by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the true-top-two dept

We get lots of comments that place on the Funny and Insightful lists at the same time, but I'm not sure if this has ever happened before: both the first and second place comments are the same in both categories. Since that would make for a pretty short post this week, we'll throw in the third place comments to round out the numbers, which also means I'm going to switch up the order of things a little. Let's get started.

Up first, with the most Insightful votes and the most Funny votes, we've got a comment on our post about Hollywood's latest DRM scheme, which they are trying to boost by giving away free movies. An anonymous commenter summed the oddness of this move up nicely:

Come to our prison! We have free meals!

Up next, taking second place in both categories, we've got a comment on our post about the latest details on the "six strike" plans for ISPs and how they might interfere with free Wi-Fi networks. MrWilson highlighted the absurdity with an analogy:

I just got arrested yesterday because Ford reported to the cops that I drove my car to a neighborhood known for drug dealing. The cops didn't care that Ford had no proof that I was the one driving the car or that I actually did purchase and/or use drugs. They're not even bothering with a jury trial either. The fourth time I drove there, they made my car drive really slow, so now I'm always late for work. The next time they just suspended my license completely.

Taking third place on the Insightful side is a comment on our post about CBS blocking CNET from giving Dish an award. Ed C. took a closer look at the situation from an innovation perspective:

Aside from the appalling dissolution of journalistic integrity for the sake of corporate interest, I can't help but notice that the "features" Dish is being praised for--time and place shifting--are nothing but ridiculous kludges to transfer content from an archaic mode of distribution to what people expect of the modern era--digital storage and on-demand access. Of course, none of these kludges would be necessary if it weren't for companies like CBS burning money to shore up their legacy business model against the ever increasing demands of the market.

Meanwhile, over on the Funny side, the third place comment comes from our post about Sony's brazen use of copyright alchemy to extend its control over Bob Dylan's music, by releasing a "Copyright Extension Collection" (seriously). DannyB pointed out how amusing it is that the release is a limited edition:

You better hurry and download it before other downloaders or those hundred or so copies will be gone!

Now that we're past all the winners, let's move on to the Editor's Choice. On the Insightful side, we've got another comment from the same post, in which Donny serves up a detailed history of Dylan's own copying:

Goddamit, what really pisses me off about this is that this is Bob Dylan, copier extraordinaire, whose music is being locked up.

As it happens, this very night I was listening to The Times They Are A-Changin'. Small coincidence. But let's go through that album quickly so:

Track 1. 'The Times They Are a-Changin' - by Dylan's own admission, based off various Irish/Scottish ballads.

Track 2. 'Ballad of Hollis Brown' - based off an Appalachian tune called 'Pretty Polly'.

Track 3. 'With God on Our Side' - based off a song of Dominic Behan's called 'The Patriot Game'. (Interesting side-note: the melody is not Behan's own. Which just shows that such borrowing is an ordinary, even healthy, way to go about songwriting and none of this is meant on an attack on Dylan's character.) (Say that to Behan though: he considered Dylan a "plagiarist and a thief").

(To my ears, tracks 5 and 6, 'North Country Blues' and 'Only a Pawn in Their Game' sound like developed melodies Dylan came across somewhere, the former especially seems Irish/Scottish with its i->VII->i progression. No solid sources on them though, so I'll pass over.)

Track 7. 'Boots of Spanish Leather' - based off Dylan's own 'Girl From North Country' which in turn was based off the English song 'Scarborough Fair'.

Track 8. 'When the Ship Comes In' - based off a more contemporary (well, 1928) operatic song Pirate Jenny.

Track 9. 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll' - based off the Child Ballad Mary Hamilton (no. 173 in that collection).

Track 10. 'Restless Farewell' - little more than a personalised rewrite of a (still popular) Irish tune called The Parting Glass.

Now I don't mean to denigrate Dylan. I think he's one of the twentieth century's greatest songwriters, I've huge personal respect for him. But he depended heavily on other people's creativity to achieve what he did (let's not even get started on how derivative the b-sides and outtakes are).

So that he's locking up all these songs, all this culture, claiming it as his own, and demanding dues for its's simply wrong of him. And not only for its inequality of sharing, but for culture to come: how can the twenty-first century's great songwriters hope to achieve even half what he did, if they can't lean on inspiration such as his but are expected to create all of their own songs whole cloth?

Up next, we've got a comment on our post about the latest police abuses when it comes to citizens recording them on duty. Michael wondered how it's ever possible for a cop to delete someone's recording:

How is this any different than the police walking onto a movie studio lot and removing the film from a camera? I cannot think of ANY instance in which the police would have the right to delete a recording made by someone else.

If the recording is itself illegal, it is evidence. If the recording is not illegal, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL.

It is so painful to see stories like this. How arrogant have some of the police officers in the US gotten? The police do not have the right to destroy anything unless they are ordered to by the courts.

I am sure it is very intimidating being on the receiving end of something like this, but I hope this guy brings a civil suit against them for their behavior. If nothing else, the citizens in this area should be up in arms over this and complaining very loudly to local government officials.

For Editor's Choice over on the Funny side, we'll start with a comment on our post about the disturbing news that pantents are interfering with our health on a global scale by preventing us from defeating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. An anonymous commenter noted that the bacteria itself might be infringing:

The real problem is those bacteria who are mutating outside our patent system. They are stealing from the pharmaceutical companies trying hard to patent new drugs! We should create a national bacterial database and require they register all new mutations.

And finally, since we opened with two big crossover hits, we'll close with another—a comment that could easily make editor's choice (and placed high on the voting scales) on both sides. Going back to our post about Hollywood's "please take our DRM" scheme, an anonymous commenter asked a simple question:

So they're giving away free films so that they can use DRM to stop people getting free films?

That's all for this week—see you tomorrow!

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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jan 2013 @ 8:37pm


    Its what pantsuits because due to our increasing intake of crap industrial food.

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