Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the going-out-with-a-bang dept

One thing that I’ve noticed each week in doing the funniest/most insightful comments post is that the winners are almost always relatively “early” commenters. This makes sense. The earlier your comment gets in, the more people likely to see it… and thus vote for it. I sometimes feel like I should reserve a special shout out each week for a “late” insightful or funny comment, but I haven’t gotten around to it. So it’s interesting to see that the highest ranked comment this week on the insightful side of the coin is actually pretty far down a thread. It’s the 52nd comment on the thread about how SOPA would create the architecture — both legal and technological — for more widespread censorship, even if it was initially targeted narrowly. Ole Husgaard stopped by to pass along the facts of what happened in Denmark along exactly those lines:

What happened in Denmark.

7 years ago we got a child pornography filter on the Internet in Denmark. Some people said that it was a bad idea, but others said these people were just paedophiles, or trying to help paedophiles. Some people said that it was against our constitution, which it was. So the censorship was implemented in a way so it was formally (but not in reality) voluntary, which ensured that it was not formally a violation of our constitution.

Some people warned that once the censorship infrastructure was in place, it would most likely be used to censor other things. But they were told “Never! This is ONLY to prevent this horrible crime, and will never be used for other censorship.”

Fast-forward a few years, and the Danish recording industry did not like, so they went to court to get a court order against the Danish ISPs to start censoring allofmp3 off the Danish Internet. The judge basically said “ahh, you already have the infrastructure in place, so there will be no extra cost”, and issued the order to censor It was not a violation of our constitution because it was ordered by a judge.

Since then other “pirate” sites have been censored. Most notably The Pirate Bay, which found out that the court would not even allow them to speak their case in court, or even submit a written brief.

Then our politicians found out that they wanted to protect and expand income from taxes. In particular the high taxes gambling providers pay. The official excuse was to limit the horrible disease of ludomania. So they decided that foreign gambling providers had to pay the taxes in Denmark too if they were on the Internet and could be seen in Denmark. If they refused to pay taxes, they should be censored off the Danish internet. So they passed a law saying that if a foreign gambling provider refused to pay taxes in Denmark, a court would – on the request of our government – have to order ISPs to censor its sites off the net, and payment processors to block all payments to it. If an ISP does not censor, or a payment processor or bank does not block payment, hefty fines are issued.

Now our politicians worry that some foreign companies selling medicines on the net are not licensed to sell medicines in Denmark. So they are preparing new legislation that will censor these sites off the net, and block payments to them.

So our Internet censorship started a few years ago with a very limited purpose and good intentions. And it was solemnly promised that nothing else than child pornography would be censored.

But once the infrastructure for censorship was in place, the censorship started spreading to other areas. And the censorship is getting more and more widespread.

That, right there, is exactly what many of us are afraid of. Coming in second was a comment from an Anonymous Coward, responding to the news of Righthaven’s domain being seized and auctioned off. The AC made the comparison to the way ICE seizes domains:

This is how seizures should happen. First the trial, then the seizure (if appropriate).

Seems pretty simple. To be honest, not quite sure why that got “most insightful” votes this week. It should just be common sense. Anyway, moving on to editor’s choice, we’ll kick it off with Loki’s brilliant dissection of the RIAA:

The RIAA, an organization that:

Along with the MPAA, Disney, ect.) pushes for perpetual copyright extension to infinity (so that, in theory, my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren can financially benefit from work they had nothing to do with, but that in reality most of that money will go to whatever company I am forced to assign my copyright to).

Spend massive amounts of money lobbying for laws that block as much real competition as they can manage.

Sue (along with MPAA and such) companies they can’t get outlawed, hoping to keep them tied up in litigation long enough they go out of business anyways.

Buy into website they can’t find ways to sue (try finding independent stuff on MySpace or eMusic anymore with all the major label crap plastered all over the front of the site, you have to go digging to the backs of these sites now to find it).

Pay radio stations under the table to pay exclusively their content (every couple of years at least one major label seem to get busted for Payola) – then turn around and work hard to impose high licensing rates (which would effectively get them exclusive music for free as their licensing schemes would just funnel their payola right back to them).

File mass lawsuits and send out bulk settlement offers (pretty much a form of extortion, considering how many of those lawsuits have proven to be bogus, any way you look at it). After all, you gotta pay for those campaign contributions, lawsuits, and payola schemes somehow.

Force musicians to relinquish their copyrights (again, little more than a form of extortion, given how effectively they have worked to roadblock all other avenues to success), and then sneak text into bills causing those same musicians to forfeit some of those copyrights altogether (and rewarding the person responsible with a $500K a year job) – even if the actions were later rescinded.

It’s not so much that I stopped believing the argument that copyright infringement was theft, it was that the people making the argument was so dishonest, so much bigger criminals that their opinions/ideas became essentially meaningless.

Following that we have Amy Strickland’s response to the news that GoDaddy was no longer supporting SOPA. To her, it’s not enough:

Seeing as GoDaddy’s support is probably well-publicized by pro-SOPA politicians, they need to go a bit further in their retractions. If they are truly sorry, they should commit money to advertising against SOPA.

I’ll believe you then.

Unfortunately, that’s unlikely. The company’s statements suggest that it won’t actively support SOPA, but may still tacitly support SOPA.

Okay, enough seriousness. Let’s get to the funny. Scoring an easy win this week (yet again) is Marcus Carab, who did a nice callback to the story from a few weeks ago of Mythbusters accidentally firing a cannonball through a residential neighborhood, in his comment responding to Mythbuster Adam Savage coming out against SOPA & PROTECT IP:

…and Savage definitely understands the importance of things being narrowly targeted 🙂

Coming in second was drewmerc predicting the response Senator Wyden is likely to get from the federal government in his investigation into the seizure, denial of due process, and subsequent return of

███████████ Dajaz1 ████ ███████ ███████████ ███████████ ████████ ███ ███████████ ███████████ ███████████ ███████████ ███████████ ██ █████████ ███████████ Dajaz1███████████ ███████████ ████████ ███

Nicely done. For editor’s choice… we’ve got an Anonymous Coward responding to me pointing out that startups have created nearly all of the net job growth in this country. To that AC it didn’t matter:


Startups typically do not make campaign contributions to Congressmen. Therefore, they do nothing at all to benefit the jobs that count.

And, finally, since today is Christmas, how could we pass up Hephaestus friendly correspondence with Santa Claus.

Dear Santa

I am sorry to hear you were sued by Hollywood because your lead reindeer has a resemblance to the character Rudolf. To bad they got that restraining order to prevent him from flying this Christmas. My dead grandma was also sued by the content industry for downloading German death metal. Frank Sanatra I would understand but that, not so much.

I know I am going to be on your naughty list next year because I hacked your servers. All I did was look around!! I found that the heads of every record label, TV studio and movie studio is on your “COAL FOREVER” list. Why you did that in 24 pt bold font I don’t understand. I think that is very harsh. People should be forgiving this time of year. It is a time of giving, and hope.

I would like no gifts this year. Instead I would like to brighten the day of the studio execs in Hollywood California. They really need it with how mean they are. I recently learned that “the majority of them, are all with a 20 mile radius of Hollywood, CA”. Which should make delivery of the gift I would like to give them easy. I would like it delivered to The Ivy in LA. The gift is a Tsar Bomba. You might need a bigger sled though.

Signed your friend
Johnny age 12

P.S. Enclosed is a list of changes to your network to make it more secure.


Dear Johnny

I apologize for taking a year to get back to you. Between federal custody and the YouTube talk show circuit I have been busy. To bring you up to speed. I have to wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of my immortal life. It seems the whole smile and a wink thing, I do to get up and down chimneys, works to get out of jail cells. Who knew? They decided to save face after my 100th cookie run. So they changed the terms from life imprisonment to life with an ankle bracelet. That and no one in the US justice department had jobs lined up for after the change in administration.

So all is well now. I have placed you on my “NICE” (in 24 pt font) list this year and filled a 1 TB mp3 player with your favorite music.

Your friend
St Nick

On that note, since this is one of those terrible years where Christmas and New Years falls on a weekend thus “stealing” precious vacation time, we’ll be doing what most other places of work are doing, and taking Monday off as well. So you have an extra day to solve all the world’s problems in the comments to this post… We’ll be back on Tuesday. Hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday season.

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

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Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Aww c’mon, let’s not fight on Christmas.

“Copytards”, you can find joy in the fact that we freetards are undoubtedly going to suffer a lot of embarrassments, setbacks and flat-out losses in our fight for the cultural commons – and that we may never see a lot of the results we want in our lifetimes.

“Freetards”, we can find joy in the fact that ethically, morally, socially, philosophically, practically, scientifically, and (if it’s your thing) spiritually, we are 100% in the right – and that human society as a whole continues to share our values at every turn.

Merry Christmas, tards!

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, it’s common sense now that politicians read The Onion, believe and follow it faithfully. So if TD looks like Onion then it must be a good thing, no?

But never mind the much welcome citations that you can find in almost every single article here in TD. They don’t work in your Neverland, do they?

On a side, unrelated note: happy holidays fellow tards. Whatever is your stance 😉

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Boxing Day

“we’ll be doing what most other places of work are doing, and taking Monday off as well.”

It’s just too bad that you’re not a Canadian and get the day after Christmas off too. Well, unless you’re in retail knocking down prices that would make even the biggest red marker tag on “Black Friday” down south look sane in comparison.

Oh, and the same concentration of crowds. We don’t often have Boxing Day sale riots, probably because we’ve been practicing cross checking into the boards all week to get ready and studying just how it was that Gordie Howe managed to toss those elbows around without actually decapitating someone which means a few of us will try it out at the sales. You see, in store dry land hockey training and practicing isn’t defined as rioting in Canada.

Enjoy your extra day off, I’m sure my dry land training and practicing will come in hand with some of our better known ACs, darryl, Average Joe’s and more of that ilk. I’m worried though. I’m not sure a major concussion would affect them enough so that they or we would notice. Probably worth a try though!

Merry Christmas!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Public Holidays

“You may take our rights, but you’ll never take OUR HOLIDAYS!”

Lucky you…on my country, they took away some of our holidays and make us work 30 extra minutes every day as part of all that “austerity” that’s going on. They say that this will increase productivity lots% and that we will all be a lot richer in five years* because of this.

Oh well. At least we still have all those holiday cakes and foods. They can’t that that away from us…right?

* Reality check: the term of office for our Prime Minister (the genius behind this idea) lasts 4 years, so you know what that means…

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Public Holidays

They “gave” us both Fridays pre holidays this year but we’ll have to “pay 1h per day in January”. The first thing that was said after we read the corporate mail was: ok, who is gonna get the pizzas?

Productivity my ass. If we think about it, in an 8-hour work journey, 16 employees will work the equivalent of 1 extra employee. If, by any chance, they actually do the job of this extra employee that’s 1 less job in the economy. 1 less tax payer, 1 more needing unemployment aid. You can see where I’m going….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Public Holidays

Don’t complain, in medieval times there was about 150 holidays and taxes was a single digit, today you get 30 holidays and 50% taxes on whatever you make, also if you got a genius in power he would last for the entirety of his natural life and you had to put up with it, today at least they last only 4 years unless of course you are in Venezuela, some Middle East country or Russia, is that not marvelous?

Loki says:

Re: Re:

Oddly enough, ten years ago I was very, very pro-copyright. I think when I first found this website I even argued a few times file sharers should be thrown in jail. I think it was about the time the Sony rootkit came out that my opinions started to change, and that debacle just deepened my disgust.

Unfortunately after a decade of certain people, businesses and organizations basically doing/saying “we don’t care who gets screwed as long as we get what we want” and the past few years of watching people losing jobs, fighting (and often failing) to keep their homes, their cars, put food on the table, and these same people, businesses and organizations saying “we are going to get paid no matter what” I’m about to the point of being ready to dump copyright altogether.

btrussell (profile) says:

“Unfortunately, that’s unlikely. The company’s statements suggest that it won’t actively support SOPA, but may still tacitly support SOPA.”

“Oh, and by the way Go Daddy?we know that you?re exempt from SOPA, and that you haven?t even officially changed your stance with Congress.”

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