Following breaking news – iWitness shows tweets from specific time and geography

iWitness - Boston bombings tweets
iWitness – Boston bombings tweets

It’s always tough following breaking news as rumors start to fly. Yesterday in Boston was no exception. One particular tool jumped out at me as I was following the news: Adaptive Path’s iWitness twitter search. The service, which only works on webkit browsers such as Chrome or Safari, allows to view tweets from specific geography and time. To wit, here are all geo-tagged tweets from Boylston Street bombing locations sent between 2:45pm and 3:15pm. It’s a fascinating look at news unfolding in real time by the people who were there. (found via Metafilter)

A few more links on the subject of the bombings:

  • Reddit users have once again provided a comprehensive and continually updated feed of developments in the story, starting before major news outlets had published anything. Threads 1, 2, 3, 4. also has a very good feed of news as it unfolds.
  • The Atlantic and Time Lightbox were quick to post images from the scene. Lightbox features an interview with Globe photographer John Tlumacki, whose images I believe will come to define the event. The Atlantic features a particularly gruesome image (#8, you’ve been warned), which when I first saw it was uncensored but not has blurred the face of the victim. That’s a very interesting move, and I think it dehumanizes the news. I am surprised that they blurred the face and hope that this is not a trend. The Boston Globe has a particularly moving front page image today, and I think the emotional impact rests partly on being able to see who was involved in this terrible tragedy.
  • In image #8 linked above, a man in a cowboy hat is holding the victim’s vein closed with his hand. He can be seen other news videos and photos rushing to help. His name is Carlos Arredondo, an immigrant from Costa Rica whose life had been upended after losing one son in Iraq. Mother Jones has some information about him, and here is a video of him, visibly shaking, describing the events soon after they happened.
  • The situation is still unfolding, and much of the area around Copley Square remains closed off to the public. Some young Boston journalists, connected to Tufts I believe, have created as a no-nonsense gathering of information for those affected. Built on Google Drive, it’s a brilliant way to use web tools to spread vital information when other methods of communication might be down.
  • The website is getting hammered, but if you can get through, BagNewsNotes has been looking at specific images from the coverage. On That Iconic Photo from the Boston Marathon Bombings and War and Terror: What Shocks Me Most About the Bloody Marathon Bombing Pictures (GRAPHIC)

Judge rejects AFP’s claim to Morel’s Haiti Twitpic photos


“[B]y their express language, Twitter’s terms grant a license to use content only to Twitter and its partners. Similarly, Twitpic’s terms grant a license to use photographs only to or affiliated sites. . . . the provision that Twitter ‘encourage[s] and permit[s] broad re-use of Content’ does not clearly confer a right on others to re-use copyrighted postings” –Agence France Presse v. Morel, 10 Civ. 2730 (WHP) (S.D.N.Y.; Dec. 23, 2010)

You may remember Daniel Morel’s copyright fight with Agence France-Presse over photos Morel posted to Twitpic in the early hours of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake. AFP claimed they could use and license the photos through explicit permission granted in Twitter and Twitpic’s terms of use. Morel filed lawsuits claiming that he maintained copyright on the images, that AFP knowingly infringed his copyright, and that AFP, in not properly crediting Morel, violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Now, a court’s decision on the case may prove beneficial to all content creators in the internet age.

A judge has ruled that Twitter and Twitpic’s licensing terms do not extend to third parties, that Morel has a valid copyright infringement claim, and that any information identifying the copyright holder (so-called “copyright management information”) must be distributed alongside copyrighted material. All three of these rulings are a boon to photographers and other content creators and should have influence well outside the bounds of Twitter and Twitpic. Eric Goldman’s blog has the best analysis of the ruling that I’ve found, though the New York Observer’s “Hands of my blizzard Twitpics” gets an honorable mention. The court’s full ruling is available here.

BJP chronicles the Morel/Twitter/Visa Pour l’Image/AFP/duckrabbit flap

It’s been hard to keep up with, but thankfully BJP has done a concise and cogent roundup of the recent flareup in the Morel/Twitter/AFP debate as JF Leroy, co-founder of Visa Pour l’Image, and duckrabbit have entered the mix. In true duckrabbit style, the rhetoric is elevated, but the central point remains valid. A photographer’s work was posted to twitpic, AFP took the images and sold them without compensating the photographer. Now, Leroy has come in to defend AFP (or at least, to blame the photographer), and the debate rages on. The best place to get caught up to speed is over at BJP’s coverage, AFP v. Morel: The Debate Rages On.