Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the collaborative-comments dept

So this is interesting: we’ve got something of a combined effort in the winning comments this week, with Vog and Zakida Paul kicking off the conversation on our post about the stupidity of the “Just Go Without” argument. First, Vog dropped in early using Crystal Ball powers, and walked away with the most insightful votes and the second-highest score for funny, for pointing out one factor we missed:

If everyone decided to ‘just go without’, I’m sure content creators would find a way to make that illegal, too.

A near-perfect sentiment—but Zakida Paul had one small correction to make, which won second place in the insightful category:

Small thing, replace ‘content creators’ with ‘gatekeepers’. Creators are not the problem, the gatekeepers are.

Now that’s some quality teamwork. For what it’s worth, Vog made it clear that’s what he meant originally, and over in the Insider Chat (sign up here) he actually said he hoped his comment didn’t win, because of the error. But considering the number of votes, it seems like most people understood what he meant.

Since those really count as a single comment, drafted in collaboration, we’ll throw in the third-place winner as the first Editor’s Choice. In our discussion about the suspicious circumstances that led to the SurfTheChannel conviction, it was inevitable that one of our regular trolls would bring up the argument that linking to infringing material is just like “connecting people with crack dealers”. Beech saw some problems with this analogy:

Why would it be illegal to tell people where crack dens are? “hey, neighbor. See that house on the corner? It’s a crack house. Best to stay away.” did I just break the law? Or how about, “Good day, Constable. I feel obligated to let you know there is a crack house nearby.” would the cop then arrest me for conspiracy, facilitation, etc etc?

Or is it only illegal if I’m telling crack addicts? Do I now have to give a urine test to anyone I want to discuss the crack house with? Isn’t the mere suggestion that starting a service to tell people where things are a violation of free speech?

And, as is the case here, why would the cops arrest the location service instead of USING IT TO FIND THE CRACK HOUSES?! Just ask them where they are! Once you disband all the crack houses the location service will go out of business anyway because they have nothing left to link to!

The second Editor’s Choice for insightful goes to Karl, on our post about the obscenely high damages in the Joel Tenenbaum case. The district court judge stated that one of the reasons the $675,000 figure was “reasonable” was that it would have cost much more to license the songs. That didn’t sound right to Karl, so he decided to walk through the numbers:

What, seriously?

Let’s try to actually figure out what the licensing deal would cost.

First, we’ll assume the iTunes model – which is one of the highest out there, so it favors the RIAA. For a $.99 MP3, iTunes takes $.30, so the remainder is $.69 per track.

Next, we’ll assume that each of these 30 songs was shared 1000 times. Now, that number is extremely high – most people on P2P networks don’t share a track with nearly that many other people. But it’s not out of the question, so again, we’ll choose a number that favors the RIAA.

30 songs x 1000 downloads each x $0.69 per download = $20,700.00. So, actual damages would be about twenty thousand dollars. And that’s the maximum that he would have had to pay, the number that favors the RIAA the most.

Which means the awarded damages are over 32 times the actual damages.

This is pretty clearly unconstitutionally excessive, in my opinion. Gertner got it right the first time.

Just as it’s never surprising when Karl provides insight, it’s hardly a shock that our own Dark Helmet brought the funny and took the top spot on that side. On our post about the many similarities between copyright and prohibition, DH decided to parody one of our regular trolls, about whom the less said the better, and his recent obsession with Mike’s supposed refusal to “engage” him:

Yeah, Masnick! Plus, you STILL haven’t engaged me on my question about why we don’t have a Dark Helmet Techdirt Nudie Calendar! RAWR!!!! eNGAge mE HumAN!!!!

As mentioned, second place went to Vog for his winning insightful comment, so we’ll move straight on to the Editor’s Choice. The first goes to nospacesorspecialcharacters (to whom I’m also granting the one-time Editor’s Choice Award for Amusing Username) for a comment on our post about why apps aren’t like coffee. Nospaces ran with the analogy:

Sometimes I would buy the coffee and the following things would happen…

– I’d order an espresso, but I wouldn’t be able to drink it right away, I’d have to wait 30 minutes whilst the barista proceeded to fill the cup with enough espresso for an extra-large cup. It would be my responsibility to provide the large cup for all the excess coffee. If I didn’t have a large enough cup, the barista would throw the espresso away and then wait till I go purchase a larger cup and come back.

– Every now and then a coffee I had ordered would randomly be swiped away from the table I am sitting at. When I inquire as to why my coffee was taken away, I’d be told the barista did not have the rights to sell me that coffee and so I should pick another drink from the menu. I would be warned that any other drink I pick could also be taken away in the same fashion if the barista so felt like it.

– If I purchased a coffee in a ceramic mug for drinking-in, but then needed to leave before I finished, the barista would refuse to give me a paper cup, or allow me to use my own thermos. I’d be told I have to purchase another coffee in the correct coffee-rights-managed holder, which would allow me to enjoy my coffee outside the restaurant.

– Every now and then I’d enter the coffee house and I’d be told that there is no coffee available for my nationality… even though there are dozens of other people lined up and getting served. I could get served however if I go outside, then come back in wearing a different shirt or a hat – depending on what other nationalities were wearing that day.

– If I had bought a coffee but decided not to drink it and order water instead, there’d be no way for me to give that coffee to anyone else – literally the cup is registered to my lips only.

– If I brewed coffee at home and invited my friends around for free coffee… sometime during the evening CPAA (Coffee Police Ass. of America) agents accompanied by the FBI would smash down my door and arrest me and my friends drag us all off to a jail whilst the CPAA was allowed to search through my cupboards looking for evidence of coffee making equipment. I’d lose my friends, my job, my home. 10 months later the FBI would drop the case and the courts would rule that I did nothing wrong by sharing my coffee.

Finally, since we started out with a two-comment-combo, we’ll finish things off the same way. On our post about the disturbing detention of a former U.S. Marine for posting rap lyrics to Facebook, one AC tried to brush the whole thing off by saying “Act like a nutjob, you get treated like one.” You must be a masochist to tee-up the Techdirt community with a straight-line like that, and it didn’t take long for a one-two punch to be delivered in response. A different (not-crazy) AC noted the double-standard:

Too bad that doesn’t work with politicians…

To which weneedhelp added:

Or Anonymous Cowards.

Indeed. Dear Men In White Coats: stop by Techdirt some day—we’ll keep you busy.

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

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Wally (profile) says:

Re: eh?

No πŸ™‚ It’s just a lot of the ones (or just one person using Tor or proxies) who that seem to troll not realizing the concepts of conversation. Especially the ones that like to puke upon each and every post you make or consistently enquire Mike Mansick as to why he’s a “shill”.

No worries dear sir, you aren’t one of them πŸ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

“If everyone decided to ‘just go without’, I’m sure content creators would find a way to make that illegal, too.”

Insightful? You are kidding, right? How does that add any insight? It appears mostly to be spiteful, and rather than anything else. Sort of FUD, proof that they are so angry about something that they fail to understand the basics.

Another great koolaid soaked week, it seems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yup, FUD – Fear, uncertainty, doubt. The point of those posts is to create a fear, uncertainly or doubt that copyright holders are so greedy, that they will hit you for NOT enjoying their product. It’s to create an ugly image of them that is beyond reality, but which in turn creates a level of uncertainty for everything from there to actual reality.

So yeah, FUD.

What’s your excuse for not understanding the concept? DUH?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In Canada, copyright holders certainly hit people for not enjoying their product, they hit people with a tax on blank CD’s. So even if Random Joe just wants to back up his family holiday photos, he’s still has to pay someone else for not paying for something that he more than likely didn’t watch or have in any way.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So, just to make it clear…you support charging a Random Joe money for a crime that he has no way of defending himself against? Because that is what the blank CD levy is: its a “You could be a copyright infringer, but we’re not going to go through the hassle of the legal system” tax.
So even if Random Joe just wants to burn his family photos, he still has to pay the record labels for songs he doesn’t have and doesn’t listen to.

This is why people at Techdirt hate trolls like you. You spew forth “Obey the Law!” then in the very same sentence, support all manner of immoral and unethical acts that massively tilt the balance in favour of copyright holders.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“So, just to make it clear…you support charging a Random Joe money for a crime that he has no way of defending himself against? Because that is what the blank CD levy is: its a “You could be a copyright infringer, but we’re not going to go through the hassle of the legal system” tax.”

No, I don’t support anything like that. However, it’s not something that the recording industry in Canada is directly charging anyone. It’s a tax system set up by the federal government.

You know, they also charge you a few cents per liter on gas for public transit. Fucking thieving public trasnit guys ripping everyone off! Fucking bastards!

Now, do you see how stupid you sound Rikuo?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Gas and blank CD levy are not the same thing. So your analogy fails.
The blank CD levy was introduced by the Canadian government, at the behest of the recording industry. What? You actually think that one day the Canadian government just introduced it and the recording industry was totally surprised by it and said “What? You’re giving us extra unearned money? Cool, thanks mate. Totally wasn’t expecting that!”

And yes, you DID support it. Read what you fucking write and stand by it! Otherwise you get the much wanted (read sarcastically) Hypocrite badge. Here’s where you supported it
“Yes, but that is a trade off – specifically, they don’t hit you hard for ripping them off, they just collect a fee up front so they don’t have to bother you later.”
You ASSUME immediately that the guy buying blank CDs, that the ONLY act he is going to do with them is to infringe on musical copyrights. You don’t accuse him, you don’t give him a chance to defend himself, you just ASSUME he’s going to break civil law and extract unearned monies from him! So, even if he actually doesn’t listen to record label music, he still ends up paying for it!
(And no, don’t bring back your false analogy of gas being taxed for public transport. That doesn’t work because its a state tax for a state subsided service available to the general public. The CD levy is a tax to subside a private industry for imaginary losses)

explicit coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Oh, fine, so because the charging happens indirectly it’s ok? It still goes into the pockets of the recording industry! While the few cents you pay per liter on gas is used to build and maintain the streets your driving on – that’s called public service. Which public service is financed with the levy on blank CDs?

Beech says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

i LOVE that logic! “blah blah spreading FUD that copyright holders would charge you for not buying their stuff.” gets pointed out that that’s exactly what they’re doing in at least one country (and probably lobbying for the same in every other country under the premise of “but canada does it!”), “blah blah, its a TRADE OFF!”

WTF does that mean? It’s like charging a 20% tax on gasoline for everyone to give to auto makers in case you’re driving a stolen car. “But that is a trade off – you wouldn’t buy gas unless you had a use for it, right?” The hell are you talking about?

“Blah blah trade off, you wouldn’t buy printer ink unless you had a use for it, right?” Maybe i have a lot of papers to print out for school, but I guess by your logic we should charge a tax on printer ink too, in case I’m only buying a printer to print out copyright infringing novels.

Blank media tax is dumb as hell. What if i record my own music and need a place to store it? What if i want to back up my family photos? What if i want to archive the papers I’ve written for school? What if I have legally purchased a ton of money off of iTunes or wherever and need more room to store it? What if i have a new baby and want to take loads of video of it? Keep a backup archive of all my emails? etc etc etc. There are TONS of legitimate uses for blank media that don’t involve stealing breadcrumbs from poor starving artists, so why is everyone getting charged for it? It’s the old “treat everyone like a thief” philosophy that makes everyone hate you, and makes pirating sound ever more attractive since you’re paying for it anyway.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In Canada, copyright holders certainly hit people for not enjoying their product, they hit people with a tax on blank CD’s.

They do that in the United States, too.

But in the U.S., unlike Canada, the royalties only apply to media that are specifically designed to record music only.

So, if you buy a blank “audio CD-R,” you pay the royalty tax. If you buy a blank “data CD-R,” you don’t.

What’s the difference? One says “audio” on the packaging, the other doesn’t. That’s literally the only difference. Well, that and the price you have to pay.

…See? I’m insightful as all git-out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’ve heard that “audio” CD-Rs have a special code on them that “data” CD-Rs don’t, and the absence of this code will cause the disc to be rejected by a standalone CD recorder (CD burners in computers are not affected by this). Of course, that maybe a lie spread by the entertainment cabal.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You mean FUD? Which is an acronym for Fear Uncertainty and Doubt?

FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor’s product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.

Vog (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually guys, this AC is totally 100% completely correct. My remark was meant to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (x3 COMBO!!) about people who make things, and in no way was it merely a flippant comment expressing my distaste for both the sense of entitlement on the part of cultural gatekeepers and the legal mire surrounding and threatening innovation these days.

Let’s all give the AC a medal and congratulate him for how correct he is. Fellow Techdirtbags, be upstanding individuals and share some of your Kool-Aid. (This week’s flavor, kiwi-strawberry, brought to you by Google, Inc. – “We like to watch.”)

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

you realise, of course, that at this point ‘commies’ are a non-issue, while the various IAA’s and their puppets/allies are a legit threat, right?

(seriously, i live in a Different Country and their stupid has lead to dodgy law changes (both the change, the process, and the fact that the Same Change had previously been removed in the face of large scale public protest) and police armed with assault rifles (and the FBI. how the HELL is your domestic, internal secret police type agency Constantly getting involved in another country’s Law Enforcement?))

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