Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the notice-and-what-now? dept

This week we had what I consider to be an all-time great comment win the insightful vote (it came close on the funny side too, actually, but ended up in the third slot, rather than the top two), in response to Sony claiming that it can charge an “administrative fee” for fair use. Commenter Zengief did a nice job playing off the “notice-and-takedown” and “notice-and-staydown” concepts and came up with something entirely new:

New type of content removal?

Let’s call this what it really is:
Notice and shakedown.

That’ll do, Zengief. That’ll do. The second place comment was on that same story and was by Mason Wheeler, responding to someone trotting out the old saw that fair use is nothing more than “a defense” against an infringement claim. Mason schooled that commenter pretty quickly:

That’s simply not true. Lawrence Lessig famously likes to say that, but he’s wrong. Fair use is the rights of the public to make use of public culture; copyright is a set of temporary exceptions to those rights, carved out in the name of encouraging the further development of culture. Calling fair use “an exception to copyright” is putting the cart before the horse.

While I actually don’t recall Lessig ever actually saying that, the larger point stands. Fair use is absolutely a right. The fact that, procedurally, you need to use it as a defense in a court case to prove your use was proper, is besides the point.

For editor’s choice, we’ve got a great comment from Sir Wooginowski responding to the story about AT&T rolling out broadband data caps, noting that AT&T does a terrible job of accurately metering in the first place.

I’m one of the unfortunate ones in a reasonably populated area that can only get standard DSL from ATT. I’m on the 3Mbps/512Kbps plan. My meter has been in effect for the 150G limit for well over 2 years. A few times I’ve gone over and gotten billed (which I call, complain, and get reversed).

Adding insult is the meter is looking at the traffic at the DSLAM, not from the CPE equipment. With ATT DSL, they use PPPoE over ATM as the network transport. The short of it is that this adds about 15-20% overhead to the packets sent to your modem. Since ATT does not over-provision to provide advertised speeds (my modem locks at 3008/514), I can at most receive 2.6Mbps/460Kbps for speed. BUT because of the overhead (on average 18%) and measurement made at the DSLAM, I cannot consume a full 150G worth of traffic before hitting that cap. I can only consume 127G before going over.

So, I cannot ever achieve the advertised speeds, and I also lose about 23G worth of transfer before hitting cap. This is so lost on the customer service reps I’ve given up trying to explain.

Innovation from ATT.

And, finally, we’ve got a nice concise comment from an anonymous commenter responding to a silly, facts-optional op-ed in the NY Times insisting that there’s some sort of battle going on between “creative culture” and “technology.” This commenter succinctly highlighted the error in the premise:

They seem to be conflating “Creative Culture” with “Gatekeeper Culture”

Indeed. Moving on to the funny side of the ledger, first place goes to TheResidentSkeptic, who was responding to another commenter on our story about Silicon Valley seeing the light and embracing encryption and the dumping of log files. The other commenter who wondered when the government would ban the deletion of log files. TheResidentSkeptic had a potential solution (which, if the government actually did mandated log file retention I would not recommend you try at home):

I never delete my server’s log files. They are all right there in /dev/null

In second place, we’ve got Anonymous Anonymous Coward, responding to the story of the FBI closing in on Team Prenda. In our story, we linked to lawyer Ken “Popehat” White’s story (which broke the news), and quoted him pointing out that Team Prenda “needs federal criminal defense attorneys, and needs them right now.” Of course, White is famous for “putting up the Popehat symbol” in seeking pro bono legal help (usually for free speech issues) when he comes across someone who really needs the help. AAC noticed that this didn’t happen here:

I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you. Ken failed to raise the Popehat signal looking for qualified counsel to defend these poor sods, pro bono. /s

For editor’s choice, we’ve got another anonymous comment on that story about Silicon Valley suddenly fearing surveillance and working against it in response to the attacks on Apple encryption, with the commenter putting a bit of spin on the story:

This is great! Finally we have members of Congress and the FBI working together to make sure tech companies keep Americans safer in the digital age.

And, finally, we have another anonymous commenter responding to the story of Google pushing back on France’s desire to censor the internet globally with the Right to be Forgotten. A single line demonstrates the potential problem with this approach:

Hi Google? I’d like Tiananmen Square to be forgotten worldwide. k.Tx.bye – China.

That’s all for this week, folks. We’re off tomorrow for Memorial Day. Go enjoy the great outdoors or something. We’ll be back to our regular posting schedule on Tuesday.

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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David says:

Re: My comment

Highlighting and timing is everything. That’s almost as good as canned laughter. I have sort of a habit of commenting drolly on stuff being said right away with a deadpan expression. It got sort of irritating for me in a choir I had been singing in that people did not react, but then someone more popular got in the habit of repeating what I had just said to great acclaim. Presumably his timing better matched the general sink-in time of the original statement I was commenting on. And/or his emphasis put a “this-is-funny” cue on it.

I’m not even sure whether the popular guy himself noticed that it was my cue rather than his original thought he was picking up but it happened too often to be a random match. And it’s not that I was mad or anything at this: it was funny in itself. But I guess that joke was lost on anybody buy myself.

So, uh, good for you to get the prize. If nothing else, you got it for better noticing what was funny in the original article than others and helping them see it.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Cigarette Plain Packaging Coming To NZ

The NZ Government will be marking the occasion of International Smoke-Free Day tomorrow by bringing in plain-packaging legislation (apologies for the Adobe Flash).

Given how nasty the fight was in Australia, I expect a similarly messy process here, complete with a deluge of PR misinformation from the tobacco companies.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

While I actually don’t recall Lessig ever actually saying that, the larger point stands.

Strange. I recall reading it on Techdirt.

See for an example of the way he consistently puts “fair use” in scare quotes and explicitly says:

“Fair use” is a defense; you have to be able to use the material in a way that creates a copyright question before you get to play your defense.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, I can see how this works. “Dear District Attorney, I want you to record that I have five witnesses for an alibi yesterday evening so I cannot be responsible for the mysterious death of Constable Smith.” “What are you talking about? Constable Smith is fine. I talked to him right now.” “Oh. My mistake. Well, you’ll find me in the company of witnesses in case you need me. Have a nice day.”

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