Developer "Rules of the Road" and programatically creating charts from Government "public domain" tweets?


We currently use a US government tweeter status feed via RSS to create charts of pollution data.

This use appears to be in conflict with the Developers’ Rules of the road, as the data is extracted programmaticly to auto update the charts.

The statuses themselves are automatically generated by sensors under the control of the US government as a public service. This would put that information in the public domain. Tweeter is only a broadcast platform for the data, and we are grateful for the partnership between the US government and Twitter.

Can I get an exemption to continue to programmaticly extract this data to update charts that are freely available to the public, using the GET commands?



If you’re retrieving Twitter data from Twitter itself, then your usage of that data is allowed by the terms as long as you’re displaying and utilizing the data according to the terms. If you were to redistribute Twitter data in the process, then you would be more likely in violation of the term I think you’re eluding to.

That said, keep in mind that our RSS feeds will no longer function in March 2013 and you’ll need to leverage OAuth instead to work with JSON-format v1.1 responses.


To clarify…
What made me start this message was the “programmatically” part of the terms of use. I have a script that pulls the sensor data and time out of the tweet and stores it for later presentation and research. The only practical way to keep the chart up to date every hour.

In response to your reply, @episod
So, I can display the data in chart form on my website, but I could not email the charts to a list of subscribers?

Remember, there is no twitter specific data anywhere in the chart, just the sensor readings that are being past through twitter by the US government. We are not pulling twitter retweets, stats, lists, etc and redistributing that. Just the raw data coming from the sensors.

Hmmm. Data ownership and restriction probably needs to be clarified more. Does Tweeter own the message in the tweet, or just everything that exists outside the actual text, such as interface, retweets, stats, lists, etc?

Yes, I am already formulating a way to switch to OAuth. Just did not want to go through the trouble if I violated the Terms of Use.


We’re not really here to tell you what to do with data you obtain/derive/interpret from within a tweet. I can give you tips on what to do with tweets as objects themselves and how to display them and how to not redistribute them, but what’s inside them and the intent of the author of the tweet are beyond my domain. If your usage of that tweet data wouldn’t surprise the user who authored the data, you’re probably in good shape. If data fetched from Twitter was used to make your data or charts, it would also be polite to attribute that data properly as well.


Thanks. That is all the clarification that I need.

The Terms of Use that I was referring to is specific to Twitter objects, not the content of the original tweet.