by Mike Masnick

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the another-week-already? dept

It's that time of the week again, so let's get to it. Topping the "most insightful" votes this week was a comment by a non-registered "John Doe" (a name used by a few different commenters...), discussing the "birthing pains" of a new content industry:
What is going on in the content industry is the legacy gatekeepers are dying a painful death and the content creators are going through birthing pains with new business models.

Unfortunately, consumers are caught in the middle and could really care less about either of their problems. They want content on the device of their choosing at the time of their choosing in the format of their choosing. While content creators and gatekeepers refuse to fill the needs, pirates step in and fill the gaps.

With digital content, unlike physical goods, consumers are in the unique position to fill the markets needs on their own.
Coming in second was one that I'm a bit surprised didn't get many votes for "funny," but did get a ton for "insightful." It's from another non-registered user, going by the name DCX2, and it's a short and sweet comment concerning a ruling by the Finish Consumer Board saying Sony should pay people for removing the OtherOS functionality:
First they came for Other OS. And I did not speak out, because I did not use Other OS...
DCX2 was actually responding to another commenter who insisted this wasn't a big deal because OtherOS was a "minor" feature.

For the editor's choice, we'll start with the comment that actually came in third on the insightful votes, in which btr1701 told us about his own experiences with the TSA, as a federal agent who is cleared to carry a weapon on an airplane:
As a federal agent, I'm authorized to fly armed, so on one trip, I was clearing through security, the airport cop had checked my ID and paperwork and approved me to pass through the checkpoint, but the TSA guy stopped me and said he needed to inspect my carry-on.

I asked why, seeing as how I'd already identified myself as carrying a loaded handgun, what could possibly be in my carry on that would make me a threat, and out of hundreds of flights, I've never had to be inspected before.

He claimed it was just procedure. (If that's true, it's a procedure that has never been followed before, to my knowledge.) But not wanting to create a hassle for myself, I said fine and let him look through it.

Well, he came up with my Leatherman knife (basically a fancy Swiss Army knife) and said that I couldn't bring it on the plane because knives are prohibited items.

I looked at him like he was insane and said, "Let me get this straight, you're letting me carry a loaded handgun onto the plane, but not a pocket knife? In what conceivable world does that make sense?"

He responded that per FAA rules, I was authorized as a federal agent to carry the gun on board but the rules don't mention knives except as a general prohibition for everyone.

Not wanting to lose a $30 knife, I asked to see his supervisor, figuring this was some low-level zombie unable to exercise basic common sense. But no, the supervisor said the same thing!

Years later, I still shake my head at the abject stupidity on display at the airport that day.
And, on the second editor's choice for insightful, I'll go with charliebrown's attempt to classify the motivations of people who infringe:
It's almost 4:30am as I type this but I've finished reading TechDirt and I'm bored. As a bit of a lark, I decided to think about what turns ordinary every day people into pirates on the internet. There's quite a few variations of internet pirates out there. We'll start with the uploaders first.

These are the people who crack software or write the applications that crack the DRM on DVD's and the like. They enjoy the challenge. They do it for the glory of releasing it first. If "first" is before the copyright holder releases it, even better. And for a lot of them, if they can piss off a big corporation in the process, it's all the more satisfying. These people also want to get movies out as soon as they are at the cinema or get that CD out the same day the promo copies are sent to radio stations. They do it for the virtual glory. They also do games.

These are the people who rip their CD's and DVD's and record stuff off the TV and radio to upload it for people just because they like to share their things. It doesn't matter that they don't necessarily know the people they are sharing it with, as long as they can make people happy.

Of course, some people just copy a CD or DVD they own or record a TV show for their friends. They're not putting it up online. They are simple sharing a file or a burned disc the way people would tape an album for a friend in the 1980's. But they are still pirates. It's the way it is.

So now we've looked at the basic variations of the uploaders. There's also variations on downloaders.

These people just download because they can. It doesn't matter what they get, as long as they don't have to pay for it. These people are just as likely to have a few Linux ISO's as they are to have a Windows 7 ISO simply because they were free.

These people are also downloading stuff because it is free. However, they still on occasion buy things too. These are the people on a tight budget who would buy, say, a CD or DVD every week because that is all they can afford but, because they can download stuff for free, they have a dozen times more than they would otherwise have. They generally only have what they like and delete things they don't like. These are the kinds of people who, in the 1980's, were taping songs off the radio and taping TV shows in the 1990's.

Not to be confused with the "Broke Downloaders", these are people who want stuff that they can't buy. CD's that have been deleted since 1987, TV shows that somebody taped in the 1990's that haven't been released on DVD. They buy what they want but if they can't buy it, it doesn't mean they should go without. Chances are, if it exists, there is a pirate copy available to download somewhere. Sometimes these people don't buy things because the only way to buy it is to pay a huge sum of money on eBay or Amazon Marketplace for it. Still not to be confused with the "Broke Downloaders", if you want a CD, for example, and the only way to get it was to buy it from somebody asking hundreds of dollars for it, would you? Some would, some wouldn't.

Of course, there are lots more reasons than this. When all is said and done, though, these are the three main categories that the majority of uploading and downloading pirates fall into. I hope you've enjoyed reading this little article which I made up off the top of my head based on observations I've made across the last 10 years or so. And, in case you didn't notice, I left out "money" from the uploading categories because the number of people who actually make money from uploading are so far in the minority as to barely be a blip on the radar.
Ok, enough insight. Let's laugh. Both of the "funniest" comments came in the thread discussing Canadian IP lawyer James Gannon's bizarre and totally unsubstantiated claim that it's "common courtesy" to email someone to ask permission to link to or quote someone. The highest voted response came from Marcus Carab, who put the whole thing in perspective:
Yesterday someone asked me for directions to the grocery store. It was just up the street, in plain view, and all I had to do was point - so I sent the store a friendly email asking for permission to indicate their location. I know I didn't need to, but it's common courtesy!
Coming in second was the one that I personally found the most amusing. Gannon himself commented (again refusing to respond to the actual points I had raised concerning his original post). A few hours later, someone else commented anonymously (and peevishly) as "AutSerge" in Gannon's defense. Reader iamtheky noticed that the latter had the same gravatar (snow flake) as Gannon, meaning that the two comments most likely came from the same IP address. It doesn't mean that AutSerge is Gannon, but it seemed worth mentioning:
Its also nice and friendly to have cohorts login via the same IP and support your position. Ya'll seem to be full of nice and friendly up north.
Over to the editor's choice comments, we've got an Anonymous Coward pointing out what the content industries (and the SWAT teams) are teaching people these days:
So basically the idea I'm getting from the RIAA, MPAA and now SWAT is that I should be teaching my 5 & 2 year olds NOT to share. I've gotten the message loud and clear. Next time I see either of my kids being nice to each other and attempting to share something I'll slam them on the ground, call them some names, confiscate whatever they are playing with at the time and lock them in the dog kennel for punishment. That should teach them.

P.S. If either of them ever sings "Happy Birthday" then I'll have to raid their college fund in order to pay the license fee.
And, finally, a suggestions from Louis Smith on how to make the TSA groping process more desirable:
It seems to me that there is a MUCH easier way to solve this - that TSA is just approaching it wrong. I guarantee that this can be eliminated and make the pat-down become the desired method of passing security. All they need to do is to direct their HR department to hire all new inspectors. Go to Hooters, Cheetah Club, Gold Rush - and for the ladies - Chippendales and Harlequin to find new TSA agents. There isn't a man alive that wouldn't gladly volunteer to be patted down during a lap dance or by a totally qualified Hooters girl. And the women would be lining up for their Chippendale dancer or Harlequin cover model. The only complaints would be the length of the line to get to the inspectors! And if TSA is short on funds, they can start charging for the "service".

Approach and Attitude - makes all the difference.
Very Swiftian. And, on that note... time to get ready for another week.

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Atlas Shrugged Part Only One

    Another week, another 50% drop. Yes, they are surely innovative in losing a metric ton of cash. Oh wait, I just saw fast and furious 5. 20 million is 50 kilos of cash. So they lost 50 kilograms of cash, not a metric ton. Sorry for the exaggeration.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2011 @ 1:53pm

      Re: Atlas Shrugged Part Only One

      This sounds like the end of a conversation you were having in your head, but forgot you weren't having out loud.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 2 May 2011 @ 12:54am

      Re: Atlas Shrugged Part Only One

      Another week, another 50% drop. Yes, they are surely innovative in losing a metric ton of cash. Oh wait, I just saw fast and furious 5. 20 million is 50 kilos of cash. So they lost 50 kilograms of cash, not a metric ton. Sorry for the exaggeration

      What does that have to do with this post? Please stay on topic.

      However, I assume you're referring back to the post we had on Atlas Shrugged the movie, in which we noted the success of the film, despite a lack of traditional marketing. I already responded to similar points raised there, but if you must bring them up again: pretty much all movies see 50% lower box office take week to week. That's not a surprise, and is not really the point.

      The point (which I thought was clear, but evidently is not) is that they were able to get out a substantial number of folks to see the flick without a tv ad campaign and using non-traditional media. That, without question, worked. Separately, they've relied on alternative business models (beyond the box office) to earn additional money. At this point, it's clear that the movie will earn back its costs. The rental/foreign/DVD markets ensure that, since it's pretty close to the numbers. For a $10 million flick that used no traditional marketing, that's damn impressive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Doe, 1 May 2011 @ 1:59pm

    I am both humbled and appalled

    "Topping the "most insightful" votes this week was a comment by a non-registered "John Doe" (a name used by a few different commenters...)"

    I am humbled that my comment topped the list of most insightful this week. Of course this insight only came from my time here so I guess you can say I built my opinion on those that came before me. If we were not able to share, then I would have to form my opinion in a vacuum and it is hard to breathe in a vacuum.

    I must admit, I was a doubting Thomas when I first found this blog. I even posted some snarky remarks of which now I am ashamed. I now see how hard it is to get people to examine the subject of IP without them getting snarky as well.

    I am also appalled that there may be other John Doe's here. I feel I should file a copytright or trademark infringement suit then I might get another mention here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2011 @ 3:22pm

    He responded that per FAA rules, I was authorized as a federal agent to carry the gun on board but the rules don't mention knives except as a general prohibition for everyone.

    Lawful Stupid at its finest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    revwillie56, 2 May 2011 @ 3:15am

    TSA pat Downs

    I think I would still be offended by waiting in line to either get patted down by an ex-hooters girl TSA agent or a 56 second ride in an amusement park. sadly, I've noticed that the ex- TSA agents now work for most amusement parks. .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 2 May 2011 @ 7:35am

    charliebrown totally missed the sampler. The motivation everyone wants to pretend doesn't exist as hard as they possibly can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    W33k3nd Warrior, 2 May 2011 @ 8:36am

    TSA: So who will pat down the kids?

    Hooter girls for the boys and chippendales for the girls. Who do we have to pat down the kids? If we go by that logic, then it will be Mickey Mouse or Porky Pig.
    Sounds pedophillic no matter how you slice it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Steve R. (profile), 2 May 2011 @ 10:09am

    Carry On Lugguge is a Security Threat

    It amazes me that a Swiss army knife is a prohibited item, but carry on luggage with the handle bars and little wheels is not. There is probably enough metal in one of those to make a variety of weapons. The most obvious one being a "spear".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ijustobserve, 3 May 2011 @ 6:31am

    teaching childrenanyone not to share

    Not knowing how to share or snare I won't be teaching either.
    But I can show anyone, any child how to find anything.
    No need to litter your hard drive or anybody else's with redundant content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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