Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the correcting-stupid dept

When Mississippi AG Jim Hood blamed Google for, basically, everything wrong with the internet, his tirade was full of plainly ridiculous assertions. Mike Shore won first place for Insightful by demonstrating this with a game of substitution:

How much sense does this make in a similar context?

Hood accused Ford of being “unwilling to take basic actions to make the roads safe from unlawful and predatory conduct, and it has refused to modify its own behavior that facilitates and profits from unlawful conduct.” His letter cites not just speeding, hit and runs and drunk driving but the use of getaway cars in bank robberies

While Hood was being stupid, the USTR was accusing the public of the same sin, and using our supposed inability to understand international agreements as justification for keeping the TPP secret. Fogbugzd won second place with a simple statement of the actual truth:

The real problem with releasing the details is that the public WILL understand it.

For editor’s choice on the Insightful side, we start with TKnarr and a response to a schizophrenic attack on Aereo from one of our regular detractors:

There’s a principle in law, though: if I’m entitled to do something, I’m generally entitled to have someone else do it for me. You do this every day when you use a credit or debit card or write a check: you aren’t paying the merchant, you’re authorizing the bank or credit-card company to pay the merchant for you. Anyone who has a secretary sorting their mail is doing the same thing, authorizing the secretary to open and read the mail instead of them doing it themselves. So, assuming that I’m entitled to record the shows and play them back later (and I am, thanks to the time-shifting ruling), why would I not be entitled to have someone else run my DVR for me?

I’d note that this same principle is why people are so upset over the government’s position about access to e-mail on servers: we think of it in terms of us having the provider run our mailbox for us, and the government wouldn’t be entitled to come in and riffle through our mailbox without a warrant if it were us operating it directly.

Next we’ve got PaulT, who heard the 21st Century Fox CEO’s comment that people shouldn’t dislike bundled TV channels in a world with $5 lattes and cellphone bills, and took on the task of analogy-busting:

Did I miss the part where you have to have the latte every time you go into a store to buy something else, or the part where the latte is only available as part of a package that includes a bottle of water, hot chocolate and sandwich for $20? Did I miss the part where you can’t choose to have the latte made the way you want it, but have to from a limited choice of options, rather than being able to choose from a range of sizes, milk types, flavourings, etc.?

Plus, maybe things are different in the US, but aren’t cell phone bills simply pre-built bundles of line rental/data/voice/text plans to begin with?

What a strange, deluded analogy.

After all those responses to idiocy, it’s nice to open the Funny side of things with some positive news from Norway, which is digitizing all Norwegian books and making them free to its citizens. An anonymous commenter won first place with some good old-fashioned maximalist-mocking sarcasm:

Well I guess no one’s ever going to write a book in Norway anymore.


For second place, we head to our post about a photographer attacking Something Awful over a photo of a bird that turned up in a Photoshop contest. Sometimes in these situations, as one anonymous commenter pointed out, it would be satisfying (if not productive) to see those who live by IP die by IP:

I hope the bird sues her for violating its publicity rights.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we head back to Jim Hood and his tragic confusion between “Google” and “the internet”, which Ima Fish likened to another common lack of perspective among the technologically unsavvy:

And in a related story, the entire internet exists as an icon on your desktop called “Internet Explorer.”

And finally, during yet another debate about copyright-as-theft, someone asserted that “what’s being stolen is time, money and brain cells.” For Nina Paley, that actually made a lot of sense:

This explains copyright maximalists: they can’t make sense because they don’t have enough brain cells. Meanwhile “pirates” are using stolen brain cells to make well-reasoned, sensible arguments.

Indeed; you might even say that we have a monopoly on intelligence and reason. Come on, governments and copyright industries — topple our monopoly!

That’s all for this week, folks.

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

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out_of_the_blue says:

Ya know what's funny?

The everyday routine here at Techdirt! Starting with rapidly aging frat boy who actually believes he’s advising multi-billion industries! He persists in the delusion despite fifteen years of that industry just ignoring him, following its “dinosaur” ways. The frat boy holds that piracy is perfectly okay and the future “business model” despite industry easily winning every case soon as can get a grip on slippery grifters: Napster, Isohunt, Hotfile, with awards of millions. He predicts DOOM for the industry unless they embrace a “give away and pray”, “unlimited sharing”, on demand, and advertising-free “business model”, despite now and then arguing that industry is doing okay even with rampant piracy, because in the frat boy’s opinion that only shows piracy is good for industry! Mike has YET to say that piracy is in ANY way bad. — By EVERY factual, legal, AND moral measure, the frat boy is just plain WRONG. But because his “IT’S GOOD TO PIRATE, STEAL ALL YOU CAN” message strongly appeals to large numbers who want mindless content for free, he’s got a following… of ankle-biters who try to run off all opposition.

By the way, Netflix, held up as the legal future of content delivery is still struggling, just now beginning to show net profit (though that’s at least partly “Hollywood” accounting as all corporations do, yet everyone in it is making out).

Any rational perspective on the arguments presented here daily shows how FUNNY they are, meaning non-linear nonsense. Here’s my new tagline on the point:

Mike frequently runs items on “copyright abuse” intended to STIFLE expression knowing full well that his fanboys then consider all copyright bad and use those bad acts to justify their own STEALING of content. As Mike never runs items condemning STEALING, it’s difficult to see how he “supports copyright”. — Mike sets up a false alternative: in fact, BOTH STIFLING AND STEALING ARE BAD.

You’ll see this same pattern over and over here: Mike or minions dig up some anomaly of lawyers or The Rich abusing copyright to STIFLE, tacitly implying ALL copyright is bad, a message the fanboys clearly take as that it’s okay to STEAL from ALL copyright holders!

I don’t see how that linkage can be other than deliberate after all these years (and the lack of explicit condemnation proves it). Mike wants to do away with ALL copyright to allow “innovative” grifter pals to “monetize” content that others pay for. He keeps pushing the notion that if the productive industries just quit worrying about copyright and allow the new grifters to use their products, then all problems are solved, money pours in. — And that’s why Mike has this FUNNY “core concept”:
Ya say ya can’t compete with free, Binky? — It’s easy! Just forget about “sunk (or fixed) costs”!!!

I came here hoping for rational discussion and found that doesn’t actually take place: you’re free to agree with Mike, that’s all — and Mike’s alleged economics argument vanishes once you ask WHO’S PAYING for the content — so I stay for the hoots! Where else can one find such a target-rich environment, and so deserving of being skewered? — Hell, they even PARODY themselves with Mutual Admiration Society on weekends where tell themselves how erudite (Saturday) and witty (Sunday) they are!

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Ya know what's funny?

You’ll see this same pattern over and over here: Mike or minions dig up some anomaly of lawyers or The Rich abusing copyright to STIFLE, tacitly implying ALL copyright is bad


… same pattern over and over here: Mike or minions dig up some anomaly …


over and over … anomaly

Aha. I get it now: he doesn’t understand what words mean.

out_of_the_blue says:

FUNNY AS IN FISHY: Greenwald, Omidyar, PayPal, & Palantir

I’ll just jam in this item Mike that isn’t likely to ever pick up (hasn’t in four days) that not only EXPLAINS the once in a lifetime deal Glenn Greenwald got from billionaire Omidyar AFTER the Snowden docs, but also prior troubles Wikileaks had with Paypal:

Anonymous Coward says:

‘topple our monopoly!’

that may happen sooner than you think, with AT&T doing their utmost to piss off customers even more than it usually does. now it has invented a way of monitoring those customers who are file sharing. the difficulty i have understanding this is when wanting the maximum number of people to take out the most expensive broadband plan, that being either a maximum set limit or an unlimited contract, they now want to be able to kick people off the internet for using that data plan they encouraged customers to sign up for in the first place! can someone please explain where the sense is in that argument?

ECA (profile) says:

TPP and the other Trade agreements

What I see in it..
IS that if it were left out for Everyone to read,
Someone would have the time to Figure all the data
and figure out what its SAYING/DOING..

Its like reading the Bible and everyone gets a different understanding.
This thing is so Conglomerated that it HIDES, what its doing.

On a side note, the medical bill started at 300 pages, and after congress was done, it was 3000…

Lurker Keith says:

Warrantless E-mail viewing is more ludicrous than we give credit for

Reading today’s post, I realized that we’re not making the case for needing Warrants for E-mails properly. (no idea why this hit me while reading this post)

The Government needs a Warrant to read snailmail, even it it was in the mailbox, right. I’ve heard it said that the Post Office owns all the Mailboxes. They definitely have exclusive rights to it. That means the Government requires a Warrant to look at something in something they have the exclusive rights to!

If the Government can’t look at mail in something they have exclusive rights for, it’s even worse they look at stuff they have no rights to w/o a Constitutionally required Warrant!

Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re: Warrantless E-mail viewing is more ludicrous than we give credit for

Um, according to Wikipedia, for some duration it used to be a Cabinet level Department of the Government until Nixon dissolved it. Until Nixon dissolved it, everything I said was valid.

Also, the Constitution set up the USPS.

So, to rephrase for correctness, when the USPS was a part of the Government, as well as after, Law Enforcement had to get a Warrant to view the contents of something it had exclusive use of, making Warrantless searches of E-mail it never had any say in more ludicrous than has been discussed.


LAB (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm not buying this

I am interested how you get paid for what you do and if copyright in any way contributes to your income. I agree the system is flawed however, I often find the debates on copyright pretend that the copyrighted item cost money to produce and is not made in a vacuum by volunteers for free. I posit how does a business recoup?

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not buying this

A good question. For starters, there are lots of people who publish public domain works and make money at it. There’s over a 1,000 years of copyright free literature that anyone can repackage and sell, and there are publishers that are doing just that. They make money by making the work convenient or attractive.

While a few people think copyright should be abolished (and they have good reasons), most people simply believe that the laws should be drastically curtailed, so that a creator can earn an income if they see potential profit without robbing culture of that work for the rest of our lives. And copyright should be voluntary simply because most works are not worth copyrighting.

LAB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm not buying this

I am always curious how society and/or culture is being robbed. I believed copyright is to protect the commercial exploitation of a work. For instance, if I paint a painting shouldn’t I have the right to make t-shirts or posters of this image as opposed to someone else? If I listen to a song on the radio is culture being deprived because the licensing is involved makes someone pay to broadcast the song to me?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I'm not buying this

If the work never enters the public domain, the public has been robbed. We give creators a special monopoly privilege to encourage the creation of the work, in exchange for the public owning it after that monopoly’s term has passed. If the term effectively never passes, then the public has been ripped off and it would have been better to never have had the deal to begin with.

This is an uneasy compromise, and has always been so. Reading the debates over whether or not to include copyright in the Constitution is actually fascinating. Many people didn’t want copyright at all, for fear that it would eventually be thought of as a property right (prescient, that!) so it was included in the most watered-down way they could wrangle.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I'm not buying this

95/120 is not forever, but it is a TON longer than it used to be (14+14), and keeps getting extended every so often — so as things are currently going, it is effectively infinite.

.I find the new debate is often “it’s the law but I shouldn’t have to obey it cause technology makes it easy to break.”

What an odd thing to say. While you may find that’s often the debate (I don’t), it’s certainly not the debate we’re having here.

You may find that, but it’s not the debate we have here.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I'm not buying this

“it’s the law but I shouldn’t have to obey it cause technology makes it easy to break.”

This is not the debate. The debate around technology is that copying is so easy, and so common place, that enforcing the law is impossible, and it would be easier to change the law to make it more enforceable than to try and get everyone to uphold the current law, or make the law even stricter. People breaking the law do so not because it’s easy, but because their chances of getting caught are next to nothing. Plus there’s a certain disrespect for the current law.

As for copyright terms – they have been repeatedly extended so that works that should be in the public domain today are not. This is how we have been robbed – through legislation largely written or endorsed by the world’s largest copyright holders. The terms are not forever, but nearly everything created in the last century will never be available to me during my lifetime without asking permission, and it will be increasingly difficult to figure out who to ask permission from as you try to track down owners of 100 year old works. Consequently, more and more works are orphaned – legally unavailable to anyone because nobody knows who owns them – which is a huge mess. They are essentially not a part of culture anymore. The culture we end up with, then, is only the culture that makes a profit. A real picture of history and culture can’t be made until everything is available to us – not just the things that are still popular enough to make it economically feasible to make them available.

The only good argument I’ve heard for abolishing copyright is that the system is so corrupt that even if you reform the laws, they will return to the way they are now within a hundred years. That to me is less a problem with copyright than it is a problem with the whole legal system itself.

I’ve had these debates with myself. I’m an artist and I want to be supported and I want to support other artists. Then I realized that I’ve essentially been a pirate since 1985, when my public library started carrying CDs. If the government is willing to horde CDs and let me copy them for free then it’s easy to extend this to the internet and view it as the world’s biggest library. In the long run, access to knowledge is more important than financially supporting dead artists. And despite three decades of so-called piracy, I still spent thousands of dollars on music and concerts and stuff, and the recorded music industry had tremendous growth through most of that time.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I'm not buying this

retro active laws, ARE AGAINST THE LAW..

Is that TECh has made MATERIALS for recording CHEAP.
It no long takes 10 miles of Plastic 35mm tape to record a movie..
iT dont TAKE A GREAT equipment to BURN A VYNL DISK..

mASS production is simple and EASY..

So WHy havnt the prices gone down?

In REALITY a DVD should be about $5-10..
AND with good tech you could DROP it to $1.
But they dont want to DO IT…they would rather SOMEONE ELSE, spend the money and do it…NOT THEMSELVES. Ask, HULU and Itunes..THEN they can BLAME THEM, if it dont work..
(find HULU’s contracts that keep changing Every month, or Itunes)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not buying this

I am interested how you get paid for what you do and if copyright in any way contributes to your income

I ran a software house for most of my career and got paid by selling my products retail as well as selling SDKs for use by other developers.

I don’t know how to answer the “if copyright contributes” part of the question. Is my work copyrighted? Yes. Did it contribute to my income? Who knows? How is that even computed? Since I’ve never sued anyone for infringement (even though my work has been pirated plenty), I’m inclined to say no, it did not contribute even though I’ve been extremely profitable.

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