Twitter Removes Oil Data Tweets After Complaint From Industry Group

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Twitter had to delete tweets on its platform related to the price of oil after receiving numerous complaints from the American Petroleum Institute (API). Each Tuesday, API releases a report to paying subscribers, and it complained to the social media site that several subscribers posted information from the report without authorization from them, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Twitter users violating copyright

API named four Twitter accounts that posted information contained in the bulletin. Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Twitter received instructions from the industry group to take down the posts. Under the act, the content of any site that infringes on copyrights must be removed when the owners of the material notify them. The Journal reported that Twitter removed at least one of the posts.

An account named @Cornice_Trading posted the data and a message that read “I don’t have a sub, whatchugonnado API?!?” The person running the account is Marc Kerrest, who also heads the San Francisco-based energy fund Cornice Trading LLC. He said that censoring data was “absurd.” Kerrest said neither Twitter nor API sent any notices to him.

The API releases its report one day before the federal government releases its official oil inventory report. Traders use the report to get guidance on movements in the oil markets. These reports have gained in popularity after the massive decline in oil prices in the summer of 2014.

Not the first time

An API spokesman said that the group even complained to Dow Jones & Co., publisher of Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. The executive said the group came up with a complaint last year concerning Dow Jones’ publishing of the data to the newswires’ paid subscribers without seeking authorization.

“While we certainly respect copyright protections, we don’t believe that Dow Jones’s publication of independently sourced items of news and analysis infringes API’s rights in any respect,” Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp, said.

In its weekly report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an unexpected drop in inventories, after which oil prices went up 5% on Wednesday. However, crude prices were sliding on Thursday. The Journal states that subscribers pay $160 a month for the weekly bulletins.

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