After hearing about Pulse yesterday, I quickly ran out and purchased the application for my iPad. I’m sure a whole lot of other people did as well, considering Steve Jobs himself praised the application on stage during his keynote at WWDC yesterday.

But, it seems like someone in a management position at the New York Times did as well, because moments after the keynote was wrapped up, a legal letter was sent to Apple, imploring them to remove the application from the App Store, because it violated their company’s rights.

The funniest thing about this news is that Pulse is an RSS reader application that pulls the New York Times’ publicly available RSS feed into the application. Yup, publicly available, meaning you could go out right now, pay for an RSS reader, import the New York Times’ RSS feed, and get access to the same content. But, according to the New York Times, you may be infringing upon their rights, and you’d be in violation of their “Terms of Use,” if you use Pulse.  It doesn’t make sense to us either, so don’t worry if you’re a little confused, as you’re clearly not alone.

The NYT’s lawyer, Richard Samson, had this to say about the take down notice:

“The Pulse News Reader app, makes commercial use of the NYTimes.com and Boston.com RSS feeds…the app also frames the NYTimes.com and Boston.com websites in violation of their respective Terms of Use.”

What’s interesting here is that the we might start to see some push back regarding publicly available RSS feeds, and how they’re used in the future. This is probably a case of old media not getting new media, but nevertheless, it’s pretty funny that a company like the New York Times thinks that people purchased Pulse because people could access their publication.

They need to wake up. The people who use RSS readers know how to import publicly available RSS feeds into these applications. Pulse just saved us a step and put the content directly in front of us.  But now, when version two ships, it’ll no longer have the NYT’s information in the application, and I’m pretty sure that most people won’t be going out of their way to include them manually. So the way I see it, they just lost a little bit of exposure, which is probably something they can ill-afford to do these days.

Note to the readers: You can remove the NYT’s feed manually from Pulse by clicking on the gear in the top left corner of the application, then click the manage menu (at the bottom of the popup), and then the red and white minus sign next to the New York Times entry. In my opinion, if they don’t want to be a part of my RSS reader, I don’t want them there either.

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