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ACAP - Frequently asked questions

The full ACAP FAQ is available on the ACAP website at: http://www.the-acap.org/FAQs.aspx.

 

1) What is ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol)?

Essentially, ACAP is all about managing copyright.

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2) Where is the driving force behind ACAP?

The primary drivers of ACAP are the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the European Publishers Council (EPC) and the International Publishers Association (IPA).

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3) How important is ACAP to the publishing and search engine industry?

For the first time ever, the newspaper, magazine and book publishing and search engine industries have worked together on a joint standard. It is thanks to this collaboration that the necessary high-level resources, skills and knowledge have been available as well as the political will to see this project succeed.

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4) Should publishers be allowed to control their content?

Copyright law exists all over the world and gives creators and publishers the right to decide about how the content that they have created and invested in should be legitimately exploited by others. The media industries, which exist only because of copyright, contribute massively to every developed economy in the physical world, and are vital to the economic future. The ability to express and share permissions for access and use in standardised ways forms one part of the necessary infrastructure to allow that to happen as effectively on the network as in the physical world.

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5) Why should I implement ACAP?

  • because I care about how my online content is used
  • because ACAP is set to become a universal standard
  • because I want to put out a strong message that I have the right to manage how my online content is used
  • because I have no idea who or what is spidering my content or what they are doing with it
  • because I want the confidence to invest in high-quality online content
  • because I want the confidence to put my high-quality offline content online and make it widely available
  • because I want to develop new online business models
  • because ACAP is simple, non-proprietary and free

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6) Why should book publishers be interested in ACAP - isn't it all about news?

One of ACAP's first use cases was for book publishers.

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7) Isn't this simply an attempt by publishers to "lock up" their content?

No - precisely the opposite is true.

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8) What about existing technology, robots.txt and why?

ACAP will work smoothly with the existing robots.txt protocol.

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9) Is ACAP restricted to text media?

No: ACAP is designed to be extensible to all types of content published online, including audio and video.

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10) Isn't this all about money?

No: but no one would deny that it is partly about money.

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11) Isn't ACAP focused entirely on publishers' recent disagreements with Google?

No: ACAP is a long-term strategic project, not a search for a short-term tactical remedy.

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12) Aren't Google offering commercial deals to some publishers?

Yes: but Google is not the only search engine with which publishers have relationships - and search engines have to have relationships with a very large number of publishers.

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13) Are the search engines involved?

Major search engines were involved in the project pre-launch and search engine Exalead was a full participant in the pilot project.

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14) Is ACAP just about a relationship between publishers and the big search engines?

Absolutely not, though it was born originally out of publishers' desire to find a way of asserting their online copyright that didn't involve lengthy and expensive legal cases with search engines or any other partner in the supply chain. We are currently working on the next phase of the project where we are extending ACAP for other business models and media. Any ACAP member (see below) can submit a user case proposal based on their own specific business model. Whilst the original use cases have of course influednced the way that ACAP looks right now, ACAP will develop as more use cases are proposed.

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15) ACAP and AP: a common and collaborative approach to managing copyright online

The Associated Press is to create a news registry that will tag, protect, and make online news content easier to use.

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16) Can anyone join ACAP?

Any organization can join ACAP as a member for a €5,000 annual fee. Benefits include getting up close to the project and having the right to propose a use case and work with our technical team to devise ACAP semantics specific to your needs. For more information on membership, please contact mark.bide@rightscom.com or heidilambert@hlcltd.demon.co.uk.

 

 

17) How do I implement ACAP?

It's quick and easy - and free- and will take an IT professional less than half an hour to action. Basic implementation will have no effect on the functionality of your site(s). Go to www.the-acap.org/Implement-ACAP.aspx for step by step guidelines on how to get ACAP-enabled.

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18) Will ACAP implementation affect my website traffic?

No. Independent News & Media implemented ACAP in January 2008.

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19) Who has implemented ACAP?

Over 1,600 websites have now implemented ACAP in more than 50 countries worldwide plus multi-national and international sites. About 48% of implementers are based in the US. A regularly updated PDF list can be found on the ACAP website.

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20) What does the ACAP protocol "look" like?

The following shows ACAP implementation on the ACAP website's robots.txt file.

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21) Examples of what you can currently express with ACAP

  • allow indexing but specify time limit for storing of content
  • allow delivery of content to end users but prohibit changes to form or specify maximum length of snippets
  • allow usage for some purposes but not others
  • prohibit certain crawlers, allow others
  • indicate when permissions data is embedded in a photograph using the PLUS Coalition's Licence Definition format
  • indicate when permissions for extended usages may be available, with reference to external resources
  • express constraints upon the presentation of content to end-users based upon their location (country, domain name, IP address range)

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22) How do ACAP Versions 1.0 and 1.1 relate to the terms of typical licence terms?

ACAP versions 1.0 and 1.1 are designed to enable the communication of permissions and prohibitions for access and use of online content by "web crawlers" operated by search engines and other aggregators of online content.

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23) How does ACAP Version 1.1 differ from 1.0?

ACAP Version 1.1 represents a small but significant upgrade of ACAP Version 1.0, clarifying existing features and including a small number of new features. The aim of the upgrade has been to make it even easier for publishers, search engine operators and other aggregators to implement.

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24) Who "owns" ACAP after it is implemented and who is responsible for maintenance and upgrades and making sure it works successfully?

ACAP is a non-proprietary language for communicating your access and use policies which has been developed thanks to the resources of the publishing industry.

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25) What is ACAP's position regarding Sitemaps?

At the beginning of the project, some of the publisher participants suggested using the Sitemaps protocol as a possible syntax for ACAP, but were firmly told by the search engines that (from their point of view) Sitemaps was entirely inappropriate to the use which ACAP proposed for it.

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26) Can ACAP be used to extend the scope of copyright, and in particular to frustrate exceptions to copyright?

ACAP enables publishers to make statements of their policy with respect to the content they own or control; in view of the lack of consistency in intellectual property law internationally, there may be times when a publisher's stated policies are not consistent with the law in a particular country.

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27) How does ACAP decide which Use Cases to develop?

Use Cases can be submitted by any ACAP member.

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28) What is the difference between ACAP and Creative Commons?

There are some real similarities between ACAP and Creative Commons, and some differences.

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29) What next for ACAP?

We are still in a phase of "marketing" whereby we continue to work to get the ACAP message out worldwide both to business and to law makers and decision makers. More technical work is also being progressed. The next phase will involve critical discussions on governance and on how ACAP will be managed in the future.

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30) Is there anything I can do to support ACAP?

There are many things you can do at this stage to support ACAP.

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