Karl's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the good-news-bad-news dept

Handling the "favorites of the week" post this week is Karl, one of our prolific commenter's who's known for calmly responding to questionable claims from other commenters with thorough, detailed insights and a firm grasp of the law and case law.

When Mike asked me to do a "Favorites of the Week" post, I joked that hopefully I'll be able to do "favorite posts" and not "bad news." A lot of the breaking news this week amounted to more of the same, and all bad: more third-party liability, the government lying about Wikileaks, ICE ramping up their seizures, even libraries teaching kids to hate a free press. Stuff like this is always going on, and it can't last forever, but after a while you get too saddened to think about it.

So, in 2011's spirit of optimism, I'd like start off with artists who are doing something right.

The obvious winner is Paulo Coelho, who heard that his books were banned in Iran, so he immediately offered them as a free download. This shows us that free public use of your art does not just make your work more valuable, it is also a tool to fight censorship and is a fundamental part of free expression. It's not about creating art for free; it's about keeping it from being imprisoned.

Honorable mention goes to Jono Bacon from the band Severed Fifth, who is using an open source model to "reinvent the music business." Now, the "reinventing" claim is a steaming pile of hyperbole, but it's awesome to see more artists realize that "open culture" is not their enemy. And this band is actually practicing what they preach: their album will be released under a CC-BY-SA license, which means that anyone can make money off of it... even you, faithful reader.

And I have to mention Deadmau5, who realized that a connection with his fans is more important than management relations. But it should be noted that Deadmau5 is not any sort of copyright abolitionist. In 2008, he took legal action against a Fruity Loops user called DirtyCircuit, who (unintentionally?) used uncleared Deadmau5 samples that were bundled with the software. As a result, Fruity Loops removed all melodic samples. I mostly like the Techdirt story because it led me to YouTube videos of Deadmau5 pranking his fans on Minecraft.

Of course, for every person who is doing something right, there are two who are downright clueless. They're not bad people, mind you; they just don't know what's going on.

Such was the case when Jim D'Addario defended his support of seizing music blogs. Mike responded by focusing on counterfeit goods, but, as I pointed out in the comments, that's the least worrisome thing about the seizures. Many of the seized domains had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with counterfeit products. This shows another bad result when you conflate counterfeiting with file sharing: companies can't object to horrible file sharing laws without undercutting their support for anti-counterfeiting efforts. Assuming they're even aware of it at all, of course. I genuinely think Jim D'Addario has no idea music blogs were seized and I'm guessing a lot of the companies on the list didn't either.

As a side note: One of the "counterfeiting sites" that Jim D'Addario mentioned is Alibaba.com. When I went to that site, I found a ton of cheap, shoddy merchandise -- most of it is crap, some of it is probably "grey market," and a couple of things might be counterfeit. But ironically, the one thing I did not find is counterfeit D'Addario guitar strings.

Of course, Jim D'Addario is far from the most clueless man in the industry. As usual, that honor goes to the heads of the RIAA, who this week claimed that a .music gTLD would "enable wide scale copyright and trademark infringement." As Marcus Carab pointed out, their attitude seems to be "ALL MUSIC = crime unless it is explicitly and completely controlled by us."

But it's even more ridiculous than that. The ability to get a .music gTLD would be available only to official members of the music community, deliberately to ward off pirates and cybersquatters. Constantine Roussos, the man behind the dotMusic campaign, is also the man behind FightPiracy.org. He's certainly no friend of piracy or enemy of the recording industry, despite the RIAA's assumptions. When it took aim at Roussos, the RIAA set its phasers to "stupid."

There's one final story that I'd like to mention, to complete this compliment sandwich. That is how ACS:Law is continuing to screw the pooch in court. There's nothing particularly surprising about this, but it makes me smile. It's like a cross between Boston Legal and the Keystone Cops. Hopefully the USCG suits in Minnesota will crash and burn too.

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  1. icon
    average_joe (profile), 24 Jan 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're playing games. One minute you claim that this was necessary to keep it as evidence, and then you claim that it's not necessary. You do this a lot. One minute domain names can be seized because they're not blocking content, and the next the content on the site needs to be blocking. It's tough to take you seriously when you change your argument any time people pin you down.

    I never said that it was necessary to seize the domain name to preserve as evidence. I said that seizing it does in fact preserve it as evidence. You are trying to put words in my mouth in order to discredit me. Show me exact quotes where I have contradicted myself. Otherwise, your claim is conclusory and unsupported.

    Um. Wow. Ok. So why did you claim they could be direct infringers? Again, it's difficult to take you seriously when you make claims and when confronted say you haven't actually looked at the case. Shocking.

    Here's what I said, "I agree that in the torrent-finder.com case, the site's operators probably were not direct infringers. I'm not sure you could say the same of the other seven dozen or so sites that had their domain names seized." As my quote indicates, maybe they can, maybe they can't. I don't know.

    You don't find this troubling? You don't find it sickening that one would use a certain misinterpretation of the law to stifle speech, and then when later confronted on it, say he actually meant some other law that has a higher standard? Really?

    The other crime doesn't have a "higher standard." You're making that part up. Sure, it is troubling that the agent thinks in-line linking and framing are the same as hosting the content itself. I never said it wasn't. I'm only pointing out the fact that it doesn't matter--not at this point of the proceedings. I'm sure agents make technical mistakes all the time.

    The point was not how the First Amendment works, it's that you seem to think taking someone's domain is "incidental." Scary. And wrong.

    The domain name is incidental to the speech on the server, legally speaking. I'm not sure how it could be anything but otherwise.

    I have done no such thing.

    If the only way a court could agree that it's not unconstitutional is by twisting principles and by taking indefensible positions, then how is it you think your mind is open on the subject? That makes no sense to me.

    AJ, don't make statements that are obviously untrue. It looks bad on you.

    How is what I said not true? Please explain. Without more, I have no idea what you mean.

    Again, the fact that you are focused on the game of this rather than what's actually going on is, to me, sickening.

    I'm aware of "what's actually going on," Mike. Don't be silly. Unlike you, I don't have a problem with the laws being enforced, even the ones I don't agree with.

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