by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the corporate-children dept

With Aereo having won its most recent round in court, we fully expected a temper tantrum from the TV networks on the other side — and we certainly got one. Kicking off the Fox CEO's statement was a very telling line that Josh in CharlotteNC latched onto, delivering our most insightful comment of the week:

This right here...

"If we can’t have our rights properly protected through legal and governmental solutions, we will pursue business solution."

This right here encapsulates everything that is wrong in the heads of those dependant on the insane version of copyright that we have today.

Business solutions (IOW adapting to the market) are seen as a last resort only after government lobbying and threats from lawyers have failed. That statement shows they have no desire to actually serve their customers and give them what they ask for (convenience, quality, and reasonable prices).

That wasn't the only instance of a company playing childish games this week. We also had the amusing empty promise from AT&T that they would follow Google's lead and build a gigabit fiber network in Austin, and thus were naturally expecting the same favorable deals from the city. Atkray took a crack at drafting Austin's response, winning not just second place on the insightful side, but first place on the funny side as well:

Dear AT&T,

We are thrilled to announce we will extend the same terms to you that we have extended to Google immediately upon receipt of verification that you have completed upgrading all of your existing service to 1 gigabit.

City of Austin.

For our first editor's choice, we'll remain on the subject of corporations behaving badly, and head to our post about the accusation that Disney copied an artist's painting for some merchandise design. Sehlat summed up the situation and the pattern it's a part of simply and accurately:

Remember the Corporate Golden Rule

When WE do it, it's fair use. When YOU do it, it's piracy.

And for the next editor's choice, we drop in on Author's Guild president Scott Turow's latest tirade, where dkline drafted an excellent response:

I'm no fan of that ridiculous trope "information wants to be free."

But as a lawyer, Turow ought to know that for the first 100 years of U.S. copyright law, the courts protected rampant piracy of European texts, and considered the public domain the heavy priority over the rights of authors (in stark contrast to the way patent law protected inventors, btw)

This from the first copyright law in 1790: “Nothing in this act shall be construed to extend to prohibit the importation or vending, reprinting or publishing within the United States, of any map, chart, book or books by any person not a citizen of the United States.”

Even a century later, in Koppel v. Downing, the court said this: “The primary object of [copyright] is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, thereby benefitting the public, and as a means to that end and as a secondary object, to secure exclusive rights to authors.”

Things have changed, of course, with the rights of authors much more strongly protected nowadays (too strongly, many feel, in the length of the term of copyright).

But Turow ought to know his own patriotic history before he tries slinging it at others.

On the funny side, we've already had our first place winner above, so on to second place. Following the news that the DCRI, a French intelligence, agency had attempted to get a Wikipedia page taken down, only to have it reinstated and become the most read page on the French edition of the site. An anonymous commenter took second place by predicting the next development:

Next: DCRI tries to censor the Streisand Effect.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we're heading back to the same two posts that gave us our editor's choices on the insightful side, because there are two comments there that just couldn't go without note. First up, we've got an anonymous commenter further responding to Scott Turow:

Welcome to the 21st Century
And after they get rid of Turow, they should probably drop "Guild" from their name.

And finally, we've got the appropriately named Chris-Mouse explaining just what happened with the Disney copying situation:

You have to remember that copyright exists to protect the little guy. You know, the one with the big ears.

Well, that explains it! See you tomorrow, everyone.

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  1. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 14 Apr 2013 @ 7:02pm

    "Remember the Corporate Golden Rule

    When WE do it, it's fair use. When YOU do it, it's piracy."

    Next time someone says "fair use is a defense, not a right", what he really means is "fair use is only for those with fancy expensive lawyers."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2013 @ 9:19pm

    AT&T is funny

    The funniest thing about the AT&T article was that anyone familiar with AT&T knows they are actually act like a finance company, and always are looking for deals and companies to acquire, so they can sell the assets to investors.

    There's an article in the Denver Business Journal about AT&T. The link is below. My favorite part is when the CEO basically said his strategy was to "sell everything that wasn't bolted down".

    So, anywho, you may enjoy reading the article. But there's a strange comment buried in the article from someone whose name leads me to believe they're a troll, but likely they know the Dean of the Colorado University Law School, who enforces anti-trust, and knows a little about patents too. past.html?page=all

    My only question, is if the AT&T guy who said his job was to "sell everything that isn't bolted down" has an executive chair with wheels...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2013 @ 10:31pm


    Says two comments but I only see your one even if I refresh


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2013 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re:

    There was a spam bot comment a little bit ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Apr 2013 @ 3:16am


    Wouldn't that be true for justice as a whole? After all appeals and whatever the one with the deepest pockets will be the one that will be served with "justice" (excluding some cases where it's too clear that the defendant is right and would get a favorable ruling naturally - and even those are becoming rarer).

    What kind of justice is this that the defendant has to cope with the financial burden of defending him/herself?? What kind of justice is this that allows money to decide the outcome? What kind of justice is this that even if you win you are ruined financially (Veoh)?

    Things are seriously fucked up gentleman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Apr 2013 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re:

    Before someone calls out, I do believe the accusation should also be offered a state lawyer if it is the average Joe suing. The loser should pay all costs. Would make the system more balanced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    tomxp411 (profile), 15 Apr 2013 @ 9:33am

    "If we canít have our rights properly protected through legal and governmental solutions, we will pursue business solution."

    The software industry already does this: that's what all of the crazy copy protection schemes really are - a way to enforce one-user-per-purchase outside of Copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 15 Apr 2013 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re:

    Well, that's what I mean. If it's a right, you can't just be sued over (or at least it can be dismissed more easily, in theory). If it's a defense, it's all about how much defense you can afford, since you're going to court no matter what.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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