Should Planet blogs ask permission? Today, yes. Tomorrow, no.

A Planet blog is a blog where all the posts come from other blogs. Visit the Planet blog for an example. On one side you see a list of all the people whose blogs make up, on the other side you see the blog posts.

The question I’d like you to consider is: Should Planet blogs ask permission before including someone’s blog in their Planet?

I have two answers:

  • Today: yes

    Today, a Planet blog is built by a program that makes copies of blog posts for the purpose of distribution when someone visits the Planet blog. When copying and distribution come into play, copyright law kicks in and one should get permission.

  • Tomorrow: no

    Sometime in the future (what I’m calling “tomorrow”) Planet blogs may work differently. They may work by having the visitor’s web browser do all the blog post collection work. This means that the visitor is requesting the copies from each of the participating blogs and this copy is most likely being made for personal viewing, not distribution. In other words, the visitor’s web browser is doing almost the same work it would do if the visitor went to each of those blogs. To me, this is not something that ought to be considered the same way as how Planet blogs work now. This is basically linking and should not require permission (just as recommending a book to someone and telling them where to get that book doesn’t require permission).