When embedding tweets can get you sued

Well this is interesting. The federal court in New York has just ruled, against precedent, that embedding a copyrighted work can be copyright infringement. In this case, a photo was taken, tweeted out by a third-party, and then embedded in a number of news articles.

Up until now the law has stated that copyright infringement takes place at the point where something is copied and not when someone links to infringing material.

As the EFF points out in their summary, the reason for judgement relies on a problematic understanding of how embedding digital content works as opposed to linking. It depends on differentiating the process of embedding from linking and the technical skill needed for each. That's weird to me because both are essentially copy and paste jobs and require no skill whatsoever. 

via Boing Boing

Minorty Report in 140 characters or less

A study out of Cardiff University has shown that Twitter can be used to predict events like riots and that it can be done faster than by police reports. Using the 2011 London Riots as a dataset, they fed 1.6 million tweets through their machine learning algorithm and it identified incidents faster than traditional methods. In each case their system was faster than police receiving on the ground reports.

This isn't quite the Oracle of Delphi yet but one can imagine that a behavioral analysis placed on top of this detection system could have some real predictive power.

via The Verge

Parks and Rekt

I was kinda hoping to go Trump-free for at least a while, but here we are. Within days of taking office Donald Trump's administration has ordered a bevy of federal agencies to stop disseminating information without direct approval. In response, yesterday the Twitter account of Badlands National Park started tweeting out facts about climate change.

Donald Trump famously believes that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Most of the rest of the world in contrast know that climate change is perhaps the biggest crisis facing humanity today.

The tweets didn't last long before being deleted. According to a Buzzfeed reporter the tweets were made by a former employee. Kudos to the former employee. For their sake I hope they were former before the tweets and not after.

There are a few lessons I think we can take away from this on a practical level.

  1. Change your passwords whenever someone who has access to your social media (or CMS or whatever) leaves. It's a pain in the ass but otherwise you're just depending on their good nature to not fuck you over.
  2. Treat your social media people with some respect. Chances are they're young, passionate, underpaid, and wield a disproportionate amount of power. In a world that loves a good social media fueled controversy, and where Twitter and Facebook are the face of your organization, they wield the power to wreck you.

EDIT: a few alternate unoffical National Park Services Twitter accounts have sprung up in the wake of this - @BadHombreNPS and @AltNatParkSer, which has 379k+ followers!

via CBS News