Today, I tried accessing a Google gadget, only to be notified by the owner, that it will be shut down as of June 30, by Google, due to licensing issues.
I would like to make an appeal to app and gadget/widget developers.
It is very important that when your apps and gadgets source information from different websites, that you first obtain permission to use this content.
Not because it's online means its publicly available.
This permission can be as simple as an email request to the marketing and legal departments asking permission to use same.
(Please read the partner and user terms and conditions on the site of interest, before you willy- nillyingly source their information for your gadget/app. These documents usually tell you what you can and cannot do with the site owner's content).
And even if they don't have this document up on their website, once you see the copyright notice or Trademark symbol...you know you should just do the right thing and ask permission to use and/or license/rent the content.
It is a different case when the content is under a Creative Commons License that allows for free sharing of information, but even some some Creative Commons licenses either stipulate that you must acknowledge the original owner of content, or prevent you from offering the content sourced, for sale. (See cc 3.0).
This is even more critical when your gadget or app is making money online.
Sure, your ingenuity was used to program and design the gadget/app to drag in content and make it visually appealing to your users.
But without the original suppliers of the content, your gadget/app would have no legs to stand on.
And so what if the owners ask for a share of your revenue? :)
Give it to them, have your lawyers and theirs work on an agreement that's mutually beneficial to all parties.
As far as I'm concerned, getting 60-85% of $1 million ($600,000-$850,000) is much better than paying $2 million in legal fees and damages, as a result of using someone else's intellectual property without their permission.
Gadget/widget and app developers, you have been forewarned!
(I must commend Google, as a service provider, for taking the initiative to protect content owners' intellectual property rights.
Kudos to you!).
(I would like to thank StephaneMGrueso for the use of his Flickr inset photo, entitled, "Copiad-CARTEL-1200pix-EN".
It's a poster of 'Copyright, or the right to copy' documentary film about intellectual property. More info: www.copiadmalditos.net).
1) Gadget/widget definition via Wikipedia.org, accessed June 29,2011
2) Mashup definition via Wikipedia.org, accessed June 29,2011
3) Fair use definition via Wikipedia.org, accessed June 29,2011
4) Copyright notice defined via Wikipedia.org, accessed June 29,2011
5) Article, "Licensing of Intellectual Property Rights; a Vital Component of the Business Strategy of Your SME", via World Intellectual Property Organization, accessed June 29,2011
6) Webpage, "About The Licenses", via Creative Commons website, accessed June 29,2011
7) Webpage, "About Creative Commons License 3.0 Unported,"via Creative Commons website, accessed June 29,2011
8) Chapter: A Guide to Proper Trademark Use, in All About Trademarks, by Gregory H. Guillot,1995-2007