Liability for RSS flux

As Wikipedia puts it, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) “makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays”

A website or hosting provider uses RSS feeds to alert readers to new materials; to refer somewhere else to those RSS means the second website or blogger… relies on the first to automatically update contents. How can liability be engaged in those situations?

A French court, whose decision has not been translated so far, considers that although the RSS is automatic update, refering to it reveals an editorial choice which renders whoever author and not mere distributor of the content. Hence a website was ordered to stop providing the RSS about the movie “La Mome” (Edith Piaf) which sends to the Gala website. (2 March 2008)

So be cautious… although the second case on the matter makes it less likely for website to be liable if the correct disclaimers have been used “Le meurtre des flux RSS n’a pas eu lieu ” (12 March 2008) and


About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
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