I debated about writing this, but I can’t stand to be silent on this matter. Some of you will think this is a vendetta I have against Readability, so you can ignore me if you honestly believe that.
Today I was made aware of Readlists which is a service from Arc90 and Readability. Essentially a user can make a “Readlist” of articles that they like that pertain to a common theme. A good example of this is the Readlist comically titled: “Instapaper is Better” (for the record I did not create it).
As you can see, on a Readlists page, you can publicly share the page, as well as download a packaged eBook with all of the content in it. At first glance this doesn’t look different than what Instapaper does, by allowing users to download articles to a Kindle — but it is actually very different.
With Readlists you are essentially publicly sharing an eBook that contains a writer’s content — content that was never granted permission to be redistributed. In Instapaper (as far as I know) you can’t grab an article list from another user and package an eBook that you can then download.
This is where I call bullshit on Readlists.
Readlists is a service to allow people to completely avoid reading a content producers site, allowing them to repackage and redistribute their content all without permission.
This is utter crap and shady as hell.
I sent Readlists an email requesting my site be blocked (I think they have done so now as a post of mine was on that above Instapaper Readlist), if you write on the web I urge you to do the same.
Update: Nope, looks like my site hasn’t been blocked — I was too generous to them.