Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Author:Mark Kennedy
Posted:11/16/1999; 2:55:37 PM
Msg #:13115
Prev/Next:13114 / 13116

Hey all, here's a new topic in the "What's fair use" conversation...

(EDIT: It turns out this isn't a new conversation after all! Lawrence Lee pointed me to a previous thread on this exact topic:$12929 Thanks Lawrence! I didn't see anyone mention before the fact that they purposefully strip out any framebusting code. This is one of the things that really aggrevates me about them, beyond the copyright issues...)

The site lets users cull content from just about any site on the web and compile it together on one customized page accessed through the CallTheShots site. For example, check this URL which includes content from CNET, SlashDot, redherring, and others:

Here's a link to their HowTo that shows you an overview of what their site can do:

I have two main issues with the site:

1. They allow users to cull content down to a nearly atomic level, i.e. they can cull not only a headline, but entire stories, or paragraphs from the story, or a graphic, or a particular table, whatever. This is basically a site scraping tool that works for just about any site. My problem with this is that I have *no* control over what parts of my content can be culled, unlike a syndication (RSS) model where I control which headlines from which stories are made available. In the model, there is no reason for the user to ever click into my site because all of the content the user is interested in can be viewed on the site. The only mention that I am guaranteed is a small link back to my site's hompage, which will *always* be framed by the call the shots site because...

2. They purposefully alter my web site's code to strip out any javascript that could interfere with their site's operation. For example, we include "framebuster" javascript that prevents someone from framing our site. parses all of this code out on their server before sending it to the browser, thus purposefully subverting our efforts to protect our site from framing, something that I think is entirely legitimate for us to want to do.

I'd be interested in hearing any comments folks have about this tool. Do you think it's a legitimate use of the web? It doesn't pass my "smell test", but others may disagree.

Mark Kennedy

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