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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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« The Future of Music Coalition Against the INDUCE Act (IICA) | Main | Hatch's Hit List #24 - US Postal Service »

August 10, 2004

Hatch's Hit List #23 - Email to RSS

Posted by Ernest Miller

What is Hatch's Hit List? Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has introduced the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act) in the Senate. The bill would make it illegal to "intentionally induce" copyright infringement, but is worded so broadly that it would have all sorts of unintended consequences, one of which is to severely limit, cripple or kill innovation in many different fields. Hatch's Hit List is a daily exploration of some of the technologies and fields that the bill would likely affect. See also, Introducing Hatch's Hit List and the Hatch's Hit List Archives. Send list suggestions to ernest.miller 8T

Today on Hatch's Hit List: Email to RSS

A number of people have been arguing that RSS may soon replace email for many functions (Email v RSS, let us move on...). However, many people haven't made the switch or don't offer an RSS feed as an alternative to email newsletters, for example.

Enter the companies that will take emails and turn them into RSS feeds for you, such as iUpload Mailby RSS:

Using MailbyRSS is simple. Organizations need only to sign up to the service to receive a special e-mail address and password from iUpload and can immediately begin to author content for their RSS channel by sending it as an email. When MailbyRSS receives an authorized e-mail message, it automatically creates or updates an RSS channel and generates any supporting web pages required.
Anyone can use this service, which means that anyone could subscribe an email newsletter and an RSS feed would then be created.

The problem is that an RSS feed is a derivative work of the original email. Moreover, on the free version of the Mailby RSS service, the RSS feed includes advertising for the service itself. In this case, the Mailby RSS service might be guilty of direct infringement, but what of a program that will do a similar conversion that you can download for personal use?

The purpose of such a program would clearly be to induce the creation of derivative works. After all, if the provider of an email newsletter wanted to provide an RSS feed, they certainly could have.

Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic, including Hatch's Hit List: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Hatch's Hit List | INDUCE Act


1. EricinTX on August 10, 2004 08:49 PM writes... also offers this service. It turns anything that you have sent to your bloglines mail addresses (you can have many) look like a feed.

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