Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-long-and-the-short-of-it dept

For the past several weeks, the top comments have been largely dominated by shorter submissions — but not so this week. Brevity has taken a back-seat to comprehensiveness, as it sometimes must do. First up, taking the top spot on the insightful side, is Rich Kulawiec with thoughts on how network neutrality, and just smart network architecture, is at odds with the legacy content industries:

The fundamental rift between decentralization and control

And this, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, is where network neutrality collides head-on with the MPAA and the RIAA and their cronies.

The BitTorrent folks are right: there’s no technical reason why content couldn’t be pulled to network endpoints and then re-pulled from there, alleviating the necessity to drag it down from centralized servers again and again and again and again. (If you think this sounds like a torrent: you’re right.)

But that would require giving up the one thing that (some) content creators absolutely, positively do not want to give up: control.

They want their timed release windows. They want their DRM. They want control over what gets delivered, how it gets delivered, when it gets delivered, what can be done with it, how long it persists, they want EVERYTHING.

And they’re not going to give up for anyone.

So Netflix can’t send back a response to your “Download the latest Michael Bay atrocity” request that translates to “Nah. Someone on who is topologically 1 hop from you has it, download it from them, it’ll be much faster”. Even though this would be better for Netflix, better for you, better for your ISP and even better for your neighbor (when their turn comes). It’s not better for Hollywood so, well, fuck all of you very much.

Observers who are observing will notice that net neutrality didn’t become a technological and political football UNTIL the content in question acquired two properties: (1) it’s large and (2) it’s owned by Hollywood. Nobody cared when it was a few web pages flying around or some email messages or Usenet articles or instant messages or DNS queries or FTP transfers or any of that. But now…okay NOW, it’s a big deal. And while everyone is — rightly so — pummeling Comcast and Verizon, it would be good to remember that Hollywood could make a lot of this problem vanish (nearly) overnight.

In second place, we’ve got an anonymous comment asking why the Chicago cops who verbally and physically abused a massage parlor employee are only facing a lawsuit:

Interesting phrasing

“Defendant DI PASQUALE: No you’re not! No, you’re not a citizen! No, you’re not! No, you’re not! You’re here on our borrowed time. So mind your fucking business before I shut this whole fucking place down. And I’ll take this place and then whoever owns it will fucking kill you because they don’t care about you, OK? I’ll take this building. You’ll be dead and your family will be dead.”

Why isn’t this sociopath under federal indictment for threatening an act of mass murder?

I thought we had some federal agencies somewhere who were kinda sorta tasked with maybe investigating threats of terrorism every now and then if they aren’t too busy doing other things. Given that most of the time they’re working off rumors and suggestions and hints, I’d think that a 40-minute recorded confession would be a lot more helpful. And since their mission is to defend Americans, why wouldn’t they take an immediate and substantial interest in this? It’s certainly a far more substantial threat (coming from a heavily-armed man who has already assaulted someone) than more of the ones we hear about.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got two comments in response to Wil Wheaton’s refreshingly open and direct discussion of the massive opportunities and challenges in building a successful TV show these days. First, That Anonymous Coward suggests a closer look at just how revenues are acquired and the price of eyeballs is calculated:

I have a question.
How much do the advertisers pay per eyeball on the show?
Is it just some magical made up number from Neilson Families or secret spying by Smart Tvs?
How do they count people who DVR, or catch it at a friends house?

Despite the snark, I’m actually curious.

Using advertising to support the shows is an age old pattern, that really no longer applies.

We have DVR’s, we have DVR’s that despite idiotic lawsuits offer commercial skipping. Instead of paying for a lawsuit that if you win will make your customers hate you more, could they have done some math and figured out how much they earn per person?

Let us say, that they earn 10 cents a head they can count.
So then why not offer the show via an online portal for 15 cents, as it aired. They earn the ad revenue, we can show x downloads and a portion of the payment (after paying for the portal).
Then could they offer the same show for 50 cents without any advertising in it?

Yes my numbers are contrived, but the theory is sound.
If they made it available for purchase at an attractive price, wouldn’t viewership go up earning them more?
If people weren’t spending $100+ a month for 6983 channels they never want to watch, would they then put that money to use to get what they really want?

And before they go insane, don’t tie the portal to some sort of idiotic DRM scheme. Consider that even if it makes it into the wild out of your control, you might get even more viewers as they decide the price is right and there is no reason to find an alternative way to get it. Yes some people will never pay you, so? You weren’t going to get that money ever anyways.

People will pay for what they like provided…
– the price is right
– they get to “own” what they paid for
– they get to decide the how, where, when of how they watch it
– you stop treating them like crap

I’d really love to see how many of these execs who talk about all the different “awesome” failed platforms they subject the customers to actually ever used them personally.
If they faced the same things their customers did, perhaps they would finally get why what they are doing isn’t going to work.

14,000,000 people pay you $1 for an episode… seems like a win for a 24 episode season.

(Though I wouldn’t say advertising models are obsolete, they absolutely need to be joined by other innovative models, and the traditional TV industry really needs to keep thinking further and further outside the box.)

Meanwhile, another commenter on that post thought this was evidence of Wheaton shooting himself in the foot with support of free culture, and wondered if he would succeed at ” finding ways to monetize content that doesn’t involve selling swag.” Karl pointed out that Wheaton’s way ahead of such naysayers:

…which he has already done.

If you don’t know this already, Wheaton has an awesome show on Geek and Sundry called “TableTop.”

For the first two seasons, it was funded by YouTube/Google through their paid channels. But that funding dried up after the second season.

So, they launched an IndieGoGo campaign:

They initially asked for $500K to fund a shortened third season, with $750K funding a full season, and one million dollars funding a spin-off show.

By the time the campaign ended, they had raised nearly a million and a half dollars, over three times the original goal.

All of this from people who had never once paid for the show, who had only watched it on YouTube, and who simply wanted to see the next season happen.

In fact, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the success of TableTop is a major reason why Wheaton got a show on the SyFy network in the first place.

Over on the funny side, we’ve got another winner from Rich Kulawiec. This time, it’s a response to Malibu Media’s absurd claim that its critics belong to a “psychopathic hate group”:

Legal memorandum

To: Mary K. Shultz
From: Psychopathic Hate Groups
Subject: Your filing Gov Uscourts Ilnd 287310 94 1

We, joined with our brothers and sisters in the Amalgamated Union of Dictators and Tyrants, the Organization for Costumed Super Villains, the Fascist Communist Socialist Anarchists Front for the Liberation of Erewhon, and the really tall guy in 301B (don’t ask) must earnestly protest against your characterization of FightCopyrightTrolls. They are not a psychopathic hate group, as they have not yet passed certification for that title. We would of course be happy to entertain their request for membership, and if they passed the qualifying exam AND the applied field exercise, we would grant them membership status; but as yet they have not even applied.

We must therefore ask you not to accord them a title which they have not yet earned, as this devalues the lifelong achievements of others who have been vetted by our rigorous processes and who are thus entitled to display our emblem (a single lone figure wielding a long pointy stick, standing a pile of composed of equal parts slain opponents and freshly-crushed minions).

Generalissimo Francisco Franco
Ming the Merciless
Darth “Bubbles” Vader
The guy from 301B

And now, the section of long comments comes to a close, and we finish things out with some short ones. Second place for funny goes to Michael for trying to understand the odd one out (a sanitation officer amidst top-level politicians and officials) in the list of “anonymous” targets of email hacker Guccifer:

Victims 1, 3, 4, and 5 handed the American people a load of s*** and victim #2 dealt with one?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start with a comment from ChurchHatesTucker, who figured out how Snowden-haters could spin the story of him helping a reporter who had a seizure during a remote video interview:

Snowden deploys epilepsy-inducing robots against reporters!

And finally, in further response to Malibu Media’s hyperbolic temper tantrum, an anonymous commenter offered them this simple reminder

A list of all the times attacking the internet has helped:

(For a much longer list, see “all the times attacking the internet has helped the other side.”)

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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vegetaman (profile) says:

Thanks to the techdirt news about him, I’ve made it a point to catch Wil Wheaton’s show on SyFy. I must admit, it’s pretty good. Far more interesting than most of the stuff that has taken over that channel ever since they quit being “SciFi” (in more ways than one).

Now if they’d just bring back MST3K… And have them riff on their own scifi originals…

Wnatever says:


at odds with the legacy content industries

Every time I read this phrase, I chuckle.

If you want to get rid of the “legacy” industries, stop treating them as current. It’s pretty simple. Stop consuming, stop making it profitable, and they will change or die.

Calling them dinosaurs and them watching commercial filled TV, paying for a movie rental, or even consuming their products as a pirated download perpetuates them.

They are only legacy when you treat them like a legacy. Otherwise, they are current, and you are filled with hot air, keyboard rage, and wasted time.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: legacy

You misunderstand if you think I wish to see them die, or if you think I care that much if they change. What I’m opposed to is them attempting to take the third option: abusing and changing laws in the hopes they can survive without adapting.

You ask us to “stop making it profitable” — but why would we want to do that? I’m happy to see them make a profit. They are the ones complaining that their profit is at risk, and fighting for draconian copyright law and against open network design on that rationale.

Whatever says:

Re: Re: legacy

I’m opposed to is them attempting to take the third option: abusing and changing laws in the hopes they can survive without adapting.

It only matters if you are a consumer of their product. The law doesn’t touch you if you aren’t trying to share their movies or music. So your argument is sort of self defeating, you are only subject to their actions if you choose to be.

You ask us to “stop making it profitable” — but why would we want to do that?

it’s pretty simple. As long as they are making enough money to keep perpetuating their business models, they will do so, and they will spend the money earned from you to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: legacy

“The law doesn’t touch you if you aren’t trying to share their movies or music”

Apparently you have not been paying attention as that statement is incorrect.

“you are only subject to their actions if you choose to be.”

If only this were the case … however, in the real world there is collateral damage.

“and they will spend the money earned from you to do it.”

.. and they will ask for taxes upon the public in order to increase “profit”.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: legacy

It only matters if you are a consumer of their product. The law doesn’t touch you if you aren’t trying to share their movies or music. So your argument is sort of self defeating, you are only subject to their actions if you choose to be.

That could not be further from the truth. Rarely a week goes by that we don’t hear several stories of bogus DMCA takedowns, spurious lawsuits and dishonest threat letters targeting perfectly legitimate content.

When the industry pushes for SOPA-like powers to arbitrarily shut down whatever it feels like online, that effects everyone. When Hollywood gets a through-line to the FBI and has the agency acting as its private police force, that’s a national concern.

When the industry pushed for automatic copyright, it became the case for every single person: whether you want it or not, you get a copyright on everything, and it’s very difficult to eliminate that copyright — it’s not your choice anymore. When the industry pushed for copyright extension, it applied not only to everyone living and still unborn, but to plenty of people long dead — it took countless works out of the public domain and flagrantly broke the contract with the public that copyright represents.

it’s pretty simple. As long as they are making enough money to keep perpetuating their business models, they will do so, and they will spend the money earned from you to do it.

Again… more power to them! If they can perpetuate their business models, that’s fine by me, and I hope they make a profit doing so. They just don’t get to change and abuse laws in order to accomplish that, nor should they continue whining about the obstacles they face. So long as they continue to do so, I’ll call them “legacy” and feel just fine about it, thanks very much.

David Miller (user link) says:

Interesting Comments

Few funny ones there. Do you guys really think that the eventually cable companies will have their way? I mean looking at the outrage against them, and the flak the government will receive for abetting this, do you think they will go ahead with abolishing net neutrality? Someone should start an petition against this, or is there one already? Us at 31West would love to sign on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Your 1st commentneeds fleshing out vis-a-vis Hollyweird and NN

Onthe surface, Hollyweird is all about drm and suchlike, and as long as they get that, they could give a shit about where something comes from. They want a 1:1 between viewers or views and the ‘ol cha-ching. But actually they a secondary interest in undermining network neutrality…

ISPs of course want nn dead since otherwise they have a great (for them) ‘opportunity’ to do nothing they don’t have to do anyway- increase the throughput and speed, (lest the US internet speeds become even more of a world joke and Congress decides to classify them as a dysfunctional utility and begin regulation) – and charge more for effectively doing nothing.

NN is about stopping ISPs from creating artificial shortages so they can charge more for literally providing less.

If you ever saw the movie Total Recall , then you’ve been exposed to the idea. Throttle a resource through inaction and witholding normal progress thus turning it into a scarce resource which you can then induce an auction pricing scheme upon, setting the price as high as the highest bidder will bear.

That pricing scheme induces large players – like Hollywood- to overbid and overpay for the very calculated purpose of destroying market competition from smaller players, who now cannot afford the access needed to compete.

There are whitepapers flosting around both industries outlining exactly this – I have read the ISP oriented one. It’s an open secret that hid is what it’s all about. Turn he internet into broadcast TV, complete with artifially limited bandwidth and exclusionary pricing structures, so they can go on making money the way they know how and keep the innovations and it has to be ssid, political voice of ordinary people out.

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