Published: Tuesday, 04 August 2009 22:31
Written by Jonathan Walker
Edit: Mark Blackstock, editor of TheYamYam, has replied to this post, and you can find his comments here.
One of the clichés you hear thrown around on the interweb is that "nobody owns the news".
I've never heard anyone claim that they do own the news, and I wouldn't understand what they meant if they did.
You can't own "the news" in general, any more than you can own fiction or music as a concept, but if you write a novel, song or article - however good or bad - you own that. Or, if you have sold your labour to someone else, they own it.
Frankly, I suspect the phrase is sometimes used simply to justify ripping people off. Which brings me to theyamyam.com.
I wrote about theyamyam before, in fairly positive terms. I did note at the time that the site was taking more from newspaper websites than they had chosen to syndicate via RSS (it seems to me that if you put something in an RSS feed you are tacitly giving people permission to use it), but didn't make much of it.
Their latest angle, however, is to scan in full stories from local newspapers and stick them up on their website, with a handy Google ad placed next to the scanned image.
Here's one example, ripping off the Express and Star (for some reason the Birmingham Post, Mail and Mercury don't seem to be getting the same treatment yet).
The Express and Star is credited - but believe it or not, there is no link to the E&S website. The name of the paper is there, but that's not a link.
In any case, once the entire original story has been posted on the YamYam, why would anyone want to click through and read the original?
To those who say local newspapers simply cut and paste press releases anyway, I ask why the YamYam doesn't just do that? (Answer - because that's not what local papers do. But any website is welcome to do it).
This is just theft, in the same way as downloading a pirated copy of a film or CD is theft. I regret saying nice things about this website, as it's become nothing more than the digital equivalent of the guy down the pub trying to flog dodgy DVDs.