Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the the-trolls-win! dept
Even so... this week, this anonymous critic finally got his wish... and actually won for the most insightful comment of the week. How did it happen? Well, Tim Cushing wrote a post asking pro-SOPA people to explain, directly, how they would measure whether or not SOPA was a success -- making an appeal to avoid insults and attacks and just stay focused on the simple question. And, in this case, the commenter in question did so... and lots of you felt that, even as you then disagreed with him in response, the fact that he finally seemed to enter into the discussion with a clear explanation of his position deserved kudos. So here it is:
My usual take is this:Can we hope that this leads to further reasoned debate in our comments, rather than name calling and logical fallacies? I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice.
Piracy is made up of many levels. There are hardcore pirates, who would steal anything they can get and distribute it widely for whatever reasons they have, social, economic, or what have you. These are people who cannot and will not ever be changed.
At the other end of the scale, you have people who do not pirate, will not pirate, and much prefer to obtain content legally.
In the middle, well, you have the "soft middle", with people leaning more towards piracy, more towards legal, whatever. You have opportunists, you have tag alongs, and other people who do things because they can. Think of it as the mob mentality, on a grander scale. Many people pirate because they can, because it is easy, and because there is no cost or risk involved.
Right now, the soft middle leans towards piracy because they can, because it's easy, it works, it's easy to find stuff, it's easy to download it, it's all automated and simple - and the risks are negligible.
With SOPA, there is great potential that many of the pirate sites out there today which facilitate the access, host the files, or otherwise contribute to piracy won't be accessible from the US - at least not easily. As it becomes harder to find stuff, harder to obtain it, and more effort and risk comes into trying to get it, the soft middle will start to lean back to legal sources. This will be doubly so if these laws encourage legal alternatives to become more prevalent. Already, things like netflix and other streaming services have to some extent started that process.
Piracy won't go away by any means. But it will not longer be (for Americans anyway) the cheap, simple alternative. Further, if the law makes it harder for pirate sites (and those "torrent search" sites) to make money, they are likely to be less and less common. Remove the economic motivations from the deal, and many of the players who are only there for the money and not for the lulz will fold up their tents and move along.
My feeling is that piracy goes from it's probably 40% of the marketplace down to something like 20%, and that a good chunk of those people who get out of piracy end up using one or more "legal" services to fill the void, and fix many of the issues.
Further, I think that all of this is very good for independent artists, who will no longer have to compete with the high end product being "free!", and they may be able to better attract audiences on the basis of their own content, not on someone else's.
Coming in second was another attempt at quantifying in regards to SOPA. It was xenomancer's attempt to quantify the math around SOPA concerning the ability to shut down a store like etsy:
We'll start with numbers that take a little less bending the fabric of space-time to make sense:As for editor's choice, I'll start with a response from ts to the winning comment above, in which he highlighted one key sentence and pointed to an alternative explanation:
It turns out 800000 is a great number to get a sense of the ridiculous burden of liability SOPA will create. Supposing, for sake of because I can, that each store places exactly one infringing piece of work up for sale per day and it takes exactly one hour to locate and verify the infringing status of said work, knowing exactly which store it is likely located in, there now exists exactly 800000 man-hours of new work that Etsy has to perform per day to ensure that no single complaint ruins their entire website. That's (800000 hours) / (24 hours/day) / (365.25 days/year) ~= 91.262 man-years of new labor the website would need per day. Or, put another way, that's (800000 hours) / (8 hours/employee) = 100000 employees needed to come in 7 days a week, every day of the year, for 8 hours. Now, those numbers say two things to me. The first is that maybe SOPA can create a whole new industry of staring blankly at a computer monitor looking for infringement because, as everyone knows, "you just know it when you see it." The other is that the new liability introduced, using those bogus numbers as a far-fetched proxy, will bring the internet to a screeching halt in the name of a few incompetent and lazy middlemen seeking to place the burden of proof on the wrong side of a table yanked out of the rightful setting of the courtroom. Copyright and patent infringement take an adversarial trial to determine, and that is all there is too it.
But, wait, let's look at the numbers again... 800000 new court cases per day from one company might actually get something done right since the people who actually committed the infringement would get punished instead of the platform in similarly idealistic circumstances. That, and it might alert congress to the widespread abuses and problems with the current system, and how cranky judges get after witnessing a groundhogs day moment once too often before age 65. It is the copyright owner's right to the rights provided by copyright and it is also the copyright owner's burden to defend said rights. I could see why the MAFIAA gets so up set since they are in a somewhat similar position with their large catalog of weaslingly pilfered copyrights to scour the universe with, looking for revenue. And let's be honest about it, the MPAA and RIAA care about artists and the supporting staff only as far the copyright can pay over time. And they've been demonstrating less than even that low bar of loyalty lately.
Indeed. And then we have the following explanation of SOPA from another Anonymous Coward:Right now, the soft middle leans towards piracy because they can, because it's easy, it works, it's easy to find stuff, it's easy to download it, it's all automated and simple - and the risks are negligible.Sounds like a good business model right there.
It's clear that innovation is not something the entertainment industry is able to cope with. This bill isn't about getting more money. It's about stopping the next disruptive technology from getting off the ground. It's probably too late to shut down You-Tube now. it's too popular to go away quietly without people making a fuss. But if they can stop the next game-changer, no matter the nation it starts in, they can prolong their current revenue streams until the current execs get their golden parachute.Okay. Enough of that. Tragically, our friendly critic didn't also win funniest of the week... but what did win was someone who tried to mimic our regular critics. Amusingly, this comment not only won for funniest of the week... but also was "reported" enough that it was minimized. Some people just don't get the joke (you may have to open the minimized comment):
They learned a lesson from Napster. Going to court won the battle, but they still lost the war. Napster changed the way people wanted to purchase music (i.e. right now, over the Internet, rather than from Tower Records) , even though they successfully shut it down. This bill is about shutting things down faster, before people's perspectives can change.
I'm sorry, you lost me when you had a bunch of criminals and hooligans who routinely break the law (hackers) voicing their opposition to SOPA. Geez Apologist Mike, getting pretty desperate there aren't we. Then you go on to include groups like EFF (who is just a puppet whose strings are being pulled by Google). And so on and so forth. This article reeks of FUD. Sorry, but your Wild West free-for-all Internet days are done. As for these "consumer rights groups" and "human rights groups" all I can say is what about artists' rights? Of course you only care about the freeloaders, but not one person representing any artists is mentioned in this article. And by "artists" I mean ONLY people who matter (directors with 40+ films to their credit, musicians with 10+ albums to their name, etc. none of these whiny nobodys you trot out on a regular basis).Coming in second was Ima Fish's response to our story about Universal Music suing its insurance company for not agreeing to pay the $14.4 million settlement Universal Music agreed to for purposely avoiding paying royalties to artists in Canada.
And you say that the copyright industry cannot come up with innovative business models.For editor's choice, I just couldn't narrow it down to only two, so we've got three this week. First up, we've got a comment from el_segfaulto trying to compare operating systems to female companions:
Open source OS's (let's say Linux and BSD variants) are like having a nice girlfriend. They don't require a whole lot of maintenance but aren't overly flashy. If you screw something up you do need to know an arcane language to smooth things over.While funny, it feels like there's a big segment of the market missing.
Windows is like dating a two dollar hooker. You're paying for something that you can get for free elsewhere, and are running the risk of viruses.
OSX is a Charlie Sheen level high-class call-girl. She's pretty, she's fun to show off to your friends, but she's expensive and wants new things every few months. Also, the word on the street is she used to be a regular girl until a mystical suitor named Steve J. showered her with affection and a makeover.
Then we've got Jon Bains explaining his rather detailed view of the entertainment industry's new strategic business model around SOPA: "denial of safe harbor" or DOSH:
I've had at attitude readjustment, I'm going to go with the flow and embrace what i just realised is the future of business models for the content world.And, finally, we've got lavi d with his excellent Top 10 List in response to Tim Cushing's post on SOPA metrics:
You see the the anti-SOPA lobby (most of us here) have assumed that the MPAA / RIAA (collectively known as the MAFIAA) weren't willing to adapt and viewed folk like Anonymous as a threat. That sending letters to individuals a-la ACS-LAW wasn't a viable strategy. Turns out we were wrong. They actually saw an opportunity. They watched, they learned and are proposing a new model even more impressive than the good old 'Denial of Service' attack the hackers use.
(Denial of Safe Harbour)
This new 'model' is fantastic especially as you need virtually NO technical, creative or legal skills to play. It's truly open and democratic.
Here's how it works and how I plan to make millions! (so don't tell anyone!)
STAGE 1 - A&R
- Create some 'music'. Highly recommend GarageBand autoplay instruments. Since a 4 year old can use it, it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to make a tune.
- For a one time fee of $35 dollars register your opus with copyright.gov - you can do it online so no need to move off the couch/stool.
- Go to Tunecore and get it popped on iTunes for 99c . Make sure you come up with a cool sounding name for your band and label - I'm going with 'Cognitive Dissonance' for the band and 'RogueDoSHRecords' - am thinking my first track will be 'Legalise Extortion' again please don't steal it as I haven't registered it yet.
- Go to Wordpress (if it still exists) and create your label site - to be honest you don't have to do much more than say 'welcome to... XX records home of YY' and pop some copyright notices everywhere and a link to iTunes.
- Have a cocktail - you are now in that elite group - the Content Owner!
- Enlist some friends to help out and repeat 1-5 with them - I'm guessing 10 mates/labels would be enough for most situations - a mini Anonymous if you will.
- At this point you *could* try and get folk to buy your tune but frankly it isn't worth the effort instead each of you upload the others tracks to YouTube and/or create some torrents.
- So far I reckon they should have taken about a day of 'real' time, some hangover recovery time plus however long it takes to get the copyright approved.
STAGE 2 - Exercise your Rights
- All you have to do is find a bunch of blogs ( any site on any subject will do these days that allow comments) and get your mates to pop some links to your track on YouTube or to the torrent.
- Send the site owner an email accusing them of being 'Dedicated to infringement' - and that you will NOT report them to their ISP, payment partner etc if they hand over I dunno - $1000 bucks sounds fair.
- Now at this point you would expect the site owner to take it down, if they do just pop it up again ( or even better pop one of your mates tracks up to confuse them. )
- After you've done this a few times you announce that you have got a some class-action from a bunch of legacy sounding labels including 'Phonographic Memories', 'The Long Tail Players', '8 Track Marks ', 'Tape me up, Tape me down', 'Cassette My Ass' and of course the hip-hop label 'MP3some'.
- Give them one last chance to pay up (it's going to cost them $5k now btw)
- If they DO pay up - wait a couple of days /weeks and repeat with some new labels until they just give up and shut down
- If they DON'T pay up shop them to their ISP and Payment partner who are so inundated with these claims that they'll have no choice but to close the infringing scum down, just in case it's legit. Don't worry about needing legalese I'm sure you will be able to find a form letter online to help you out - no lawyers required!
- Repeat on as many sites as you feel like, the smaller the better of course. I'm thinking of going for gardening blogs myself - the poor dears won't know what hit them.
I imagine a motivated team of ten could manage a few dozen each a day while sitting in the pub. Even with a 10% conversion rate you'll make a load of cash, secure in the knowledge that those who didn't play ball won't be able to make any money for themselves! Win Win!
You can of course do this with anything that can be copyrighted so feel free to make some films of you and your mates celebrating in the pub (Dogma movies are due for a resurgence anyway) and copyright them - go for it! You've even got the soundtracks ready made so you can pop a compilation out. Even Better! You are now 'Multimedia Copyright Owner' - diversification is everything in this day and age.
And there you have it - as far as I can tell under SOPA its totally legal - we as Copyright Owners and we are entitled to get paid without having to sell even ONE bit of content, attract ONE fan or play ONE gig. Superb. We truly have entered The Golden Age of Copyright.
If anybody says 'Conspiracy to defraud' just say 'The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing' or better yet 'the tea-boy is going to lose his job UNLESS we do it'.
Go on - try this at home!
the business model for the post-modern creative!
And that's why I've learned to stop worrying and love SOPA, it's going to make things soo much better.
Top 10 ways we'll know that SOPA is a success:Well, as long as we're still here this upcoming week, we hope you'll join us for some more comments. It's a short week since there's Turkey and such to be had in the later part of the week, but there should be plenty of things to talk about until then.
10 - Dry cleaners and popcorn producers worldwide will enjoy a resurgence in business
9 - There will never be another Justin Beiber
8 - No one will ever leave the living room to go to the bathroom during the commercials again.
7 - Viacom won't have to kill Spongebob in order to pay their CEO's salary
6 - Computers everywhere will stop allowing people to make copies and will automatically turn into television sets
5 - People will once again flock to theaters to see movies, then rent the movie from websites, then buy it on DVD, then buy it on Blu-Ray, then buy it on...
4 - Musicians and film makers will stop making a living using just the internet. All movies and music will once gain come only from Hollywood and the recording industry, as it should be.
3 - Congress will eventually give the internet to Hollywood, once it's apparent that they know how best to manage it.
2 - The "entertainment industry" will see a windfall of $100 billion next fiscal year as people go back to buying copies (see #5 above)
And, finally, the number one way SOPA defenders will gauge the success of the bill will be the disappearance of rogue sites like Techdirt, Ars Technica, the EFF, Slashdot, etc where "common" people have the audacity to publicly insist that their government work for them.