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  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: The copyright does belong to NASCAR, but it was fair use.

    Thanks for the correction. Seems like a silly mistake in retrospect. I also am not an expert.

    I really wish the topic of IP law was either much simpler, or much less necessary. If it is going to be necessary for everyone to understand this kind of stuff in depth just to carry out normal, everyday life, what hope do most people have of staying on the right side of the law?

    I spend way too much time digging into this stuff and trying to understand it already, and still there are surprises and logical pretzels everywhere you look.


  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: The copyright does belong to NASCAR, but it was fair use.

    Awesome explanation - thanks for laying the situation out clearly. Sounds to me like NASCAR didn't do anything particularly wrong (legally), but they did do something particularly dumb (Streisandly).

  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Fine Print

    I thought the takedown request was initially being justified by the assignment of copyright on the ticket. I haven't seen the text, but by walking in the gate you assign all copyright in any video you take to NASCAR. Sort of like a EULA for taking your rights away in the physical world.

  • Feb 13th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Dislike - voting systems with dislike buttons

    It's interesting seeing the "no" votes on some of these things. I submitted a question about the CFAA, and there are almost as many thumbs down as thumbs up. I suppose there are some self-appointed fans of the DOJ who are policing these questions?

    The way this thing is set up, that may be a good strategy. If a question is hit early with negative votes it seems to keep it from being very visible. I suppose that could work in reverse too, so I guess I'll spend some time hunting down some infant questions I disagree with and trying to kill them (or at least wound them severely).

  • Dec 11th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Seems exactly backwards

    If you are investigating an assassination, wouldn't "political leaders and dignitaries" be pretty high on the list of people to look at? Maybe if the request was just for all of the data from "political leaders and dignitaries" it would make a lot more sense.

  • Nov 15th, 2012 @ 4:38pm


    If you happen to talk to the lawyer, see if you can get him to explain who wrote the second paragraph of that letter. Looks like it was a Nigerian scam author. Do they not teach grammar in law school?

  • Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Voted Against Lamar

    Another factor contributing to Lamar's win may also come from redistricting. Mr. Smith has been my non-representative representative for as long as I've lived in Travis county. I didn't get a chance to vote against him this go-around, which makes me wonder if some of the creative map scribbles were an attempt to get him away from some of the tech heavy areas around Austin.

  • Nov 1st, 2012 @ 8:07am

    It is not the quantity, it is the quality

    You MAY have a lot of movies being made, but some of them are bad.

    We certainly know, for a fact, that the MPAA (and Hollywood generally) has no tolerance for the production of bad movies, which proves the point nicely.

    I think they win this one.

  • Oct 16th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Little Leaguer hits pop fly - film at 11

    That techcrunch prediction won't fit nicely on any list in a few decades. The difference is that all of those memorable quotes from important people mattered. The techcrunch thing is just some irrelevant idiot showing his lack of imagination on the internet. Hardly unique. And, yes, I see the irony of making that statement.

    I don't know the score from last night's NFL football game, but I am quite sure that it will be remembered more widely and for far longer than the journalistic gem that you linked to here.

  • Oct 5th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    First to flail

    I'm really becoming concerned about how the recent fundamental shift in our patent system plays into nonsense such as this. It seems obvious that in the world that existed up until our "reform", this type of situation is troubling but solvable.

    Now, with the first to file system being the law of the land, it seems to matter a lot less that someone did this fairly trivial implementation at the dawn of the internet.

    The clever, enterprising version of the patent troll species [cf. capitagium-ereptor] seems to have a golden opportunity now, where they can become the patent holder for lots of stuff that was just so obvious that nobody ever filed for it. It saddens me that there used to be a reasonable defense for that (a.k.a. prior art) and now, I fear, you may just be out of luck.

    I could be misunderstanding something important about the way the new version of the law works, in which case someone please set that straight, but it feels a bit ominous when pondering what will likely happen in the near future. I fear that when the trolls realize the potential of this game changing law, they will go on a more aggressive land grab. If the prior art argument becomes a moot point, then it seems like these guys will only be limited by their imagination in terms of what they can encumber and monetize.

  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:43am


    This is so obviously true. Now that Google and Reddit have lost their standing in the community and also lost my trust by standing up for my rights, I have no other option than to simply trust the RIAA instead. Thanks anon coward!

  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I was struggling for a minute there trying to figure out where the idea of "Big Search" came from. I guess it is simply intended to be a derogatory slam on the market position of Google. It's either that, or it might be because you are just a small independent search artist trying to make it big and having problems because "the man" won't let you shine.

    Certainly, the Google has its advantages, having provided a useful product to people (unfairly FREE I might add) which enables their astroturfing campaigns to run rampant across the web.

    All is not lost, however, and as an independent search artist you should take heart. As soon as we pass some really onerous laws that prevent most people from being able to have any concept of privacy of their own living rooms, you will be suddenly (and somewhat magically) enabled to do just exactly the same thing that you are doing now. By that, I mean that you will be able to blame other people for your own failures, but with the smug confidence of knowing that you have completely destroyed their ability to do anything productive to advance the art beyond what it is today. It will not advance your interests one iota, nor bring any value to anybody, but the legislation does bring with it the supreme confidence of knowing that you were "right" and those that were wrong now can't do anything useful for anybody.

    Since I'm also a constituent of Rep. Lamar Smith, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you when it comes time to divide up the spoils. I'm sure we can figure out some way to fine "Big Search" for more than a couple of billion dollars for their predatory practice of giving away a service of real value at the expense of those who have worked so hard to create and lock these things up.

    Buck up, young search provider. They may have won this battle, but they can't possibly win the war. Unless they do, of course, in which case you may want to consider a new line of work.

  • Jan 19th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: A matter of priorities

    I would say it's less of an issue of underestimating Jon Stewart's skills and more a question of why is that not what our legislator's careers rest on too?.

  • Jan 19th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    A matter of priorities

    I find it ironic (and also quite sad) that a comedian can figure out the core issue within two days and that congress has been working on this for two years and still hasn't gotten the point.

  • Jan 15th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey, it is almost like a discussion now

    ACTA is a dirty acronym (it's not a word) because it was a secretive process negotiated behind closed doors. It was duplicitous in its drafting and now every trick in the book will be used to ram it through the various legislatures that need to sign off on it. Well, not ours of course, because the ultimate slimy trick is to just bypass the legislature entirely. It's an international treaty (oh, except not in the U.S. it's not).

    I honestly could not care less about harmonization with Europe as justification for bad law. Since when do we take our orders from them? Saying that "they made us do it" rings a bit hollow, especially given the current state of play on who is driving what in the global war on common sense that is the "IP harmonization" effort.

  • Jan 14th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Positive development, but...

    GC, I think you may be putting a bit too much faith in copyright as a source of income. Does it play a part? Sure. The real reason that millions of dollars and thousands of man hours are put into making movies and TV shows is that people want to watch them and are willing to either pay or watch commercials to get them. The millions and thousands would still be spent, even if there were not copyright. It's not that great of an incentive.

  • Jan 14th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Hey, it is almost like a discussion now

    I was pretty thrilled to see this statement. I've not been impressed by the actions or rhetoric of Victoria Espinel to date, but this seems like a positive step. One of the really important parts of the response is that the White House is encouraging me, and those like me, to not just try to stop things, but to work on what needs to be done. From the letter "Where do we go from here? Donít limit your opinion to whatís the wrong thing to do, ask yourself whatís right."

    What's right? What needs to be done?

    1. Let's deal in facts, not speculation. If there is real and serious harm being done to American industry by overseas rogues, it should be quantified. This has to be the starting point of any serious discussion about the issue. Unless real numbers are used that are impartial and objective, there can never be anything like consensus on the issue.

    2. Punishment should be proportional to the infraction. It is a reasonable idea to come up with ways to mitigate or reduce real harm, if it in fact exists. While we are at it, let's make sure that we're looking at harm on both sides of this debate. Allowing abuse of the legal system (ala Righthaven) or abuse of the DMCA or using an elephant gun to hunt mosquitos (ala Jamie Thomas) really needs to be addressed as part of the reform being sought.

    The concept of theft is conflated with the idea of copyright infringement, to the detriment of everyone involved in the discussion. If Jamie Thomas (or Lamar Smith) happen to infringe on something that could be outright purchased for under a dollar, there should be no way that the remedy for that situation should cost more than a new car. Or a house. It should not be possible for the stakeholders in this discussion to ruin the lives of people in hopes of proving a point.

    3. Put some incentives in place to be accurate. Bogus takedowns, speculative lawsuits and extortion by legal threats and intimidation should all have serious consequences. It is becoming increasingly obvious that DMCA abuse has become commonplace. Rightsholders believe they are entitled to pull stuff (such as the MegaUpload song) off of the web simply because they don't like it. There should be some significant consequences for bad faith action such as this that encourages responsible behavior on the part of those who are so quick to lecture the world about their behavior.

    4. Transparency. It is inexcusable for government to engage in dealings without allowing the public to understand and participate in the process. There may have been a time when this was acceptable. That time is over. From ACTA, to SOPA/PIPA, to whatever goofy scheme the captains of industry decide is the next battleground against our freedom, the discussion MUST involve the people that will be impacted by it from the very beginning.

  • Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:32am

    Promoting the Progress (as toddmck)

    I'm a little disappointed that there isn't much discussion yet of the historical/constitutional angle on this issue. Very similar to the oft quoted "core motivation" for IP monopoly law in the US (to promote the progress...) was the idea of the outright constitutional ban on taxation of interstate commerce. There is a really distinct reason this scheme was created in the first place, and it arguably has been a much better and more effective idea than the IP monopolies that get so much discussion.

    My understanding of the idea is that you want the conglomeration of 50 separate state governments to come together and work as a federated whole. One of the best ways to do that is to prevent them from having petty trade wars with each other and constantly throwing up tariffs on one thing in response to some perceived wrong on another thing. This whole idea seems reasonable to me, and also appears to have worked well to date. I can't recall the last time Nebraska retaliated against Idaho over a trade dispute.

    I think we should be careful to not get distracted into discussions over efficiency and inevitability on this issue. Our track record on creating efficient tax collection systems is abysmal (e.g. toll roads, or the IRS), so that's not too promising of a road to go down. I don't get the impression that efficiency is high on the list of goals for most of our government entities.

    Amazon seems to have caved in to the pressure on this question, but that is a business decision about whether it's more effective to fight or to join the other side. What is best for the country, and what is the "right" thing to do is another question entirely. I don't fall into the camp that says since it was written on parchment 200 years ago, it must always be so. I do, however, think it would be ignorant of us to lose sight of the reasons it was done to begin with.

  • Oct 28th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Nice Acronyms

    Coming back to one really relevant point at the top of this thread, it is kind of funny/ironic that they have named this thing E-PARASITE. I particularly like the way that the acronyms collapse together so well - the PROTECT THE-PARASITES act. Finally, some truth in labeling for horrid legislation.

  • Aug 16th, 2011 @ 4:56am

    Great Idea

    This does seem like an idea that could get some uptake. It probably doesn't have much to do with financial results or stopping piracy. It strikes me as the new version of "no brown m&m's in our dressing room". Artists LOVE to think that every single word that slips from their lips is complete gold - lightning in a bottle. If it requires a triple-secret handshake and a press pass just to hear me fart, well, I must be really important.

    Expect more of the same. You can't make much better of a bet than to guess that famous people will spend money on anything that boosts their ego.

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