Yesterday, we were served a cease and desist notice by a consortium of large media companies (initially reported by Kara Swisher). Since then the issue has become a hot topic on many other outlets, and we should provide our perspective.
Before I begin, we want to say thanks to the outpouring of support from our users. Now, I’d like to give you some insight into how Zite works with content:
- Zite’s content comes from a web crawl, the same way content is aggregated in the indexes of search engines like Google and Bing.
- Zite displays articles in reading mode, which changes how the page is rendered. Though we understand this can alter the layout and potentially eliminate ads, we made this design decision in order to give users a better reading experience. Reading mode is already common, e.g. Safari’s Reader.
- We respect the decision of publishers who either use the noarchive metatag or explicitly tell us they want their content displayed in web mode – in either case, we render articles without reformatting.
We don’t look at this as an adversarial situation. If the formal cease and desist we received from the big publishing companies yesterday was a one line email from the world’s smallest blogger, we would treat it exactly the same: we would switch the content from reading mode to web view mode. That’s it. This is not our legal position, it’s just our policy. Zite is eager to work with publishers in a way that benefits everyone – most importantly end users.
We are already talking to some big publishers about doing just that. We’d love to hear from publishers directly about how we can work together and meet their needs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, we’d love to hear what you think, whether you’re a user, a publisher, or an industry observer – please leave your comments below.
Ali Davar, CEO
Update: great commentary from GigaOm.