Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BPN 1173 ACAP: a friendly negotiation tool

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that many text providers such as journalists, are taking measure against illegal copying and piracy. This I think is a rather negative approach and an approach after the publication. I have often criticised publishers for taking measures afterwards and not taking preventive actions or even starting projects with other publishers. So they often end up in court with a series of court cases, not relevant to jurisprudence, and with a lot of antipathy from the audience.

But things are also changing. ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol) is officially introduced and is in The Netherlands going to be used by the association of Dutch publishers NUV. The good thing about ACAP is that it is a product which puts content owners in control of their content. It is basically a tool for the publisher to tell search engine operators what they can index and link.

ACAP takes care of the entry to the websites of publishers and especially the discriminate access of crawlers and spiders. It offers four choices: follow, index, present and preserve. The command follow directs the crawlers or spiders to linked pages; with index command they are allowed to make a copy; with the command present the links are taken out of the index, while with the preserve command the crawlers and spiders get to see when an item is not available any more.

ACAP is devised by publishers in collaboration with search engines after an intensive year-long pilot in 2006-2007 and set to control the dissemination, use, and protection of copyright-protected content on the worldwide web. ACAP is destined to become the universal permissions protocol on the internet, an open, non-proprietary standard through which content owners can communicate permissions for access and use to online intermediaries.In the first instance, ACAP provides a framework that will allow any publisher, large or small, to express access and use policies in a language that search engines' robot "spiders" can be taught to understand. ACAP’s scope is now being extended to other business relationships and other media types including music and the audiovisual sectors. Technical work is ongoing to improve and finesse ACAP V.1.

With the ACAP tool in hand, the publisher can decide on his business model and offer access or not. They can make a difference in paid and free services and services for subscribers and occasional visitors.

Blog Posting Number: 1173


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