Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the truth-to-stupid dept

This week’s most insightful comments both take the form of replies to folks who weren’t quite getting the point. First up, after Texas tossed out an anti-photography law as a first amendment violation, one commenter balked at what they saw as a gift to peeping toms and pedophiles. Chris Rhodes took first place by reminding them that making that distinction, and targeting true bad actors, was the entire point:

Did . . . did you even read the article?

Privacy constitutes a compelling government interest when the privacy interest is substantial and the invasion occurs in an intolerable manner. We agree with the State that substantial privacy interests are invaded in an intolerable manner when a person is photographed without consent in a private place, such as the home, or with respect to an area of the person that is not exposed to the general public, such as up a skirt.

But ? 21.15(b)(1) contains no language addressing privacy concerns. The provision certainly applies to situations in which privacy has been violated, but that is because the provision applies broadly to any non-consensual act of photography or visual recording I mean, seriously, it’s right there. The court specifically acknowledges that there could be a law to protect privacy in places where privacy is expected, but that this one is over-broad.

Court: “This law not only criminalizes actions unprotected by the first amendment, but also actions protected by the first amendment. Narrow it down a bit.”

Meanwhile, as we discussed a new bill designed to prevent copyright from screwing with first sale rights and diminishing your true ownership of devices that you purchase, one of our regular critics trotted out the old argument that people should be perfectly happy merely licensing their devices and losing all sorts of rights as a result. An anonymous commenter took second place by dismantling that silly argument for the umpteenth time:

The purchaser obtained a physical good, such as a cell phone, a GPS receiver, or a car. The physical good happens to require manufacturer-installed software to serve its function. While copyright precludes the purchaser from unauthorized duplication of the software that came with the device, it should not preclude transferring the device to another willing purchaser. For most people, it is neither intuitive nor even logical that the physical good should come with first sale restrictions just because the manufacturer decided to include copyrighted material as an implementation detail. Although this is long gone, I remember some early software licenses expressly recognized first sale by stating that you could transfer the software to someone else, provided you gave them all the pieces, both physical and digital, that you received in your purchase and that you retained no copy of the item after the transfer. We have now abandoned not only the ability to transfer a software product under first sale, but gone the other direction by saying that anything which happens to include software as an implementation detail should be as encumbered as a pure-software product.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ll start with another anonymous commenter, who focused on refuting a different assertion by the same critic — the ludicrous idea that copyright creates property rights:

It destroys them. My right to copy as I please is a property right. I have the right to modify my property the way I see fit based on the configuration of the property of others. It’s a natural right. I never agreed not to copy someone else or ‘pirate’ their product. It’s an act of government that imposes these restrictions on my property rights telling me what I may or may not do with my property.

The whole idea that you should have to ‘buy’ a license in the first place is what’s misleading/misdirecting. I shouldn’t have to buy a license, it’s my right to freely copy as I please. Anything contrary to that is an artificial act of government abridging my property rights to do what I want with my property.

Though I’m sure you will still dishonestly claim that copy protection laws are natural rights despite the fact that they don’t meet the definition and despite the fact that even many of the sources you cite disagree with you.

This week, we also made an extensive case for why net neutrality is not about the government taking over the internet. But that’s an uphill battle, and our final anonymous editor’s choice for insightful reminds us why:

You have very good points in this article.
However, Comcast’s counterpoint has a lot of zeros at the end of it.

Over on the funny side, we start with a comment on David Letterman’s spat with the Eagles over a refusal to license their music. Michael crafted a nice little remix in response:

Ok, let’s all take it easy on the Eagles. This desperado Letterman has gone overboard with his lyin’ eyes. If he is going to take it to the limit like this and cause an uproar, one of these nights the Eagles may decide that suing him may be the last resort, but still worth it.

So remember, when you are living life in the fast lane, you need to be careful because you could wind up in court and whether you win or lose, all of your money could be already gone. In the long run, it’s just not worth it to play their music.

Our second place winner on the funny side all starts out with a simple question. We asked why the Obama administration hadn’t weighed in during the FCC’s net neutrality comment period — Vidiot had a possible answer:

The President couldn’t post comments to the FCC; he exceeded his monthly bandwidth cap.

But someone’s been getting off too easy so far, and that’s U2, with their oh-so-compelling plans to create a new music format that is immune to piracy. So for editor’s choice, we’ve got two replies to that announcement, starting with another comment from Michael:

When I am thinking about who to work with for developing complex software designed to prevent people from accessing it in an unauthorized manner, I always have out-of-touch aging rock stars at the top of my list.

If this is being worked on, somewhere there is a group of Apple developers rolling there eyes at the notion that U2 could be adding any kind of value to their work.

Adam, on the other hand, is a little more optimistic — he thinks they might just be able to pull it off:

18 months from now; headline: Secure New Music Format Debuts; U2 Only Playlists; No One Pirates.


Given that U2 now has the dubious distinction of being a band that people actively resist having on their phones and iPods, he might have a point.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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