Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt
from the collaborative-comments dept
So this is interesting: we've got something of a combined effort in the winning comments this week, with Vog and Zakida Paul kicking off the conversation on our post about the stupidity of the "Just Go Without" argument. First, Vog dropped in early using Crystal Ball powers, and walked away with the most insightful votes and the second-highest score for funny, for pointing out one factor we missed:
If everyone decided to 'just go without', I'm sure content creators would find a way to make that illegal, too.
A near-perfect sentiment—but Zakida Paul had one small correction to make, which won second place in the insightful category:
Small thing, replace 'content creators' with 'gatekeepers'. Creators are not the problem, the gatekeepers are.
Now that's some quality teamwork. For what it's worth, Vog made it clear that's what he meant originally, and over in the Insider Chat (sign up here) he actually said he hoped his comment didn't win, because of the error. But considering the number of votes, it seems like most people understood what he meant.
Since those really count as a single comment, drafted in collaboration, we'll throw in the third-place winner as the first Editor's Choice. In our discussion about the suspicious circumstances that led to the SurfTheChannel conviction, it was inevitable that one of our regular trolls would bring up the argument that linking to infringing material is just like "connecting people with crack dealers". Beech saw some problems with this analogy:
Why would it be illegal to tell people where crack dens are? "hey, neighbor. See that house on the corner? It's a crack house. Best to stay away." did I just break the law? Or how about, "Good day, Constable. I feel obligated to let you know there is a crack house nearby." would the cop then arrest me for conspiracy, facilitation, etc etc?
Or is it only illegal if I'm telling crack addicts? Do I now have to give a urine test to anyone I want to discuss the crack house with? Isn't the mere suggestion that starting a service to tell people where things are a violation of free speech?
And, as is the case here, why would the cops arrest the location service instead of USING IT TO FIND THE CRACK HOUSES?! Just ask them where they are! Once you disband all the crack houses the location service will go out of business anyway because they have nothing left to link to!
The second Editor's Choice for insightful goes to Karl, on our post about the obscenely high damages in the Joel Tenenbaum case. The district court judge stated that one of the reasons the $675,000 figure was "reasonable" was that it would have cost much more to license the songs. That didn't sound right to Karl, so he decided to walk through the numbers:
Let's try to actually figure out what the licensing deal would cost.
First, we'll assume the iTunes model - which is one of the highest out there, so it favors the RIAA. For a $.99 MP3, iTunes takes $.30, so the remainder is $.69 per track.
Next, we'll assume that each of these 30 songs was shared 1000 times. Now, that number is extremely high - most people on P2P networks don't share a track with nearly that many other people. But it's not out of the question, so again, we'll choose a number that favors the RIAA.
30 songs x 1000 downloads each x $0.69 per download = $20,700.00. So, actual damages would be about twenty thousand dollars. And that's the maximum that he would have had to pay, the number that favors the RIAA the most.
Which means the awarded damages are over 32 times the actual damages.
This is pretty clearly unconstitutionally excessive, in my opinion. Gertner got it right the first time.
Just as it's never surprising when Karl provides insight, it's hardly a shock that our own Dark Helmet brought the funny and took the top spot on that side. On our post about the many similarities between copyright and prohibition, DH decided to parody one of our regular trolls, about whom the less said the better, and his recent obsession with Mike's supposed refusal to "engage" him:
Yeah, Masnick! Plus, you STILL haven't engaged me on my question about why we don't have a Dark Helmet Techdirt Nudie Calendar! RAWR!!!! eNGAge mE HumAN!!!!
As mentioned, second place went to Vog for his winning insightful comment, so we'll move straight on to the Editor's Choice. The first goes to nospacesorspecialcharacters (to whom I'm also granting the one-time Editor's Choice Award for Amusing Username) for a comment on our post about why apps aren't like coffee. Nospaces ran with the analogy:
Sometimes I would buy the coffee and the following things would happen...
- I'd order an espresso, but I wouldn't be able to drink it right away, I'd have to wait 30 minutes whilst the barista proceeded to fill the cup with enough espresso for an extra-large cup. It would be my responsibility to provide the large cup for all the excess coffee. If I didn't have a large enough cup, the barista would throw the espresso away and then wait till I go purchase a larger cup and come back.
- Every now and then a coffee I had ordered would randomly be swiped away from the table I am sitting at. When I inquire as to why my coffee was taken away, I'd be told the barista did not have the rights to sell me that coffee and so I should pick another drink from the menu. I would be warned that any other drink I pick could also be taken away in the same fashion if the barista so felt like it.
- If I purchased a coffee in a ceramic mug for drinking-in, but then needed to leave before I finished, the barista would refuse to give me a paper cup, or allow me to use my own thermos. I'd be told I have to purchase another coffee in the correct coffee-rights-managed holder, which would allow me to enjoy my coffee outside the restaurant.
- Every now and then I'd enter the coffee house and I'd be told that there is no coffee available for my nationality... even though there are dozens of other people lined up and getting served. I could get served however if I go outside, then come back in wearing a different shirt or a hat - depending on what other nationalities were wearing that day.
- If I had bought a coffee but decided not to drink it and order water instead, there'd be no way for me to give that coffee to anyone else - literally the cup is registered to my lips only.
- If I brewed coffee at home and invited my friends around for free coffee... sometime during the evening CPAA (Coffee Police Ass. of America) agents accompanied by the FBI would smash down my door and arrest me and my friends drag us all off to a jail whilst the CPAA was allowed to search through my cupboards looking for evidence of coffee making equipment. I'd lose my friends, my job, my home. 10 months later the FBI would drop the case and the courts would rule that I did nothing wrong by sharing my coffee.
Finally, since we started out with a two-comment-combo, we'll finish things off the same way. On our post about the disturbing detention of a former U.S. Marine for posting rap lyrics to Facebook, one AC tried to brush the whole thing off by saying "Act like a nutjob, you get treated like one." You must be a masochist to tee-up the Techdirt community with a straight-line like that, and it didn't take long for a one-two punch to be delivered in response. A different (not-crazy) AC noted the double-standard:
Too bad that doesn't work with politicians...
To which weneedhelp added:
Or Anonymous Cowards.
Indeed. Dear Men In White Coats: stop by Techdirt some day—we'll keep you busy.