Dan Gillmor's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the a-few-must-reads dept

Greetings to all. If you're like me, you've made Techdirt a must-read stop. It's also obviously in that category for many of the folks I follow on Twitter, because I increasingly see links to posts here.

Dave Allen's "Musicians on the Wrong Side of History" resonated for all kinds of reasons, not least the fact that I used to play music for a living. I suspect I'd never have left music if today's technology had been around in my day, because it would have enabled us to do things we couldn't contemplate back then. Allen's deconstruction of several famous musicians' songs of woe is worth reading by anyone who's a creator or "consumer" (a word I hate and wish we could replace). Mike Masnick, meanwhile, told us about a Facebook post by Billy Bragg -- who's not enamored, in general, about the Internet's effect on the music business -- explaining why the record labels are the major problem with the streaming services.

Meanwhile, as someone who's been a member of the fabled "traditional media" and who still dabbles in it, I always enjoy reading Techdirt's takes on the latest follies in the news media. Two notable pieces this week including the totally unsurprising discovery that pro-NSA, anti-leak guests have dominated media coverage of Edward Snowden's revelations. Even given the tendency of journalists -- and the Washington press corps in particular -- to serve as stenographers for the powerful, this was disheartening.

Governments have been trying to demonize the journalists who've told the rest of us about what's in the NSA documents, and their efforts have, as you'd expect, engendered plenty of official torturing of logic, not to mention hypocrisy. The UK government has been making a variety of insane statements about David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, who was held for hours at Heathrow airport on his way back to Brazil from Germany -- and topping the recent list was the assertion that Miranda was engaged in what might qualify as terrorism. The abuse of terrorism laws to threaten journalists in other countries brought U.S. condemnation, as it should, but our State Department didn't do the same in this case.

But it was wonderful to read the latest in the saga of "Team Prenda," the odious copyright trolls who at long last are getting hammered by some clued-in judges in several jurisdictions. We can all rejoice that this crew "loses big again" -- and again -- maybe, just maybe, justice will prevail.

Mike's explanatory-sarcasm quotient reached new highs "Office Depot Sends World's Worst DMCA Notice To Reddit" -- a piece one hopes the legal gnomes at the office-supply company scanned carefully. Or better yet, maybe their bosses read it and invited them to get more suitable employment, because they sure didn't seem to know much about the law they were citing.

Likewise, Tim Cushing's deconstruction of the unintentionally hilarious Keith Alexander video "interview" -- with highlights from the comments, some of which are just brilliant -- had me laughing out loud at points. This was awkward, as I was at a conference. At least I didn't spit out the coffee.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    'the assertion that Miranda was engaged in what might qualify as terrorism brought U.S. condemnation, as it should, but our State Department didn't do the same in this case.'

    the reason i would think is that the UK has backed the USA up to the hilt over what has happened concerning Snowden and Greenwald. considering what is happening in the USA atm over the NSA spying, i bet the UK is going to be the willing 'take-over partner' when the new laws are enacted. the stupid part about it is that the UK has been up to it's neck in this and unfortunately for it's citizens not got a way to call their govt out over it.
    from what i have read too, the two 'investigations' into what MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have been doing, their heads have stated that they haven't done anything wrong or illegal. if anyone expected them to admit to breaking the law, wake up and smell the coffee! and they have used the exact same bullshit as those that back the NSA, saying that without the mass spying, the mass collection of ALL phone calls, text messages, e-mails and post, the UK would have been blown to smithereens and/or put into slavery under the hands of Al-Qaeda!
    what else can be said except 'thanks to everyone who has been watching everyone's every move! how did we ever manage to survive so long without the world and his wife knowing everything about everyone, everywhere??

     

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    Michael, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    the legal gnomes

    Sir, you are insulting the gnomes and they demand a small apology.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    Interesting that you brought up the "Musicians on the Wrong Side of History" as one of your points. You've hear a lot about how pirates are stealing all their money to hear it told. Seems every month or so there's another case of some one in court over infringement. Then there is the constant tale of woe is me, we're not being paid this or that.

    We don't hear about markets not being served and how the release window delays prevent people from spending money from them. There's a lot we don't hear from them on their failings. Things like the market changed. Mom and pop record music stores don't exist anymore in small towns across the nation. Top 10 hits don't have staying power anymore.

    Here's something else you don't hear. The market has fragmented. People listen to what they like pretty much exclusively. They don't get their music from the radio so much anymore. They don't hear variety that used to bring before payolla squelched it. Today's radioland is the place of the same tune every hour. This is reflected in how many national and global music stars there are now a days. You don't hear of many breaking out like they used to.

    I read an article today I will share with you pointing out this problem for where the Superbowl is going to get it's nationally famous preforming stars. They are nearly gone for those that haven't been heard and what remains is either not suitable for family, such as some of the hip hop and rap, or not famous enough to pull the big crowd for advertisers.

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-case-of-the-increasingly-rare-super-bowl-halft,105240/

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 3:56pm

    Lax lacks make for another DULL week.

    Only way to learn Mike's mind is by seeing what doesn't come out. Among the boilerplate of yet another grifter wanting to force musicians to cut Silly Con Valley in on the gravy train were the usual missing topics:

    ) Spyware came up indirectly via Ubuntu item, but is almost never mentioned here except as used by national security agencies. I attribute this LACK of a common tech topic due to Mike not wanting to get into the slimy details of how the Internet is "monetized"; leads directly to the many ways that the Internet is a tool of SPYING CORPORATIONS which monetize our privacy (and will sell the info to gov't or anyone), including especially Google.

    ) No tabulated data here, just anomalies. Mike and minions seize on each new anomaly without deep analysis, tabulation, or looking for root cause. -- Yeah, I know the fanboy position, but you cannot make sense of nor extract lessons from even genuinely concerning anomalies without using numbers. -- Instead each anomaly is held to totally destroy copyright or trademark, whatever the target. But kids, soon as you use numbers, then all the anomalies Mike has ever run must be compared to the everyday good of copyright which is many millions of instances at the least, and then you see that Mike's examples total only an irrelevant 0.000xxx of the whole picture.

    ) Continued distraction and diffusion of the NSA flap, variously focusing on Snowden, and importantly losing... let's see, what else was in the original pieces? ... OH, YES: Snowden named corporate co-conspirators, but those are now WAY in the background with NSA taking all the blame!

    ) Meanwhile Google is brazenly making unproven and unprovable claims that a) didn't know were being tapped, and b) but are encrypting now so quit worrying. They claim to be less informed about NSA than I was. And it's non-trivial to implement encryption at high speeds and huge amounts. While certainly possible in the given time frame (with unlimited cash), it seems ODD that there's NO mention of the trouble and expense, just some vulgarism: grrr and stuff. Snowden said NSA has "direct" access, and it's never been exactly denied, only hedged in narrow terms. We have NO idea how much Google turns over without even FISA orders, simply as routine in its business of selling YOUR information. Remember, that's all "legal": users have "no reasonable expectation of privacy". Who's fool enough to believe billionaire SPIES on sole evidence of their spokes-droid? Phooey. Take away the trust you've granted this mega-corporation and what's left? An anecdote. Sheer PR.

    ) Separate but same, Mike and minions continued to not mention Google, which had a couple Drudge postings this week that anyone impartial and interested in tech would have written up instead of unique anomalies or more "gripping" Prenda Law. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/google-testing-retail-tracking-program-2013-11 http://www.france24.com/en/20131107-brazil-orders-google-hand-over-street-view-data

    ) Well, well. After all the attention given here to Lavabit, turns out was little more than a fake!
    "Unlike the design of most securre servers, which are ciphertext in and ciphertext out, this is the inverse: plaintext in and plaintext out," Marlinspike wrote. "The server stores your password for authentication, uses that same password for an encryption key, and promises not to look at either the incoming plaintext, the password itself, or the outgoing plaintext."

    Those "promises," Marlinspike says, are essentially worthless.
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/09/lavabit_not_secure_claims_marlinspike/

    Should learn you kids that you cannot trust anyone on teh internets.
    ) And for fun: The Google Party Barge explained! -- OR NOT. Here are two sources: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/06/google_clears_up_barge_mystery_sort_of/ http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/06/google-says-its-using-mystery-barges-as-interactive-space-where-peo ple-can-learn-about-its-technology/

    Which both imply an exclusive yet have same text:
    Google Barge ... A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it's still early days and things may change, we're exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.
    But that doesn't say anything! The use of "may" is a common lawyer trick: all following is hypothetical. The last sentence is so vague as to not exclude the possibility they could be offshore prisons where high-tech torture techniques will be tested! We don't KNOW a bit more than last week!

    Economics is the non-science of telling fantasies to flatter plutocrats by omitting the real effects on laborers. It's an easy degree path for the lazy but well-off, requiring skill only at unctuous re-writing.

    11:56:00[m-137-0]

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 4:37pm

      Re: Lax lacks make for another DULL week.

      Have a DMCA vote, you useless little turd.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

      Re: Lax lacks make for another DULL week.

      Have another DMCA vote just for ad homniem Mike and others in your comment. If you can't play nicely then you will get black marked.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 10:58pm

      Re: Lax lacks make for another DULL week.

      > huge wall of useless text
      > reported

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

    Only way to learn Mike's mind is by seeing what doesn't come out.


    You should listen to yourself ootb. The only way to learn your mind is by what doesn't come out. Mainly facts, numbers, answers to those who ask you questions. Near as I can tell, you are 4 short of a full nickle in common sense, and courtesy. Since you don't like what's here, you should go make your own website where you can cover what you like...but then you wouldn't get paid would you.

    A shill is a shill and an obvious troll is obvious. Have another downvote for your lack of manners and knowledge.

     

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    saulgoode (profile), Nov 9th, 2013 @ 6:48pm

    In discussing Dave Allen's article, Mr Gillmore states:
    Allen's deconstruction of several famous musicians' songs of woe is worth reading...

    To what is this referring? I enjoyed the article but I don't see anything akin to deconstructing famous musician's songs within it.

     

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    Do Something Good, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 9:28pm

    Instead of promoting silk road, why npt promote fixing the health care website. Whether or not you agree with it, it's way better than silk road.

     

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      art guerrilla (profile), Nov 10th, 2013 @ 3:32am

      Re:

      i will disagree as a matter of principle...

      i bet silk road has helped a ton more people to get, *ahem*, medicated, than obamacare has, to date...

      secondly, i am not coerced by the state to buy shit off of silk road, but i am forced by the state to buy shitty health insurance profits...

      and, yes, i said that right: we are being FORCED to finance the man-in-the-middle attack which is called health insurance... that has NOTHING to do with 'healthcare', and EVERYTHING to do with propping up a zombie industry to rip us off FOR-FUCKING-EVER with a gummint-granted monopoly... but idiots and fan bois are distracted by the shiny...

      (ps obligatory: YES, i am 100% FOR universal HEALTHCARE, which is WHY i am 100% against the universal health insurance company bailout...)

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    I don't know how Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm and Leader of the Resistance could possibly have been left out. It was one of the funniest things I have read anywhere in a long time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    How did you do the "cents" symbol?


    By using the key combo alt+0162

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    ootb actually likes techdirt but won't admit it.

     

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