Robert Scoble has an excellent post on DRM (Digital Rights Management), RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and copyright. It's interesting because he's the co-author of a book being written on a blog, The Red Couch.
Robert says that the book won't be syndicated, because "if we did that then we'd be participating in a system where we expect to lose control over where and how people view that content."
Some bloggers are whining about news aggregators and DRM. Robert says:
I tried to give you guys a way out without destroying the whole system. Here's the choices I give you:
1) Put all your content into RSS like me and let the world do with your content what it likes.
2) Put only enough content in your RSS feed so that the world can know what you're talking about but they'll need to come back to your site to see the full content (and all your ads and contact info).
3) Don't participate in RSS at all and just stick with HTML, which already has accepted copyright patterns (by the way, how come you guys aren't yelling about Google's caching? Did you see that all your pages are cached over on Google? That breaks with traditional copyright law too, but so far we've been cool with that too. Why? It helps everyone.
So how do YOU protect your writing if you're blogging? My take on it is that the stuff you put on your blog is yours, it's covered by your copyright from the moment you write it. Anyone who uses it needs to get your permission.
However, if you're going to syndicate your blog --- offer RSS feeds--- then you're implicitly giving your permission to allowing your material to be syndicated. People can read it in news readers, and yes, it may have other people's ads attached to it.
Do you expect to use your blog-stuff in other ways? If so, be wary of syndicating your words in exactly the form in which you want to sell them.
You'll need to make your own mind up about DRM and RSS, and how it applies to your blog.