Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the rocking-the-insight dept

It appears that the top two winners for most insightful this week were both on the same story… I don’t recall that happening before, though it’s possible that it has. That story was about ex-RIAA boss Hilary Rosen asking, in response to my post about the problems of SOPA & PIPA, “if a store doesn’t sell u what u want, u are justified in stealing?” An anonymous commenter quickly pointed out the rather obvious issue here:

um. if the store doesn’t sell it, that means they don’t have it in stock, how would i steal it?

For what it’s worth, that comment also came in third in the voting for funniest (and juuuuuust missed second).

A very close second place (I mean, really, really close) for insightful came from That Anonymous Coward, who went a little more in-depth and made some key points:

If you don’t put what I want in the store, don’t be pissed if I look elsewhere for it. Don’t be mad if I explore CC licensed music, or artists skipping over your archaic business model. If you can’t figure out how to release something worldwide within a week, don’t cry when people forget they wanted it when you get around to releasing it in region 5 6 months later.

Your approach to dealing with infringement has been to try and get more laws and make people think it is as horrible as home invasions with people breaking in to steal your last brick of ramen. How much longer until you stop playing the helpless victim and figure out you have so many more ways to make money today than ever before. That there is a world wide market, if you’d stop trying to treat each piece of the world as unconnected from the others.

Maybe you haven’t noticed, there are many artists using this internet fad to launch careers and they make more than they ever would have made under your system. How much longer before more artists decide your not needed? It might be time to innovate to keep them rather than try to legislate a perfect world where everyone pays you every 5 minutes.

There were just too many other insightful comments for me to pick just two for editor’s choice, so you’ve got some bonus comments.

First up an anonymous musician responding to some questionable analysis by Digital Music News, totally misreading Tunecore data to suggest that it’s difficult to make a living using Tunecore, because lots of musicians just make a little bit of money. This musician explained the key point: under Tunecore, lots of musicians make some money. Under the old system most musicians lose money:

What DMN’s critique neatly ignores are all the artists that LOSE money as a result of trying things the “traditional” way.

I spent four and a half years in a pretty good band, with a substantial regional following. We practiced, we wrote, we played out, we recorded, we did all the things one might expect musicians to do. And we made money…for other people. In the end, we figured out that (collectively) we were about $22,000 in the red — while those we were working for were about $47,000 in the black.

We would have been happy to make minimum wage — on a per-hour basis, given the thousands of hours we put into our craft, we would have at least had something to show for all our effort. But that’s not how it went down.

And we we’re not alone.

Everyone in the business knows this. Everyone learns, sometimes rather quickly, that musicians are the last to get paid. This is the “business model” that’s been in place for decades, and it’s been immensely profitable for everyone BUT musicians (with rare exceptions). The question thus becomes: why doesn’t DMN know this? Why doesn’t DMN recognize that when any musician is making any money at all, that’s probably a huge win over the status quo?

Oh — we would have done it for minimum wage. We loved what we were doing. That’s why we put thousands and thousands of hours into it. That’s why we held down second jobs to fund it. That’s why we sacrificed, why we slept in a van, why we played lousy gigs in lousy joints, why we fought through all the setbacks, why we gave up time with girlfriends (and sometimes gave up girlfriends). So if we could have actually afforded to keep doing it, if we hadn’t been forced out by financial reality, we would have kept right on.

Then we’ve got the folks from MAFIAAFire, responding to someone claiming that their new system to route around DNS and IP blocks would be illegal. They pointed out why that didn’t matter:

Illegal in the US.

A lot of what we do is illegal in China (like watching porn) and we give a crap about breaking Chinese laws as much as we give a crap about breaking US laws.

We are Swedish citizens, we are not breaking Swedish law.

US lawmakers can go suck an egg for all we care.

If it becomes illegal and Mozilla asks us to move, we’ll host this on our own _Swedish_ website (in English of course).

For the last two, we’ve got two good explanations of what’s really the reasoning behind SOPA/PIPA. First, we’ve got Marcel de Jong noting that it’s about control:

It’s not about piracy, that’s just a talking point, just a narrative. (the sugar to make the medicine go down Congress’ throat)

The real issue is about control.

The middlemen of the RIAA- and MPAA-backed labels and studios can’t control what gets released to the market anymore, because of the internet.

Indie artists suddenly have about as much opportunities for profiling their works to the public as artists who have signed up with the large corporations.

And these corporations are running scared. They are so fixed on keeping their old cushy jobs, that they don’t dare to change their business models to suit the new reality more, because that would mean more work for them and possibly less profit. So intent they are on keeping that control, that they are willing to destroy the internet and criminalize the fanbase of their artists.

And then we have Eric Goldman explaining that it’s about rent seeking:

Mike, SOPA/PIPA was never designed to provoke intelligent conversation about solutions to legitimate concerns. It was a pure rent-seeking rights grab, and the only open Q is if the proponents have enough muscle to push it through without actually addressing its “details.” I wouldn’t rule out the proponents’ ability to do so.

Moving to the funny… we’ve got a winner from Gwiz, responding to the question of “what do you consider to be casual infringement?”

It’s when you download a movie in sweat pants and a T-shirt, instead of your buccaneer hat, puffy shirt, and eye patch.

Coming in second is Hephaestus, with his simplified message to the legacy entertainment industry explaining what’s happening online these days:

Dear RIAA and MPAA

I am sorry you are drowning, please accept this anvil as a gift.

Signed the Internet.

For editor’s choice, we’ve got Michael Barclay pointing out the relative penalties of certain crimes:

SOPA makes it a felony to upload a video of someone singing a copyrighted song with up to 5 years in prison. Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of manslaughter for killing Michael Jackson and only got a 4 year maximum sentence.

So it’s a bigger crime to sing one of Michael Jackson’s songs than it is to kill him.

That one actually got more insightful votes than funny votes, but we were already full of insightful comments… and it got plenty of funny votes too. And our final editor’s choice also got a ton of both insightful and funny votes. It’s ScytheNoire, responding to Senator Joe Lieberman demanding that Google add a “report a terrorist” button to Blogger. Scythe had a different suggestion:

I want a ‘Report Senator As Idiot’ button.

Don’t we all?

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

You guys all drank the Kool – Aid.

“This is [Techdirt] where the cool-aid has already been drank, urinated, recycled through open sourced urine recycling hardware/software pirated from NASA, and drank again. Not astro-turfing unless it is of the 2-minute hate variety. Of course it could be trojan-astro-turfing by coming off as so vitriolic and annoying to drive people away from that mentality.”


Sorry, I thought his/her quote was representative of many Techdirt trolls and figure it was worth copying and pasting here.

anonymous says:

“report a terrorist” button.

how do these fucking morons dream this shit up? they are supposed to be intelligent people in top positions, helping to run a country! unbelievable!

‘I want a ‘Report Senator As Idiot’ button.’

that would be a much more welcome and useful button to have, but probably a lot harder to get to work, just as those it would be aimed at! unless, of course, there was an ‘incentive’ which was delivered every time it was pressed!

vegetaman (profile) says:

Always classy.

I can see how this “Report as terrorist” button will work… It will probably let ICE take the site down after the first report — then you have to pay money to fight it, no matter how unjustified it was. Months of legal hoops and lawyers to deal with.

The only thing I see happening if it does get implemented is that I could see sites like 4chan having a field day trolling with this… I can just see the floodgates of internet “terrorist report clicker trolls” do their worst to take sites down just for kicks (and easier than doing DDOS attacks probably, too).

But I forgot, there is no way this feature would be abused, because we live in a land of sunshine and happy thoughts. It would be used to stop terrorists. Won’t we please just think of the children?

Kevin H (profile) says:

This will backfire

“Report a Terrorist Button”

The problem is that at the moment with bills like S. 1867, PIPA, and SOPA, who are the terrorists. I know that they are supposed to be some kind of religious fringe group bent on destroying the american way of life, but I think that our own government is doing a better job than they ever have.

The only analogy that I see working here is the frog in hot water. Place a frog in a boiling pan of water, and it will jump out. Place that same frog in a pan of room temp water, and it will stay there and boil to death.

9/11 was boiling water and the american people reacted quickly and demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice.

These bills (PIPA, SOPA etc) and its predecessors. Is our government slowing turning up the heat with all of us sitting in the water. We need to speak up, and we need this trend to stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

I want a button too, it should be called “eject congressman”, if many of his constituents press it enough his seat should be ejected from the house, preferably through a controlled explosion without a parachute.

If that is to draconian maybe a “slap your representative” once he start to get annoying a mechanical arm would slap him repeatedly with a red light rising above his head and warning sounds go off.

Or a “whack a congressman”?

Same for Judges, AG and other authority figures.

Anonymous Coward says:

“SOPA makes it a felony to upload a video of someone singing a copyrighted song with up to 5 years in prison”

The key here is “up to”. Depending on the case, the punishment for manslaughter is “up to” life in California.

You guys should really get with the real world before trying to make comparisons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not very many comments.

Must be because the funniest one this week was the one where Masnick couldn’t refute a single fact of Max Cleland’s Forbes article.

Here’s some real facts, from a real news source:

oh and this too:

The truth is a real bitch for the intellectually dishonest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Freetards artists that commit crimes should be banned from every search engine and have their payment systems cut off I agree.

Those freetard artists build nothing, they don’t launch satellites for taking pictures or communications, they don’t lay fiber across oceans they just want to use the infrastructure for free.

Facebook should get paid for letting them do business there.

Every week an artists brakes the law and nobody do nothing, when all those criminals will go to jail?

There are child molesters(Roman Polanski), Murderers(Phill Spector), DUI(Mel Gibson), Drug addicts, money laundering, even CEO(Edgar Bronfman Jr.).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

He told a bunch of people what they want to hear. It’s not surprising they find it convincing. However, Google could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn’t make one bit of difference to those that want SOPA.

Someone else, probably from a different country, would perform the same legal and socially useful function and you would all come here and bitch about them instead.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cleland’s analysis of the bill, and Google, is some of the most intelligent and persuasive writing on the subject anywhere.

Only if you want to start with his conclusions as a premise.

The problem you have is that a huge automated economy has arisen on the internet.

Most of it (76% even according to his own figures) is legitimate. Probably the reality is that the number is much bigger than that.

The power of this economy is predicated on the fact that it is automated. Unfortunately it is impossible to completely automate the detection of infringing content (content ID – which is somewhat flawed and cannot work for all situations) is the best attempt out there.

You have a choice – either you kill the automated goose that lays the golden eggs or you allow the legacy industries to die (which incidentally will happen in the medium term anyway because of the underlying economics/technology).

Making the first choice only makes any sense if you are in the pay of the the legacy companies.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The truth is a real bitch for the intellectually dishonest.

Indeed. That’s why everyone laughs at Cleland’s intellectual dishonesty. Seriously. Cleland’s a joke, and his analysis is so far off it’s not even worth commenting on. This is the same guy who couldn’t even understand bandwidth pricing in his attack on Google bandwidth usage, and now he shows he doesn’t understand anything about the online ad market.

Cleland has one job and one job only: to disparage Google in whatever way possible. He’s a complete joke.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m pretty sure that Mike and others have easily and definitively refuted ACTUAL facts from pretty much everyone who’s thrown anything out there. The reason no one’s bothered to refute that article you linked to (the Forbes one) is because of how ridiculous it is and the person who wrote it is.

It’d be like refuting what the raving lunatic in the straight jacket blubbering on about the pink elephants and crab people and what have you says. Not worth the waste of time. (Much like replying to you in general actually.)

It is amusing seeing you and a few ACs grasp desperately at straws though. Can’t refute what Mike and others say with actual facts, so link to an article by someone who’s clearly just as not versed in actual facts as you are. Bravo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And I’m sure EVERYONE that is wondering about SOPA is just going to listen to much less read anything you might send their way. Because you’re obviously the voice of logic and reason. /s

Oh, fyi, I’m not running away and hiding. I am one of the people here who does counter what you say with ACTUAL facts and evidence. All of which discounts/disproves most of what YOU say. In fact, you’re not even stating anything factual here. You’re pointing to something someone else wrote and saying “he tells the truth”. If he wasn’t so biased against Google in general maybe, MAYBE, I’d care what he said. But he is as has already been noted and thus not worth paying attention to. It’d be like saying Glenn whatshisface over on Fox news tells ONLY the “fair and balanced” truth. Or whatever Fox News’ motto is. It sounds good, but it’s just a veneer for their version of fair and balanced which is as biased as can be and thus easily (and rightfully so) dismissed by those who aren’t idiots. Not calling you an idiot, but just pointing out who it is you’re having back you up essentially.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Cleland has but one “fact” on display – the proportions of internet traffic supposedly dedicated to various legitimate or infringing purposes. Whilst this data is probably about as good as can be obtained, it inevitably relies on large amounts of extrapolation and a certain amount of guesswork. The reports quoted by Cleland suggest that about 20-30% of traffic is infringing – but yet he claims that the financial driver of the businesses he attacks (Google-Youtube-Facebook and the ISPs) is this infringing content – with the implication that if piracy were to miraculously disappear then so would their profits.

However Cleland offers no evidence or logic to support this step of reasoning. In fact it is not hard to debunk for the following reasons.

1. In these days of broadband, bandwidth is not in general metered to end users and therefore they do not prioritise their usage by bandwidth. It follows that the decisions users make to spend money to acquire an internet connection cannot be explained by looking at bandwidth usage. Looking at the strategies of major ISP’s (eg BT in the UK) it is clear that they mostly pursue the provision of high speed connections because they believe it enables them to offer premium (paid for) content. I believe this is a mistaken business strategy but I have no reason to doubt that it IS their strategy.

2. P2P usage is not a good platform for advertising. If Cleland’s rhetoric is to be believed the end users of P2P are people trying to freeload – surely that makes them a uniquely bad audience to target for advertising. Advertisers will target people who are wealthy enough to have money to spare for their goods. Google makes the bulk of its advertising revenue from people searching to purchase physical goods online. (In fact the fact that is is clearly trying to do this on every search is one of the most annoying things about Google.)

3. A large proportion of so called infringing P2P usage is TV shows. Almost all of these shows are broadcast free to air in the first instance – either ad supported or licence fee supported. In the vast majority of cases the users could have obtained the content legally for free by switching a recording device on at the right moment. It is highly unlikely that they would have ever been motivated to pay for a DVD. In

iBelieve says:

I will make my own music

Whether by two sticks on the trash can lid, plucking strings on my yamaha or energetic jams on my keyboards or more energy on my harmonicas. You lose because you can’t get it right. I win because I am right. You greedy people who have only the talent for strapping down in a quagmire of red tape, living off the backs of talented artists can go sit down and think of how you helped to destroy another gift from above.

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