Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the mostly-anonymous dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous commenter who had some thoughts on the notion of allowing a court case to disappear entirely because the plaintiff regrets it:

This is a hard case. You feel the plaintiff here is sympathetic (and I’ll have to take your word on that), and in this particular instance you seem to have no appetite for dragging the plaintiff in question back into the open.

But hard cases make bad law. We cannot expect every “disappeared” case to involve a sympathetic plaintiff. Imagine if the likes of Malibu or Prenda were allowed to disappear old cases from court history. And we cannot know, presently, if cases have been completely removed from public view.

This cannot be allowed to stand. It sucks for this particular plaintiff, and I’m very sorry that the consequences of their actions may put them in more difficulty than we feel they deserve. (Karma can be a real bitch that way.) But we absolutely cannot allow courts to disappear cases from public view. It would threaten (or further destroy) our trust in an open and fair rule of law. Once you disappear one case, what stops you from doing so for other reasons?

In second place, we’ve got rw with a response to the latest abuses by the TSA:

Time to kill this agency. They do absolutely no good and cause immense problems. Defunding them would free up money to help those in need.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a response from Norahc to the FBI’s easygoing stance on Hillary Clinton’s emails:

Being stupid or dishonest is a crime if you’re unlucky enough to get caught up in a FBI fabricated terrorism plot, but evidently it’s not if your stupidity and dishonesty actually risked national security.

I guess that means if she’s elected president there will be another private email server set up.

Next, we head to the interesting pro-fair-use language in the the Supreme Court’s latest Kirtsaeng ruling, where one commenter suggested that we simply support diminishing protections for artists, and OldMugwump offered his perspective:

I’ll say it yet again.

Artists must get rewarded for creating things people value. I don’t know anyone who disagrees.

But copyright is no longer a good way to do it.

It used to be a good way – before copying became trivially easy.

Now we need a new way.

Personally I like automated patronage – electronic “tip jars” that ensure micropayments go straight to artists (not middlemen) each time a work is enjoyed.

But I’m sure there are other ways as well. We have to stop defending the dead horse of copyright, and start moving on to something that will actually help artists.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is again an anonymous commenter, this time responding to Mike Huckabee’s settlement with the band Survivor by serving up a good ol’ song parody:

It’s the eye of the liar
It’s the shrill of the right
Sinking down when the issue ends up viral
And the last known survivor
Sues his prey in this fight
And he’s watching us all with the eye of his lawyers

For second place, we head to our post about the arrest of a man who posted a picture of himself burning the American flag on the 4th of July, where Tim Geigner reminisced about the day George Washington punched King George in the face, and one commenter noted that they’d love to have a picture of the event. Then, an anonymous commenter expanded further on the mythology:

I think Abe Lincoln might have captured it on his iPhone, but the video is a little shaky because the bald eagle he was flying on wouldn’t hold still. It was probably spooked by the double gatling guns that Jesus was using to hold off the redcoat reinforcements.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with yet another anonymous commenter, this time catching an error in one of our headlines:

Comcast Continues To Claim It’s ‘Not Feasible‘ To Offer Its Programming To Third-Party Cable Boxes

You misspelled “Tyrannically Profitable”. That is 23 characters in two words not 8 characters in one word.

And finally, we’ve got Baron von Robber with a slick quantum computing joke:

Quantum computers will be terrible for tech support.

“Have you turn it off and on again at the same time without looking at it?”

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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Whoever says:


Time to kill this agency. They do absolutely no good and cause immense problems. Defunding them would free up money to help those in need.

You miss the point of this agency. It’s 1984 now. We are in a permanent state of war, we are all subject to surveillance. We have secret laws. We have secret courts. We have trials with secret evidence.

The purpose of the TSA is to keep the public in a permanent state of fear.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: I Don’t Understand That Nonsense About ...

Two opposing hypotheticals should hopefully clear it up a bit:

Case 1: You’ve got a highly sympathetic defendant, but at the same time one that the evidence shows is guilty. They broke the law, they deserve to be charged, yet circumstances make doing so almost like kicking someone when they’re down, potentially leading to a judge being ‘lenient’ or issuing a different ruling than they otherwise would.

On it’s own that might not seem to bad, but in doing so a precedent has been set, and what has happened once can and will happen again, and potentially the next person, or the person after that might not be as ‘deserving’ of the loophole introduced in the law, yet are able to take advantage of it anyway because it’s on the books.

Case 2: The evidence shows the accused is almost certainly innocent of the charges brought against them, yet the defendant is anything but sympathetic. Maybe they have a prior history of other illegal activity, maybe they’re just one of those kinds of people that make you feel slimy/uneasy just standing near them, maybe they’ve been charged before and managed to wiggle out of a conviction through sleazy tactics each time, whatever they case they’re the kind of person that practically screams ‘Guilty’ just looking at them.

Except this time the evidence doesn’t hold up.

The prosecution and/or judge want them bad for one or more of the reasons listed above, as they don’t want to let someone they’re sure is guilty(if not this time than of something else) walk, so maybe they bend the rules a bit, employ some creative ‘interpretation’ regarding the laws or dig in and pile on anything they can possibly find just to force the defendant to plead guilty, even though in this case at least they aren’t.

While it may be more difficult to find people to object to the treatment of the defendant this time around, since clearly they’re guilty of something, once again the precedent has been set, exceptions have been made and the next person that precedent is used against might not be as ‘obviously guilty’, might not be as sleazy even if they come across as almost as bad.

That is basically how I took the ‘Hard cases make bad law’ line, the idea that a sympathetic defendant could result in precedent used by sleazy actors to dodge accountability for their actions, and/or non-sympathetic defendants could result in precedent that’s used against people that would otherwise not be charged, simply because they come across badly in court or in person.

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