exactly does he rationalize this?

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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