by Mike Masnick

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the logic! dept

Getting (by far) the most votes for "insightful" this week was an Anonymous Coward commenter, responding to the story of Amazon wiping out a customer account, locking her out of her Kindle ebooks with no explanation. The AC said what many people were thinking:
So if I try to obey the law I run the risk of actually losing my money... but if pirate this stuff I retain 100% control of my devices....

So why should I even try and choose the legal routes again?
Coming in second was a comment from Aaeru on the post about copyright not being a human right. Aaeru posted some content from this page about why copyright isn't about granting any natural right to the holder:
"Copyright grants its holder certain rights."

What rights does copyright grant to the holder?

"The right to produce copies or reproductions?"

No, the holder already can do that. He does not need the government to tell him that he can.

"The right to make adaptations and derivative works."

No, again the holder already can do that.

"The right to perform or display the work publicly?"

Again, this isn't a right being granted to the holder, he is permitted to perform the work as he sees fit. None of these rights are granted to the holder by copyright law; they exist independently. What copyright law does is take away the rights of everyone else to do these things.
As for editor's choice, we've got cpt kangarooski (I'm sure that's his real name) responding to someone, yet again, asking the infamous "but how will I continue to make $100 million movies" question by highlighting (yet again) how that's the wrong question:
I absolutely agree. In fact, I am an sculptor, and my medium of choice is the Moon. I'd love to invest my time and money into sculpting the Moon into a more pleasing (and copyrightable) shape. But to do this will require a significant amount of copyright in order to sufficiently incentivize me and justify my investment. Specifically, I need everyone on Earth to owe me a sizable fee for looking at the moon, forever.

And if you think that this is ridiculous, and that the price I want people to pay me is too big and not worthwhile, well, perhaps $100 million movies are too expensive as well, in terms of how much the level of copyright it takes to make the viable penalizes the public.
For the second editor's choice, we've got another Anonymous Coward, responding to the story of veteran parodist Michael Gerber going to Kickstarter after his publisher got spooked about the possibility of someone associated with Downton Abbey going legal over Gerber's planned parody. This AC had an interesting analogy:
I just pledged, and I've never seen an episode of Downton Abbey.

I'm currently reading a book by Terry Pratchett called "Interesting Times" and the point is made that there's something worse than a whip to a slave, it's when a population so effortlessly enslaved that they've internalized the whip.

"What if [Downton Abbey creator] Julian Fellowes gets mad?" "What if they hire another company to publish the official Downton Abbey Calendar/Tea Cozy instead of us?" "What if I make the wrong decision and get fired?"

All of the above tells me that someone in the publishing industry has internalized the whip.
And, as a special bonus editor's choice, we've got Michael Gerber's own response to the comment above...

Moving on to funny, we get started with another Anonymous Coward extrapolating from the DOJ's argument that there could be no harm in shutting down Megaupload, because Kim Dotcom has said he can't reopen the site:
The World Trade Center has not "suffered massive harm" as the US doesn't intend to rebuild it.
Coming in second was a comment from Lord Binky, responding to the UN's worries that the internet was too open and (*gasp*!) terrorists might use it:
I read terrorists use food too. I'd start by controlling food so that a terrorist never uses it, then we don't have to worry about terrorists.
For editor's choice, I'm actually doing three comments this week, but two of them are based on the same post -- the one about Random House's definition of "ownership" of ebooks being entirely different than everyone else's definition. First up, we had nospacesorspecialcharacters:
Oh come on what's the big deal? It's just like physical ownership. An ebook is like a book, and a platform is like a bookshelf.

I can't be the only one who buys all my books again when I purchase a new bookshelf?!
And then we had Jordan chime in with a more... practical solution:
I'm not paying for the book. I'm licensing you rights to use my cash for a bit.
And, finally, we have an Anonymous Coward responding to the post we had about an economist arguing for perpetual copyright, by arguing that he's ignoring the economics and the fact that they go against him. To get the full effect of this comment, we have to start it off with the quote from economist Stan Liebowitz that this AC is responding to:
I don't deny that it's efficient to sort of weaken copyright to a certain balancing point. What I'm saying is that we can do that, we have the tools to do that, and no one finds it particularly morally objectionable to weaken copyright to get to what is the proper balance. The point of my paper is that if we were doing it the way we're saying we would like to, we would be removing rents from the creators of copyrighted works, because that's how you get the balance that's most efficient. But we don't go reducing rents elsewhere in the economy, say from basketball players.

So let me get this straight:
- It is economically efficient to weaken copyright.
- No one finds it morally objectionable to weaken copyright.
- It is desirable to weaken copyright.

- We should not weaken copyright.


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2012 @ 5:23pm


    (why is that OK but not this *)

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