Automated policy disclosure

Lorcan 1 min read

ACAP is an interesting initiative from a group of publishing organizations. It has been noted in several places. ACAP stands for Automated Content Access Protocol. It is jointly sponsored by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the European Publishers Council (EPC) and the International Publishers Association (IPA). Here is how their main focus is described on the website:

ACAP will enable the providers of all types of content published on the World Wide Web to communicate permissions information (relating to access and use of that content) in a form that can be automatically recognized and interpreted, so that business partners can systematically comply with the publishers’ policies. In the first instance, ACAP will provide 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. It is anticipated that, in future, the scope of ACAP will be extended to other business relationships and other media types. [ACAP – Automated Content Access Protocol]

The technical specification of ACAP will emerge in a pilot project.
This project recognizes the value to publishers of exposure in the search engines and represents an attempt to communicate information about how content exposed in this way can be used. I presume that the project will converge on a small number of terms so as to encourage participation and adoption by publishers and search engines alike. Success will depend on incentives to search engines to participate. I will watch what happens with interest.

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