Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the house-made-of-straw-men dept

There’s no award for “stupidest analogy” in these weekly posts, but if there was it would go to a comment on our post about the RIAA’s protestations that it doesn’t stifle innovation, which compared music copyright with safety regulations in the auto industry. As it happens, the award we do have — for most insightful comment of the week — goes to Robert for his response:

Actually you can go into the automotive business. You can do so without worry. You must conform to safety laws with whatever products you produce and labour laws, but those are for safety, not legalized monopoly. Quite different.

Second, why don’t you do that, design the perfect electric car, charges via solar panels, uses the ideas built upon the Panasonic battery patent owned by Chevron, so you can create a car that charges in an hour, has a 500mi range on full charge (6-8h) using standard 15A 120VAC power (likely more given the power required for such a range), all stored within a super efficient, lightweight, environmentally friendly, reliable battery (maybe scrap the Panasonic idea base and come up with your own). And the vehicle will be built in the US, by domestic employees whom are paid a decent wage (not GE’s definition of a decent wage), and will be affordable, half the cost of Tesla’s vehicles.

Then watch the legal shitstorm that follows you, from oil companies, car companies, all claiming you can’t innovate like that, you’re violating their bought laws, you’ll kill the entire economy, and even if they haven’t a legal leg to stand on, their money will bankrupt you back into the horse and buggy era.

Only then can you compare to what has happened thanks to Napster lawsuits and the attempts at innovation in the music biz.

Meanwhile, this week we got an inside look at some of Prenda’s machinations, including the practice of keeping clients in the dark for the sake of deniability. This prompted GMacGuffin to deliver our second most insightful comment of the week:

Damn that pesky ethical duty to advise your client of significant developments …

For editor’s choice, we start out on our post about the fear-mongering report bemoaning the threat of IP theft in China. Jameshogg suggested the only true solution:

You know what would stop China having such a monopoly on piracy?

Reducing copyright terms.

Al Capone had a secret sympathy with the prohibition amendment, and we all know it.

Up next, we head to our post about the real numbers regarding full-time employment of musicians, where Karl dug in even deeper to reveal other interesting aspects of the stats:

I actually brought these numbers up in an earlier comment, but Mike wrote me to say he’s doing a story on it, so I didn’t say anything about it since then.

Now that the story’s out…

Everyone who reads this site really should dig into the numbers. I actually spent a fair amount of time doing this, and the numbers are even more interesting than Mike makes them out to be.

For example: Between 1999 and 2002, there was actually an increase in the number of working musicians – from 46,440 to 53,940 (an increase of 7,500 jobs). Interestingly enough, these are the years that Napster was active; employment didn’t start declining until after Napster was shut down.

Employment levels would not dip below the 1999 levels until 2010.

It’s also interesting to look at they type of people employed by the “Sound Recording Industries.” They did employ quite a bit of artists – but they were the type of artists who were graphic designers or illustrators (i.e. people designing advertising).

The sound recording industries have always employed more “suits” (management, business/financial employees, office administrators, etc) than artists. In many years, the number of musicians employed by the sound recording industries was so low, they didn’t even report them.

Another interesting trend: it’s no secret that the sound recording industries are in a bad way. There was an especially bad decrease in employment between 2008 and 2009. But since that decrease, the number of artists (and most everyone else) has declined, but the number of managers and businessmen has actually increased. Not everyone is equally affected, it seems.

Note: if you do decide to look at the numbers, you have to account for some wackiness at the BLS. “Musicians and Singers” wasn’t even an occupational category until 1999.

Also, prior to 2003, the BLS used the SIC Division Structure, which lumped in the music industry into the “Services, not elsewhere classified” category. They switched to the current NAICS system for 2003, so that’s as far back as you can go to get data for the sound recording industry specifically.

Just FYI. Or perhaps TMI.

For first place on the funny side, we head back to our post about Prenda’s innerworkings. The former Prenda client commented that he got “uncomfortable feelings” from the lawyers, which Michael noticed was quite the indictment:

Take a moment and let that sink in. These lawyers were so shady that a PORN PRODUCER was uncomfortable with their practices.

“Turn around, bend over, stick this whip in here, move the goat a little to the left…boy, that John Steele guy is creepy.’

Our second funniest comment comes from Rikuo, on our post about the latest details in the case against Bradley Manning, in which it turns out the identity of one of the enemies he’s accused of aiding is being kept secret. I have to admit I hadn’t the faintest idea what he was talking about, though a quick Google search reveals it is an artful (I assume from the votes) reference to Stargate, a sci-fi property I’m not at all familiar with. So without further comment, here it is:

I know who it is.

The Goa’uld. About the only enemy the United States is at war with, that is kept secret from the general public. Thing is, they’re not doing a very good job of keeping it secret, since they film their combat teams’ missions and broadcast them on TV. Why, one of their top men is a dead ringer for MacGyver!

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about the failure of NYC’s stop-and-frisk program, where Roman suggested some PR wizardry:

I’m sure the mayor could drum up some good PR if he used the term “freedom frisks”.

And finally, we’ve got an anonymous comment that needs no context, since ridiculously fallacious arguments crop up all the time in the Techdirt comments, and this is an excellent one-size-fits-all response to the most common variety:

Can you show us on the doll where the straw man touched you?

I’m guessing “in the head.” See you tomorrow folks!

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

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L'interdiction des Essais says:

Re: Re: OOTB has the real funny comments

Seeing good discussions constantly sidetracked by obvious trolls certainly makes me sad. It has gotten so bad over time that, more often than not, good discussions don’t even get started on a lot of articles. It would seem the trolls have nothing better to do than hit the F5 key repeatedly in the hopes they’ll be the first to post, with that usually being the seed for the majority of comments which follow. There are plenty of articles on Techdirt where the comment sections are completely full of off-topic garbage and nothing else, where the signal to noise ratio is so bad that even if there is a good discussion happening, it’s impossible to find it among all that verbal flotsam and jetsam. It’s actually why I’ve started coming here less often, this no doubt being part of what the trolls are hoping to achieve (replying only aids them in this btw). Good discussions, especially the ones involving finding workable solutions to the problems besetting both sides of the IP war, were definitely part of an allure that is all but gone nowadays. It’s depressing to say the least, and that depression makes it very hard to continue on.

What I’ve had a lot of difficulty understanding is why hidden comments, the ones where the report button has been clicked by X number of unique IP addresses, are capable of being expanded, read, and replied to. You might as well ditch the report button altogether because it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever as it is right now. I’d love to see Mike experiment for a month or two with making hidden comments not only non-expandable, but unable to be replied to. It would be very interesting to see if the quality of the discussions goes up or not under these conditions.

Other experiments could include a multi-tiered response depending on how many times the report button is clicked if my first suggestion is too extreme. Temporary IP bans might work too (I don’t support permanent bans, only discouragement). Or perhaps keep the comment readable if expanded, but incapable of being replied to. I’m not against free speech at all and am more than happy to listen to copyright supporters. There is a pretty big, not to mention obvious, difference between comments by IP supporters and trolls though. The question is: how to we reduce, and preferably eliminate, the troll plague without affecting those whom support IP and actually care about trying to find a way forward out of this copyright mess?

For what it’s worth I truly believe there is a solution. I do not believe it is an impossible task at all, just a really difficult one. It’s just gong to take someone a heck of a lot smarter than me to figure out what that is exactly. I’d really hate for that person to come along, only to end up so drowned out by all the noise that they give up trying to be heard, or worse decide it’s not worth posting at all. That’s a bit like winning the lottery only to lose the ticket before you can cash it in. I don’t think anyone who truly cares about this stuff, regardless of which side they’re on, would like to see that happen. The trolls would though, of that I have no doubt. See the danger yet?

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: OOTB has the real funny comments

What I’ve had a lot of difficulty understanding is why hidden comments, the ones where the report button has been clicked by X number of unique IP addresses, are capable of being expanded, read, and replied to.

Many times, those who replied did so before the comment reached the threshhold to be hidden. The few times I responded to OOTB/BOB/etc, it has been before the comment was hidden.

I tended (until recently) to respond to OOTB not because he’d listen (he usually just moves on to the next story and doesn’t return, unlike AJ who usually does return, and occasionally has something worthwhile to say,) but because others would read his comment, and my rebuttal, and hopefully learn from it. However, I think you’re right and the best method of handling them is denying them the attention they so desperately need, so I have stopped responding to them altogether.

I don’t see, however, how they are chilling the discussion here, as I remember in the good old days when a post with 20 comments was unbelievable. Now posts with 50-100 comments are the norm, and I am seeing a lot more people providing differing opinions (even if some of the stuff is off-topic.) Having the report/hide button has been quite helpful in removing some of the most obvious junk, while still giving folks a chance to say something even if it isn’t what everyone else agrees with.

A temporary ban until they act civil is far better than permanently removing them. I think the current system, which allows them to be heard if the reader takes a little extra effort is the best way to handle this and there is no need to change the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Late word from Kern County

In belated news from Kern County, the Californian reports that there will not be any re-examination of David Silva’s remains: ? According to the family’s attorney, the body has been cremated.

?Autopsy answers many — but not all — questions about Silva’s death?, by Steven Mayer, The Bakersfield Californian, Jun 1, 2013

? David Cohn, the attorney for the Silva family, expressed skepticism about the autopsy findings.

The day the autopsy results were released, Cohn told The Californian he would ask an independent expert to examine the report. But an independent autopsy is impossible, he noted, as Silva’s remains have been cremated.?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Late word from Kern County

Awesome, so not only is any potentially incriminating video evidence gone, there’s now no possible way for an outside, unbiased* autopsy to occur, as the body’s been turned to ash.

Yeah, this has gone from ‘they might be covering up a murder’ to ‘they almost certainly are covering up a murder’, as their actions make no sense otherwise.

*Of particular note from that second link: ‘The coroner’s office and the sheriff’s department were combined in 1995 by the Kern County Board of Supervisors.’ Unbiased there are not, and they were the last people who should have been tasked with doing an autopsy to determine if cops had killed someone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Late word from Kern County

Yeah, this has gone from ‘they might be covering up a murder’ to ‘they almost certainly are covering up a murder’, as their actions make no sense otherwise.

Well, I’d say this news definitely falls under the ?funny? category.

But ?presumably? the cremation took place according to the wishes of Silva’s family. Or at least with the family’s consent.

Generally, cremation is a lot cheaper than burial. And I do not have the impression this is a wealthy family, by any stretch. Further, from the article, I get the impression that the cremation took place before the autopsy results were released. The decision was probably made while family members were still in shock ?not thinking clearly? and not really thinking about how to prove a wrongful death.

So, it just kinda falls under the ?funny? category.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Late word from Kern County

While normally I might agree with you(cremation is a better option, so it would make sense they’d have planned to go that route), if they were suspicious enough of the circumstances of his death to retain a lawyer to look into it, you’d think the very first thing he would have done is order a halt on any burial/cremation plans.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Late word from Kern County

? you’d think the very first thing he would have done is order a halt on any burial/cremation plans.

I could tell you the name of a woman ?known as ?Jane Doe?, for a time, after they first found her body, but I could tell you another name now? whose death was orignally certified by the coroner as due to frostbite and ?exposure?. Coroner figured she froze to death, and then was outside for better than a week before anyone spotted her body. They buried her.

Later on, after her body was dug back up, and another pathologist started work on re-examination, straightaway that doctor found a .32-caliber bullet buried under her left temple. And then the doctor found an entry wound at the base of her skull.

I could tell you that woman’s name. Or you might have heard some of that story already. Or, with a bit of searching, you might be able to find out who I’m talking about. There’s been news accounts about her from time to time. And her name is not forgotten.

But things like that don’t happen all that often.

No. ? Things like that don’t usually happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Late word from Kern County

? as the body’s been turned to ash.

Speaking of ash and burning?and while we’re talking ’bout funny things that make you go hmmmm…. I don’t suppose too many people saw the pair of comments entitled ?Bloodstains on the sidewalk?. Those comments were posted kinda late under Cushing’s article, ’bout the time it slipped entirely off the sidebar alongside the front page.

Y’all might want to take a look at that photograph, and tell me whether you think those dark spots are dried blood.?.?.?.? or just burned-up grass.

Anonymous Coward says:

There’s no award for “stupidest analogy” in these weekly posts, but if there was it would go to a comment on our post about the RIAA’s protestations that it doesn’t stifle innovation, which compared music copyright with safety regulations in the auto industry. As it happens, the award we do have ? for most insightful comment of the week ? goes to Robert for his response

How was it a stupid analogy? Mike was complaining about innovation having to take place within any sort of limitations. I explained that all innovation takes place within a legal framework. There are rules, regulations, and rights of others that shape the way people can innovate. I had a nice response in that thread, and Mike, OF COURSE, ran away rather than actually address any points that actually matter. Why’s he so scared to have an actual conversation? Hmm…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Lol wut? mIke often addresses and debunks claims made by detractors. In fact a lot of his articles are just that: responses to claims from the MPAA/RIAA/congress critters/DRM proponets ect

When mike doesn’t respond it means there’s a satisfactory response from a reader that addresses the comment nicely enough that responding becomes pointless.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How was it a stupid analogy?

Perhaps because laws that grant monopolies to special interest groups are nothing like laws that protect the physical well-being of the general public.

Mike was complaining about innovation having to take place within any sort of limitations.

No, he was complaining about “removing efficiency from the system to protect an inefficient, legacy way of doing business.” But I guess you can’t see the difference.

Mike, OF COURSE, ran away

Well, except for a lengthy and detailed reply to the points you made. Which you completely mischaracterized, then moved the goalposts, as per usual.

Coyote (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It is a stupid analogy — by comparing two unrelated industries with one another, not only do you invalidate any point made, you make yourself look like a tool. Safety regulations in the auto-industry are made to make it SAFER — not to SAVE their business. IP is currently made ENITRELY to save the dinosaur business model, protecting and keeping safe NO ONE. In fact, as it’s been reported here, in Ars Technica and other places, it actually harms those artists because of their labels, and ends in them losing more money to their label than to ‘piracy.’

To the point where the artists do not own a lick of their own stuff, the labels do.

As for your own comment about rules, regulations and such that shape the way people can innovate — there is your straw man. The one that assumes all innovation must take place within the confines of the law as written. Part of it is true — it obviously cannot be innovation that is illegal [except for how Tesla cars, an innovative design, are being targeted and for the auto-industry, made illegal. TV broadcasters would love for Aereo to be made illegal.].

There is no way to ‘shape’ the way innovation works. Innovation, by its’ nature, disrupts the environment people are so often comfortable with, and shapes the very lives we often live, yet in that ‘legal framework’ patents stifle innovation, as do companies that fear their old business model is being threatened.

As I recall, when Mike made good points to your own ‘points’, you ceased to respond to THOSE points and kept notching your sword down more and more and more, trying so very desperately to win the argument that you resorted to moving the goal posts, or in terms you can understand, ‘yanking the football away.’ trying to force everyone to follow the way of arguing you’re comforted with.

Bullshit isn’t something a lot of people like to eat, nor deal with, and your whole schtich is being a bullshitter. Your arguments would be welcome here if you actually made ANY points whatsoever that weren’t utterly laughable in the way they’re presented, and utterly fail to comprehend the basics of anything posted in Techdirt or elsewhere. If you offered your shilling services, you could actually get paid for your mind-blowingly useless arguments.

The only one running away is you.

out_of_the_blue says:

FUNNIEST is "masnicking" invented by out_of_the_blue

While this week not first time I’ve used “masnicking” or variants — previously just casually tossed it off, ha, ha — occurred to me that perfectly describes fanboy activity here. And of course they’re BLIND from it!

^^^Heh, heh. Most influential commenter here. I don’t have to show up to have the fanboys yap their fool little heads off about me.

Also the most innovative! First to have a tagline:

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
Where the fanboys troll the site with vulgar ad hom, and call anyone disagreeing “trolls”!

And remember, kids, that the funny numbers there are because my valuable screen name is also the most copied! And most mocked! Thought you’d make me drop my screen, eh? Couldn’t even do that, you feeble nimrods! Foiled you just for fun, as I came up with a hilarious backup plan that you’re ALL guaranteed to not like, so keep trying…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: FUNNIEST is "masnicking" invented by out_of_the_blue

Masnicking isn’t funny or clever.

“didn’t have to show up”? you’ve been here all week spouting debunked claims and general nonsense

Also, “influenial commenter” isn’t a badge of honor. Westboro baptist church is a group of “influential commenters” every now and then aand they’re a bag of crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: FUNNIEST is "masnicking" invented by out_of_the_blue

You’re right, you don’t have to show up. All of us are blinded by your sheer wisdom and wit.

You know what would really show us? If you left the site. That’d show us what a staggeringly wise and witty individual you are.

Go on, then.

Paul Keating (profile) says:

Prenda - who is the client

With all of the difficulty in finding out who the “client” is, I was just struck by Mike’s reference to the following:

“Damn that pesky ethical duty to advise your client of significant developments …”

The professional conduct laws governing attorneys (each state has them) requires attorneys to advise both their client and the relevant state bar of any sanctions order.

Discovery question No 1. Who did Prenda advise as concerns the sanctions orders?

10:1 Steele had a conversation with himself in the closet.

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