Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the bring-your-a-game dept
Let’s get right to it, with the post that easily won out for most insightful this week… and seeing as we’re all (so we’re told) a bunch of copyright infringing pirates, wouldn’t you know it: the winning comment was “infringing.” That is, the winning comment was posted by an Anonymous Coward, but it was actually a repost of a comment from back in April by Rich Fiscus. Oddly, the original comment didn’t win the award that week, and got nearly four times the votes this week. Not quite sure who technically “wins” this one, but we’ll give it to Fiscus, with an assist to the Anonymous Coward who reminded us all of the comment:
Rich Fiscus posted a nice comment here on Techdirt a while ago that I really liked. The post explains how the courts have perverted the initial intent of the free speech/free press clause to mean “big media corporations” when nothing of the sort was originally intended. It deserves more attention and so I am going to repost it here.
“The discussion about whether Wikileaks should be considered “the press” is entirely ridiculous. The press, as referenced in the US Constitution, isn’t limited to 20th century media organizations. In fact, if we limit it to that definition we also have to conclude that there was no press when the Constitution was written. Since it’s specifically referenced in the 1st Amendment we can safely say that’s incorrect.
The same definition of the press which would exclude Wikileaks from 1st Amendment protection would likewise exclude Benjamin Franklin. His publications had more in common with blogs and issue advocacy websites than modern newspapers. That, in and of itself, tells me it’s a faulty definition. What freedom of the press is supposed to mean is freedom of publication. It refers not to a privileged group of people and organizations, but literally to a printing press, which was synonymous with publication when the US Constitution was written.
By extension, any prosecution of Julian Assange for assisting in leaking secret information while allowing newspapers, television broadcasters, and the like to publish classified information they’ve collected by interviewing government officials without similar action amounts to granting special legal status to The Press which was never intended by the Founding Fathers.
Whether the government has the right to take action over the publication of a particular state secret is something we should certainly discuss and debate. But any answer which relies on whether it was a media outlet or journalist who did the publishing has no legitimate constitutional basis. Likewise, if it was a crime for Wikileaks to assist in leaking US government secrets, it’s ridiculous to say mainstream media outlets shouldn’t be prosecuted for convincing government officials to leak other secrets.
Sadly, it’s primarily The Press themselves I blame for our modern misunderstanding of the 1st Amendment. More than anyone else, they are responsible for the myth that a handful of words in the middle of an amendment enumerating the rights of the people are actually meant only to apply to them, and not to the public at large. They are the first to declare that an individual who isn’t part of their fraternity isn’t afforded the same protection they enjoy under the 1st Amendment and the last to criticize journalist shield laws which apply only to them. The fact is, there are no rights of The Press enumerated in the Constitution. Only rights of the people which also extend to The Press.”
Coming in second was this comment from wallow-T concerning police trying (but thankfully not succeeding) to destroy a video that was recorded of them firing on (and killing) people in Miami Beach:
A failure to prosecute the police for destruction of evidence is a clear sign that we are crossing over into a police state.
Any video of a homicide, justified or not, is evidence.
I’ve got three editor’s choice picks this week. First, from Marcus Carab is his response to someone asking if the activist group Demand Progress had “demanded any progress in stopping illegal behavior on the internet,” to which Marcus explained:
Yup! They demand an end to the illegal abuse of copyright law by private interests.
Then we’ve got Chris O’Donnell, responding to the news that Texas governor Rick Perry might not want to have the anti-TSA groping bill reintroduced because he believes it might hurt his Presidential contender chances. Chris found that reasoning troubling:
So standing up for Civil Rights (even if it is mostly grandstanding) is a losing position for a politician? That probably tells you everything you need to know about the sorry state of our country.
And, finally, we’ve got E. Zachary Knight providing us with a lovely reductio ad aburdum explanation for why it’s sill to focus on banning technologies instead of actions, in response to Senator Chuck Schumer declaring Bitcoin a money laundering tool that needs to be stopped:
That is the point isn’t it? We should outlaw any new technology if it allows some people to use it for illegal purposes. That is the reason the US even has a gun debate today. Because some people use guns to kill people, we should not be allowed to own guns.
Same for DVRs, VCRs, Modchips etc, because some people use them for illegal purposes we should ban the use of them for all people.
Why bother enforcing laws and punishing those who actually commit crimes when we can ban the technology that allows for crimes to take place to begin with.
We would have a whole lot fewer piracy and money laundering problems if we just banned the internet. After all, the majority of child porn is transferred over the internet. Same for piracy and money laundering. Just get rid of the internet and all these problems would simply vanish.
While we are at it, we should probably ban the private ownership of automobiles because some people use them in drive by shooting, to run people over and for quick getaways from burglaries.
We should also ban the use of motor fuels and other flammable substances because people can use them for arson.
Don’t even get me started on the use of the written word. People use that all the time to communicate criminal activity. No one should be allowed to communicate through written means.
Also gatherings of people. We should ban people from gathering together in a single space because they might be colluding to commit crimes. Gatherings should be limited to 2 people max, but that should only be done with competent police supervision to prevent any kind of collusion to commit crime.
Finally, we need to ban privacy in all its forms so that people will have no avenue to hide their crimes or plans and means to commit crime. If people have no privacy they will have no time to commit crime.
Problems of the world have been solved.
Ok. Of course you all come for the funny, and not just the insightful, so let’s switch over to that side of the ledger. Coming in first, by a wide margin, and setting a new record for actually getting enough votes to trigger the “funny icon” while still in the Techdirt Crystal Ball, was Marcus Carab’s comment on that Miami Beach story about the police trying to destroy the evidence of a guy who filmed them shooting people:
Ridiculous – he wasn’t even dancing!
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s known as a callback in the comedy business.
I don’t know why but this really rubs me the wrong way. They think they can just handle this law with the stroke of a pen? It’s like they’re groping in the dark for a solution. I’m touched that they would try but it just doesn’t feel right. Take a peek guys, this is what naked ambition looks like.
Someone apparently likes themselves some double entendres. For editor’s choice, there were a lot of good ones this week and it’s been difficult to narrow them down, so you get a bunch of extras. First up, we’ve got two response to the story of how both the LA Times and the NY Times have come out against the PROTECT IP Act, which the entertainment industry was pretty sure would breeze through Congress without much of a problem. The two comments are similar, as some of the Act’s supporters in recent weeks have taken to our comments to (1) tell us anyone who doesn’t like the act is a “freetard” and (2) trying to associate anyone who is against PROTECT IP as being in favor of child porn (well, that’s one commenter in particular who specifically works for people trying to pass PROTECT IP, though he doesn’t like to admit that). So first, we have the comment from Prisoner 201 in response to that particular commenter:
This is shocking, I never thought I would see the day when LA Times and NY Times support child pornography!!!
And, similarly, from an Anonymous Coward a comment on the other bit of name calling:
So does this mean that we can call the LA Times and the NY Times freetards?
Then we’ve got Marcus Carab (yes, again, damn him) with his response to the news that James Joyce’s Ulysses will be hitting the public domain in Ireland (though not in the US) next year. It inspired Marcus to plan for his next project:
Now I can work on my homage! I’m going to re-tell Ulysses, except with an ancient Greek hero who gets lost at sea on his way home.
That’s not just a good joke, it’s almost so obvious that I’m sorta pissed I didn’t include it in the post itself…
Next up, we’ve got Jason’s hilarious response to France’s explanation for telling news media they can no longer tell people to follow them on Twitter or Facebook because that constitutes “free advertising.” The official explanation noted that allowing this would be “opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?'” Jason noted:
Obviously Pandora has paid the obligatory fee to stay on the air.
That joke was actually copied by PrometheeFeu in his favorite posts of the week, but that’s okay, because PrometheeFeu also had this comment concerning the fact that multiple people come up with the same jokes:
I have a good one for you: [This joke is no longer available due to a copyright claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Remember, copying is stealing.]
Last week, I asked you all to bring your A game, and it seemed that you did that quite well, so what do we say this week? Bring your A+ game?