Nick Grossman's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept

Hello Techdirt! It’s an honor to be here. Here are my favorite posts from this week. Most of these fall under the general theme of “be careful what you wish for”…

If There Needs To Be An Investigation, It Should Be About Why The FBI Was Reading Certain Emails

While some have noted the irony of General Petreaus being taken down due to online surveillance methods that he should have been aware of, the case is bringing growing attention to an issue many of us have been discussing for a while: how easy it is for law enforcement to snoop through your email.

Man, what a few weeks for the privacy and surveillance debate. The head of the CIA getting taken out by friendly fire snooping is almost too good to be true. Head on over to and make some noise about it.

It’s Scary How Rapidly Government Requests For Info And Censorship Are Increasing

Google’s latest transparency report is out and the notable bit of info is that governments continue to increase how often they’re seeking info about users. The increase there is a steady growth which is immensely worrisome. There’s also an equally troubling increase in the attempts to censor content via Google

Nothing really to say here. I think this is an issue that’s getting close to going mainstream. I can see 2013 being about privacy & surveillance to a large extent.

Draconian Downloading Law In Japan Goes Into Effect… Music Sales Drop

consumers are spending less on music than they were before the bill became law … the government has made some people so fearful of being arrested that they won’t do any downloading from legitimate sources any more…

Gotta love this.

Apple Learns That Suing A Key Supplier May Not Be So Smart; Samsung Jacks Up Prices On Apple

So even if Samsung has to pay Apple for patent infringement, perhaps it’ll be financed by the higher prices on processors Samsung sells Apple.

As one commenter suggested: pass the popcorn, as it’s clear that it’s going to keep getting uglier between these two.

Copyright Maximalism: Turning Satirical Works Into Ridiculous Reality

Last week, we discussed Microsoft’s patent filing on a content distribution system that counted heads and charged license fees accordingly. Utilizing the Kinect or some other unnamed technology, Microsoft had the beginnings of the copyright industries’ wildest dreams: an opportunity to treat the public’s living rooms like theaters and collect “admission” from every viewer.

Rick Falkvinge has amusingly pointed out that “prior art” exists for this “Content Distribution Regulator” — in the form of a satirical piece published at BBspot (and covered here years ago, noting that it “hit too close to home”) five years before Microsoft’s filing.

I love the idea that we might start busting patents with science fiction on a more regular basis.

The Raw Power Of Louis CK: Even HBO Is Opening The Garden Gates

Yesterday, Louis CK announced the seemingly impossible: his next comedy special will air on HBO, and also be available as a DRM-free download like his revolutionary Beacon Theatre show. Yes, even the network so infamous for its tight grip on content that fans have literally begged it to take their money can’t ignore the overwhelming success of CK’s open, inexpensive, highly accessible approach to content distribution.

Louis CK is my hero.

House Republicans: Copyright Law Destroys Markets; It’s Time For Real Reform

Late on Friday, the Republican Study Committee, which is the caucus for the House Republicans, released an amazing document debunking various myths about copyright law and suggesting key reforms.

If you’re used to Congress not understanding copyright, prepare to be surprised. It’s clear, thorough and detailed about just how problematic copyright has become and why it needs to change.

Wow — this is exciting. Reminds me of the recent 2011 UK study on Intellectual Property and Growth that is working its way through Parliament now. It does seem that this could be a watershed report; we’ll see.

Nick Grossman is “Activist in Residence” at Union Square Ventures and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Media Lab in the Center for Civic Media.

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