We were just discussing the Facebook/Power.com
mess, involving the question of whether or not a user can choose someone else's tool to access the data that they, themselves, put on another site, and it appears we may have another such case to look at. Twitpic, an online service for easily posting pictures to Twitter, is apparently quite upset that Posterous, an online blogging platform, has set up an automated system to export your own photos from TwitPic to Posterous. As soon as the exporter was announced, Twitpic not only blocked Posterous's tool, but got the lawyers involved
. As the Posterous folks note, it's not clear how any of this actually breaks the law. Setting it up so users can access their own photos is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. In fact, for many user-generated content sites these days, offering export functionality is considered good manners. Going so far as to threaten legal action against 3rd party exporters is going too far.