Mashups Not In Control

John Musser, March 2nd, 2006

SFGateRichard MacManus over at ZDNet takes a look at Mashups: who’s really in control?. In particular he opens by emphasizing that:

In the mashup ecosystem, let’s get one thing straight. The data owner is ultimately in control, because a mashup developer is reliant on data owners to keep the supply of data flowing.

Sometimes data services that were open to begin with, then have restrictions imposed on them. Or the data services may even be taken away completely, if the owner of the data decides they don’t like what the mashup does to their bottom line.

Indeed, the power resides with the data and API providers. Sometimes this leads to calling the attorneys in. One of things I’ll be putting together is a list of mashups that have run into legal trouble, either with the owner of data such as when craigslist booted Oodle, or with copyright or trademark violations as happened with Hasbro vs. Risk on a Google Map.

This is going to be a long running strategic and legal balancing act.

Tags: Issues, Law, Money
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5 Responses to “Mashups Not In Control”

March 2nd, 2006
at 7:59 pm
Comment by: TDavid

An interesting new column of data to add for your mashup db would be “authorization” with U for unknown, a = approved and n = not approved. In most cases the answer would be unknown but in the cases where it’s clear like Oodle or in the case of this house mashup that Mr. McManus pointed to, the answer is (a)pproved.

March 2nd, 2006
at 8:20 pm
Comment by: John

It’s not a bad idea. As you note most of the time it would be U. Speaking of which, I was thinking it would be nice to have a way to indicate if or how a mashup makes money: ads, transactions, donations, etc.

March 9th, 2006
at 12:44 am
Comment by: Next Generation Shopping » Blog Archive » The Mashup Lifecycle - Part I: Its all about the Partnership

[...] I came across a blog entry by John Musser over at ProgrammableWeb titled Mashups Not In Control. It caught my eye, being a “mashup developer” myself. Anyway, he cited Richard McManus’ recent entry on ZDNet, titled Mashups: who’s really in control? [...]

June 18th, 2007
at 12:11 am
Comment by: » Blog Archive » Craigslist Blocks Mashup Listpic

[...] This is somewhat reminiscent of when Craigslist blocked Oodle, an issue that came up last year in Mashups Not in Control. [...]

October 3rd, 2008
at 1:14 am
Comment by: Craigslist Rental Property Search via the RentRent API

[...] While this is a useful platform extension to Craigslist, keep in mind that Craigslist has not always looked favorably on third party mashups, such as when they blocked Listpic or when they fought Oodle. [...]

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John Musser
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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.