Andy Richards From Uniform Motion's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the lessons-learned dept


Having personally experienced National Health Insurance in both the UK and France, like most Europeans I tend to take it for granted, which is why I wasn’t surprised by the transatlantic differences discovered in the article about Amanda Palmer’s Health Insurance survey on Twitter. For Europeans, it’s pretty hard to understand why some Americans oppose President Obama’s Healthcare reform so vehemently.

Evil Tech Companies:

One thing I learned from the Working Group organised by Techdirt last week is that tech companies don’t really hate artists. In fact, they’re actually quite fond of them!  Many of them actually wouldn’t mind helping artists succeed. One example of this is what Songkick has been doing. I particularly enjoyed reading about how the people from Folkestone rose to the occasion to make sure the concert took place in their town. 


The name Marilyn Manson, which was formed from the juxtaposition of Marilyn (Monroe) and (Charles) Manson, is meant to represent the two extremes of American culture. Similarly, Clint Eastwood can seem full of contradictions. The article about Clint suing a chair manufacturer for using his name left me a little perplexed. I would have expected him to just go in and shoot them all! Clint, there are some good, bad and ugly guitars over here you should take a look at too.


An acquaintance of mine and I were discussing copyright last week, and he mentioned a video he had made for a friend’s funeral that included snippets of songs from various movies he liked. Several people asked him to share the video online so they could watch it again, which he did willingly. Then YouTube told him to remove it because the music was owned by a Major Publishing company. That made me rather sad. The article about the Dancing baby video just puzzled me. As a rightsholder, I think you have to ask yourself three questions in situations like these:

  • Does the usage morally harm the artist?
  • Does the usage economically harm the artist?
  • Does the usage promote the artist in any way?

If the answers to those questions are No, No and Yes, then why would you want to spend so much energy preventing such usage?

DMCA takedowns are all about shooting now and asking questions later, a bit a like the gentleman mentioned above!

Business Models:

I first heard about Humble Bundle last week and all I can say is that I am in awe of how successful they have been. And this latest example is no exception. Hats off to you guys!

Case studies:

Sharing experiences is great when they’re success stories but it can definitely be disheartening to fail, so we tend to try to forget about it as quickly as possible and move on. People don’t mind sharing their failures once they have a few wins under their belts, but oftentimes, it’s years later that the valuable information is revealed.

This article about Pay What You Want gone wrong has more to do with setting the wrong expectations than failing per se, but I hope it sets a trend. I always like to put my money where my mouth is, so I commented on the article, explaining how our PWYW experience didn’t go too well. I could have mentioned that I also put CDs and Vinyl up for sale on our website without calculating the actual cost of shipping, which resulted in our making virtually no profit on the first batch of pre-orders we got… but that would have made me look really silly. I even got an email from a fan at the time saying “if you keep charging $4 for shipping when it costs $6.90, you’re going go out of business.” More proof that your fans are always looking out for you!

French Politics:

Having had my fair share of problems with French red-tape, I was rather amused when I heard Google was threatening to remove French Media sites from their search engine if the French government went ahead with their plans to tax the search engine in favor of French Newspapers. My response to a French friend who forwarded the article to me yesterday: “If French Newspapers are so indispensable then they won’t need a search engine to be found by potential readers, will they?” Maybe they should start taxing blank paper as well?

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Comments on “Andy Richards From Uniform Motion's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

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RadialSkid (profile) says:

For Europeans, it’s pretty hard to understand why some Americans oppose President Obama’s Healthcare reform so vehemently.

For Americans, it’s perfectly simple: No one should be force to purchase from private industry, with failure to do so punishable by law. I just can’t see running people out of their homes by forcing them to buy insurance…on the grounds that they *might* become chronically ill.

Honestly, if it were tax-supported, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

Gregg says:

Re: Re:

I can understand why people would not want to be forced to pay for something in the private industry, however the end result is basically the same. In countries that have Health Care, the expenses are covered by taxes, which we all can not get away from.

The sad state that the US has to endure, is the fact that the Government can not institute a Federal or State run health care plan that covers everyone, so the Democrats got a Heath Care plan in using the existing system (private insurance).

So I can understand the average Joe American for disliking having to pay for something with fear of Federal law; but remember that the change also forced Health Insurance companies to cover what they are supposed to cover (huge problem in the US that most likely lead to millions of people dying unnecessarily over the decades) and everyone has to pay for it, which levels the playing field for all Americans.

In the end, what would be best if there was a National Health Care solution that everyone can use and comes from Taxes….same concept as Employment Insurance, Welfare, Social Security and National Defense.

Wouldn’t it be great if National Defense was funded the same way the previous Health Care Insurance companies were setup! “Sorry sir, but your invasion of Iran is not covered by our National Defense Insurance plan, you owe 1.5 Trillion dollars.”…. maybe all services should roll back….

Anonymous Coward says:

For Europeans, it’s pretty hard to understand why some Americans oppose President Obama’s Healthcare reform so vehemently.

Offhand, I’d say it’s because we don’t trust our doctors. US TV commercials are very commonly for pills that have horrifying side effects (a narrator will rattle them off while a happy family flies kites and builds sandcastles), and also for attorneys wanting clients for mass lawsuits against the drug companies because of all the deaths from their last pill. That, and it’s an open secret that our doctors are in the drug companies’ pockets, and tend to prescribe medicine based more on how much they’ve been pampered by industry reps rather than patients’ actual needs.

When I heard that Obamacare included mandatory treatment, it gave me a mental image of being dragged off to a doctor to be force-fed death pills. Not the sort of thing to endear you to legislation.

Anonymous Coward says:


Individuals are “encouraged” to purchase insurance, and for those who do not heed the encouragement there is a tax penalty that escalates over time.

Companies are also encouraged to purchase insurance for their employees, and for those having 50+ employees who do not heed the encouragement they too are subject to an escalating tax penalty.

Obviously, the above is simply stated because these portions of the overall law are quite complex, but it may help others to better understand just a very few of the reasons why the law (and there is much more to it than just being “encouraged”) is so controversial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And let us not forget that the requirement of citizens to purchase of health insurance from private companies is originally part of the Republican plan from the nineties and instituted by the one time Governor of Massachusetts known to all as Mitt Romney.

Obama took what he thought was an easy way out- he used the republicans plan from the nineties as a starting point to come up with something that would be bipartisan. The problems is that the Republicans in the house and senate aren’t willing to negotiate to a true compromise.

That One Guy (profile) says:


The long list of warnings are more ‘covering their asses’ than any real threat probably 99.9% of the time. They just list the massive number of ‘possible side effects’ so that they don’t end up without a ‘but we warned them about it!’ defense in case they get sued, which will happen, given how lawsuit happy people are in the US.

Also of note, actual deaths from a medicine that’s been approved for the public are insanely rare, it’s just the press absolutely loves it when people die, as it makes for sensational news, so they love to blow stuff like that out of proportion.

Can’t really comment on the doctors bit, as so far I’ve been lucky enough to have doctors that aren’t so self-serving as that, so no experience there.

Also can’t comment on the mandatory treatment bit, as I don’t know enough about it to make an informed statement, though I will say, that preventative treatment tends to be very much cheaper, to pretty much everyone involved, so something that would get people to go to the doctors before a problem gets really bad would end up being good for everyone.

Dick Karpinski (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A brief review of the drugs approved and then withdrawn after growing evidence that approval was a mistake, (encouraged by vendor suppression of unfavorable trials) leads one to reject your claim that deaths from approved medications are even rare, let alone insanely rare. In fact iatrogenic (medically caused) incidents are so common that they rank among the highest causes of death in this country. Be happy that your personal experience is better.

Anonymous Coward says:


Piss off. You don’t have much to add, do you?

The point is economic impact is perhaps not so much short run (where Techdirt tends to focus) but in the longer term. Already Mike says that the labels don’t do as much as they did before. Perhaps it’s because their long term income is dropping.

Morally, you have to be able to ignore that you don’t have the rights to something, and that you are profiting and enjoying it regardless. If you can’t get even the slightest moral twinge at that point, perhaps you might want to reconsider your humanity a bit.

Finally, “helping” the artist is one of those great excuses. You could help the artist by sending your friends links to the artist website or facebook page, inviting them to a concert, or the like. It’s a pretty self-serving justification to say “I’m not pirating, I’m helping!”, when really you are just pirating.

So if someone’s answers are no-no-yes, they perhaps have deeper issues and a bit of self delusion going on.

Anonymous Coward says:


perhaps you might want to reconsider your humanity a bit.

So if someone’s answers are no-no-yes, they perhaps have deeper issues and a bit of self delusion going on.

What an amazingly ignorant and idiotic thing to say. Trying to question someone’s humanity and suggesting they have deeper issues because they don’t think ignoring western copyright law is morally wrong.

You may as well have thrown in a comparison to child rape while you’re at it.


Beech says:


Well, I’m going to go ahead and ignore everything you were just blabbing about piracy, because that’s not what anyone else was talking about. We’re not talking about lost sales due to piracy, we’re talking about a baby dancing to what happens to be a prince song that’s way in the background.

So, if you have the slightest moral twinge about making a home video of your child dancing to whatever song in the background and posting it on the internet, your moral twinge sensor may be broken. No one was streaming this youtube video instead of buying the MP3 of the song. No one was all like, “dude, i was going to go buy prince’s latest cd, but screw that! i can find a video of a baby dancing and in the background and you can sort of kind of hear a part of one of the songs in the background. why buy a cd when i can listen to a bad quality rip of part of one of the songs for free!!!!!!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

” and posting it on the internet”

That the problem. Would you have the same feeling if it was “put on the TV” or “release as part of a movie”? See, in the end, you can make the video with the kid and the music in the background, and you can show it to your family and friends when they turn up at your house or you happen to see them and have a copy on your phone or whatever.

But when you go to making it public, the rules change. Understanding is pretty basic, like understanding why you can wander around your house naked but generally people don’t want you naked on a city bus.

Anonymous Coward says:


If I don’t want to insure my body, why should I be forced by law to? And why should the government penalize me if I choose not to insure my body? The “pro-choice”, “my-body-my-choice” crowd that supports Obama so strongly should stop and consider that.
And “Obamacare” is not the fault of just one man. Congress passed it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“[U]sually public events”? Your opinion is surely in the minority of the minority of the minority of the…

Is it really so hard to create a “tribute”, and then send a copy via mail to each of those who would treasure it?

Sorry, but in my view the use of YouTube to distribute the “tribute” worldwide is crass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Newspaper obituary columns and public or church notice boards are regular used to carry notices of funerals, abd are public notifications.
What about preventing the the public documentation of lif events whenever copyrighted materails is involved in the documentation?
Why do you consider copyright holders rights so precious that any use that is not sanctioned by the holder is to be prevented if the public can see the use.

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