Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the house-made-of-straw-men dept
There's no award for "stupidest analogy" in these weekly posts, but if there was it would go to a comment on our post about the RIAA's protestations that it doesn't stifle innovation, which compared music copyright with safety regulations in the auto industry. As it happens, the award we do have — for most insightful comment of the week — goes to Robert for his response:
Actually you can go into the automotive business. You can do so without worry. You must conform to safety laws with whatever products you produce and labour laws, but those are for safety, not legalized monopoly. Quite different.
Second, why don't you do that, design the perfect electric car, charges via solar panels, uses the ideas built upon the Panasonic battery patent owned by Chevron, so you can create a car that charges in an hour, has a 500mi range on full charge (6-8h) using standard 15A 120VAC power (likely more given the power required for such a range), all stored within a super efficient, lightweight, environmentally friendly, reliable battery (maybe scrap the Panasonic idea base and come up with your own). And the vehicle will be built in the US, by domestic employees whom are paid a decent wage (not GE's definition of a decent wage), and will be affordable, half the cost of Tesla's vehicles.
Then watch the legal shitstorm that follows you, from oil companies, car companies, all claiming you can't innovate like that, you're violating their bought laws, you'll kill the entire economy, and even if they haven't a legal leg to stand on, their money will bankrupt you back into the horse and buggy era.
Only then can you compare to what has happened thanks to Napster lawsuits and the attempts at innovation in the music biz.
Meanwhile, this week we got an inside look at some of Prenda's machinations, including the practice of keeping clients in the dark for the sake of deniability. This prompted GMacGuffin to deliver our second most insightful comment of the week:
Damn that pesky ethical duty to advise your client of significant developments ...
You know what would stop China having such a monopoly on piracy?
Reducing copyright terms.
Al Capone had a secret sympathy with the prohibition amendment, and we all know it.
I actually brought these numbers up in an earlier comment, but Mike wrote me to say he's doing a story on it, so I didn't say anything about it since then.
Now that the story's out...
Everyone who reads this site really should dig into the numbers. I actually spent a fair amount of time doing this, and the numbers are even more interesting than Mike makes them out to be.
For example: Between 1999 and 2002, there was actually an increase in the number of working musicians - from 46,440 to 53,940 (an increase of 7,500 jobs). Interestingly enough, these are the years that Napster was active; employment didn't start declining until after Napster was shut down.
Employment levels would not dip below the 1999 levels until 2010.
It's also interesting to look at they type of people employed by the "Sound Recording Industries." They did employ quite a bit of artists - but they were the type of artists who were graphic designers or illustrators (i.e. people designing advertising).
The sound recording industries have always employed more "suits" (management, business/financial employees, office administrators, etc) than artists. In many years, the number of musicians employed by the sound recording industries was so low, they didn't even report them.
Another interesting trend: it's no secret that the sound recording industries are in a bad way. There was an especially bad decrease in employment between 2008 and 2009. But since that decrease, the number of artists (and most everyone else) has declined, but the number of managers and businessmen has actually increased. Not everyone is equally affected, it seems.
Note: if you do decide to look at the numbers, you have to account for some wackiness at the BLS. "Musicians and Singers" wasn't even an occupational category until 1999.
Also, prior to 2003, the BLS used the SIC Division Structure, which lumped in the music industry into the "Services, not elsewhere classified" category. They switched to the current NAICS system for 2003, so that's as far back as you can go to get data for the sound recording industry specifically.
Just FYI. Or perhaps TMI.
For first place on the funny side, we head back to our post about Prenda's innerworkings. The former Prenda client commented that he got "uncomfortable feelings" from the lawyers, which Michael noticed was quite the indictment:
Take a moment and let that sink in. These lawyers were so shady that a PORN PRODUCER was uncomfortable with their practices.
"Turn around, bend over, stick this whip in here, move the goat a little to the left...boy, that John Steele guy is creepy.'
Our second funniest comment comes from Rikuo, on our post about the latest details in the case against Bradley Manning, in which it turns out the identity of one of the enemies he's accused of aiding is being kept secret. I have to admit I hadn't the faintest idea what he was talking about, though a quick Google search reveals it is an artful (I assume from the votes) reference to Stargate, a sci-fi property I'm not at all familiar with. So without further comment, here it is:
I know who it is.
The Goa'uld. About the only enemy the United States is at war with, that is kept secret from the general public. Thing is, they're not doing a very good job of keeping it secret, since they film their combat teams' missions and broadcast them on TV. Why, one of their top men is a dead ringer for MacGyver!
I'm sure the mayor could drum up some good PR if he used the term "freedom frisks".
And finally, we've got an anonymous comment that needs no context, since ridiculously fallacious arguments crop up all the time in the Techdirt comments, and this is an excellent one-size-fits-all response to the most common variety:
Can you show us on the doll where the straw man touched you?
I'm guessing "in the head." See you tomorrow folks!