APOD on Twitter

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RJN
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APOD on Twitter

Post by RJN » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:39 pm

Apparently, APOD is on Twitter. The strange thing is -- I don't know who putting it there. It is not me. The Twitter feed is here: http://twitter.com/apod . Somehow, it has accumulated, as of this post, 43,283 followers. To my eye, there are only links there so everything appears OK -- no copyright violations. If anyone ever finds out who is doing this please post it on this thread -- it would be nice to know. - RJN

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:16 am

my bet it is same guy who runs http://twitter.com/astronomy2009

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alter-ego
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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by alter-ego » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:58 pm

RJN,

Excuse my ignorance, but what constitutes a problem, e.g. copyright violation? It seems like Twitter is based on "following". I didn't think one could start posting APODs or forum posts as a part of Twitter, but if I have a Twitter account, people decide to follow me, I can link to whatever, then others can "follow" me the the same links. But I guess somewhere along the line, Twitter formalizes the APOD link?

Sorry, but I'm getting to old to keep up with being "connected". But I'll probably be eager to sign up for a direct WiFi connection to my brain (as long as I have an on/off switch!) :D
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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:55 pm

alter-ego wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but what constitutes a problem, e.g. copyright violation? It seems like Twitter is based on "following". I didn't think one could start posting APODs or forum posts as a part of Twitter, but if I have a Twitter account, people decide to follow me, I can link to whatever, then others can "follow" me the the same links. But I guess somewhere along the line, Twitter formalizes the APOD link?
I don't think there is a problem, even a potential one with Twitter. The Internet is build on hyperlinks, and a handful of legal challenges have all resulted in the decision that anybody can provide links to anything they want. When you put information on the Internet, you can't prevent other sites from linking it. Copyright isn't an issue in this case.

I don't think Bob saw any problem, he was just curious if one of the regulars on this forum was posting the APOD links or if it was coming from somewhere else.
Chris

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:56 am

on the other hand, pirate bay guys got fried for posting torrents of (basically "links to") copyrighted stuff.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:46 pm

makc wrote:on the other hand, pirate bay guys got fried for posting torrents of (basically "links to") copyrighted stuff.
They were linking to stuff that wasn't legally available in the first place. And a torrent isn't a hyperlink. I've never heard of a successful legal challenge to a simple link to a webpage, or to media on a webpage.
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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:59 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:a torrent isn't a hyperlink.
so you're saying they would be fine if they posted magnet links instead of torrents? this doesn't make much sense.
I've never heard of a successful legal challenge to a simple link to a webpage, or to media on a webpage.
As much as it may come as a surprise to you, google actually removes links from search results in response to DMCA requests.

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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:38 pm

makc wrote:so you're saying they would be fine if they posted magnet links instead of torrents? this doesn't make much sense.
All I'm saying is that a torrent isn't a link. A torrent is a data transfer protocol, and the data that is transferred may be subject to copyright restrictions. A hyperlink is just the address of a webpage, or the address of a piece of content on a webpage. Addresses of webpages are freely linkable without copyright concerns. Media on a webpage is also linkable without copyright concerns, but that may go against the wishes of the page owner. Web servers provide mechanisms to prevent direct links to page content, as opposed to the page itself. A website address is treated as public, and when you link to a page you are not copying any data at all.
As much as it may come as a surprise to you, google actually removes links from search results in response to DMCA requests.
It doesn't surprise me. DMCA (despite the "C") doesn't have much to do with copyright law. And it may well be that Google doesn't have to remove links, they merely chooses to as an easy route. It's also possible that they are removing backdoor links to material that isn't generally accessible, such as links that bypass subscription systems.

In any case, anybody can provide hyperlinks to APOD without fear of copyright violations.
Chris

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:27 am

Chris Peterson wrote:All I'm saying is that a torrent isn't a link. A torrent is a data transfer protocol, and the data that is transferred may be subject to copyright restrictions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torrent_file
Here is what a de-bencoded torrent file (with piece length 256KB = 262144 bytes) for a file debian-503-amd64-CD-1.iso (whose size is 647MB = 678301696 bytes) might look like:

Code: Select all

{'announce': 'http://bttracker.debian.org:6969/announce'
 'info': {'name': 'debian-503-amd64-CD-1.iso',
          'piece length': 262144,
          'length': 678301696',
          'pieces': '841ae846bc5b6d7bd6e9aa3dd9e551559c82abc1 ... d14f1631d776008f83772ee170c42411618190a4'
         }
}
The info is actually stored in torrent instead of being part of URL... But conceptually I don't see much difference to links.

Neither did pirate bay:
We understand that you are familiar with Bit Torrent technology. Then you
may, or may not, understand that none of the data that you hold the
copyright to reside on thepiratebay.org's servers.

This raises the question of the reach of Swedish and European copyright
law. It is the opinion of us, and the Swedish Supreme Court, that
information about WHERE to obtain copyrighted material, which is the
case with Bit Torrent, is not illegal. The '.torrent' files that are
offered for download at the site in question contain nothing more than
hash and checksum information. How this information could, in itself,
possibly be an infrigement of your copyright is beyond us and apparently
the Swedish legal system agrees.
Never the less, if big guys want you screwed in the court, you do get screwed, there's no way around.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:40 am

makc wrote:The info is actually stored in torrent instead of being part of URL... But conceptually I don't see much difference to links.
There is a huge and fundamental difference. A torrent actually transfers a file from one (or several) remote locations to the client computer. A hyperlink merely connects a client browser to a page server. In the first case, there is always a potential question of copyright, since the transferred file may have restrictions attached. A webpage, by definition, is publicly accessible and the owner of that page can't claim a copyright to the page address. Of course, there are private pages, and their operators may put access restrictions in place. But generally, if it's on the Web, it's publicly accessible. Certainly, that describes APOD. I don't think that anybody who has had their copyrighted material posted on APOD has any claim against other sites linking APOD pages.
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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:49 am

Chris Peterson wrote:A torrent actually transfers a file from one (or several) remote locations to the client computer... In the first case, there is always a potential question of copyright, since the transferred file may have restrictions attached.
With all due respect, nonsense. Chris, you have said you are programmer, wtf? Could you please point out in which part of the above debian-503-amd64-CD-1.iso torrent copyrighted material can be found?

eidt: ok, debian iso file itself is legal, so I will make your job (supposedly) easier by providing a screenshot of torrent file of pirated hancock movie dvdrip:
1.jpg
can you please identify information that violates copyright in the above image?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:10 pm

makc wrote:With all due respect, nonsense. Chris, you have said you are programmer, wtf? Could you please point out in which part of the above debian-503-amd64-CD-1.iso torrent copyrighted material can be found?
I think you're missing the point. The intent of a torrent is to produce a new copy of a file on another computer- a file that may be copyrighted, and may be transferred against the wishes of the file's legal owner. The intent of a link is to tell somebody how to get to somebody's webpage.

If I know it, I can legally tell people how to get to your house. I can't walk into your house, take something, and give it away.

Again, I know of no case where providing a simple hyperlink to a publicly accessible website has been found to violate copyright law. If you do, it would be interesting, since that's what this particular discussion is about.
Chris

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:10 pm

:facepalm: torrents do not have intentions, people do. the intent... err, purpose of torrent is to tell somebody where to get the file from (and that part is actually proxied by announce url), and how to check that the file is what they are looking for (hash). of course, tracker itself has to tell you which peers to connect to in order to download the file; the same way http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/737920651/gort_normal.jpg says you need to connect to a3.twimg.com in order to download gort_normal.jpg... your concstant referral to the fact if end resource torrent or link points to is legal, is not relevant to the fact that torrent is nothing more than info about the file, not part that file, and can't hold any copyrighted information from that file. taking it one step further, the magnet links only have hash of the file, so they are telling you even less than your regular http link would.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by rstevenson » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:17 am

You are being disingenuous makc to suggest that torrents are used just to get an address of a file, similar to a link in a web browser. "torrents do not have intentions, people do." Yes, and those people intend to use torrent software for one purpose only -- to file share. And if the file being shared has a coyright restriction on it, copyright is being broken when that file is shared.

Rob

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:55 am

rstevenson wrote:copyright is being broken when that file is shared.
Agree. Yes. Totally. But. When you download the torrent, file is not shared. You have to actually start downloading file from those who have it. In fact, I remember myself downloading torrents few times without downloading files they point to (to make magnet links for other people to bypass the tracker).

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by astrostu » Sun May 16, 2010 10:00 am

I am the person updating APOD on Twitter. I've actually emailed Rob twice about this (September 2007 and August 2009) to check that it was OK for me to be do this and then continue doing it. In both cases Rob said that it was OK.

Makc is correct that I did also run the official International Year of Astronomy 2009 Twitter account too. However, I handed that account over to another person in May 2009 because I'd become too busy (with the mission I work on as well as other outreach activities during IYA) to keep that account properly updated.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by RJN » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:57 pm

OK, so I put a link on the APOD astropix.html page today to APOD's Twitter feed. I hadn't done that before. The astropix link was prompted by an email from somebody asking if APOD had a Twitter feed. Since they didn't know, I figured probably many other APOD readers didn't know either.

Now I don't yet completely see the need for a Twitter feed since all it does is provide a link to that day's APOD. But different mediums have different user bases and who am I to tell anyone how they should access APOD.

So I notice that http://twitter.com/apod is now up to 96,500 "followers". That sounds pretty good! It is nearly double the number of followers APOD's Twitter feed had earlier this year in 2010 April. Vanity then necessitated that I see how APOD has been doing in the Twitter-verse between April and today. This can be done at http://twittercounter.com/apod . So APOD Twitter following has been growing at a steady rate every day, roughly adding 500 or so followers daily.

But then things get strange. The plots for APOD's rise over the past few months may be TOO smooth. It would seem to me that APOD's Twitter follower rate would stagnate over weekends and rise more sharply when schools re-start. But it doesn't seem to.

Stranger yet, the hook on astropix today seems to have had little effect! I would have guessed that the link from APOD's main NASA astropix page would give a big jump to today's increase in followers. But, so far, the rise seems not far off from other days this week.

What is going on? If anyone has a guess please post it here!

- RJN

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by astrostu » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:35 am

Rob, I don't know for sure but I suspect the smooth, consistent growth is due to Twitter featuring @APOD in some way to new users during the sign up process. In 2009 Twitter started providing a small group of followers - mostly US celebrities - to new users automatically during the sign-up process (with the option to choose not to follow them of course). This group seemed to be drawn from a master list of Twitter accounts that the folks at Twitter HQ thought people might find interesting. This was an attempt to show the new people, signing up after coverage on the TV in early 2009, how interaction on Twitter works; starting out by following nobody makes it look very empty. So, my educated guess would be that Twitter put @APOD on the suggested list. I suspect that the growth of Twitter isn't limited to weekends. If Twitter's suggested-follower list is selected from randomly, this could mean that most of the people following @APOD may not have heard of it before joining up to Twitter. So, not all of the followers will be active but I would hope that some are new to APOD as a result of Twitter.

Why the link from the main APOD page is having little effect on the growth is another question. I must admit that I didn't spot a hook on the APOD site other than on the About APOD page. Those who visit the website and have existing Twitter accounts may have already known about @APOD through sharing of links within the Twitter community. It depends on the overlap, in Venn space, of Twitter users who don't know about @APOD and those who visit the APOD website. I suspect most of the growth is in Twitter users who don't know about @APOD and who don't visit the APOD website.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by astrostu » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:55 pm

A quick way to see most of the mentions of APOD on Twitter is to go to http://search.twitter.com/search?q=apod. This will pull out comments from anyone replying to the @APOD account (by starting a tweet with "@APOD") as well as those re-tweeting (sharing the @APOD tweet with others by repeating it with "RT" at the start). It may also find those simply posting links to the website.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by EDG » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:34 pm

RJN wrote:Now I don't yet completely see the need for a Twitter feed since all it does is provide a link to that day's APOD. But different mediums have different user bases and who am I to tell anyone how they should access APOD.
Personally I found the Twitter APOD account to be really useful, and I'm surprised it's not "official". For one thing, it reminds me that there's a new image to look at and provides a convenient way to see it (along with the feeds from other blogs and sites I follow on Twitter). It's apparently not been updated since September 1st, and frankly I haven't looked at APOD since then and have reverted to what I used to do, which was to suddenly remember APOD existed and go through a backlog of the months of images that I missed since last time I remembered.

Twitter is pretty much the perfect way to remind people of APOD's existence. I'm wondering why there apparently still isn't an official APOD twitter page (or why the existing one isn't being updated anymore). It's a really good way to get the word out about APOD and to get people following, and I'm sure there must be a way to link it to the APOD page so that it's automatically updated with a new link when the picture is updated, so it seems a no brainer to me to restart this.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by EDG » Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:44 pm

Astrostu - it appears that the APOD twitter feed has started again (I got today's and yesterday's update). Hopefully it'll stay updated, but I wanted to say thanks for restarting it!

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by RJN » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:43 pm

Stuart told me over email that to see the current chatter about APOD on Twitter, try:

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=@apod or
http://search.twitter.com/search?q=apod .

He says that the second link is more thorough but will sometimes include unrelated tweets. He also clarifies that
"RT" means re-tweet and is when someone shares another's tweet with their own followers. Much of this might be obvious to those familiar with Twitter, but for Twitter-dumbies like me, it is illuminating.

- RJN

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by makc » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:18 pm

There's this site http://twitterfeed.com/ where you can set up automatic echo of your rss to twitter, so no need for manual updates that astrostu seems to be doing now.

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by astrostu » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:13 pm

Just thought I'd mention that the APOD twitter account now has over 250,000 followers.

In other news I got OAuth sorted so the Twitter account has been updating automatically for a while now. For OAuth Twitter requires a unique application name that it then uses on individual tweets by adding e.g. "15 hours ago via X". I decided to pick something appropriate and as "The Universe" had already been taken I chose "The Cosmos". Here is how it looks on today's tweet https://twitter.com/#!/apod/status/119992451736944642

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Re: APOD on Twitter

Post by owlice » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:32 pm

astrostu wrote:Just thought I'd mention that the APOD twitter account now has over 250,000 followers.
WOW!!! Congrats!!!
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