Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the true-top-two dept

We get lots of comments that place on the Funny and Insightful lists at the same time, but I’m not sure if this has ever happened before: both the first and second place comments are the same in both categories. Since that would make for a pretty short post this week, we’ll throw in the third place comments to round out the numbers, which also means I’m going to switch up the order of things a little. Let’s get started.

Up first, with the most Insightful votes and the most Funny votes, we’ve got a comment on our post about Hollywood’s latest DRM scheme, which they are trying to boost by giving away free movies. An anonymous commenter summed the oddness of this move up nicely:

Come to our prison! We have free meals!

Up next, taking second place in both categories, we’ve got a comment on our post about the latest details on the “six strike” plans for ISPs and how they might interfere with free Wi-Fi networks. MrWilson highlighted the absurdity with an analogy:

I just got arrested yesterday because Ford reported to the cops that I drove my car to a neighborhood known for drug dealing. The cops didn’t care that Ford had no proof that I was the one driving the car or that I actually did purchase and/or use drugs. They’re not even bothering with a jury trial either. The fourth time I drove there, they made my car drive really slow, so now I’m always late for work. The next time they just suspended my license completely.

Taking third place on the Insightful side is a comment on our post about CBS blocking CNET from giving Dish an award. Ed C. took a closer look at the situation from an innovation perspective:

Aside from the appalling dissolution of journalistic integrity for the sake of corporate interest, I can’t help but notice that the “features” Dish is being praised for–time and place shifting–are nothing but ridiculous kludges to transfer content from an archaic mode of distribution to what people expect of the modern era–digital storage and on-demand access. Of course, none of these kludges would be necessary if it weren’t for companies like CBS burning money to shore up their legacy business model against the ever increasing demands of the market.

Meanwhile, over on the Funny side, the third place comment comes from our post about Sony’s brazen use of copyright alchemy to extend its control over Bob Dylan’s music, by releasing a “Copyright Extension Collection” (seriously). DannyB pointed out how amusing it is that the release is a limited edition:

You better hurry and download it before other downloaders or those hundred or so copies will be gone!

Now that we’re past all the winners, let’s move on to the Editor’s Choice. On the Insightful side, we’ve got another comment from the same post, in which Donny serves up a detailed history of Dylan’s own copying:

Goddamit, what really pisses me off about this is that this is Bob Dylan, copier extraordinaire, whose music is being locked up.

As it happens, this very night I was listening to The Times They Are A-Changin’. Small coincidence. But let’s go through that album quickly so:

Track 1. ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ – by Dylan’s own admission, based off various Irish/Scottish ballads.

Track 2. ‘Ballad of Hollis Brown’ – based off an Appalachian tune called ‘Pretty Polly’.

Track 3. ‘With God on Our Side’ – based off a song of Dominic Behan’s called ‘The Patriot Game’. (Interesting side-note: the melody is not Behan’s own. Which just shows that such borrowing is an ordinary, even healthy, way to go about songwriting and none of this is meant on an attack on Dylan’s character.) (Say that to Behan though: he considered Dylan a “plagiarist and a thief”).

(To my ears, tracks 5 and 6, ‘North Country Blues’ and ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game’ sound like developed melodies Dylan came across somewhere, the former especially seems Irish/Scottish with its i->VII->i progression. No solid sources on them though, so I’ll pass over.)

Track 7. ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ – based off Dylan’s own ‘Girl From North Country’ which in turn was based off the English song ‘Scarborough Fair’.

Track 8. ‘When the Ship Comes In’ – based off a more contemporary (well, 1928) operatic song Pirate Jenny.

Track 9. ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ – based off the Child Ballad Mary Hamilton (no. 173 in that collection).

Track 10. ‘Restless Farewell’ – little more than a personalised rewrite of a (still popular) Irish tune called The Parting Glass.

Now I don’t mean to denigrate Dylan. I think he’s one of the twentieth century’s greatest songwriters, I’ve huge personal respect for him. But he depended heavily on other people’s creativity to achieve what he did (let’s not even get started on how derivative the b-sides and outtakes are).

So that he’s locking up all these songs, all this culture, claiming it as his own, and demanding dues for its use…it’s simply wrong of him. And not only for its inequality of sharing, but for culture to come: how can the twenty-first century’s great songwriters hope to achieve even half what he did, if they can’t lean on inspiration such as his but are expected to create all of their own songs whole cloth?

Up next, we’ve got a comment on our post about the latest police abuses when it comes to citizens recording them on duty. Michael wondered how it’s ever possible for a cop to delete someone’s recording:

How is this any different than the police walking onto a movie studio lot and removing the film from a camera? I cannot think of ANY instance in which the police would have the right to delete a recording made by someone else.

If the recording is itself illegal, it is evidence. If the recording is not illegal, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL.

It is so painful to see stories like this. How arrogant have some of the police officers in the US gotten? The police do not have the right to destroy anything unless they are ordered to by the courts.

I am sure it is very intimidating being on the receiving end of something like this, but I hope this guy brings a civil suit against them for their behavior. If nothing else, the citizens in this area should be up in arms over this and complaining very loudly to local government officials.

For Editor’s Choice over on the Funny side, we’ll start with a comment on our post about the disturbing news that pantents are interfering with our health on a global scale by preventing us from defeating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. An anonymous commenter noted that the bacteria itself might be infringing:

The real problem is those bacteria who are mutating outside our patent system. They are stealing from the pharmaceutical companies trying hard to patent new drugs! We should create a national bacterial database and require they register all new mutations.

And finally, since we opened with two big crossover hits, we’ll close with another—a comment that could easily make editor’s choice (and placed high on the voting scales) on both sides. Going back to our post about Hollywood’s “please take our DRM” scheme, an anonymous commenter asked a simple question:

So they’re giving away free films so that they can use DRM to stop people getting free films?

That’s all for this week—see you tomorrow!

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

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sgt_doom (profile) says:

Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

There is nothing more sad, more disheartening, than the death of a decent person.

I didn’t know Aaron Swartz, although I had communicated with him online on several occasions; a highly intelligent young man with a prodigious mind and noble spirit.

Aaron evidently reached the decision, to spare his family and friends future pain, he would forfeit his own life; in ancient Rome they referred to it as “Falling on one’s sword.”

Yet another fatality of Obama’s War On Whistleblowers, the dramatic extension and expansion from the Bush administration.

Today, Gov. Don Siegelman sits in a penitentiary, his only “crime” was wishing to increase educational access for the many; an authentic democrat, so very rare today.

Today, an Iraqi immigrant, Shakir Hamoodi, who sent small sums of money to his close relatives back home for medical and food emergencies, also sits in a penitentiary, yet another humanist, or “criminal” in America?

Today, a brave CIA whistleblower of the criminal and barbaric torture taking place, John Kiriakou, faces two years in jail, thanks to Obama and life in the land of the lawless.

Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, Gov. Don Siegelman, Shakir Hamoodi, John Kiriakou and others, too many others, a roster of the best of America, wasted lives in others pursuit of never-ending corruption.

A bizarre BBC report the other day — and bizarre is the only accurate description for both BBC and their news report — ran an attack piece on WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, nonsensically juxtaposed against the newspaper strike in China!

They — the BBC and Australian news — once again perpetrated lies of “sexual assault of two women” against Assange?

Having read all the legal documents, in both English and Swedish, I observed NO verification of such lies, only that Sofia Wilen, the younger woman who first approached Julian Assange, wanted nothing to do with such false allegations, and that the government-affiliated Anna Ardin (one of her many aliases), appears to have been the driving force in stirring up such vicious stories! (When the publicity became too much for Anna Ardin, she was spirited off to Israel, where a member of the Bonnier family was ambassador at that time.)

The one common factor, known to Americans, which is evident in both the attacks on Wikileaks/Assange and the illegitimate and amoral incarceration of Gov. Siegelman, is Karl Rove.

Rove appears again and again in the background, as the puppet master pulling the strings to take out Gov. Siegelman, and was financed in his multiple trips to Sweden, around the beginning of the WikiLeaks’ episode, financed by the Bonnier family, one of the media giant families of Europe and among the top ten media corporations in existence. (Virtually everyone on the Swedish side who has been attacking Julian Assange is financially connected to the Bonnier family: the attorneys, Anna Ardin, the Bonnier-employed reporters, the Justice Minister, etc., the only exception would be Sofia Wilen, the young lady who quickly distanced herself from the horrendously unfolding events.)

Aaron Swartz, both believed in, and fought for, free speech and freedom of the press, an incredibly shrinking freedom which has been all but co-opted by the ruling oligarchs through their corporations today — does anyone really know who owns AT&T, after all?

Recently, some technically astute friends ran a series of tests, and observed that the most heavily censored site: Huffington Post,, Naked Capitalism, The Guardian, etc., are considered to be some of the more “liberal” sites on the ‘net — nothing could be further from the truth!

The most heavily censored English-speaking countries on the Web? Canada, the UK and the USA.

Most despicably, network neutrality appears as dead as Aaron Swartz — and we should all mourn the passing of both noble personages.

In Memoriam

Aaron Swartz

November 8, 1986 ? January 11, 2013

Notes and Sources

“Kiriakou was a CIA veteran who played a role in the agency’s capture of the al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by government interrogators and eventually revealed information that led to the arrest of the “dirty bomb” plotter Jose Padilla and exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. Accounts conflict over whether the waterboarding was helpful in getting intelligence from Zubaydah.”

. . . .

“The CIA director, David Petraeus, sent a memo to agency employees noting Kiriakou’s conviction, saying: “It marks an important victory for our agency, for our intelligence community, and for our country. Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy.”

(Tell that to the wifey, Davey boy! — sgt_doom)

Nut Job says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

“This was about creating a sentence so massive he’d just take a plea and they would score another win.”

Or, succumb to the pressure and take his own life. Which is sadly what happened.

I bet some scumbag here will say he was guilty and that’s why he did it. And when they do we know where they come from.

No matter how mentally stable you are, the looming pressure of a government witch hunt would be a terrible strain on ones life. Sad.

Hey, I heard somewhere it was actually Chris Dodd in a ninja suit who killed him and made it look like suicide. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

That pressure is only in your mind dude.

Trees can live thousands of years in one spot, they grow and florish and that is happiness for them.

There are no real pressures in life besides the basics(e.g. food, ambient temperature, etc), all that other stuff is just we making choices about what we want and how we want it.

He made a choice and although it saddens me, it was his choice and he acted upon that choice, just like he made other choices.

You won’t understand this and it doesn’t matter.

Reality Check says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

So by your logic, you won’t mind if we trump up some charges against you, (maybe something socially repulsive), confiscate all your property, and put you in prison for 45 years?

You could easily grow and flourish in such a situation, feeling no pressure or disharmony with the universe? (Assuming we kept your ambient temperature correctly adjusted.)

Be the tree man, be the tree.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

Aaron evidently reached the decision, to spare his family and friends future pain, he would forfeit his own life; in ancient Rome they referred to it as “Falling on one’s sword.”

Why do you say this? Did he send you a suicide note? Maybe he suffered from depression and couldn’t handle the situation he put himself in. Ascribing some selfless, noble motivation seems like a stretch. I’ll bet his family and friends would rather have him alive and in prison (however briefly) than dead.

Nut Job says:

Re: Re:

Patents are a vague description of a process or product used to lock up ideas. They enable failures to shake down success.

Dont worry they will just rubber stamp your application so you can get busy suing anything that comes close so you wont have to compete in the market. Hell you wont even have to have ever brought a product to market.

Its a wonderful process that rewards you even if you fail. In fact, I will argue, the process encourages you not to create a product at all. Just wait around until others do what you cant, and sue them into oblivion.

Its like welfare on steroids.

shanen (profile) says:

I think that Aaron Swartz’s death is mostly yet another metric of the increasing insanity of American society. While I still think things will get better over the long term, none of us get to live so long. In particular, I think that secrecy is collapsing at such a rate that pretty soon no one will be able to afford it. I’d like to think that will cure some of the problems, but at least it will change the games…

However, this topic obviously ties to the police trying to gain privacy by deleting recordings. Are you aware that you can set your phone to immediately transfer a copy to a remote server? I use google+, though the increasingly evil google poses its own set of intrusive threats.

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