What Zite Does
When you download Zite to your iPad, you can let it learn about what topics you’re interested in from your Twitter, Google Reader or Delicious data. The app then creates a magazine-like interface for you to scroll through stories from a wide variety of sources online about those topics. You can give very specific feedback about what you like or don’t like and then you get more stories like that. It’s like Pandora for news articles. Not a lot of control but smart personalized learning. We reviewed the app in more detail yesterday and said that if you like Flipboard (Apple’s iPad App of the Year) then you should try Zite because it’s even easier to use.
Zite: Personalized Magazine for iPad from zite.com on Vimeo.
What the Lawyers Say
Yesterday Zite received a Cease and Desist letter signed by ten lawyers from big, big media companies: Time, The Washington Post, McClatchy, E.W. Scripps, Getty Images, National Geographic, Gannett, Dow Jones, Advanced Publications and the Associated Press.
Here are a few excerpts from that letter:
“By systematically reformatting, republishing and redistributing our original content on a mass commercial scale without our permission in your iPad application, Zite directly and adversely impacts our businesses. Your application takes the intelletual property of our companies, as well as the hard and sometimes dangerous work of tens of thousands of people. It depreives our websites of traffic and advertising revenue. We do not know your intentions, but your actions harm our companies and the broader media and news industry on which your application relies for its content…
Bad news for indie content aggregators out there. I wonder where my own site falls in this legal grey area? I always give attribution, and clearly marks quotes, but I do remove their adds and reofrmat their articles, and I certainly don’t ask first.