Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-week-in-words dept

This week, we were all appalled by the astonishing move by the Oregon government to fine a man who criticized the traffic camera system for practicing engineering without a license. One anonymous commenter won most insightful comment of the week by pointing out what this teaches about similar notions:

And people wonder why allowing the government to decide who is and is not a journalist is a bad thing.

Next, we heard about the latest moral panic in the UK, where the National Crime Agency claimed that modding videogames could be a gateway to criminal hacking for kids. That One Guy joined them in their absurd handwringing:

While they’ve got the attention of hysterical parents, they should take the time to highlight other potential ‘criminal gateways’.

Let a kid fiddle with taking stuff apart and putting it back together, and they might end up trashing houses for laughs. Or get a job designing and/or repairing stuff.

Let a kid play around in the dirt and try their hand at gardening and the next thing you know they’ve got a dozen-acre weed farm. Or go into more legitimate farming.

Let a kid watch shows about automobiles and how they’re put together and before you know it they’re out stealing cars and stripping them for parts. Or I suppose get a job in the field of automobile repair.

Let a kid get away with blatant lies and misrepresentations of the facts and the next thing you know they go into politics, lying through their teeth in order to further their own careers, or fearmongering for the same reason.

Truly, the threats to the minds and morals of tomorrow’s youth are legion.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out on our post about a new survey showing that most millennials pay for streaming services but also use pirate streams when the content they want isn’t legally available or convenient. Thad highlighted how natural an instinct this is when faced with restrictive media:

I spent a good big chunk of yesterday going through my collection of legally-purchased Blu-Rays to see which ones will play under VLC for Linux.

It has not escaped my notice that it would have been much, much easier just to pirate the fucking movies.

Next, we’ve got a short comment from Dan J. highlighting an extremely important point about innovation (that we make often around here) in response to the idea that Google entered the search engine market with “a better idea”:

Largely agree with you but have to pick one nit: Google didn’t have a better idea. They had a better implementation of the same idea. Ideas are cheap and worthless. Implementation is the difference between success and failure.

Over on the funny side, we start out with our post about an excellent example of the ridiculous overreach of those who want to eliminate “non-tariff barriers” in trade policy — a claim that promoting breastfeeding is an unfair barrier to manufacturers of formula milk. Roger Strong won first place for funny with some new propaganda slogans:

Home breastfeeding is killing trade!

If you’re not feeding on formula milk, you’re feeding on communism.

For second place, we return to our story about Oregon’s “engineering license” fiasco where Dave explored all the way to the bottom of the slippery slope:

Coming up next:

People getting sued for stating “I am Spartacus” without being registered as a slave.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we’ve got a pair of comments from our post about Paul Hansmeier’s attempt to dig himself out from under a legal landslide with a hefty court filing full of many interesting if flawed and misleading ideas. Given its length and scope, one anonymous commenter searched for a kitchen sink:

surprised he didn’t mention plate tectonics.

…But Roger Strong did some digging and found something that might fit the bill:

Page 55, “Global defects with this prosecution”

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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bluicebank (profile) says:

“Thad highlighted how natural an instinct this is when faced with restrictive media.”

It’s an old story with us Boomers. If we couldn’t get the album or 45, we “stole” the song by putting a microphone in front of the (ad sponsored) FM radio and recording on cassette. Then again, we sometimes paid up to four times for the same thing: buy the vinyl, later the cassette, then the CD, and perhaps the iTunes. A bit too late, I used software to convert my analog vinyl straight to MP3.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have always wondered, since recording off the air is legal, and sharing without compensation is legal, then why is sharing legally recorded ‘anything’ illegal? What is the difference between torrenting and visiting the library?

Of course the answer is that the MAFFIA’s want someone to ‘prove’ that the copy is legally recorded, and in most instances that is not possible, therefore multi-times the possible cost of the ‘item’ is the minimum penalty. If, however, an ‘item’ was properly recorded, and encoded with some sort of id that ‘proved’ it was recorded off the air legally, then torrents of ‘properly encoded’ ‘items’ would be legal, and the collective heads of the MAFFIA’s would explode. Given the above scenario, anything put out over the air would be ‘legal’ to share, which would make the torrent market only liable for newly released, or soon to be released ‘items’. Leaving only the patience of the market liable for torrenting.

It would be better if those explosions would be recorded in technicolor and licensed as public domain, but I bet that they would be monetized to the nth degree.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Here in Canada we’re allowed to share our music collections with friends and family. In return we pay a recordable media tax. This is a deal the music industry itself lobbied for.

Downloading is a legal grey area.

But torrents are something different entirely. You’re not just downloading; at the same time you’re uploading to other users what you’ve downloaded. Not to people you know, but to total strangers.

That’s into the realm of publishing someone else’s work without permission, making it clearly illegal.

As for the US….

Wikipedia: Private copying levy: United States

17 U.S.C. § 1008, as legislated by the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, says that non-commercial copying by consumers of digital and analog musical recordings is not copyright infringement.


Currently, private copy royalties are generated in the US by the sale of "blank CDs and personal audio devices, media centers, satellite radio devices, and car audio systems that have recording capabilities."

Americans too have the legal right to private copying among friends and family, and are paying for it whether they use it or not.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And the difference between sharing with friends and family and torrenting is that the potential recipients of the torrent may not be friends or family. Quite the distinction. The file is legal, the recipients may not be? Therein lies the lies told by the MAFFIA’s.

Those lies, told to legislators and or courts, are the basis of much of copyright litigation. The problem being that the lies told to legislators are bought and paid for ‘truth’, and the lies told to courts are sanctified by the legislators. No win for the people, big win for corporate bribers.

On the other hand, if there is a tax on storage devices which goes to pay the creators of works, the what’s the problem? Right, they want MORE, MORE, MORE, and beyond that CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL. Then of course, do the creators see any of that money? A proper audit might cost more than the whole industry produces in a year, even at their current record rates, and would provide not one nickel more to creators.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re: -- Blurred Lines

Once upon a time, when you needed a press to make a copy on vinyl, or a store to distribute a cassette or CD at scale, it wasn’t difficult to tell the difference between commercial copying and sharing with a few friends and family. That distinction is now almost impossible to discern because the internet, the greatest copying machine ever known, makes everything available to everyone, unless everyone to whom something is made available agrees not to share a copy. That is not a natural act for most creative material!

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 -- Blurred Lines

That distinction is now almost impossible to discern because the internet, the greatest copying machine ever known, makes everything available to everyone, unless everyone to whom something is made available agrees not to share a copy. That is not a natural act for most creative material!

What distinguishes man from animal is culture, being able to transfer knowledge and art in symbolical rather than physical form. This lies at the root of civilization, arts and science.

It has become too easy. It has to stop.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Blurred Lines -- It has to stop???

We have built the greatest machine ever for transferring symbols — the internet!

Why must the transfers stop?

Hint: Creative industries are experiencing record profits, and there’s more creators than ever before.

Hint: This post is freely given. Who should be prevented from enjoying it? you? The president? Why?

It’s the wrong question — the real question is how to manage the bounty.

Thad says:

Re: Re:

If we couldn’t get the album or 45, we "stole" the song by putting a microphone in front of the (ad sponsored) FM radio and recording on cassette.

Hell, it’s thanks to fans making audio recordings of Doctor Who episodes (back in the pre-VCR days) that we still have the audio for the two hundred or so episodes that the BBC destroyed.

There’s a strong historical preservationist argument to be made against DRM.

Thad (user link) says:

I’d just like to amend my statement: now that I’ve installed MakeMKV, I can state that it actually is just as easy to play a legally-purchased Blu-Ray on Linux as it is to pirate it.

…on the other hand, I haven’t really looked into whether MakeMKV uses officially-licensed decryption keys. If not, then as far as the DMCA is concerned, using MakeMKV is copyright infringement too.

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