by Mike Masnick

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the vote-'em-up dept

This week there was no question whatsoever which comment you guys thought was the most insightful. There was also no question which comment you guys thought was the funniest. And while they were totally different comments... they were both by the same person. We'll get to the funny comment in a minute, but let's start with insightful. Winning hands down was el_segfaulto with his statement, "as a developer," in response to the news that Spotify was sued for patent infringement just weeks after entering the US market:
There is a reason why I do not release code anymore and am reluctant to even help others out on message boards. I'm a decent developer, I've never been great on prettiness but when it comes to security fuggedaboutit. I've been threatened with patent litigation before and it is not a pleasant process. When I was in grad school I had the resources of a major U.S. university to help. Their pack of rabid lawyers outmatched the trolls', but the sad reality is that the amount of money, time, and energy expended was wayyyy more than was warranted for the little piss-ant project that I was working on.

Now that I have a cushy government job and consult on the side, I simply can't afford to be sued for creating a JavaScript/CSS vertical dropdown menu (I kid you not, I received an email saying I was violating a patent for doing that). What happens is that all of the neat ideas that me, and others like me have are simply going to stay in our brains out of fear of having our lives ruined by a parasite suing us in East Texas.

If you give a group of engineers a problem and each one of them comes up with a similar solution guess's not that damned novel! Creators (artistic and technological) need to realize that they are not special little snowflakes and not every idea that comes out of their minds is unique and amazing.
If only policy makers and judges would read stories like this one.

Coming in second was a short comment from rw, in response to the IFPI's suggested plan of forcing Google to put "red lights" next to search results for sites that the industry claims "support infringement." rw points out that this might backfire on the industry:
I think they should do it. That way we know which sites they don't want us to go to so we can get to those same sites faster.
There were lots of really good insightful comments this week which got a lot of votes, but I narrowed the list down to three picks for editor's choice. First up, we have HothMonster pointing out something very fundamental in explaining when using "free" works as a part of a business model:
The caveat is, free only helps sales if your product is good.

The AC thats gonna come in here calling us all freetards is mad because his content was shit so no one ever wanted to pay for it. But he overvalues it, so he will never get it
Then we have a knowledgeable Anonymous Coward explaining why the court order in the UK for BT to block Usenet provider Newzbin2 is pointless:
Of course attempts to dismantle Usenet failed: we designed it precisely to resist such approaches.

Usenet was (and remains) the largest and most successful experiment in mass communication ever. (This is not to say that it doesn't have issues -- clearly, it is, and the largest of these is abuse, particularly spam.) And there are quite a few services which index it, search it, collate it, archive it -- including Google. It will be interesting to see if this ruling is extended to them.

But in the end, it won't matter. We simply won't allow Usenet to be shut down. If necessary, we'll tunnel it, encrypt it, whatever it takes to sustain no matter what any mere court says. Usenet is far more important than the entire content industry combined, and is certainly run by far more intelligent and clever people. We will always win in the end.

So if the entertainment industry wants to pointlessly expend its resources in this failure: by all means. It will reduce those available to take on other targets
Finally, it's a comment from another Anonymous Coward, explaining how he went from being a recording industry supporter to something else entirely:
At this point back in 2001, I had a music collection of about 1600 albums. I'd been buying about 100+ albums a year (2 a week on average) for about 15 years. At the time I was a very strong supporter of the RIAA's position on file sharing and copyright issues.

But then Sept 11th happened and I was out of work for three months. Not only did I end up selling most of my cassette (about 850ish) to help make ends meet, but it allowed me a lot of time to do a lot of reading.

Slowly, over the period of a year or so, I began to see the logical fallacies (if not outright lies) of most of the RIAA's arguments and often dishonest business dealings (Sound Exchange, for example, gets to collect money for artist - even if those artists don't want them to - and they get to keep the money unless an artist has a membership, which basically means cutting them a percentage of your money - whether you want to or not - or they get to keep all of it. And THAT is EXACTLY what the copyright clause was intended to prevent).

I've gone from being a strong supporter of the recording industry to one of their biggest critics. I've also gone from being a good customer (2 albums a week) to not having bought a single major label album new (I still get some from secondhand stores occasionally) since mid-2004. The vast majority of the music I've picked up in the last 7 years either comes directly from the artists/bands themselves or independent marketplaces like eMusic (or it did until the major labels bought into it and pretty much ruined it).

And none of the loss of business has anything to do with file sharing.
And, now over to the Funny side, where el_segfaulto wins the gold as well (nice week, dude!). This time, it's for his comment explaining how he learned that copying was stealing:
I hate agreeing with ACs but I have a story that will help. A few days ago I was hiking in my beloved Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Lake Tahoe. I saw a beautiful snow-capped peak just to my left. I harmlessly thought that I'd take a picture of it. Well I snapped my photo and wouldn't you know it, the entire damned thing disappeared!

A park ranger came up to me demanding to know what had happened. I told him that I had taken a picture of the mountain. No sooner had I uttered those words than a fleet of black helicopters descended on our location. An engineer jumped out of the first one, grabbed my camera, and proceeded to pull out all of the bytes one at a time with a very tiny set of tweezers.

It took most of the weekend, but the mountain is now back to where it was (along with a couple of families camping in the mountains and a very confused black bear). The moral of the story is copying things, or even remembering them can be critically damaging to our planet, and thus our children.

And won't somebody please think of the children?
Coming in second place was Prisoner 201, discussing questions about the arrest in the UK of someone that the police insist is the spokesperson for LulzSec, but who others are less sure is the right guy. Prisoner 201 settled the matter conclusively:
They have an IP address.

Of course they have the right guy
On the editor's choice list, we've got an Anonymous Coward responding to the news that the Associated Press doesn't know its Farenheit from its Celsius, declaring 100 degree temperatures to be literally near the "boiling point." The AC pointed out how this proves something else:
I guess the Hot News Doctrine works after all - I haven't see this story reported anywhere else!
Nicely done. And, last but not least, we've got another Anonymous Coward responding to new research claiming that time travel is impossible. The AC explains why any physicist should always say this:
Saying time travel is impossible is a really safe bet. If it turns out time travel is possible, they can always go back in time and change their statement.

But since they haven't changed their statement then that means time travel is impossible.

Peer review that shit, I win
I think that "Peer review that shit, I win," may become my new catchphrase... so thanks for that! In the meantime, another week has begun, and I'm sure we'll have plenty to talk about this week. I keep waiting for one of those "slow news days" that critics in the comments talk about, but haven't found one yet...

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  1. icon
    Peter S. Chamberlain (profile), 3 Aug 2011 @ 10:23am

    The Peer Review Reference at End of This Comment

    Re the "peer review" aside to this post: As a lawyer, I find a real problem with the Supreme Court's requirement of "peer review" to validate either scientific or expert evidence so that it can even be offered. First, where are you going to publish the average first piece of new expert, much less "scientific" knowledge, evidence, and procedure? Second, who is going to read through, test, and publish such peer review (assuming anyone would publish it) unless the subject is commercially huge like cigarettes or breast implants, and I've got my suspicions who funds most of the published actual or alleged research on those, for example. The irony is that the five brilliant liberal Justices of our same august Supreme Court just short-circuited its own standards for such scientific evidence again, including overlooking the same leading author on the subject that they had cited for another point, thus screwing up all future cases in the field of child sexual abuse evidence and testimony, in Lawrence v. Louisiana, not the first time they have done this in diverse more or less arcane fields that don't draw a lot of expensive review. The very defense-oriented Supreme Court of Texas has also fouled up some areas this way. How many gas tanks or left front wheel assemblies have to come loose before anybody outside the company starts doing peer review?

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