The Copyright Alliance Blog Takes On Someone Who Wrote Something

from the afterparty-to-be-held-at-the-'tomb-of-the-unknown-writer' dept

A short while ago, we were openly discussing how not to hold an open discussion in the free air of the internet. It was a highly editorial post, stating my (and apparently, others') disagreement with the view that the "high road" is composed of off-hand insults and closed comment threads.

With that in mind, I bring you another blogging faux pas, courtesy of the Copyright Alliance blog. In a post titled "Setting the Record Straight on PROTECT IP," Sandra Aistars takes aim at an article posted elsewhere on the web:

Since the introduction of the PROTECT IP Act we frequently see articles and blog posts that severely mischaracterize and make false assertions about the legislation. For example, today we noticed a piece that claimed that the PROTECT IP bill would be a detriment to entrepreneurship. As an organization that represents individual artists and creators, who are themselves entrepreneurs and small businesses, we share the author's concern for entrepreneurship and economic growth. The creative sector in the United States, which is comprised largely of people you would consider the copyright owner next door, accounts for 11.1 million jobs across the country. Unfortunately his portrayal of the PROTECT IP bill is factually inaccurate in virtually every respect.

This is quoted verbatim. If you haven't noticed by now, there are no links to the original article or any mention of who wrote it. Considering this lack of information, Aistars could be talking about something her neighbor wrote and shoved under her door for all we know. In this day and age, I don't see how you can expect to tackle someone else's arguments without at least mentioning their last name.

It's a shame, too. Aistar's post does a fairly good job laying out her disagreements (even if I don't agree with all of her disagreements) in a very easy-to-follow point-by-point argument. (Although, she does spend more time than is needed pounding home the point about the bill addressing only sites dedicated to infringement, which according to the beneficiaries of this law include archive.org, Vimeo, Soundcloud and 50 Cent's personal website.) The problem is, no one knows who she's arguing with and even worse, nobody can verify whether this mystery person made the claims she's attributing to them.

It would seem that linking to the original article would be second nature... unless you're trying to avoid people actually reading what you're arguing with.

If you're confident in your argument, why wouldn't you link to the article? Techdirt disagrees with pretty much everything and yet, every post links to the source of disagreement. But the more Aistar calls out "the author" as a nameless, linkless being, the less inclined most people are to believe that her piece is even-handed.

If you haven't Googled up the solution to this "mystery writer," I'll go ahead and provide you with the link that the Copyright Alliance apparently couldn't get coded in by presstime:

"Blacklisting Entrepreneurs: PROTECT IP Could Harm Web Startups" by Paul Kedrosky 

Of course, it's no use rushing to the Copyright Alliance blog to ask why this was handled this way. The comments are closed and pingbacks have been politely asked to leave. Ironically enough, Copyright Alliance did take the opportunity to exercise their one-way rights and leave a comment on Kedrosky's post, which takes this whole situation past "obtuse" and into "egregious." Since I told myself that I'd be very even-handed in dealing with this bizarre breach of internet etiquette, I'm ending this post now and opening it up for discussion. Have at it.

 



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Uhh, wow.

    That's a lot of doublethink, even if the arguments behind it are sound.

     

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  2.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:12am

    Can Sandra get any more irrelevant with her job as propaganda machine?

    She had one article about how the drug trade was similar to copyright infringement. Her entire argument seems more "follow us, because we have the law bought on our side" rather than "ya know, we have the best services available, check us out."

    Until the MPAA can figure that out, they aren't even worth looking into for a rebuttal.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:18am

    she didnt link

    she didnt link, cause there is no source. its a fluff piece of advertising and you are doing her a service by promoting her advertising.

    /sigh

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:20am

    Re: she didnt link

    or not, I finished reading article.

    /blush

     

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  5.  
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    John Doe, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Not naming sources is common practice in the journalism world

    How many times have you seen a newscaster interview someone and say something to the effect of "What would you say to the people who have this to say about your...?". It is a common ploy for journalists to bring up subjects/concerns that they have about something/someone while making it look like there is a larger group of concerned people out there.

    It is mostly journalists trying to create news and controversy rather than report on it. My dad told me years ago that journalists use to report news but they grew tired of sitting on the sidelines and decided to create news instead. I think he is right.

     

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  6.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    By not linking to the source piece, she is giving herself the ability to freely interpret what was originally said in any way shape or form of her choosing. She doesn't have to worry about people pointing out the flaws in her arguments because the majority who read her blog will take what she says at face value.

    By not allowing comments on her blog, she adds additional "strength" to her argument by not allowing those who do take the time to figure out who she is talking about and reading her comments on it and posting corrections.

    It is a sad method of debate. \

     

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  7.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:26am

    Re: Not naming sources is common practice in the journalism world

    Unfortunately, what they create is less news and more shock entertainment. People rail against media personalities like Jerry Springer and Howard Stern because they take that shock entertainment to the extreme.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:35am

    The woman isn't actually as unreasonable as most of the copyright fundamentalists, but I feel like she is only writing what someone else told her. I just get a whiff of not understanding what she is relaying when I read her posts. So I'm left to assume that she was paid to write the words someone else gave her.

     

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  9.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re: Not naming sources is common practice in the journalism world

    You are partially right, but I just want to point out that the "some people say..." tactic is not always about creating news. Sometimes it's about asking a totally vital and real question without giving your subject an escape route.

    Example: say you are interviewing a CEO who you genuinely suspect of corruption based on your research and some other sources. There is no hard evidence, but there are some suspicious facts, and you want to see if you can get more information. If you say "I think you're doing [whatever illegal thing] and here's why" then the CEO will say "this interview is over" and refuse to give you anything. If you say "some people have suggested that you're doing..." they are more likely to keep talking.

     

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  10.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Just as you're trying to avoid taking on her arguments, so instead write this diversion criticizing her "netiquette".

    I see Aistar's position as reasonable: she's preaching to the choir in the first place (except for those having an opposing agenda who peek in), and she's not in any way obliged to /link/ to those she disagrees with, as it to some degree promotes them. You're trying to inflict "rules" on her at best, and you're not the net's Emily Post.

    Your take though, is sheer diversion to get everyone talking about her tactics rather than the actual argument: you give that away when you say that her arguments are of fair quality, and then don't counter them!

     

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  11.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    at least, I hope so. This part struck me as particularly insincere:
    "Second, the bill does not allow copyright owners to “petition the court to make sites invisible to people in the U.S.” or the “right to rip sites from DNS.” The bill only allows the Attorney General to seek an order from a court that would allow the AG to ask search engines to use commercially reasonable means to make sites that the court has determined are “dedicated to infringement” inaccessible to U.S consumers. There is no parallel private right of action in the bill." - Sandra Aistars (maybe?)
    So let me get this straight... only the AG can pull the sites? The copyright owners can't? Wasn't one of the larger domain name seizures announced from the steps of Walt-freakin-Disney?! You know... a copyright owner?

    I'm not usually one to snug up my tinfoil hat before calling someone naive, but come on. It's not that the copyright owner's can't submit requests for takedowns... it's just that the request forms are printed on the backs of checks made out to cash.

     

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  12.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re:

    And this:
    "Noted Constitutional scholar Floyd Abrams has provided two separate analyses of the legislation to the Senate judiciary committee, which conclude that the bill is fully consistent with due process, and has no negative impact on First Amendment rights (read them here and here.)"- Sandra Aistars
    One scholar? That's what you bring to defend the Constitutionality of this bill? Sorry, but the opposition brought one hundred. I think I'll put my layman's faith in the side that has more than just one guy saying it's going to be Ok.

     

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  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    I see Aistar's position as reasonable: she's preaching to the choir in the first place (except for those having an opposing agenda who peek in), and she's not in any way obliged to /link/ to those she disagrees with, as it to some degree promotes them.

    I find this idea Brechtian in its absurdity. In a blog that supposedly lauds copyright, it seems silly to take someone's words verbatim and call them your own. That's just begging for a response similar to that of the RIAA.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Just as you are avoiding the issue at hand? He opened up the discussion for us to play with and so instead of poking at the arguments and talking about copyright which would be the point you just create a diversion by calling his a diversion.

    I gots mah troll goggles on this morning gents, I'll take care of this!

     

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  15.  
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    and_into_the_red, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming the source!

    Well, I read on a website today that a complete lackwit had made the tenth reply to this article on TechDirt.

    I disagree with the tone and rudeness of that website article; the quality of either the article or the comments is not for me to say, but it certainly was interesting to come here and read what's written.

     

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  16.  
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    CStrube (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:35am

    Plagiarism

    I find it highly amusing that a pro copyright blog writer would effective commit plagiarism by not attributing to the source the origins of her quotes. Without saying whose words those are, she's effectively claiming them for herself.

     

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  17.  
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    Joe, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Huffington Post Article

    She's referring to this article from the Huffington Post:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-kedrosky/blacklisting-entrepreneur_b_897102.html?view=sc reen

    She got most of her argument from the MPAA blog post here:

    http://blog.mpaa.org/BlogOS/post/2011/07/15/PROTECT-IP-Is-Good-for-Entrepreneurs.aspx

    I gave my two cents about the MPAA's blog post here:

    http://jbaxe2.blogspot.com/2011/07/it-starts-with-link.html

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Did she call them her own?

     

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  19.  
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    Paul (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Why not compare Aistar's approach to the Hindus who are currently protesting "Sita Sings the Blues". http://www.hindujagruti.org/denigrations/sitasingstheblues

    If you read through the site, you will find all their arguments (including screen shots) telling you exactly why they think this movie is evil and wrong.

    But then at the bottom they link to the entire movie so you can see how evil the movie is for yourself

    I would point out that I don't agree with them, I think they misunderstand the western approach to religion, our freedom to poke fun at ourselves and others, and even the interest that this movie generates among non-Hindus.

    None the less, they do Link to the content in question

    So would it be fair to say that Aistar shows less ability to frame her arguments fairly than a rather literal religious group?

     

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  20.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Just as you're trying to avoid taking on her arguments, so instead write this diversion criticizing her "netiquette".


    I have no interest in taking on her arguments. If this was a post about rebutting her arguments, I would have framed the entire post differently.

    This post is about how this weakens her argument (right or wrong) by refusing to link to the article she has issues with or even name the person/website she's referring to.

    Her arguments are already being dismantled in the comment threads. And when I say that her arguments are of "fair quality," I'm saying that the piece wasn't some sort of overblown, shouty affair that should have been ignored completely.

    I don't "inflict" rules. This is the way the internet works. You provide links, especially when you're directly attacking someone else's arguments. I don't see how linking to an opposing viewpoint "promotes" her opponents. That's like saying that every politician who refers to their opponent while campaigning is "promoting" their opponent. And, as you said, she's "preaching to the choir", most of whom are not going to suddenly jump ships upon arriving at Kedrosky's article.

    And as for the oft-stated, "anyone can run their site however they want"? Yes. That's true. Just don't expect to be treated seriously if you do things like this.

    Especially when you use the open comment threads in the post you're quoting from (without attribution) to further your own argument:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Copyright_Alliance/blacklisting-entrepreneur_b_897 102_97196754.html

     

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  21.  
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    DOlz (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    That's not debating. That's standing on a soapbox in an echo chamber shouting.

     

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  22.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    The act of non-reference is what claims them as her own. If she is such an academician, that's called plagiarism.

     

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  23.  
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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Isn't this all just so typical of copytards? They go apeshit if you don't credit them, but they don't give two shits about crediting anybody else. Typical.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: she didnt link

    That's why you have to be careful.
    Once something is sighed it can't be unsighed.

     

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  25.  
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    Pjerky (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    Cowards

    You know they are afraid of what intelligent people might say when they limit who can and can't comment on a story on their site. I inherently don't trust any site that doesn't allow easy commenting and anonymous commenting.

     

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  26.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re:

    You didn't check those links did you?
    And this:
    "Noted Constitutional scholar Floyd Abrams has provided two separate analyses of the legislation to the Senate judiciary committee, which conclude that the bill is fully consistent with due process, and has no negative impact on First Amendment rights (read them here and here.)"- Sandra Aistars
    One scholar? That's what you bring to defend the Constitutionality of this bill? Sorry, but the opposition brought one hundred.
    First Link: http://judiciary.senate.gov/resources/documents/upload/021611Leahy-RecordSubmissions-Website.pdf
    "I write with regard to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act ("COICA")" ???
    WTF? That is not even the right Bill!

    Second Link: http://www.mpaa.org/Resources/30a27707-9da9-4cf3-b642-4fb949969102.pdf
    Oh yeah the MPAA website, there is an unbiased opinion.

    Furthermore both documemts are written on the leterhead of the same law firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

    From said law firms website (http://www.cahill.com)
    "Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP was founded in 1919 and quickly built a national reputation for excellence in the financial and corporate areas."

    PRACTICE AREAS: Antitrust, Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Communications, Corporate, Corporate Governance & Investigations, Crisis Advisory & Management, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Environmental, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Media, Pro Bono, Real Estate, Tax, and Trusts & Estates
    Wow!

    Two whole links in the entire artcle and all they did is destroy the authors credibility even farther than the artice itself did.

    Said linked documents shared/reposted below for posterity
    http://www.4shared.com/document/YcF02DDt/021611Leahy-RecordSubmissions-.html
    http://www. 4shared.com/document/aWFI19it/mpaaorg.html

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Homer, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    "The goggles, they do nothing!!!!"

     

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  28.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    Re: She IS trying to avoid naming source!

    Just as you're trying to avoid taking on her arguments

    Apart from all the argumenst brought in ALL THE DAMN POSTS on these laws here on Techdirt? How stupid are you?

     

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  29.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    wow. Wish I had read those first. Well, in that case, let me amend my previous statement...
    "Zero scholars?..." -me


    I believe the DNA evidence of my client's guilt is wrong. And to prove that, I submit this potato! And if that doesn't convince you, I have this nice turnip! [sits down triumphantly as the nice young men in their clean white coats come to take me away].

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    alice, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Just as you are avoiding the issue at hand? He opened up the discussion for us to play with and so instead of poking at the arguments and talking about copyright which would be the point you just create a diversion by calling his a diversion.

    I gots mah troll goggles on this morning gents, I'll take care of this!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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