Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the chatterbox dept

This week, both our winning comments on the insightful side come in response to our post about various stories of cops causing huge problems for restaurants in retaliation for some invented or vastly exaggerated slight. In first place, it’s an anonymous anecdote:

The other night, my family and I were eating at a hamburger place-type family restaurant. Four cops came in to get their dinner. I was shocked to realize that I suddenly felt LESS safe, not more.

Restaurants aren’t the only reputations cops have ruined.

In second place, it’s Ehud Gavron with a maxim, and a worrying claim:

There are two types of cops…
Bad cops…
…and those who allow them to continue being bad cops.

P.S. The FBI interviewed me one morning because, among other things, I’d posted this comment on TechDirt previously. Yeah. That happened.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start with one more comment from that post. This time it’s Stephen T. Stone responding to accusations that we at Techdirt are anti-police, pro-drug-addict, and a bunch of other nonsense:

I do not dare say I speak for everyone here, but in regards to my personal positions?


If acknowledging the faults and wrongdoings of police officers make me or anyone else here ?anti-police?, so be it. I would rather be ?anti-police? than someone who blindly accepts the word of the cops every time.


Yes, I am in favor of measures such as clean needle exchanges and the legalization (and regulation) of all drugs. What of it?


Acknowledging the mistakes of the United States is not being ?anti-American??it is acknowledging that this country has a long history of fuck-ups leading back to the days of the original English colonies that became the first 13 states.

for unlimited immigration

I am in favor of a less cruel immigration system.

for whatever technicality will let criminals escape justice

People accused of a criminal act have civil rights, too. If the justice system decides to infringe upon those rights, those who did the infringing have only themselves to blame if the accused?regardless of their actual guilt?walks free.

advocate of corporations using alleged “First Amendment Right” to control the “platforms” meant to be The Public’s outlets

You have confused ?private? for ?privately-owned? again. Just because Facebook is open to the public does not mean it has any legal, moral, or ethical obligation to let anyone use the platform to spread speech with which the Facebook owners/administrators disagree. The same goes for Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and any other privately-owned Internet service that is open to the general public. If you believe in the notion that the government can force the admins of Facebook, Twitter, etc. to allow certain people or certain types of speech on those platforms, you have done nothing to prove that the government has such a right.

Here it takes three examples and condemn millions of persons.

Techdirt and numerous commenters here ?condemn? the police in general because of the numerous examples of LEOs overstepping their authority or outright breaking the law while on the job. To ignore the wrongdoings of police to uphold some sort of ridiculous ?Blue Lives Matter? mindset is to give the police a free pass on any kind of wrongdoing, up to and including murder. If you want to do that, go join a police union.

Techdirt was never the site you believed it was.

No, it was never the site you believed it was. You are not everyone else, and you do not speak for everyone else.

Next, we’ve got an anonymous comment that excellently sums up the real reason the entertainment industry is scared of online creative platforms:

When a corporation can only produce a few hours of video a day, the 500 hours plus a minute being uploaded to YouTube looks like a major threat. Piracy is the means by which they hope to stem that flood, by making the legal risk of missing and infringing upload so high that the sites cannot function without becoming publishers themselves, and damming up that flood.

Piracy itself is not doing them a lot of damage, and maybe is a minor benefit, but those self publishers are stealing away their audience and income.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous joke that just had to happen after Mike shared an email that attempted to blackmail him via knowledge of an old and “unimportant” password:

So you use “important” site passwords for adult video sites? Interesting…

In second place it’s another anonymous commenter with a sarcastic response to the latest evidence that pirates buy lots of media when there are compelling legal options:

But Timothy, making a good service and actually competing and being successful commercial enterprises is hard! Computers and network bandwidth and physics and all the things that make digital content convenient, reliable, and accessible can’t be bribed like politicians can!

Won’t anyone think of the poor middlemen negotiators who would be out of work if these corporations had to actually compete?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from Michael sharing a similar experience:

They threatened to sent it to 9 of my friends. Since I don’t have 9 friends, I was skeptical, but I figured if they sent it to 9 people, at least one of them would become my friend because I am pretty awesome on camera.

And finally we head to the appeals court ruling which offered at least some hope of defeating the ridiculous notion that publishing standards incorporated into law can be stopped with copyright, in the form of a perfectly chosen literary reference:

But, Mr Dent, the laws incorporating those patented standards have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.

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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Anonymous Coward says:

“Restaurants aren’t the only reputations cops have ruined.”

How about a little less generalization?

When I see stuff like that, I stop listening to anything else that person has to say. Its too bad as I am sure they have some valid points, but when the goal seems to generalize about an entire group, whether it be cops, different races, etc… My ears close up.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How sure are you that you’re not being closed minded? Can you argue that cops never behave improperly? Can you argue that cops who would be called good don’t turn in, or even actively protect, or just look away at improper behavior?

The problem is that we don’t actually know the size of each of these groups. Then there are those who think that just looking away or protecting the ‘bad apples’ are just as bad as the ‘bad apples’. Hard to say they are entirely wrong about that.

Therefore, until things get a whole lot better, the generalizations will continue. Make sure your not condoning bad behavior by merely sticking your head in the sand. The bad behaviors need the light of day, and cops are in the position to do it. They don’t…at least not as often as the bad behavior happens.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I know someone who used to be in law enforcement, he got out and took a 50% cut in pay + benefits because he couldn’t stand the bad apples, but was unwilling to risk his life to stand up to them and try to change the system (what with having a wife and kids that depend on him to come home each night).

According to him:

If another cop points out poor behavior he risks no one showing up in a timely manner when he calls for backup.

He risks having his equipment mysteriously disappear and/or fail.

The bad apples consider anyone who points out their misdeeds a traitor and worthy of the corresponding punishment.

I don’t know how accurate what he says is, but given the behaviors we do see, that this goes one where we can’t see is not beyond belief.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This might explain why more reporting doesn’t happen, though there may be some additional reasons. There remains the question of what, practically, politically, reasonably can be done about the situation. Half measures won’t accomplish anything. Clear light of day on everything they do is what is needed. How do we get there?

It’s not like anything but releasing information to those they are investigating is actually classified, and when those investigations are closed any needed secrecy goes away. The whole sources and methods argument is pure crap, as those sources and methods need to be disclosed to the defense anyway. There is that parallel construction thingy which should be held to be Brady material and disclosed to the defense. Cops should not be able to operate in secret, or only be able to keep their secrets until charges are brought.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 'The council of wolves has found the accused, a wolf, innocent.'

Outside oversight by an independent agency/group that has no ties to law enforcement and no bias either way with the power and willingness to enforce compliance and hand out punishments would be a good start.

As it is when you don’t literally have police investigating their own you’ve got other parties that tend to be biased towards them willing to look the other way with regards to investigation, trial, and punishment such that they have to really make a PR stink before they face penalties and even then any punishment tends to be light and/or temporary.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

For sure 🙂 But, my point here wasn’t "the police are powerful so it’s okay to criticize them" (though that’s true too) – rather it was that, on a more basic level, it’s valid to criticize an institution with an organizational structure based on the actions of some of its members, and that’s not "generalization" in the same way as criticizing a race of people based on the actions of some members of that race.

stderric (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yeah, the brevity of my comment and the tangential cheap snarkiness of the addenda clouded my own point, too: not only is law enforcement an organizational structure with members who can join and leave at will (making it a false equivalence with race & a host of other things), the police are in fact granted rights and powers above and beyond those enjoyed by the rest of us. In other words the elevated status of LEOs doesn’t just mean that criticism of them is valid, it’s demanded as a check on their power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Way to miss the point.

Remember, when people defend the police by saying, “It’s just a few bad apples, what’s the harm?” those same ‘bad apples’ tarnish the reputation of their colleagues, and if you tarnish it enough, then…people <i>will</i> arm themselves to feel safer, and that leads to more potential harm for <b>everyone.</b>

The key part of the above phrase is often left out – A few bad apples <i>spoil the bunch</i>. It’s why unlawfully-obtained evidence is inadmissible – it’s effectively become poisonous to the case. That’s why it’s referred to as <i>Fruit of the tainted tree doctrine.</i>

You are your very own example. Learn from it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Mr. Dent

It’s a reference to a scene in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the main character complains he had no idea his house was scheduled for demolition and the one in charge of said demolition responds by claiming that he’d had several months notification.

“But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a flashlight.”

“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Mr. Dent

It’s a quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Mr. Prosser is a foreman whose task today is to bulldoze a house in the way of a highway bypass. Mr. Arthur Dent is the occupant of the aforementioned house.

There aren’t any alternatives! But you are quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time!

Appropriate time?


The first I knew about it was when a workmen arrived at the door yesterday.

T- oh!

I asked him if he’d come to clean the windows and he said he’d come to demolish the house! He didn’t tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me.

But Mister Dent the plans have been available in the planning office for the last nine months!

Yes! I went round to find them yesterday afternoon. You’d hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to pull much attention to them have you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.

The plans were on display.

Ah! And how many members of the public are in the habit of casually dropping around the local planning office of an evening?

Er – ah!

It’s not exactly a noted social venue is it? And even if you had popped in on the off chance that some raving bureaucrat wanted to knock your house down, the plans weren’t immediately obvious to the eye were they?

That depends where you were looking.

I eventually had to go down to the cellar!

That’s the display department.

With a torch!

The lights, had… probably gone.

So had the stairs!

Well you found the notice didn’t you?

Yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”. Ever thought of going into advertising?

It’s not as if it is a particularly nice house anyway.

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