ACAP Version 1.1 published

ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol), the tool devised by the worldwide publishing community to help make copyright work on the web, is being upgraded for the first time since it was first released in November 2007.

A new version, ACAP Version 1.1, has just been released, with the aim of making it even easier for publishers, search engine operators and other aggregators to implement ACAP.

ACAP Version 1.1 builds on the success of ACAP Version 1.0, which has been implemented on 1600 known websites in 53 countries worldwide. The new version includes a number of important clarifications, as well as a small number of new features, which it is hoped will broaden the appeal of ACAP yet further.

The most significant change is in providing explicit rules for how aggregators should interpret some of the more complex forms of expression in ACAP. It has now been made clear that, where an aggregator is unable (for whatever reason) to interpret a complex permission expression as the publisher clearly intended, the alternative is to interpret the expression as a prohibition, thereby avoiding the risk of using the publisher’s content in ways that the publisher had not intended should be permitted.

New features include a number of extensions to the ACAP vocabulary:

* It is now possible to indicate when permissions data is embedded in a photograph using the PLUS Coalition’s License Definition Format.

* It is now possible to indicate when permissions for extended usages may be available, with reference to external resources.

* It is now possible to express constraints upon the presentation of content to end-users based upon their location (country, domain name, IP address range).

The ACAP Technology Working Group, which has done the drafting work on ACAP Versions 1.0 and 1.1, is now turning its attention to how ACAP can be applied to the growing range of business models for online delivery of copyright content. Commenting on this, Francis Cave, ACAP Technical Project Manager explained: “Using web crawlers to communicate access and usage permissions to search engines represented a major use case and driver for ACAP from the outset, but a rapidly-growing range of web technologies is opening up new business opportunities and markets for both content owners and aggregators. The next version of ACAP will build upon our experience with Versions 1.0 and 1.1, and will add new forms of expression to make ACAP both more expressive and more flexible, capable of being communicated in a variety of ways and interoperable with a wider range of web content delivery applications.”