Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the minecraft-and-boxing dept

Much of the political debate around encryption, such as that on display in a congressional hearing this week, has been characterized by a fundamentally flawed understanding of the most basic principles. Mason Wheeler won most insightful comment this week by underlining one such example:

Someone needs to sit this guy down and explain Kerckhoff’s Principle to him. It’s one of the most fundamental rules of information security: The Adversary Knows The System.

It means that any valid discussion of security must begin from the assumption that the bad guys who are trying to break in already know everything about how your system works, but does not necessarily already know the key, and if you can’t show that the system is still secure against such an adversary, you have to assume it’s not secure.

Kerckhoff’s Principle rejects the very concept of a “front door” that the good guys can use but hackers can’t gain access to. If there’s another way in besides the private key, you must assume that the bad guys know all about it.

Meanwhile, HBO and Showtime tried to change some basic principles of copyright by pre-suing a site that planned to stream an upcoming boxing match. This raises a bunch of interesting questions, and second place for insightful went to an anonymous commenter who proposed a reversal of the idea:

Wait, if they can sue for anticipated copyright, then can we sue for anticipated public domain? I mean, technically all copyrighted works do eventually fall into the public domain, right? If their whole argument is hinging on eventualities, then why can’t we do so for the public domain which is a definite eventuality?

For editor’s choice, we start with another anonymous commenter who made a point on that post which is oversimplified but serves as a starting point for a lot of important discussion:

Sporting events should not be copyrightable. Period. To say otherwise is utter insanity.

(The catch, of course, is that the copyright is on the coverage of the event, which is a work of authorship. But this still raises the question of just how much protection such coverage actually qualifies for, based on which aspects of it genuinely involve creative choices and how much is just neutral documentation of facts.)

For our next editor’s choice, we pivot as we so rarely do to a Daily Dirt post, which discussed the Singaporean test question that lit the internet on fire. One person in the comments objected to it being called a math problem when it was really a logic problem, prompting Different Anonymous Coward to offer this well-conceived rejoinder:

If you think any given logic puzzle has nothing to do with math you either need to go deeper into logic until you hit math, or deeper into math until you hit logic.

Over on the funny side, we start out on our post about the latest moral panic: Minecraft and kids. Some parents shared their own stories about the game, and NoahVail‘s became the funniest comment of the week:

My kid roped me into launching a MC server

One of my kids wanted to setup a Minecraft server.

Two years later I’m managing & hosting 2 Minecraft servers w/ most of 100k usernames and my kid has wandered off onto the next project.

I did my bit. I got involved with my kid playing MC and now I’m saddled with running his online community.

At least pets die eventually. I don’t know how long game servers live for.


In second place we’ve got Michael, who observed that the recent takedown of Dan Bull’s Death To ACTA video was spurring a well-known Effect:

So a 5 year old YouTube video that pretty much everyone has forgotten about is back in the news because someone is trying to silence it.

Apparently Dan’s marketing strategy is working!

For editor’s choice, we start out with one more parental Minecraft story, this time from James Blackburn:

My kids (10 and 12) are RUINED by this game. The last parent – teacher interviews I had I was told how my kids are sickeningly respectful to authority, work well with others, and to top it all off, will include other classmates in projects or activities when those kids are being left out by others.

(Full disclosure: I said “You sure you have my kids in mind??”)

Oh, and to top it off, not only do they amaze me with what they make on that game (although really how anyone can sit for more than 5 mins on that game amazes me), they have come up with some pretty creative crafts using ordinary items around the house because of that game.

So, yeah. Terrible game.

Finally, we’ve got another comment regarding the bizarre attempt to pre-sue for copyright infringement. Chris-Mouse asked a critical question:

Copyright only exists once the work is created in a fixed format.

Are they saying the fight is fixed?

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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Whatever (profile) says:

pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

I followed this story with interest because I feel that it’s the perfect example of how to twist facts to suit an agenda.

An injunction isn’t very unusual. Injunctions are sought all of the time to stop people from doing bad things that they have threatened to do. That can be anything such as stalking, threats, or people who insist on returning to places they are barred from. Injuctions can be used to stop strikes or other harmful actions, or even stop a company or individual from selling or buying an asset, depending on circumstances.

Since HBO and Showtime have exclusive broadcast rights and are the only live coverage provider, they have existing contractual rights without considering copyright at all. That is to say anyone saying “we will live stream the fight” would be in direct violation of the signed contract between HBO, Showtime, and the promoters of the fight. For anyone to claim to be offering the fight live is directly in violation of that exclusive agreement, and is certainly a valid basis for an injunction.

Copyright doesn’t even really enter into it, except to say that IF, after everything, they do stream it, they would be in violation of copryight at that point but only in addition to violating the exclusive agreement reached between HBO and the promoter.

The injunction doesn’t need copyright to go forward. The results of ignoring the injunction would involve copyright.

Twisting the story to say it’s about ‘pre-suing for copyright violation” is to ignore the concept of contract law and terms of exclusivity. I am sure it plays well around here (and on Torrent Freak, who lived up to their names by totally freaking out about this). It shows some serious twisting of facts to try to make a point, and it’s a solid fail.

Carry on…. see you guys next month.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

That is to say anyone saying “we will live stream the fight” would be in direct violation of the signed contract between HBO, Showtime, and the promoters of the fight.

I have just signed an contract with my neighbor banning you from Techdirt, and so we will now go and get an institution to force you to comply with a contract you have never seen; so don’t bother coming back next month.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

Funny to see you mention Torrentfreak, bobmail, after you got caught out trolling under multiple names and got your ass banned from it after the mods figured out who you were and instituted compulsory Disqus accounts to comment.

And what a surprise, you refuse to answer queries in the previous threads because the sight of PaulT makes you wet your pants. The sheer amount of butthurt you exude is impressive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

I’d like to see compulsory Disqus accounts here at Techdirt so that are no more ACs and the regulars can’t also post as ACs. That’d be cool.

Then maybe less ad hom like this. Of course, fewer comments, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay;

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

No, accurate or not a statement can still be an ad hom, all that’s required for it to qualify is attacking the person rather than their argument.

For example:

“You’re an idiot.” – Ad hom, adds nothing to the conversation, and is nothing but a personal attack, even if it happens to be true. Deserves to be reported.

“You’re an idiot, and here’s the reasons why…” – Dicey, as it involves both a personal attack and an evidence based-rebuttal. May or may not be reported, depending on the insult-to-evidence ratio.

“You’re wrong, and here’s why…” – Acceptable, as it’s stating disagreement in a civil fashion, and providing evidence to back up the rebuttal. Does not deserve to be reported.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

Speaking of twisting the facts to suit an agenda…

First, you cannot be bound by a contract you yourself are not party to, so the ‘it would violate the contract between the parties’ argument is groundless, and without that all they have is copyright, which is probably why all three ’cause for action’ claims are copyright ones.

Seriously, people can easily check these things, did you really think you’d be able to re-write the basis for their legal filing and no-one would notice?

Second, and this is the really important bit, is that if they were only asking for a judgement barring the site from broadcasting the fight, that would be one thing, yet they also asked for ‘actual damages, profits and/or statutory damages’, for something that had not happened yet, and this despite that they claimed that airing the fight would cause ‘irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law’ and which would cause damages ‘that cannot be accurately computed at this time’.

So which is it, are the damages impossible to calculate, or aren’t they? And how exactly does something that never happened thanks to the court order cause any damages at all?

It’s utterly logically inconsistent to both demand that something be kept from happening due to the harm it would cause, and demanding that the harm that didn’t happen thanks to the injunction that was filed be treated as though it had when it comes to handing out monetary fines.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: pre-infringement... it's all how you look at it.

Since HBO and Showtime have exclusive broadcast rights and are the only live coverage provider, they have existing contractual rights without considering copyright at all.

They have exclusive broadcast rights because of… wait for it… copyright.

I could also repeat what everyone else said about how anyone who isn’t a party to the contract isn’t bound by it. They can only sell the exclusive rights because copyright gives them exclusive rights in the first place.

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