Drew Stephenson's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the good-news! dept

About a week ago I put a comment under an article about the DOJ abusing its powers mentioning that I was thinking of stopping reading Techdirt as it was getting too depressing. However I kept reading and I'm glad I've done so as this week has seen some much more positive stories, and in a week of worsening recession, continuing corruption and ever escalating global violence, I'm going to focus on the good news.

We've got a new policy for Washington Police about how to handle photographers. It would be nice to see something similar spreading across a few more forces, both in the States and in the UK.

Over 1500 organizations and 50,000 people have signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom. I'm very interested to see how this pans out in the long term. It feels a bit like this could be a test of "The People vs The Vested Interests", the key question being, will this document make a difference?

It's possibly not the done thing to say that one of my favorite posts is an aggregated one, but the collection of links about the future of assisted vision was fantastic and I get the chance to link to my favorite Sheldon comic. In all these little ways, we are becoming closer and closer to cyborgs, and I for one welcome our new robot overlords...

Of course it wouldn't be a good week on Techdirt without a story of someone trying something new and clever on Kickstarter. In another new turn-up I think this is the first time we've seen something like this without the usual trolls and their "it'll never scale / work for everyone / last / work for people without a major label background" arguments. Perhaps the message is getting through?

Staying on innovation in music, the news that an app is being developed to aggregate smart-phone concert footage shows that not everyone in the industry is trying to shut down bootleg content. Similarly the release of The Humble Music Bundle is another example of a company trying new things.

Moving back onto legal matters, and stepping away from copyright to other aspects of IP, we have two more good-news stories. The first is that Judge Posner has decided to give the patent system a kick, and the second is a simple lesson in how to send a cease and desist letter without being an asshole

I used to share a house with a bunch of Norwegians, they were all really good people as were (as far as I can tell) all their friends. So in many ways it's no surprise that Norway continues to show us the right way to deal with terrorism.

I'm going to finish with a story that may not be an obvious candidate for a good news story, especially given some of the comments from our regular critics. However the news that Michael Rossato-Bennett is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund his film Alive Inside just serves to remind me that, despite the problems highlighted in the article, and despite this being an area of life that people still shy away from, there are people doing great work out there transforming lives.

Watch that trailer video again, go on, you know you want to.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Autonomous Trollware, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Pirate freetard Drew sucking Mike's pirate dick and thinking people should just have freedom without paying for it.

    Damn liberty apologists always making it harder for artists to make money and feed their kittens.

    It's really disgusing how you could just et the kitties starve!

     

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  2.  
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    drew (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    I don't just let them starve, I chain them to a post and leave food tantalisingly out of reach. It's more fun that way.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

     

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  4.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Re:

    sucking pirate dick

    Yeah, I'm pirating that one, no money for you.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120727084323510

    Talking about piracy, Microsoft appears to be desperate to hide its arrangement with Samsung that could become a matter of public record in Apple vs Samsung LoL

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    It's a shame the DC police vs. camera thing only lasted about 10 minutes, but I guess the question there is, what will the ultimate outcome be? Will she just let it slide, or will she come down on them like a ton of bricks? I'm hoping the latter... but I have no faith.

    I guess the other question is: if the former, is anybody calling her on it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

    > "We've got a new policy for Washington Police about how to handle photographers. It would be nice to see something similar spreading across a few more forces, both in the States and in the UK."

    Only in the US and UK? Methinks someone is a little closeted...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    " It feels a bit like this could be a test of "The People vs The Vested Interests","

    That one is more like "The People Vs Their Own Best Interests", a battle of people trying to get all that they can get right now, without concern for the implications tomorrow. It's sort of like Nero fiddling as Rome burns, except instead it's the 5th grade violin class and it's just bits and bytes getting shredded.

    " Norway continues to show us the right way to deal with terrorism. " - Too bad it wasn't terrorism, but rather a mass killing. Don't let a little thing like facts get in the way.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 10:03pm

    Re:

    Almost seems like a mass case of clinical depression, yes?

     

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    Zos (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 11:15pm

    just for a moment, i thought the headline was "neal stephensons favorite techdirt posts of the week". And i was pumped....then i read it again.


    and i was :(

    Nothing personal.

     

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  11.  
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    drew (profile), Jul 29th, 2012 @ 1:19am

    Re:

    Fair call, it would be nice to see it everywhere. Some places that just isn't going to happen though, either because it's illegal or because (unlike the US and the UK) it is a genuine police state.
    I think I mentioned the US and the UK primarily because these are countries where this should be allowed and yet we see regular cases of it not being. We should be able to hold outselves up as a model to repressive states and regimes.
    If this were a french or german language blog I'm sure we'd see plenty of examples in Europe and elsewhere and I'd have led with those countries.

     

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    drew (profile), Jul 29th, 2012 @ 1:25am

    Re:

    I'm curious as to what part of their best interests you think the people are working against? The right not to be censored? The right to access? Openness? Innovation? Privacy?
    Which of those is against our own best interests?

    At what point does the mass killing of civilians for political purposes become terrorism then? This wasn't an assassination of a political figure. Nor was it someone breaking down and bringing a gun into a crowded bar. It was a deliberate action designed to bring about panic and terror for a political agenda.

     

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    drew (profile), Jul 29th, 2012 @ 1:29am

    Re:

    * goes off to check who Neal Stephenson is *
    * wonders why he's never heard of him before *
    Ah, I can see why you'd be disappointed. I'm afraid I'm a poor subsitute, and not even related.

    * heads off to look at Neal Stephenson on amazon *

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re:

    "I'm curious as to what part of their best interests you think the people are working against? The right not to be censored? The right to access? Openness? Innovation? Privacy?
    Which of those is against our own best interests?"

    I think that all of those things you list are noble goals. However, each one comes with the "at what price?" question, which should be answered in each case.

    One area is innovation. Short term, we know (based on everything Mike tells us) that ignoring patents and copyrights breeds innovation. Well, at least it breeds duplication. The real question is the longer term effects, does the true innovation, the creation of whole new categories of things or processes) get lost in the shuffle? Do we remove enough of the structure currently in place that it starts to impact investments and time spent working on new things? Do we end up as a culture spending more time working on a new paint color for our MP3 players?

    You have to be careful framing "privacy" and "piracy" into the same process. It dims the good of protecting privacy in the name of free movies and music. Idiots like Kim DotFat try to hide behind this sort of thing, trying to tie his campaign not to be prosecuted with your desire for privacy. It sucks ass, because it really hurts the noble causes with people just trying to use stuff to hide or somehow whitewash their illegal acts.

    As for terrorism, generally I look at terrorism as an outside group coming to your country to disrupt your lifestyle. Think Al Qaida, and you are getting the picture. This guy in Norway is a mass killer, as deluded as the guy in Aurora, not part of any organized group, just a whackjob with too many weapons and a mental gap that allows him to use them.

    There is shading, but it's certainly not terrorism. It's not like he was part of a group of thousands who are threatening to come back and do it again, right?

     

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    drew (profile), Jul 29th, 2012 @ 3:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think this is where you and I are going to fundamentally disgree. When stating your principles I don't think you can put a price on them - especially if there's an absence of data supporting that price. At the moment we can see how innovation works in IP-protected industries and we can see how it works in those without. What we have no data for is how it might have worked if those situations were reversed, so I would argue that we should work of what we know until such time as data comes up that challenges that.
    Personally I have a number of questions and challenges with the arguments put forward, but overall I think the principles (and that's what this is about) are right.

    As for terrorism, i think you're trying to apply your own definition here. The 7th of July bombers in the UK were all british. Terrorism is generally in terms of provoking a state of fear in order to induce an ideological change. It doesn't matter if it's one native person or a group of foreigners.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    For terrorism, it is generally a group sort of thing. The real effects of terror is the thought that the same group (or other groups) can do it again, and will continue to do it until they get their way. A single guy shooting a bunch of people for his personal cause isn't really terrorism, because there is absolutely no threat that he will do it again. The fear factor isn't there - except perhaps to make people nervous about all of their fellow citizens.

    Shin Fein was certainly a terrorist group, but the biggest part of the terror isn't the act, but the risk that the act happens again and again.

    For IP, I think it's hard to take what happens in one area, and apply it to another. Non-patent and non-copyright areas are most often those areas that don't have a high barrier to join in. The risk (money or time or both up front) is low compared to the reward.

    When you shift the risk / reward system enough, you have to wonder if that discourages the risk. Do you then get more "safe play" innovation, where companies and individuals work closer to existing products or services to get up to speed quickly, rather than taking the time to go for the longer view? Remember, it's a question, not an empirical study or anything.

    In our always on world, it's easy to get caught up looking short term. But if you never look up, you will walk right into a wall.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Insightful vote for great discussion points.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    Except privacy & an open internet are long term best interests

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The risk in a world without IP law is great, and that is the beauty of it, for you to get a meal you have to work for it, in a world dominated by IP some don't have to work as hard though.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re:

     

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    drew (profile), Jul 29th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Shin Fein was certainly a terrorist group" Umm, you might want to check your details a little bit, but I get your point.
    I do still disagree with you though, I think a single person can be a terrorist and, if the results of that act or campaign are not handled correctly can instill a culture of fear. A lot of this, getting back to the original topic, comes back to how the situation is handled.
    "Non-patent and non-copyright areas are most often those areas that don't have a high barrier to join in."
    Hmmm. I think I'm going to disagree with that statement. The barrier to join in for copyright can be incredibly low. A pc and a story for example. Similarly software can have an equally low cost of entry.
    Movies, I accept, are a different kettle of fish, but that's in part driven by how our culture has allowed them to develop (would the new batman film* have been a complete flop if there hadn't been a a-list cast on many millions each for example?)
    Thinking of intellectual property areas that aren't subject to either copyright or patents is a bit more tricky: fashion, cuisine, um, help me out here I'm temporarily a bit brain dead and struggling. These two, I would argue, have a much higher barrier to entry and therefore a much higher risk factor.

    * Just been to see it, dirty stinkin pirate that i am, it's very good I thought - though John Fenderson may disagree ;)

     

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    Zos (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re:

    start with the cryptonomicon...it should be required reading. for everyone.

     

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