I made a bot called @corruptum, and he uses a lot of copyrighted content in his corpus, so I was wondering whether it was legal and whether its use qualified as Fair Use.
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I’m going to talk about a bot-like creation that was occasioned by NaNoGenMo last year, World Clock. It has a rather curious story to what’s happened after I developed it.
I wrote a letter to my local representative, and he wrote me back and it was this boilerplate of all this bullshit. So I was reading it and just mentally crossing off line after line of bullshit, so I decided to make a bot that does that for me. What it does is it goes into an API that lists members of Congress and their Twitter accounts, picks one at random, picks their most recent tweet, and it retweets it but replaces a certain percentage of all the characters of that tweet with black or gray rectangles so that the remaining amount of letters that you get to actually read is equivalent to the current level of Congress’ approval rating, which I get from The Huffington Post’s API.
So what I did was I made a pretty powerful anti-harassment tool, and I’m kind of leery of… It’s one of those things that like I, I feel weird about it because I don’t have a tremendous use for it myself, but I know that other people do. And I’ve talked to people about this, and I sort of made the decision not to put it on Github or be public about it for mainly the reason that I think Twitter is kind of weird with harassment, and I think they’re weird with blocking, and I think they have a strange track record of making the tools that are useful to people who are trying to protect themselves and be safer sort of weirdly harder to access and kind of obscure.
I think there’s a set of bizarre individuals in the Capitol building that once they realized that @congressedits was there and had a lot of followers, they were adding these crazy things to Wikipedia. So in this case somebody’s saying Rumsfeld was an alien lizard.