Just wondering if applications like Instapaper are legal and if so how?
I've read around a bit and it seems that because the data is being sent by the bookmarklet from the users machine to Instapaper, rather than Instapaper getting a URL and then scrapping the site, that gets around things. If this is the case, how do they get around the images?
Does anyone know where the line in the sand here is?
I'd think of it like a printer, or a Print-to-PDF option, or even time-shifting content like TiVo. And as far as I know, sharing shares a link to the original content, not to an instapaper-archived version (someone who uses Instapaper more correct me if I'm wrong).
I am not a lawyer, but I suspect use of Instapaper qualifies as fair use under copyright law in the same way printing does. Archiving a copy of freely-available content for personal use:
Further, Instapaper offers publishers the option to opt out: http://www.instapaper.com/publishers The reality is that copyright law is a mess, and the only way to be certain use of content you haven't created yourself is legal is to use it within the bounds of a license or to have it tested by law suit.
I think all of us involved in the content space need to answer this one. Most of the tools are used by the user to improve their experience of the original source content.
The commercial oil that makes all this work is financial gain for publishers. All the services have to show publishers a route to increased revenue from wider and deeper distribution. In that way the copyright question becomes secondary. Google faced exactly this debate when it launched Google News and News International withdrew their content.
A lawyer will most likely be happy to research it with you on your clock and then will just give you a text book safe "don't do it" answer. If your case is interpretative and not tested in court then they don't know any better than you do. The biggest difference here is a piece of software is a tool a user uses for their own benefit or if they use it to benefit from other people's content. If it's a tool used by an individual, then you're clear. If you scrape pages and republish the content you may have a problem.