Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the for-the-long-weekened dept

No time to waste, so let's get right to it. Voted most insightful this week... a comment from Marcus Carab on the story about the 1st Circuit appeals court ruling stating that arresting a guy for filming the police was a violation of his 1st Amendment rights (4th Amendment too, but that was specific to MA law). One of our comments suggested that the problem was just a few officers, and Marcus felt that obscured an important point:
The police are supposed to be an organization with rigidly enforced standards of behaviour. They are supposed to be an organization that people trust implicitly.

I say this in all seriousness: the entire organization of "the police" should be held accountable for the actions of any one police officer.

When one police officer violates the rights of a public citizen, every single officer is shamed. Every other cop in the country should be standing up and saying that what this officer did was wrong - but we know that's not how the police work. In fact it's quite the opposite: they go to great lengths to protect each other. They also expect (and generally receive) a wide berth for questionable behaviour due to the nature of their job.

That's fine. But if they want to protect each other, and if they want to get special privileges because of the badge, then they need to accept that any action that tarnishes that badge reflects poorly on ALL of them
Coming in second was a comment from That Anonymous Coward concerning the Canadian pharmacies' response to Google getting fined by the US government -- and specifically why the people who have been buying drugs from those pharmacies haven't been speaking up about the ridiculousness of the situation. He offers a few possible reasons:
They forgot to attach the required PAC donation to their complaint letter.

Their representative sent them back a form letter talking about something entirely different.

They've been yelling for years, and they gave up.

They wrote, but died before getting any response because they could no longer afford the drugs keeping them alive
I'm not sure any of that is actually true, honestly. But I do recognize it's what many people think these days.

For the editor's choice this week, I wanted to highlight two comments that really are excellent in that they add context and information that people might not have known before. The first came from Rick Falkvinge, who explained how "lay judges" work in Sweden in explaining a ruling that resulted in the acquittal of a teen accused of file sharing. Since the lay judge system is different, Falkvinge explained it.
The Swedish system works like this: you have an educated judge who went to law school in a panel of four at the lowest court. The other three are politically appointed from the municipal level.

They vote on the verdict. In the case of a 2-2 split, the option that favors the defendant wins. Here, two out of four wanted to acquit, so acquittal it is.

The idea with this is that if a law is obviously bonkers and out of touch with reality and, as it's called, "the public perception of justice", then the lay judges are able to overrule the schooled judge.

In terms of checks and balances achieved, it is therefore similar to the jury system.

However, the lay judges are in a minority in the appeals court, and absent from the supreme court.
And, the second was in a discussion people were having about whether or not anyone has ever successfully been able to bring a suit against someone for abusing the DMCA. An Anonymous Coward pointed out a single case where it did happen:
Online Policy Group v. Diebold
EFF helped protect online speakers by bringing the first successful suit against abusive copyright claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This landmark case set a precedent that allows other Internet users and their ISPs to fight back against improper copyright threats.

In OPG v. Diebold, a California district court has determined that Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, knowingly misrepresented that online commentators, including IndyMedia and two Swarthmore college students, had infringed the company's copyrights. EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School sued on behalf of nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) Online Policy Group (OPG) and the two students to prevent Diebold's abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting.

Diebold sent dozens of cease-and-desist letters to ISPs hosting leaked internal documents revealing flaws in Diebold's e-voting machines. The company claimed copyright violations and used the DMCA to demand that the documents be taken down. One ISP, OPG, refused to remove them in the name of free speech, and thus became the first ISP to test whether it would be held liable for the actions of its users in such a situation.

In his decision, Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote, "No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the email archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold's voting machines were protected by copyright." In turn, Diebold had violated section 512(f) of the DMCA, which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occured.

Outcome: In addition to creating the first caselaw applying 512(f) of the DMCA to remedy abusive copyright claims under the DMCA, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees.
I just like both of these comments because, contrary to the claims of some critics, I know there's a lot I don't know, and part of the point of having comments and keeping them open is that it's a chance for people with more knowledge and information to educate everyone. So thanks for that.

Moving on to the funny side of things. This week's winner was a no-doubter in terms of votes. Possibly the most votes ever (at least near the top). In response to my post about someone trying to put public domain material I created back under copyright, Brendan had a suggestion:
Hey Mike,

I'm not sure if you've heard of them, but I've been reading about this great outfit called "Righthaven." They seem to be exactly the kind of service you need in order to deal with Evans appropriately.

According to their press releases, they're really having great luck in the various courts -- the judges are even helping them to iron out some minor issues with their paperwork, making their cases even more bullet-proof.

Remember, squeeze the balls until his wallet falls out of his pants
Coming in second was, once again, Marcus Carab, with his comment on the background check company getting sued for confusing Samuel Jacksons. Carab went for the easy layup in regards to one of many Samuel L. Jackson's out there:
It could have been worse. They had previously listed his occupation as Hitman and his primary language as English Motherfucker
Do you speak it? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) As for editor's choice, we've got AdamR's response to Ubisoft's claim that they have to protect their games with restrictive DRM because they put blood, sweat and tears into games:
Well I guess that explains why a lot of games suck! They keep putting the wrong thing in them! Instead good play, replay value, story that makes sense, and looking to make it at a reasonable value
Next up, we have Paul Keating providing us with a satirical explanation for Rep. John Conyers possibly going against the record labels on the termination rights issue:
"The recent statements attributed to Congressman Conyers regarding the "right of termination" was taken out of context and did not accurately reflect the position of Congressman Conyers. The staff person who wrote the release incorrectly believed that the issue being addressed involved the protection of CHILDREN from the plethora of PORNOGRAPHY appearing on the Internet and the termination of copyrights claimed by the creators thereof."
And, since this is a long weekend (go out and barbecue or swim or something!), we'll give a few extras. We've got an Anonymous Coward explaining how the punishment may fit the crime for file sharing in some cases, depending on the song:
Mike, I think you are wrong here and that the punishment here does really fit the crime. It depends on a lot of factors, like what song you are sharing.

For example, if you share a song like "Let's talk about sex" from Salt&Pepper with a 14 year old then it would fall into the category "Making sexual advances on someone less than 15 years old"

But if you share any song from the Emo genre then you are "Provoking someone to commit suicide."

Then there is the method of sharing. Un-encrypted bit-torrent is "Exposing yourself in public" but transmitting data according to RFC-1149 could be seen as "Abuse and cruelty to animals"
And, finally, this last one is one that I believe is unintentionally funny, in that I believe the commenter may have actually been serious. But it was the one person who actually seemed to think that the 1st Circuit ruling that filming police was protected by the First Amendment was overbroad. The argument is so funny it made me laugh, and judging by the votes, it made other people laugh as well:
I think that this ruling may lead to even more people whipping out their cell phones every time a cop shows up, which will just interfere with the job that the police have to do.

There will undoubtedly be cases where people will be arrested while filming, and charged with obstructing justice because they got in the officers face with the camera and made it difficult if not impossible for the officers to perform their duties.

It's disappointing to see such a wide open ruling, as it can lead to some serious abuses.
For future reference, when trying to troll the comments, it helps if your arguments don't make people flat out laugh. Anyway, enjoy the long weekend. We'll be back on Tuesday...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    When one police officer violates the rights of a public citizen, every single officer is shamed. Every other cop in the country should be standing up and saying that what this officer did was wrong - but we know that's not how the police work. In fact it's quite the opposite: they go to great lengths to protect each other.

    That's hilarious coming from the side that demands that no one be held responsible for the actions of others, and that goes to great lengths to defend a fellow pirate no matter how egregious the transgression. That's just rich. I love good irony.

     

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  2.  
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    freak (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    Let's, uh, let's think about this for a second.

    On the side of a copyright infringer being defended, we have his actions of infringing being defended.

    On the side of a policeman being defended, we have his actions of beatings and murder being defended.


    So, uh, murder = infringement? Wow, AC. Wow.

     

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  3.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Re:

    That's hilarious coming from the side that demands that no one be held responsible for the actions of others, and that goes to great lengths to defend a fellow pirate no matter how egregious the transgression. That's just rich. I love good irony.

    Police officer held responsible for other police officers is equivalent to Service provider held responsible for own employees.

    Service provider held responsible for actions of users is equivalent to policeman held responsible for actions of criminals.

    If you love good irony you should look elsewhere - perhaps to your own comments.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Re:

    You're just mad that nobody likes here likes you

     

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  5.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    Your perspective translator must be screwy, you seem to have misplaced it in the Hyperbole-and-a-Half room.

     

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  6.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Re:

    "For future reference, when trying to troll the comments, it helps if your arguments don't make people flat out laugh."

    RTFA
    You Fail.

     

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  7.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re:

    The whole "Police Department [being] held responsible for [all of it's] police officers is equivalent to Service provider held responsible for own employees."

    FTFY

     

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  8.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re:

    But I do agree with you on your point BTW...

     

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  9.  
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    Brendan (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 7:54pm

    woohoo

    King for a day.

    Thanks, everyone who voted.

     

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

  10.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Re:

    If you mean to ask if I think the police should be held to a higher standard of behaviour than the general public, then my answer is: does an AC shit in the comments?

     

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

  11.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re:

    You're just mad that nobody likes here likes you

    Do you think there's somewhere else where people do like him? ;)

     

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  12.  
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    btrussell (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 9:11pm

    Re: woohoo

    King for a day.

    It's a long week-end :)

     

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  13.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 9:18pm

    For future reference, when trying to troll the comments, it helps if your arguments don't make people flat out laugh.

    Subliminal clown trolling... for when you need to troll but then your own subconscious laughs at your stupidity and trolls you instead

     

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  14.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 5th, 2011 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Techincally you are right - but good management theory generally suggests that the best way tor the department to discharge its responsibility is to make all the individual officers feel that it is a responsibility they share (and I suppose the same goes for service providers too!)

     

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  15.  
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    Sum One, Sep 5th, 2011 @ 4:17am

    Anonymous Coward is right!

    You've completely hit the nail on the head. The Pirate King and his Council of Eight should be ashamed for not assuming their share of responsibility for the actions of file sharers.

     

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

  16.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 5th, 2011 @ 4:18am

    I had such high hopes for the "trolling ticket" to win for funny.

    I'll take insightful, and thank everyone. I don't make it to the "Of the Week" running often so I enjoy it.

    I'm proof that just because your an AC, doesn't mean no one listens to you. They stop listening when your stupid.

    That and I totally rock the Guy Fawkes mask avatar.

     

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

  17.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 5th, 2011 @ 4:20am

    Re:

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

     

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  18.  
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    AdamR (profile), Sep 5th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re: Anonymous Coward is right!

    I call dibs on the Will Turner character, the new Captain of the Flying Dutchman! I going to have fun shuttling some of dead AC trolls around.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Clarence K, Sep 5th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    arrest a guy for filming the police

    That happened around a month ago in Rochester, New York. Only it was a woman, who was standing on her property, filming police interegating a black person on a possible traffic violation. They were searching his car as well as giving him a patdown. They got more than carried away just for a traffic violation. The police got nervous and asked the lady to go into her house. She said she was on her property minding her business and not interferring and she had the right to do this. In the end, they let the person they were checking on go and arrested her for interferring in police investigation. It got so bad that the ladies neighbors had a meeting to see if anything could be done. The Rochester police found out about the meeting and went to where the people were parking,for the meeting, and ticketed all the cars for being more than 12 inches away from the curb. This is how bad the police are in Rochester, New York. Oh and the lady who was arrested for filming and hauled off to jail, the charges were dropped because the local television stations got involved. This is why Police get a bad rap. They bring a lot of it on themselves.

     

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  20.  
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    abc gum, Sep 5th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: arrest a guy for filming the police

    Yes, I remember reading about that incident. Disgraceful it is. They certainly know how to dig a hole deeper in Rochester, New York. It's a wonder they are not still digging like they are in Illinois.

    Does anyone make a shirt or jacket with a cellphone pocket for discrete recording? Certainly it would wise to upload your data prior to being sent to Guantanamo.

     

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  21.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 5th, 2011 @ 5:28pm

    Re: arrest a guy for filming the police

    Yep, that story is here

    What's amazing is how a person can be charged with this, then have the charges dropped in order to keep the threat of wiretapping on the books.

    But say an elected official is given this ruling... Woe betide would it change in a heartbeat to protect that person.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2011 @ 7:25pm

    Re:

    I think part of the problem occurs when organizations are blamed, and charged, for the activities of individuals.

    I think to the extent that an organization implements policies that encourage bad behavior, the organization should be punished.

    But if an individual participates in bad behavior despite good organizational policies that discourage bad behavior, the individual should be punished. The organization itself should punish the individual, and perhaps some external legal punishment should be in order as well.

    An organization that doesn't punish bad behavior and that implements policies that encourage bad behavior (or one that fails to implement policies that discourage bad behavior) ought to be externally punished (ie: through legal means).

    Since organizational decision makers (ie: corporate executives or those leading the police department) are the ones that implement policies and consequences, if they are caught doing something wrong, they should personally be externally punished by our legal system. The legal system should minimally hold the entire organization (ie: stockholders or taxpayers) responsible for the actions of organizational decision makers, the decision makers themselves should be personally responsible.

    and that's one of the problems I have with limited liability, it makes it too easy to punish others (stockholders) for the actions and decisions of some (executives).

     

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  23. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    billy, Sep 6th, 2011 @ 12:34am

    hey

    hey you are cool thats cool thank for sharing it with us thanks heaps

     

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

  24.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 6th, 2011 @ 2:19am

    Re: Re: arrest a guy for filming the police

    Funny - if I complain about my privacy being invaded by CCTV they tell me that if I have nothing to hide I have nothing to fear...

     

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


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