Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the another-double dept
This week, we’re back to something that’s been happening with impressive frequency: a double win for That One Guy, who took both of the top spots on the insightful side. In first place, we’ve got some musings on our post about copyright’s free speech problem:
A complete reversal of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’, no penalty for fraudulent claims(intentional or simply negligent), no need to demonstrate actual harm. Fix those three things and you fix a good chunk of what’s wrong with current copyright law.
If a copyright owner wants something taken down, make it so they have to take the matter to court to demonstrate that the item/use in question is infringing, with the content remaining up until that requirement is met. They have to demonstrate infringement(including how fair use doesn’t apply), the accused isn’t put in the position where they have to demonstrate how it’s not.
If someone sends out a handful of bogus copyright claims, then give them some minor penalties, like a monetary fine or prohibition from sending out other claims for a certain amount of time. If they send out numerous false claims, or it is demonstrated that they sent one in bad faith such that any reasonable person could see that there isn’t infringement, then hit them with drastically harsher penalties, up to and including revocation of the copyright in question.
And lastly completely toss away ‘statutory damages’, such that if the copyright owner wants to claim that a given example of infringement has caused them harm, they have to actually provide evidence demonstrating this, not just claim it and have it treated as fact without supporting evidence. Want to claim that someone downloading a song, album, movie or whatever resulted in thousands or more in ‘damages’? Have fun providing evidence to support that claim. Barring that evidence, have the penalties for infringement set at a more sane level, say three to five times the cost of the item in question. Heavy enough to hurt and provide incentive to get it legally next time, but not enough to bankrupt someone unless they’ve been downloading everything in sight.
(And as a happy side-effect doing so would absolutely gut copyright trolls, as they’d lose their biggest threat they use to get people to pay up. It’s one thing to threaten people with fines potentially large enough to buy a car or even house with, ‘Pay us or pay $60-100 in court if found guilty’ just doesn’t have the same punch to it)
Time to update the saying
“Better 99 innocent people be stripped of their ability to adequately defend themselves in court, resulting in wrongful guilty convictions, than 1 guilty person use their ill-gotten gains to defend themself in court and thereby avoid a guilty verdict.”
That’s pretty much what the government and the dissenting judges are arguing for, that an accusation of guilt pre-trial is more than enough justification to punish someone not just once but twice, first by seizing their funds, and second in removing their ability to defend themself by doing so. Thankfully for all sanity seems to have prevailed among the majority of SC judges this time around, I just wish it hadn’t been so close a call.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we return to our story about copyright and free speech, where TKnarr had a response to those who claim copyright isn’t used as egregiously as many complaints allege:
So, Northland Family Planning Clinics v. Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, 2012 didn’t happen? Nor did 4 Navy SEALS v. Associated Press, 2005? Nor did Savage v. CAIR, 2009? All of those cases were cited in the article, and in all of them it was the side favoring copyright making the argument that you didn’t need to explicitly copy to infringe and that even what we’d normally consider fair use required permission from the copyright holder.
Yes, my position’s anti-copyright, or at least anti-“copyright as interpreted by the copyright holders”. But if it’s bullcrap, you’d best look at where it’s coming from because it’s not mine, I’m simply citing actual statements and actions by the pro-copyright side as to how they want copyright to be interpreted. If it’s bullcrap, it’s pro-copyright bullcrap because that’s who spewed it. I just pointed out the reeking pile they dumped.
Next, and as a perfect example of this kind of silliness, we’ve got AnonCow‘s should-be-conversation-ending note on the Led Zeppelin copyright case that will be heard by a jury:
Similar? Yes. Inspired by? Probably. But is it a copy? No.
If you don’t believe me? Look at the sheet music for the two songs.
“Sounds somewhat similar to an untrained ear” is NOT the basis for copyright.
Over on the funny side, first place goes to David for continuing the metaphor that “the cash got arrested”:
And after serving time, it got a job in the government.
If that is not rehabilitation, I don’t know what is.
In second place, we’ve got PR Guy doing his marketing job with style after our look into the many things UC Davis fought to keep off the internet:
In other news
UC Davis is has changed it’s name to: UC Streisand.
Back to you Tim.
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with the story of Lucasfilm bullying a lightsaber battle event into becoming a “catblade” battle, where ryuugami had a stroke of genius or, perhaps, insight:
Oh crap, only after reading your comment and thinking “they should make Disney the evil final boss of the event or something” that it dawned on me…
“help us defeat evil mice across the galaxy”
… that they already DID.
Would you like it if we didn’t raise prices on some websites?
See! They said we should raise prices on the other websites!
That’s all for this week, folks!