Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the there's-a-big-difference-between-3-and-6 dept

Mojang is no stranger to silly intellectual property disputes, but this week's Putt-Putt debacle reminded us that you never know where a dumb threat might come from. Lonyo won most insightful comment of the week by suggesting turnabout for the sake of fair play:

Mojang/Notch should send a cease and desist letter to Putt-Putt asking them to stop putting up content which promotes their brand using Minecraft to create the content.

Clearly Putt-Putt are using Minecraft and the associated brand to get online users interested in Minigolf and trying to build an association using the Minecraft brand without compensating Mojang.

"It has recently come to our attention that Putt-Putt has been using, without authorization our famous Minecraft trademarks in connection with your business," said the letter. "We feel that Putt-Putts's use of of the Minecraft name has benefited Putt-Putt to the detriment of Minecraft."

While Putt-Putt was misunderstanding Minecraft, a reporter was misunderstanding the internet as it relates to kid-friendly ratings on video games. Chris O'Donnell won second most insightful comment of the week by reminding us that the best way to protect kids is by teaching them:

When my daughter was 6 we found her surfing the web unsupervised. When asked, she showed us how she typed in my wife's password, which she had figured out by watching my wife type it, then clicked the Firefox icon, and then typed what she wanted into the box on Google.

At age 6.

That was the moment I resolved to teach my kid's everything they needed to know about online safety and gave up on any fantasies of filtering or otherwise controlling their access.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got two pieces of insight into the wacky world of music licensing and copyright. First up is jupiterkansas with the simple truth about the RIAA and internet radio:

Pandora puts non-RIAA artists on the same level playing fields at RIAA artists. If the RIAA can't control their business, their next best option is to drive them out of business. This is their whole approach to the internet.

And up next we've got Karl with a reminder of why mechanical music licenses exist in the first place:

Indeed, "intellectual property" actually makes a free market impossible. It is, by definition, a government-granted monopoly, something that is as far away from a free market as you can possibly get.

In fact, the entire reason that statutory royalty rates were established, was to prevent the monopoly trusts that copyright creates. From the House Report on the 1909 Copyright Act:
It was at first thought by the committee that the copyright proprietors of musical compositions should be given the exclusive right to do what they pleased with the rights it was proposed to give them to control and dispose of all rights of mechanical reproduction, but the hearings disclosed that the probable effect of this would be the establishment of a mechanical-music trust. It became evident that there would be serious danger that if the grant of right was made too broad, the progress of science and useful arts would not be promoted, but rather hindered, and that powerful and dangerous monopolies might be fostered which would be prejudicial to the public interests. This danger lies in the possibility that some one company might secure, by purchase or otherwise, a large number of copyrights of the most popular music, and by controlling these copyrights monopolize the business of manufacturing the selling music producing machines, otherwise free to the world. [...]

How to protect him in these rights without establishing a great music monopoly was the practical question the committee had to deal with. The only way to effect both purposes, as it seemed to the committee, was, after giving the composer the exclusive right to prohibit the use of his music by the mechanical reproducers, to provide that if he used or permitted the use of his music for such purpose then, upon the payment of a reasonable royalty, all who desired might reproduce the music.
In other words, they were trying to prevent exactly the situation we have now.

Over on the funny side, we've got one famous punching bag spurring a shot at another. Among the dirty tricks of John Steele was some email-deletion hijinks, prompting Tunnen to propose a backup solution:

Could always ask the NSA for their copy... =P

Speaking of the NSA, when one of their contractors was caught claiming to have interviewed someone who was dead for more than a decade, it prompted an anonymous commenter to deliver our second funniest comment of the week:

Well it's as they say, the competition is stiff

For editor's choice on the funny side, we'll start by picking up a thread that was started back with our second most insightful comment. Six-year-olds can subvert web blockers, but as Jessie points out, the behaviour of anti-piracy agencies playing whac-a-mole tends to skew a bit younger:

Reminds me of a three year old.

Oooh, a red circle on top of the stove....OWWWWWWW that hurts. Ooooh, a red circle.......OWWWWWW. Oooh, a red circle..

and so on and so forth. Maybe it's time to try something different?

Yes, much like dolphins and primates, the intelligence of anti-piracy groups is best measured in Human Toddler Years.

But, without any doubt, the best joke of the week was Rep. Marsha Blackburn's ludicrous comments about innovation and intellectual property, including her fear that foreign countries won't take America seriously if it doesn't over-enforce copyrights and patents. Though nothing could be as funny as the assertions Blackburn made, Baldur Regis gets our final editor's choice for interpreting that particular fear:

Somewhere in a sweaty third world dictatorship:

"Wait, you are telling me U.S. continues to deny performance rights for sound recordings? How can we take them seriously? For the sake of sound recordings everywhere we must be contemptuous of the U.S. I tell you!"

And somewhere nearby: "And now they're letting us manufacture affordable copies of life-saving medicines — the pathetic, contemptible fools!"

That's all for this week folks!

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