Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the when-you-walk-through-the-garden dept

Thanks to The Wire, Baltimore is where many people first learned what a Stingray device was — but the revelation that the real Baltimore PD has deployed them thousands of times and hidden that information from the courts goes far beyond the wiretap-misuse by its fictional equivalent. Mason Wheeler won most insightful comment this week with his reaction to the department’s troubling instructions to the FBI:

?Does it instruct you to withhold evidence from the state?s attorney and the circuit court of Baltimore city, even if upon order to produce?? asked defense attorney Joshua Insley.

?Yes,? Cabreja replied, saying he spoke with the FBI last week about the case.

This is the thing that mystifies me about all this.

An NDA is a contract. How can anyone–and particularly an expert whose professional specialty is the law–think that a contract between two specific parties can somehow trump a generally-applicable law? And more specifically, how can anyone think that a contract can trump obligations to a court, when a court’s authority is obviously greater by the simple fact that a court has the power to declare a contract unenforceable?

As it happens, The Wire was just added to Canada’s Netflix this year. Prior to that, plenty of Canadians used a VPN to watch the show from the US collection, in an act that big media companies are now saying violates copyright law (actually they were talking about New Zealand, which has it even worse in terms of access). Second place for insightful this week goes to pixelpusher220, who pointed out that this is really getting ridiculous:

I do like how now even PAYING for content is being classified as infringement.

It’s not like Netflix provides content for free. Wouldn’t it be fraud to take customers money and then not provide them the service they paid for?

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ll stick around on that post for an anonymous comment that beautifully (with one notable typo) lays out how tragic the bigger picture is in conflicts like this:

It baffels me still…

that so many people want to ruin the best opportunity the world has ever had.
I am not just talking about money here, but the worlds greatest library. The greatest opportunity for understanding each other across borders. The internet is probably the single greatest global achievement the world has ever made, and we made it together.
Yes, there is violence, trolls, arguments and silly pictures a plenty… but this is also the best insight into different cultures and people that we have ever had.
The internet is not just the 8’th wonder of the world, it is greater than the others combined… and still some people are only interested in tearing it down. How sad these people are.

Next, we’ve got a long comment from Socrates providing a piece-by-piece response to some criticism of the EFF’s dealings with the USPTO:

Knowing full well that once more what I have to say will be met with the blunt force of TD’s lack of experience in matters of practicing before the USPTO

Yes, serial applicants have more experience in practicing before the USPTO than Techdirt. The implication that only those who profit from a malpractice should be allowed to criticize it is borderline funny though.

, I am disappointed that once more this site is coming to the defense of EFF staff who choose to engage the USPTO on substantive matters that implicate prosecution practice without having demonstrated any substantive knowledge of the rules governing such practice.

And yet EFF proves it understands Alice, and show a “patent” rejected by a federal court under Alice and does a side-by-side comparison of the refiled “patent” proving that the USPTO either doesn’t understand it or perhaps even flout the Supreme court.

I find it interesting that neither of the EFF’s supposed experts is even admitted to practice before the USPTO, and yet they seem not to have the slightest reluctance to mock the office when it raises issues with which such experts disagree.

The side-by-side comparison shame the USPTO for all to see. Perhaps that is why the USPTO invoke the Streisand effect? The purely fact based analysis is not mocking, or indeed opinion at all. The silliness is all the USPTOs.

Obviously the EFF has found a home at TD, but given its reaction as outlined in this article it is no wonder why its effectiveness in patent matters is presently marginal at best.

Neither EFF nor TD is a failed serial applicant. EFF and TD is simply not serial applicants at all. Their effectiveness in patent matters is thus not relevant. Perhaps they choose to have morals instead?

If you intended to say effectiveness in limiting malpractice in patent matters, by informing decision makers and bring about such decisions as Alice, there is ample evidence that you are mistaken. Few if any have had such a positive effect.

Even if one disagrees with the USPTO, there are ways to present such a disagreement without resort to approaches such as the infantile one utilized in this instance.

Proving that a serial litigant, serial aplicant, refile a rejected “patent” and USPTO approve it, is not infantile. Perhaps you ment infallible?

Over on the funny side, we start out on the story of YouTuber Angry Joe, who has sworn off Nintendo videos after the company blocked him from monetizing one. One commenter very reasonably asked how such a video wasn’t fair use, and another anonymously responded:

Let’s Play ad revenue: $250
Lawsuit to defend Let’s Play ad revenue: $8,000,000
explicit fair use law: priceless

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there is the Supreme Court.

In second place, we head to our post asserting that the patent system is faith-based and ignores all the data. It’s hard to argue with that, but if anyone’s going to try, it’s someone we all (unfortunately) know, who demanded an example of someone who ignores the data. Well, that’s an easy one, and DogBreath quickly provided it, with a mirror:


For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on a post that provides a perfect example of the kind of rituals the USPTO’s faith requires: shuffling things in the system to make sure the notable nine-millionth patent wasn’t an embarrassing one. Dfed guessed what came next:

Patent #9000001, however, was a “Method for practically gaming the USPTO patent system to achieve numerical synergy.”

Finally, we head to our post about Comcast and its pleas that it has most certainly not paid anyone to support its merger with Time Warner Cable. Karl suggested that anyone who believes that shouldn’t be put in charge of anything, including your lawn care, but one anonymous commenter smartly pushed back on that last point:

I most certainly would put them in charge of lawn care. Do you know how much high-quality composted manure costs?

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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TKnarr (profile) says:

Mason Wheeler's comment

Cabreja wasn’t asked whether the NDA would legally permit them to withhold the evidence if ordered by the court to produce it. He was asked whether the NDA said to withhold it, which it did regardless of whether or not he can legally comply with that instruction. Lawyers and legal cases live or die by that kind of non-obvious distinction.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Mason Wheeler's comment

Whether he ignored the NDA to comply with the court order, or followed the NDA and refused the court order, the fact remains, the NDA specifically instructs police and others to ignore court orders, so either the ones drafting it believe that they are above the law, or don’t care whether they’re requiring people to break it or not.

It Came From Planet Tor! says:

If anyone wants laughs, read Techdirt's Press page!

Last entry Tue, 23 Jun 2009.

The high-falutin’ “framework” and “analysis” in which savvy professionals would provide FREE solutions somehow slid right into advocating piracy! Be sure to note the word “proprietary”: Masnick says one thing, does another.

Masnick must be over 40 by now. Time for mid-life crisis. Take a sabbatical, frat boy. I suggest farm work because you need to learn economics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If anyone wants laughs, read Techdirt's Press page!

What you just posted is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response did you approach anything even resembling a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Anonymous Coward says:

A Note On Usage


[origin: Middle Ankh-Morporkian]

A profound state of bewilderment peculiar to Constables, City Watchmen and others involved in law enforcement; an inability to grasp essential facts, esp. when the facts are grasping essential body parts. Typically used in newspaper headlines.

Example 1: Potatoes Missing, Police Baffeled
Example 2: Angry Dog Baffels Constable: “I don’t know why that beshitted animal bit me on the shin.”

Anonymous Coward says:


I got a funny of the week?! Coolness!

(In full disclosure, I am actually able to get my well-composted manure for free. Mr. Horsie and his friends are quite prolific and there’s a very nice, large hill of well-aged stuff that I can dig into to bring home for the garden. If I had to buy it, though… yikes! that’s some expensive $h!t!)

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