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Google Tags Content Creators

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-due-credit dept.

Google 67

bizwriter writes "Google announced that it will support authorship HTML tags, a way to associate Web content with the individuals who create it. Suddenly, search engines know when one person was responsible for a body of work, no matter where content appears on the Web. If Google incorporates this into page relevance and ranking, as it is considering, the result could change the balance of power between those who create and those who publish."

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Where's the incentive for publishers? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386302)

So you can add these tags that mean google will direct people to the original author rather than your click-through blog - but why would you?

Re:Where's the incentive for publishers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386376)

So you can add these tags that mean google will direct people to the original author rather than your click-through blog - but why would you?

Because anything that helps put Gawker Media out of business is OK by me.

More seriously, because if I'm reading your blog's link to an article, it's because I want your commentary on the article. I might want the Fark thread about it, but I certainly don't want Gawker's take on BoingBoing's post about that dude on Reddit who read a NASA press release. If you're just linkwhoring for cash, go for it, but if a blog author is actually trying to provide informed commentary on something, it generally behooves one to link to a primary source, if available.

Hooly majoly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386516)

Google have put the meta desc UNDER the url.
I CAN'T COPE!

Re:Where's the incentive for publishers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36392522)

SEO purposes. If google downranks pages that don't.

Re:Where's the incentive for publishers? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36393874)

So the SEO types will lie in them, just like they do with meta tags.

I AM YOUR CONTENT CREATOR !! BOW DOWN !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386308)

What a fucked up place that must be to work !!

Article Explained (4, Informative)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386320)

It is made to sound more uncontrolled that it is. This is what really happens:

The markup uses existing standards such as HTML5 (rel=”author”) and XFN (rel=”me”) to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web.

This is handy, allowing search engines to find content by a specific author. It's not like Google will automatically decide what content links to which author.

We can't expect Google to give purely weighted search results based on this either. More like they will keep their existing page rankings, and include this extra author meta-data in specialized searches.

We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.

The bnet article seems to over dramatize it, possibly due to a lack of understanding what this means for content creators.

Or do I also have the wrong idea?

Re:Article Explained (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386358)

Parent=better sumary. Thank you.

Re:Article Explained (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386406)

I agree that they probably won't use it in search rankings, otherwise everyone will just copy the current number 1 "best author" in their tags..

Re:Article Explained (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386622)

It's also a crime in some countries to put a fraudulent notice of authorship on a work. For example, in the United States, see 17 USC 1202-1205 [copyright.gov] .

Re:Article Explained (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386764)

Yes, but does that apply to the source code or to the displayed content? Copyright law doesn't seem to support HTML tags, whereas a direct statement "Copyright 2011 by Firstname Lastname" passes muster.

(Note than in the USA we all know you don't need a copyright statement to have the copyright. That's not what this is about.)

Re:Article Explained (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386890)

Yes, but does that apply to the source code or to the displayed content?

I just checked, and the answer is in the link provided to you. But I'm not going to tell you what the answer is, because that would be enabling your asshat behavior.

Re:Article Explained (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387876)

Yes, but does that apply to the source code or to the displayed content?

I just checked, and the answer is in the link provided to you. But I'm not going to tell you what the answer is, because that would be enabling your asshat behavior.

By my reading of the law... it makes no distinction between source or displayed content, but I see nothing in the law that would prohibit a copyright holder from claiming that someone else was the author. Perhaps some other law would, particularly if the claim could be construed as defamation, but I don't see anything in copyright law that addresses this issue.

Re:Article Explained (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403814)

Why not GPG sign it?

What about plagiarism? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387258)

Will this help or hurt? A little before the turn of the century I researched Quake and Quake II console commands, tested them all, and wrote short descriptions of how to use them and what they did. It was copied on dozens of other web sites, word for word, usually with no attribution and usually with someone else's name on it.

Meta tags were badly misused to spam search engines. And what if you're putting content [slashdot.org] on someone else's site and have no control over the meta tags?

Re:What about plagiarism? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36388318)

Will this help or hurt? A little before the turn of the century I researched Quake and Quake II console commands, tested them all, and wrote short descriptions of how to use them and what they did. It was copied on dozens of other web sites, word for word, usually with no attribution and usually with someone else's name on it.

I'm not sure that would even be covered by copyright law. You aren't allowed to copyright "facts" or "factual data". Maybe if your "short descriptions" were long enough, or expounded on the command beyond being a simple summary, it could be considered an original work. But for the most part, a simple compilation or list of factual information is not considered a copyrightable work.

Re:What about plagiarism? (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389416)

I, on the other hand, believe it would be.

Here's the original authorship:

wrote short descriptions of how to use them and what they did

Or are you saying that technical help documentation cannot be copyrighted?

I imagine there are a few other people who would disagree with that as well.

Note - this is entierly seperate from a discussion on what *should* be able to be copyrighted, much less what goals we wish with the laws and whether they accomplish those goals.

Regards.

Re:What about plagiarism? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36393280)

The data can't be copyrighted, but its presentation is. If you write a book about chemistry I can read it, learn from it, and write my own chemistry book using the facts from your book as long as I present those facts in my own words. The plagarists copied the entire thing whole cloth, even using the same IP address I used in one of the examples. Although my question here is about plagarism rather than copyright infringement (I had no problem with someone republishing it provided they gave me credit and a link to the original, which a few folks did), it was certainly copyright infringement. Were I a greedhead I could have probably hired a lawyer and gotten rich.

Re:What about plagiarism? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36422946)

Well then let me thank you for those lists, muchly appreciated! :: Q1 fan

Authorship Tag (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386332)

The authorship link doesn't work for me so it may answer this, but...what's to stop me from "borrowing" someone's author tag and bumping up my site on the search results?

Re:Authorship Tag (2)

DZign (200479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386364)

probably nothing.. as well as another site copying your site can just remove your tag and replace it with theirs, claiming they're the original author..

Re:Authorship Tag (1)

DZign (200479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387486)

Replying to myself: seems it has to be reciprocal to work.So that's stopping someone from linking to an official author.

You need rel=me on both sites linking to eachother.
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=1229920 [google.com]

Now I wonder - it's an html5 tag. Should I already implement it on my own website which isn't html5 or would google then just ignore it ?
I can already put it on my own site, blog, facebook, .. but if it's going to be ignored then I won't bother..

Re:Authorship Tag (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395866)

Google's engine does not distinguish between the various versions of HTML. As long as Google successfully detects the page as html (and it is quite good at determining that), you can use any feature from any version and Google could not care.

For what it is worth, this markup is also valid HTML 4, but HTML 4 simply does does not define the meaning of the "me" or "author" values of the rel attribute, while HTML 5 does define the meaning (although I have not actually verified that).

Re:Authorship Tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386544)

The authorship link doesn't work for me so it may answer this, but...what's to stop me from "borrowing" someone's author tag and bumping up my site on the search results?

You are blocked by the need for a reciprocal link, or for being part of the same site.

Fraudulent authorship notices (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386640)

what's to stop me from "borrowing" someone's author tag

Federal law, as I pointed out in another comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:Fraudulent authorship notices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36387086)

what's to stop me from "borrowing" someone's author tag

Federal law, as I pointed out in another comment [slashdot.org] .

Didn't know the federal law had jurisdiction in the UK.

Re:Fraudulent authorship notices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36387250)

That's offset by Google weighting results originating from the user's country. Re-attribution from a UK site for instance would probably be listed below the real author's US site if the person searching is from the US. Or vice versa.

That's because the UK has its own counterpart (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387630)

Didn't know the federal law had jurisdiction in the UK.

That didn't stop your Parliament from enacting its own counterpart to this legislation in 2003, as section 296ZG of British copyright law [legislation.gov.uk] .

Re:Authorship Tag (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386956)

The full power of the Copyright SWAT team. Or Slander & Libel.

Summarizing you, you're talking about putting Respected_Author tags on 4chan posts.

Re:Authorship Tag (1)

archen (447353) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387240)

Which is exactly what will happen. Current link farms will cross pollinate each other and it will be nearly impossible to tell who really wrote anything. Least likely will be the person who did write the original content.

What could possibly go wrong? (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386346)

Oh dear me, am I missing something?

So you can totally spoof random people's names into any webpage? So searches for author=Obama come up with doctored pics of Osama-Obama slash or something?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386448)

Oh dear me, am I missing something?

So you can totally spoof random people's names into any webpage? So searches for author=Obama come up with doctored pics of Osama-Obama slash or something?

Thanks for the imagery, but what is it that makes you think you can't _already_ claim any random person wrote something? Do you think the normal non-tag text in an HTML document is under a magic spell that present misattribution?

Re:Claim (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398530)

Because this is an Author Tag! (Cue the Serious Stern Face.)

Of course twerps can claim stuff. So far people can just laugh stuff off.

Now the obvious use of the tag is for the copyright police... they're gonna try to make the author tag a statement almost akin to under oath. So all those tv show clips on youtube that don't have the network=author tag are instant slam-bait.

But now the more dangerous case is when Da Gov wants to do False Flag cases, and posts pics of Democrats sharing lingerie, and they put "Author=___Congressman", they fire it away as a "political hit and run" and leave him explaining to the masses that "it wasn't him, I didn't lick".

Remember all these break-in cases? If the hacker breaks into your account, and posts stuff on your account with you as the Author, same thing. "Dammit, that's not my Brittany-CookieMonster mashup!"

In short, by making a tag out of it all, it's a case of something truly awful.

not even that obvious (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386460)

I pick a respected author, perhaps academic, who writes about similar things as me. I publish my crap whitepaper claiming to be him. It's likely that no human will notice the deception. Depending on my goals, the human-readable text of the whitepaper will claim the author to be him or me.

Re:not even that obvious (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398552)

Oh, of course.

I used a little humor. But yes, you absolutely have a clear case - you submit something in an intelligent style, and the first pass no one notices, until it accidentally gets picked up and then they slam the original creator.

What for example if that math paper that got hosed last week was *spoofed*? It's bad enough if the original author goofed, but since he got pulverized for "not checking", what if it was a classy defamation attack?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386466)

No one is saying this is somehow immune to spam or abuse. This is orthogonal to other measures taken to control (search engine) spam. Well-behaved sites can use this to make the author information explicitly visible to Google and other crawlers. It should be fairly easy to completely discard the author information from sites with bad standing, and still use the information from sites with a clean record.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36387558)

Actually the article does mention a mechanism against abuse. Every content page has to link to a profile page on the same site, and profile pages on different sites have to reciprocally link to each other.

Someone trying to spoof Obama won't be able to because they won't be able to place their content on whitehouse.gov, or set up a reciprocal link on http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386470)

So searches for author=Obama come up with doctored pics of Osama-Obama slash or something?

[Interior, White House]
"DAMN YOU WIKILEAKS! Those were supposed to be private!"

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386606)

Or you could attach the name of your arch nemesis to the goatse picture....

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386736)

im waiting to see so of my more ugly friends getting tagged as "goatse" by Facebooks face detection

A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (1)

mfarah (231411) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386374)

If this is implemented via tags in the HTML itself, it can be easily detected and stripped by content thieves, can't it?

If I copy the entire body of work of, say, the War Nerd, and set up a copycat blog ("the war geek"), how can these tags (which I've already modified) tell this is a blatant rip-off?

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (1)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386394)

That's probably true. But if I understood this right, the point is to make the authors more visible on the internet - for example if I find a blog I like, I can easily find more writings by the same author, no matter what site they're on.

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402094)

That's probably true. But if I understood this right, the point is to make the authors more visible on the internet - for example if I find a blog I like, I can easily find more writings by the same author, no matter what site they're on.

Unless the author has a common name like John Doe...

The only way a tag like this *might* work would be to make the tag value a public-key signature of the content enclosed inside the tag. Which would allow you to see that content A was signed by key XYZ, as was content B and C, but not D.

This will get abused, just like meta tag keywords got abused.

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386620)

Judging from the Google blog this doesn't sound much like a rip protection, but more as a way to allow searches like "Show me everything else the author of this particle has written". That said, rip protection should be possible, when they would mark the first page that they find with content as special and then everything with the same content as copy.

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (0)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387810)

That must be an amazing particle to get you that interested!

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387224)

They can't. The fact that it is just basic HTML means that detect-and-strip will be downright trivial; but there is nothing(outside of the darkest fantasies of the "trusted computing" set) that could actually stop such activity.

It seems like this falls into the category of 'potentially useful incremental change'. It isn't resistant to rip-offs(but neither was the status quo) and it makes it somewhat easier for good-faith actors to make a pertinent piece of metadata easily accessible. The metadata dreams of the 'semantic web' types seem doomed to founder in a morass of epistemological horrors; but tagging a few bits of metadata that people are obviously interested in seems quite sensible.

More robust(not entirely bulletproof) solutions would certainly be possible; but they would involve much greater changes to the way web browsers work, and the workflow of common authoring mechanisms. For instance, assymetric-key crypto and document signing would, if widely used by authors and sensibly interpreted by web browsers and other document/media viewing applications allow authorship claims to be harder to falsify.(You could still falsely claim to have authored somebody else's work, just strip their signature and substitute your own; but you could no longer falsely claim that somebody else was the author of a given work, since you wouldn't be able to sign it as them). If you added cryptographically verified timestamps from one or more "trusted" sources, you could go one step further and allow people to demonstrate that they were the first to sign something(which would still be vulnerable to rip-offs by scrapermedia LLC programmatically scooping up every unsigned document that some poor noob puts on the web and automatically 'first-signing' it; but would make stripping and re-signing much easier to detect in general).

Such changes, though, would, unlike the HTML tag, involve serious overhaul of how the browser works, how much 'normal people' use crypto(and protect their private keys), and the features supported by authoring software. This doesn't mean that it would be a bad thing(in fact, it would have other interesting side-benefits); but it would Not be an easy move to make.

(The side benefits, of such a change, for browsers; would be that it would allow you to make the browser cache immensely more powerful and useful: In order to support cryptographic verification of authored elements and then integration of those elements with stylesheets and other webpage/CMS goo, browsers would have to have a generic capability to retrieve, cryptographically validate, and then integrate "packages" of material. This capability could also be applied to things like CSS stylesheets, javascript libraries, etc. Hypothetically, for instance, instead of a page simply specifying a javascript library, and a location on the server from which to retrieve it, a page could specify the library, its SHA-whatever hash, and its signer, along with at least one URL at which to obtain it. If the browser already has an object with an identical SHA hash(even if downloaded when visiting some entirely different domain, not uncommon for semi-standard stuff like jquery) it could skip retrieval. This would also allow page authors to link to 3rd party locations without fear of tampering that could compromise their pages. Given the increasing prevalence of large, resource-heavy, web applications, use of 3rd party CDNs, and similar, giving browsers the ability to securely cache 'packages' and then use them to construct pages, free from concerns about cross-domain attacks, and giving page authors the ability to securely invoke 3rd party resources, without risk of after-the-fact tampering, would be quite handy.)

Re:A tag in the HTML source? It can be ripped... (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36388434)

If you include the host domain in the digital signature, you'd be able to prevent people from re-hosting the work (or at least detect it and ignore copies). You'd still need the priority system you suggested to identify THE author (otherwise, as you say, somebody could rip and re-sign the content for a new host).

It's probably too much work for the benefit you'd get, but it might be worth the experiment, and Google is exactly the people to do that experiment. It means a vast amount of crunching, possibly too much once everybody (including every spammer) is signing their pages. Enc

Looks abusable to me (1)

mrsam (12205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386396)

If somehow it's discovered that a particular author earned a high pagerank, what exactly would prevent linkfarms from tagging that author on every one of their pages?

Re:Looks abusable to me (1)

xveg (183289) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386504)

Google is not that dumb, the article is just wrong.

From google [google.com]

This tells search engines: "The linked person is an author of this linking page." The rel="author" link must point to an author page on the same site as the content page. For example, the page http://example.com/content/webmaster_tips could have a link to the author page at http://example.com/authors/mattcutts. Google uses a variety of algorithms to determine whether two URLs are part of the same site. For example, http://example.com/content, http://www.example.com/content, and http://news.example.com can all be considered as part of the same site, even though the hostnames are not identical.

Hello webmaster (0)

formation (2241238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386402)

Check to see if your Company name is available http://bit.ly/m2IHF4 [bit.ly]

publisher or re-publisher? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386424)

Most people add their HTML to a server in one way or another. Isn't that publishing? It isn't like there are private web sites with articles that where written by an author then transferred to HTML to be posted to the web. Oh wait. No. AOL isn't that way any longer.

John Smith (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386492)

Lots of people have common names. You could be a Michael or a Mary or a Mohammed or a Jennifer or a William.

Re:John Smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36386802)

That's why we have these magical things called "last names."

Re:John Smith (1)

JosJuice (1990520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386962)

The same problem exists when you put a generic copyright notice on anything. First name+last name is usually as far as you'll get, both when using old methods and this new method.

Links to URL, not name (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387228)

See details here [google.com] , where it is explained that all works authored by someone in a domain should be linked to a unique author page at that domain, and that authors can associate/link their author pages between various domains using reciprocal linking.

Boy. and how (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386642)

will you prevent publishers from modifying that tag on the fly ? its just a simple text replacement operation.

Re:Boy. and how (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36388252)

Who says it's meant to prevent it?

Locke and Demosthenes (1)

bitflippant (2198664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386788)

I was wondering when it would be possible to quote and requote the amazing debate that will change our society as we know it and transform us all into peace loving philanthropists who respect life. Oh wait! that debate happened already in irc chat.

FINALLY! (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36386942)

We'll get to find out who Goatse REALLY is.

to those of you saying (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36387156)

that it will be easy to randomize/ spoof/ rip off, and a stupid tag doesn't change anything:

FIRST APPEARANCE of author tag means something. and no, it doesn't mean i can change the publish date on the file to June 1st, 1896 and always be the first author: when did SEARCH ENGINES first see content XYZ with author tag ABC?

that's case closed, right there. you can't spoof this system, unless you have a time machine, or you can hack google

now, if anyone rips off your content, you will be able to point to google's independent records and say "google says i wrote it first, you're ripping me off"

down the road, this could even replace the copyright system, since this is basically how copyright currently works

Re:to those of you saying (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36388376)

In that case, ripped off content of sites that Google scans hourly will get credit while real authors who maintain sites that are scanned less frequently won't get the credit they deserve. The new SEO will be "use blogger" which gets scanned (at least by Google) when you press "Publish". Unless Google can collaborate with other sites which allow users to publish data for the "first published" data? Does WordPress have hooks for such a collaboration? Would such a system be able to track plagiarism that is changed/tweaked a bit by a derivative author? I believe derivative content creators already have ways of giving credit to where it's due. I'd sure love to see original content (if such a thing exists in this day and age) and credit-where-its-due content get promoted while the copiers and derivative cheapskates get buried.

Re:to those of you saying (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389118)

you're talking about some pretty fringe time cases

besides, the problem is easily corrected: if you write something valuable to you that you fear someone will rip off, you ACTIVELY submit the page to the search engines, rather than waiting for them to be passively scanned

Re:to those of you saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389490)

What are you talking about, http://www.google.com/addurl ? On that page I don't see any guarantee that Google crawls the submitted pages immediately.

Re:to those of you saying (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390214)

we're talking about a whole new system here, that google just put in place

so either google is really concerned about properly attributing sources, and guarantees the timestamp on a submission

or google just added support for the author="" attribute, and all their work means nothing

besides, you really believe there's no timestamp record on their addurl page?

google, the people who track everyone and everything?

Re:to those of you saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36396786)

What would they use it for? Timeline:
- SEO tells Google about url U at time T
- SEO finds a website that just published new cool content
- SEO copies the content to url U
- Google scans url U, declares SEO the original author based on timestamp T?

Is your IQ frigging negative?

Re:to those of you saying (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403688)

hey, asshole: it's a new system, give it time. i'm glad you've decided everything already for all of us. don't be such a blowhard

Gaming the system? (1)

ResidentSourcerer (1011469) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399562)

If this were used for ranking, then I would expect web masters to attribute articles to Big Names.

I would hope that Google would have a policy of fingerprinting the articles. Most people's writing style is sufficiently unique that claiming that someone else wrote Foo is fairly obvious on analysis.

I hope also that there is a search tool so that I can find all articles attributed to me.

And suppose that Slashdot and phpBB support this tag so that I can find all the posts by a given author.

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