Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the ghost-of-copyright-past dept

Christmas is almost here, and we'll be off for a couple of days—but hopefully this week's excellent comments will be enough to tide you over until we return! Way out in the lead on the insightful side, we've got The Infamous Joe on our post about the RIAA's attempt to rewrite the history of copyright. Joe stepped into the seemingly-neverending debate over just what kind of right copyright is, asserting the simple reality that copyright maximalists persistently dance around:
Maybe I'm confused. How can it be a natural right if it requires a government for it to exist?

Perhaps I don't understand what a natural right is, but I thought it was a right that needed no government to give it.

Nope, you understand it perfectly. Of course, while copyright is clearly not a natural right, the UN chose to include creators' moral rights as a human right—a questionable decision in and of itself, but that's a whole other debate. Not to mention the other other debate about whether human rights are the same thing as natural rights. It's kind of a mess.

The first place comment was inspired by the RIAA, and the second place comment was inspired by the MPAA—specifically their claim that the insane volume of DMCA takedowns they send to Google is proof that the search engine isn't pulling its anti-piracy weight (or pushing its weight, since it's a Sysyphian endeavour). Fogbugzd suggested that the MPAA try out the scientific method for once:

Here is an experiment that the MPAA could try. Go on a 6-month hiatus. Stop sending out DCMA notices (or paying other people to do it for you). Leave other things the same, such as DVD prices and your deals with streaming services. See if movie revenue jumps from things like DVD sales and streaming. If you are right then piracy should blossom in the absence of notices and your profits will spike. Then you might have a case against Google. What do you have to loose? Obviously your current strategy is not working. A plus is that you would save the money that it costs to send all of those DCMA notices. You might even find Google and other potential partners a bit more willing to make a deal with you.

And then here is an experiment for the next six months. Stop playing with release dates and geographic restrictions for six months. Give windowing a 6-month vacation. While you are at it, provide Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other streaming services some decent programming for the period. See if profits climb or piracy rates plummet. A bonus here is that during this six months you can save all the money it takes to manage, implement, and finance the windowing and regional restrictions.

Unfortunately, the industry has entangled itself in such a messy web of antiquated contracts and overbearing laws that such an experiment is probably impossible.

For Editor's Choice, we'll start with another comment from the same post, because it brings up an important aspect to the Google DMCA issue that people are starting to forget. Since all the talk lately has been about the volume of requests, there's been less mention of the even-more-important fact that Scote brings up: it's not at all clear why indexed links to infringing content should need to be removed in the first place:

Links are not infringing
I suspect that millions of the take downs are for *links* to websites that have infringing content as opposed to infringing content hosting by Google itself. Google shouldn't have to take down links as they accurately reflect what is on the web. Should Google maps have to remove the street number of an alleged crack house? No. The street numbers aren't a violation. Nor should Google be removing links.

Maybe instead of complaining that Google isn't magically making piracy disappear, the MPAA should be happy that it's not fighting back against their questionable campaign to target the algorithmic middleman.

For the second Editor's Choice, we go back to Monday's post about El-P's Twitter rant on the state of radio. Faux Real gave his own perspective on why things haven't changed:

The problem is the ever loving quest for dollars vs. artistic innovation.

It's hard for monolithic corporations to react to today's faster moving trends. They're too entrenched in demographics and their tried and true methods of market manipulation. Not to mention that for the moment it's still working for them.

Despite all the great new music out there they still choose to flex their power over the media industries. Music is a powerful medium and when coupled with visuals they still have a huge stick to beat people with. Look at all these music reality TV shows, or the integration of pop music into network television soundtracks. They don't have to listen to the underground... yet.

They still have the powers of money, market saturation and fame. There will always be artists, DJs and celebrity endorsers willing to compromise themselves for a piece (for some there was never a goal of self expression but to cash in). It all works well with manipulating herd mentality and envy.

When the underground finally bubbles up to the surface with something that's so intriguing and exciting that the mainstream has to pay attention they can cherry pick what they want, package it and sell it to the masses. (I find great irony in the way marketers can take the DIY nature of punk and hip hop then turn it into slogans like "Be original, drink Sprite.")

A recent ridiculous example is DJ Shadow getting booted off the decks at The Mansion nightclub in Miami. This high profile club booked him on his broad reaching fame. Then kicked him off 20 minutes into his set to appease their bottle service crowd. They feasted on his street cred and make a few bucks off his fans. This is the 2nd high profile DJ they did this to this year and the word is now out. I'm not sure if their loss of underground attendees and DJs boycotting them will hurt much. But it's a start.

But all is not lost, their greed is their downfall. If they keep ignoring the creative class, they will continue to become incrementally irrelevant. They can't stop the march of progress, they can't stifle innovation. Technology is leveling the playing field in terms of distribution and publicity.

I urge everyone to go out and support your favorite musician/producer/DJ by going to their shows and seeing them in person whenever you can. Seeing actual smiles and hearing praise in person can do a lot to keep them motivated. Not to mention keep them fed. Keep spreading the word and welcome new people into your scene because everyone has to start somewhere.

That comment gets extra points for the hilarious mental image of a Miami bottle service crowd's confused reaction to DJ Shadow—which serves as a rather good segue into the funny side of things, where both top comments take us on long trips down sarcastic rabbit holes.

In first place, we've got Robert on our list of successes that didn't rely on copyright. Robert took a shot at contributing to the copyright propaganda mill, while partially channeling one of our more notorious trolls:

The generality is quite simple, piracy has devastated the music business and the 2.1 million people it employs in the USA alone (95% are lawyers). It's gotten so bad that Aimee Mann has taken to cleaning houses, it is true, I saw it on TV.

The movie industry, despite losing $17 billion per month since the 1970's when the VCR strangled women at home, has lost 3.7 million jobs each year! Catering companies and florists, for example, can't find any other company to have as customers. They only service the movie industry. No one else. They are also laying people off (in addition to the 3.7 million per year) and closing up shop.

It's all Google's fault because they won't limit searches to just the legitimate content, and after its windowed release of 96 days because the longer people wait, the more they want it. They don't have other sources of entertainment. Seriously, videogames were a temporary fad, only supported by comic book collectors like that guy on the Simpsons.

There are no real success stories or those in the list would have brought back all those jobs and billions in revenue.

We all know Pirate Mike and his TechDirt minions are the real people behind Google's power and takeover of the Internet for the sole purpose of stealing intellectual property.

It's all part of the Streisand Effect, as outlined in Wikipedia.

There is no quality of art outside of the corporations and all you pirates want to do is destroy what's left so there's nothing but cigarbox music about the long lost days when artists were swimming in money thanks to our now broken system. It's all your fault you evil pirates! We've bent over backwards to see straight and you still steal us blind.


Not far behind in the voting, Mesonoxian Eve took second place with a clever re-interpretation of the perennial "let's blame videogames" political philosophy:

We can definitely start blaming games for the state of the country.

First, there's Monopoly, as played by Apple, RIAA, MPAA, Monsanto, and any other company which feels competition isn't the American dream.

Second, there's Mouse Trap, as played by the FBI, NSA, and ICE, who either builds their own traps to catch the mouse, or is lead through the game by others, oblivious of what's in store.

Third, there's So You Think You're Smarter Than A 5th Grader, which many in our Congress constantly play, but fail.

And Finally, there's Life, which the rest of us play. Except we don't get the same results of the actual game. There's a hidden wheel, under the main one, which inflicts a heavy toll on the wheel we get to see. For example, you'll roll and draw "Company does well. Get $50,000 bonus." and the hidden wheel says, "Health Care Reform Act, higher taxes, erosion of Middle Class reduces bonus into the negative, forcing player to owe."

Yeah. Let's blame games for everything. /sarcasm

For Editor's Choice, we'll start with an earlier post on the same topic, where an anonymous commenter highlighted the absurdity of the argument with the help of yet another popular game:

Remember when all the kids were determined to become farmers during the Farmville boom?

(Though I wouldn't be surprised if some grew up to become Skinnerian psychologists.)

Finally, we move to our post about US IP Attaches complaining that not everyone buys into their views on IP. I've always been a fan of the quote (I don't know who said it) "diplomacy is the art of letting other people have your way"—but Baldur Regis provided an excellent alternative courtesy of an immortal entertainer:

Diplomacy is the art of saying nice doggy until you can find a rock.

- Will Rogers

And with that, we're out! We'll be returning with regularly scheduled posts on Wednesday as we get ready to release our big year-end round-up post.

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  1. icon
    jameshogg (profile), 23 Dec 2012 @ 12:36pm


    Yes. Tell that to China with its Great Firewall and subsequent 80% piracy rate.

    That's conjecture, I know. But hey, you started it.

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