Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the commenting-on-the-commenters dept
It seems that there was a lot of interest in the idea of some UK politicians to crack down on the internet and other forms of communication in response to the London riots this week, as the top three comments voted most insightful were all about that. First up, was jakerome’s comment highlighting just how backwards the thinking here appears to be:
Instead of exporting democracy to totalitarian regimes in the Middle East & elsewhere, western politicians seem intent on importing freedom-restricting “innovations” like censorship from these dictatorships.
Isn’t the first sign of tyranny when the government shuts down public communications?
Interestingly, both of these comments could apply equally to Friday’s story of BART actually shutting down mobile phone service in a weak attempt to stop a protest. The comment voted third highest (and which will be the first editor’s choice of the week) is also on that same story, and comes from That Anonymous Coward, and provides some more context for what’s happening:
A hacker group, Team Poison, hacked RIM and told them they would release a database of RIM employees to the rioters if they did this.
The situation is well out of hand, but the Government seems to think they can just tell them the street lights are on, you have to go home now.
Being on the outside, with only second hand information, I’m trying to hear both sides and find the truth in the middle. What is becoming clear is there is a massive disconnect between the Authorities and the People.
They went into a situation that was already upsetting people and then shortened peoples fuses by mostly ignoring the family. Then there are reports after hours of waiting for someone to talk to them a 16 yr old girl got upset and threw (either paper, a rock, or both) at the police and then was beaten by 15 officers. There is video circulating of the beating as well as eye witness accounts of it.
Now in the void of information about this, rumors of him having been executed or handcuffed then shot, followed by a police response that looks disproportionally heavy handed in the beating of a 16 yr old… it makes it hard to dispel the rumors gaining ground in this case.
Add a media machine set to frappe trying to get the next shocking headline out, add a dash of people who feel the Government was out to get them to begin with… and boom.
There is a massive disconnect between the people in charge and the reality of the situation. If we turn off the Blackberries everything will just stop and we all all resume our civilized lives.
At the end of the day, if they shut down the network the rioting will only get worse. More people will join in feeling the Government is committed to crushing everyone underfoot.
If when they manage to get some order restored, the UK is going to, as a nation, need to have a serious look at itself and figure out why the gap is so large and how as a society they manage to close the gap
As for the second editor’s choice, I’ll jump over to the story about Fark successfully staring down Gooseberry, the patent troll, and getting the “company” (and I use that term loosely) to settle for the grand total of $0… and even getting the company to waive the standard non-disclosure. DannyB thinks that Fark should have gone further:
A better best offer would have been:
How about you drop the lawsuit you started, PAY US, and then go away?
It’s cheaper to pay us and go away than to fight.
A working prototype should be a requirement for any patent. A simple description of an idea is not enough. I would even go as far as requiring a viable business plan as well as a capitalization plan to be in the mix as well.
There should also be milestones required by patent holders to meet or else risk losing the patent and patent holders who do not meet them should be subject to challenges by other interested parties.
Filing a patent with no intent to produce anything should carry heavy penalties since patents deny other who came up with the same idea independently.
While I recognize the appeal of this, it’s unlikely to happen, potentially for a good reason. People point out that one reason to get a patent is for someone who can’t reasonably build the product to be able to show the idea to someone who can build it, while retaining the ability to block them from just taking the idea and running with it. Additionally, some people will claim that they file patents with the intent for someone else to produce something. There may be ways to modify the suggestion above to deal with that, but they may have other unintended consequences. Like I could say you need a manufacturing partner if you’re not doing it yourself… but that gives a lot of leverage to partners.
Anyway… enough of the serious face. Let’s jump to the funny. This week’s winner (by a pretty wide margin) was an Anonymous Coward, responding to the news that the actor behind Roscoe P. Coltrane on the Dukes of Hazzard was suing Warner Bros., claiming the studio stiffed him on royalties. The AC was first up with the appropriate response:
The studio accountant was Boss Hogg?
Coming in second was AG Wright for a comment concerning the TSA’s response to claims it seized insulin and ice from a pregnant diabetic at the airport. The TSA claimed it only allows ice packs if they’re “completely frozen and the woman’s were not.” That raised the interesting point:
The woman must have gotten defective ice. You know the kind that melts.
Two quick ones for editor’s choice. First, we have Richard’s comment about my “what if” scenario concerning Tim Berners-Lee patenting the web, and how it likely would have limited the massive growth and success of the internet. Richard pointed out that some people might have liked this:
As we speak MAFIAA executives are working on a time machine to go back to 1991 and make this happen.
(Well it stands more chance of success than their present strategy!)
Finally, in response to the claim of a record label who pulled its music off of Spotify to “protect its artists,” claiming that “physical sales are dropping drastically in all countries where Spotify is active,” an Anonymous Coward noticed that there might just be a third variable worth plugging into the regression equation:
Holy Christmas, have they been living under a rock? In case they haven’t noticed, physical sales are dropping drastically in all countries PERIOD. Welcome to the new millennium gentlemen. You’re about a decade late, and in for one helluva bumpy ride. Please turn off the lights on your way out.
In other news, Sony Entertainment pulls all their music from iTunes due to plummeting Walkman sales.
On that note, kick back with a little bit of news on what you might have listened to on that walkman back in 1991, and get ready for another fun week…