Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the backs-and-forths dept

After a dangerous ruling that allowed Microsoft to seize a bunch of domain names without even notifying the owners, there were plenty of problems to be discussed. But, ultimately, most of it boils down to the simple absurdity of such seizures being possible in the first place, as Adrian Lopez pointed out in this week's first-place comment on the insightful side:

Yet another example of why in rem seizures need to be done away with altogether. Property has owners. Want to seize the property? Argue against the owner in front of a judge. It's called due process.

Our next comment took both the second place spot for insightful and the first place spot for funny. After the IRS denied non-profit status to an open source organization, one anonymous commenter pointed out the ridiculous imbalance between this and another recent bit of news:

It has to benefit the poor ... like Massachusetts SWAT who apparently had no problem getting 501(c)(3) status

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got two excellent responses to common arguments that show up in the comments (and elsewhere). The first is related to Aereo: as we've pointed out many times, saying Aereo is abusing a loophole in the law is a gross mischaracterization of the situation, and I've never seen that as cleanly demonstrated as in this anonymous analogy:

The difference is between following the law, and trying to carefully position yourself to get through a loophole in the law, by doing all sorts of obvious contortions that would not normally occur to do it.

Sorry. That logic doesn't hold much water.

To get through the "loophole" in jaywalking laws I'm "doing all sorts of obvious contortions" by "carefully positioning myself" at the crosswalk, which "would not normally occur" because it's a half a block away.

You wording things differently doesn't magically change the legality of things.

Next, as we've been pointing people towards Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC, some have argued that it's inherently dumb to try to use money to get money out of politics. I think there's plenty of room for informed debate here, but many people seem to reject the idea out of hand — and JP Jones makes a solid case for why this isn't fair by better illuminating the idea:

Politics costs money. Everything costs money in one way or another. To paraphrase one of my college professors: "politics is the method by which human beings decide who gets what." Since we use money as the primary determination for our economy (also "who gets what") that means politics is all about money, or at least economic value.

You can't remove money from politics. The money, however, isn't the problem. The problem is the strings attached to the money, the intent behind those who "donate" to the political process. This has a class-based definition: if the rich or affluent do it, it's called "lobbying" and if the poor or middle class do it it's called "bribery." The result is the same; the implication is that the individual receiving the money will behave in a manner that benefits the one giving the money, and if they do not, the money will not be offered. Since money is required to have a successful campaign (and thus get elected) this becomes a major factor in how politians act.

The idea behind a crowd funded PAC is that by making the money generic and outside of the control of any political goal or intent you remove the "or else" from the equation. This means politicians are compelled to act in accordance with what their constituents want because now their votes are the primary determining factor in how they represent us, not the money from campaign contributions (which currently have the largest impact on elections). In other words, our representatives are motivated to represent the voters rather than the lobby.

Over on the funny side, we've already had our first place comment above, so it's on to second place, where we've got another crossover comment referencing other recent news. After the new NSA boss commented that he'd observed terrorist organizations "making changes" in response to the Snowden revelations, Michael took a guess at the new security advice they might be seeking:

Just the other day they were on the phone with someone willing to help them secure their systems for $1m per month...

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got two short scripted scenes that readers dreamed up. First, Rekrul imagined a likely phone call now that SoundCloud has given Universal Music the ability to take down content:

Tech Support: SoundCloud tech support, how may I help you?

UMG: You know that tool you gave us to take down any content that we deem to be infringing?

Tech Support: Yes.

UMG: Well, I can't find the "Delete All" button...

Finally, Baron von Robber anticipated a coming exchange between the ACLU and the DOJ, which has been ordered to deliver unredacted memos:

ACLU: "You were told to give an unredacted memo"
DOJ: "It's no redacted"
ACLU: "What's all that black stuff blocked out?"
DOJ: "Um...new font called "ACLU type"
ACLU: "Look, I know redacted when I see and I'm looking at it right now"
DOJ: "It's pineing for the feuds."

(I think that was supposed to be "fjords", unless there's an additional joke I'm not getting.)

That's all for this week, folks!


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 3:15pm

    "Yet another example of why in rem seizures need to be done away with altogether."

    Despite my Latin education, I read that as ..."in R.E.M. seizures." I'm sure people who have seizures during their dreams would probably appreciate doing away with them altogether.

     

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    tanj, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    DOJ: "It's pineing for the feuds."
    (I think that was supposed to be "fjords", unless there's an additional joke I'm not getting.)

    Just a fjordian slip.

     

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    JWW (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Mayday

    I think the issue that Techdirt is seeing wrt Mayday is that while Libertarians read and support this site when discussing IP rights, fighting back against NSA surveillance, and the horrible state of software patents and patent tolls, they get uncomfortable discussing campaign reform that is heavily dependent on limiting free speech and controlling campaigns through government agencies and organizations. Don't pretend that the Democrats and Republicans aren't going to fight tooth and nail for only providing red and blue vouchers and not offering them for any other parties.

    While progressives may think that Mayday PAC is really really cool, Libertarians aren't comfortable with what they're asking for.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 5:20pm

    Re:

    I too mistook rem for R.E.M. and though they were snatching up people in deep sleep.

     

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    JMT (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 5:24pm

    "...they get uncomfortable discussing campaign reform that is heavily dependent on limiting free speech...

    How does restricting the flow of money limit free speech?

     

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    JMT (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    Dammit, that was supposed to be a reply to JWW above.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Mayday

    I really think there's a big problem with titles like Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Conservative, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, Tea Party, etc etc.
    It gives people a side to rally under even if all of the opinions of the title don't necessarily align with your own and forces people to give up on certain issues.
    It gives people a side to attack, to demonize, to dismiss whenever someone has a difference in opinion, similar to discrimination.
    Honestly, the way they're being used in a negative, attacking way in recent years makes me see them more and more as slurs.
    Depending on who you ask on which issue I'm either far-right or far-left. If I'm both, then I'm neither. It's just a fallacy to dismiss my opinion because it differs. And it's getting worse. It's become acceptable to just be against someone because of their side and for no other reason.
    We need to be about the issues, not sides. We need to vote for people who are about fixing the issues we are concerned about, not voting down party lines.
    We need to be about voting the people best suited for the job, not voting against the other side.
    There shouldn't be Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives. There should just be people with concerns on issues they want to fix.

     

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    Random Troll, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 6:00pm

    "It's pineing for the feuds."

    It's an EX-PARROT!!
    "Look, I can see nails in it's feet!"

    Apologies to Monty Python and the parrot skit.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    I'm Ripping Off Craig Ferguson?

    Hollywod and Microsoft are two very different things, of course. One is has way more money than sense,is capable of influencing millions, hates piracy, siezes domains, blames Google for the drop in sales, constantly makes new versions of old things that nobody really wants whilst charging way too much for them..... And the other one is Hollywood!

    (Why does Microsoft blame Google for a drop in sales? Google Docs vs Office and Android vs Windows Mobile, of course)

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 7:32pm

    loophole

    " saying Aereo is abusing a loophole in the law is a gross mischaracterization of the situation"

    It's exactly what they were trying to do. They were trying to play in a little gap created between the law and judgements in certain areas, and tried to make that trump existing laws that cover their type of business.

    They tried to use a loophole to get around the law, and failed - and failed huge. Barry Diller now has a 100 million dollar hole in his pocket after betting that the loophole would work.

     

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    CK20XX (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 7:45pm

    Re: loophole

    In a way, it's a matter of perspective. Criminals use loopholes to exploit the law. Visionaries challenge the law to achieve greater things. They're both basically the same thing, but I think it's safe to call Aereo a visionary since they were seeking to bring better service to everyone instead of hoarding something for themselves.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 8:19pm

    Re: loophole

    I cannot face-palm hard enough for that comment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2014 @ 8:26pm

    Re: loophole

    Why do I have to pay for free-to-air television?

     

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    techflaws (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 10:15pm

    Re: loophole

    Your nonsense will be ignored as long as you refuse to answer why people should be paying for something that is free.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: loophole

    You don't.

    You pay for someone to deliver it to you, and they have to pay for the rights to resell someone else's content.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:02am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    ...and why should they have to pay at all for the "right to resell"? This is content that is broadcast in the clear open air, with no encryption or protection of any kind, available for anyone to "hear".
    As I've said before, imagine if this were a guy preaching in a public square, shouting loudly to a crowd. Imagine I'm way in the back, and I can't quite hear him, so I pay someone else to record it using some equipment and play it back for me. The preacher is doing nothing at all to restrict his content, he has no right whatsoever to demand that the guy doing the recording has to pay him.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: loophole

    See above. You are not paying for something that is free. You are paying for it's delivery.

    Think about it. Why was anyone paying Aereo anything at all? They were paying for delivery. When you deliver over the air signals in this manner, you are a cable company (according to SCOTUS) and as a result, they have to pay for the rights to the content they redistribute.

    You can have OTA for free - or you can pay for a deliver service. Which do you want?

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Rikou, first and foremost, it's the law.

    For your example, you are correct, but only on an individual case basis. It doesn't apply in the case of cable TV operators who receive the signal (in whatever manner) and redistribute it to a whole bunch of people live (or as near live as the technology allows). The signal is free for you to receive as an individual, but not free for them to receive as a reselling company.

    The biggest mistake in the Aereo case is to ignore the process of distribution. That is the one that turns them into a cable company.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:17am

    Re:

    Because nothing says "I'm committed to this" like spending half your annual income on something. If you're more successful financially, half your income is a lot more impressive than the guy who flips burgers at McDonalds making the same commitment.

    If someone arbitrarily says you're too wealthy to be allowed to be as committed as that other guy, your rights to self expression are violated.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:21am

    Re: loophole

    What loophole? They read the laws, and designed their business to be 100% legal. That this required that they tie themselves in knots shows the law is absurd, not that they were trying to game the system.

    When you fill out your taxes, do you obey the rules for filing? Are you playing in a little gap between statutory law and case law? Guess what? There is a technical legal term for someone who doesn't play in that little gap: felon.

    Aereo didn't fail at anything, they obeyed the law. The Supreme Court is the body that failed here -- they ruled that it doesn't matter if you obey the law scrupulously, all it takes to get convicted is the mere appearance of wrongdoing, the facts and your innocence are irrelevant.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:22am

    Re: Re: loophole

    Well, you could...but then you'd be in the hospital with a concussion.

     

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    CK20XX (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "It's the law" is a pretty flimsy rationale these days, FYI. There are a lot of bad laws that are holding back progress in a number of areas and widening the gap between the upper and lower class. Aereo would have been healthy for the economy if it has been allowed to continue operating; it would have lit a fire under the behinds of traditional cable stations that aren't interested in providing good service to their customers.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Incorrect. Broadcast television isn't in the business of selling programming to viewers, they're in the business of selling advertising slots to advertisers. Viewers 'pay' for the programming by watching the ads.

    Broadcasters could only benefit from an Aereo win, which would have made those advertisements more valuable by extending the range at which people could see them FAR beyond the range they are broadcast to. Broadcasters threatening to stop broadcasting if Aereo won were threatening to commit suicide if someone dared to help them make more money.

    Aereo wasn't reselling anything any more than the landlord of an apartment building is selling local television to tenants. In both cases, the TV viewer doesn't own the antenna they use to get TV, they pay someone for access to the antenna.

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    By that standard Techdirt is a cable company, because they distribute content through the internet electronically.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "Broadcasters could only benefit from an Aereo win"

    Incorrect. Broadcasters have a dual business model, one which is selling advertising on the air, and the other part which is selling distribution rights to their programming to cable companies. Since 1976 (back in the early days of cable), the law of the US has made this part of the business models. It's that part that Aereo ignored at their peril, and died as a result. Whatever small amount would be gained by Aereo distribution would be nothing compared to the millions lost as every other cable system stopped paying (by popping up a bunch of little antennas to get around the law).

    As for your landlord example, if the landlord actually tried to specifically charge you for access, they might run into the problem of being a cable company. Most buildings just provide it as part of the service, but do not in any way PROCESS the signal or redistribute it, they only make sure the antenna is connected to the little outlet in your unit. They don't actually get involved in the process of distributing it per se, they provide only a physical product, with no promise or expectation of service. Aereo sold service.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: loophole

    Aereo didn't fail at anything, they obeyed the law.

    No they didn't. They entirely ignored the 1976 law regarding copyright and cable distribution, by trying to pretend that their "millions of seperate antennas" bit would somehow make them not be what they are - a new fangled cable company. So while they respected some of the other rulings and laws to the letter, and tied themselves in knots to do it, they whistled and tried to ignore the biggie - and the biggie got them.

    all it takes to get convicted is the mere appearance of wrongdoing

    They didn't convict anybody of anything. It's not a question of appearance, but rather a question of duplicate process. Aereo wanted them to focus very closely on a few very technical details and ignore the overall function. SCOTUS wouldn't be midlead and said "you work like a cable company, so you are subject to cable company laws". They were not impressed by little antenna farms or stream counts. They correctly figured out that it started with the same raw materials and ended with the same results as cable, and functioned the same as cable... thus in the eyes of the law it's cable.

    Aereo could be back in business today, provided that they negotiate under the 1976 law a deal for the programming that they resell. But it's unlikely that people will accept to pay cable TV rates for a picture quality that isn't up to that level.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "They were paying for delivery."

    Then cabbies should be nailed for human trafficking. UPS, airlines...

    The airwaves are trying to go everywhere but man made structures prohibit them from doing so.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    The cable companies shouldn't have to pay in the first place.

    However Aereo does not work like a cable company. Each customer has their own antenna (which is an insane setup nowadays) that generates a single signal. All aereo did was maintain the equipment and provide a connection between the equipment and the user. Anybody can build such setup: connect the antenna to a computer, grab the image it transmits and send over the Internet from a connection. Aereo is maintaining the antenna attached to the computer and the connection. If they were in fact operating as a cable company they'd get the signal and multiply it to several customers over a physical cable dedicated to it, not the internet. The whole system is set up differently.

    Everybody agreed with this except SCOTUS that decided to simply ignore how things work. This "looks like a duck" rationale is incredibly dangerous and will come back to bite them.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    They did. Their set up was entirely different from a cable company. You are going at great lengths to ignore this simple fact. And it is unfortunate that the SCOTUS went with this madness. And they didn't have millions of antennas. That's mainly why their business wouldn't be more than niche. It's physically impossible to maintain such sheer amount of antennas even if you go for the smaller ones.

    They didn't convict anybody of anything.

    Oh no? So aereo can ignore the SCOTUS and keep doing business?

    Aereo wanted them to focus very closely on a few very technical details and ignore the overall function.

    Because that's how things work. There is a law here that forbids financial exploitation of women (aka: brothels) but they don't forbid the girls from being prostitutes as long as there's no pimp behind them. So the brothels adapted and started charging an entrance fee for everybody including the girls and they have to make their customer buy drinks (that are very expensive on those places). Technically they are not making money on exploring the girls but it's obvious that they are, indirectly. But since they technically are following the law nothing can be done against those businesses. See, that's how the law works like it or not.

    Aereo could be back in business today, provided that they negotiate under the 1976 law a deal for the programming that they resell.

    You know they can't. Cable companies can pay such fee because they earn money for all the rest of their content. Providing the content that is broadcast for free is just a convenience. Aereo was offering a service that allowed people on other areas of the US to see content available in a determined region. They paid for that specific convenience. Since that's the main business Aereo had to go through the insanity of installing a single antenna for every user so they would remain within the law while not having to pay for something that would ultimately prevent them from operating (you know, making the costs too high). The price range is very different, people will not pay cable prices just to see free over-the-air content (in fact, most of them pay cable because they find the local content a piece of crap).

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    All aereo did was maintain the equipment and provide a connection between the equipment and the user.

    that's all a cable company really does as well. It's the providing the connection that is pretty much key here. Aereo tried to dodge the law by what you call an "insane setup", and SCOTUS saw through it as nothing more than a dodge.

    Everybody agreed with this except SCOTUS that decided to simply ignore how things work

    Everyone? Really?

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    You are going at great lengths to ignore this simple fact.

    No, actually I point out that the simply changing the color of the cogs in the machine doesn't make it a different machine. Aereo's antenna farm thing is intentionally trying to set themselves up to be outside of the law, but you have to pretty much ignore all of the other functionality of the system and how it appears to work from start to finish in order to agree with them.

    So aereo can ignore the SCOTUS and keep doing business?

    They sure can - as soon as they negotiate usage rights, like every other cable company. SCOTUS didn't order them out of business.

    Technically they are not making money on exploring the girls but it's obvious that they are, indirectly.

    Cool story bro! Got any examples?

    Cable companies can pay such fee because they earn money for all the rest of their content.

    They pay for all of their content. What Aereo was trying to do was to compete with cable companies by offering a lower price because they ignored their legal responsibilities.

    people will not pay cable prices just to see free over-the-air content (in fact, most of them pay cable because they find the local content a piece of crap).

    So Aereo could have a good business model if they perhaps negotiated agreements with companies like ESPN and such, they could charge reasonable fees for their service and make a go of it. If OTA is crap, why would people pay Aereo $10 a month or whatever for it, when it's available for free? Ahh, yes... they were paying for the delivery service (aka cable)!

    Now the real question: Would you pay $30-50 a month for the same service, if there were channels like ESPN in the mix?

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Aereo could be back in business today, provided that they negotiate under the 1976 law a deal for the programming that they resell.

    How exactly would Aereo do that when the ruling in WPIX, Inc. v. IVI, Inc. states explicitly that "that Internet retransmissions services did not constitute cable systems under section 111" and are therefore not entitled to a compulsory license?

    It seems to me that SCOTUS left them in limbo - they "look" too much like a cable company, but they are "not enough like a cable company" to receive compulsory licenses.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Nope, the cable company does not provide the individual antenna at the place where the signal is being broadcast for each user in their base and this is the main difference.

    Again, just replicating the signal is what should in all sanity be done and they shouldn't pay a cent for it (the cable companies). But when each customer gets their own equipment as if it was a home setup it's a completely different beast.

    Maybe you could have such fees on international issues (ie: if Aereo served non-Americans outside the US) but locally? Sheer bullshit.

    Everyone? Really?

    I meant every court before the SCOTUS. The copywrong morons disagreed but that's kind of implicit, no?

     

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    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    Re: "spending half your annual income ...."

    The implication that the value of one person's speech is made greater simply by spending a greater number of dollars is a nasty falsehood perpetuated by insecure small people who found they can bully others with their money. It is the same argument as saying that the person who's voice is loudest is right. I'm not saying it doesn't work I'm saying it is wrong and immoral. True "free speech" is minted in a coin of equal value wielded by any person who can speak with string character and integrity. Qualities that are severely lacking on our society.

     

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    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: "string" character

    um, ... how about strong character, yes.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "that's all a cable company really does as well"

    No. A cable company also modifies that content by inserting their own advertisements.

    "Aereo tried to dodge the law"

    Again, you're using "dodge" as a synonym for "comply with". I call linguistic shenanigans.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "would somehow make them not be what they are - a new fangled cable company"

    Except, of course, that they are in no way similar to a cable company, newfangled or not, no matter what the court tries to pretend.

    "They correctly figured out that it started with the same raw materials and ended with the same results as cable"

    I would be more impressed with this line of argument if the court was consistent about using it. But it's not. It picks and chooses when the end result is what's important and when the technical details are what's important, and does so in order to conform with whatever end result is desired by the powers that be.

     

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    Tim H (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Mayday

    Mayday is not about restricting political spending. It is about citizen-funded campaigns - added citizen-directed public funding, not restricting other spending.

    It's a fair concern that the establishment parties would try to rig any new system, but you can see for yourself whether the proposals Mayday supports do. You can read the text of the bills, or go to any level of detail you desire, here: http://reform.to/#/reforms

     

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    Michael, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Or it was shiny happy people taking our valuables.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: loophole

    Criminals use loopholes to exploit the law.

    No. Criminals couldn't find a loophole - they actually broke the law.

    People that exploit the loopholes in the law are usually called politicians.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Millions lost? That rather suspect since they only have that money because the government made it mandatory. Broadcasters would never have lost anything by letting cable rebroadcast for free, the only loss in this situation is the loss of the government handout created by a law mandating licenses for rebroadcasting.

    Also, it's quite a stretch to say that Aereo was "reselling" content. They were providing a service that made what was broadcast for free accessible to those in the coverage area, but are unable to receive a signal. That's like reflecting sunlight at those that are trapped in a dark room. Saying they were reselling it is a semantic obfuscation. By your reasoning, selling bottled water should not be allowed. After all, you're reselling water. Oh, I know what you're going to say. You pay for the water you use! So, that makes it different, how? We pay for broadcast television by watching ads. The broadcasters want to be paid and advertisers want eyeballs. It seems like they are trying to milk both ends of the deal. Gee, that sounds a lot like the net neutrality debate! FOX is the ISP, the advertisers are the customers, and Aereo is the web service that enhances the value of the ISP. FOX wants both the customers (i.e. advertisers) and the value-added services (Aereo) to both pay FOX for the two to work together.

    This is nothing but an irrational belief. The only reason there's money in licensing this kind of thing is because the law made it happen. That doesn't make it right. That just means that NBC and their ilk can claim a cut of Aereo's revenue for no other reason than that they are making money on it.

    Aereo isn't harming broadcasters' business, but, somehow, making money from another person's work is the highest crime of all despite that it doesn't harm the market or brand of the originator. It costs FOX/NBC/ABC etc. nothing to allow Aereo to continue. It only means that they can't put their hands in the Aereo cookie jar. That's what this whole licensing scheme is about, putting their hands in others' bank accounts, even though they lose nothing in the absence of such licenses.

    So, go ahead and continue with your special pleading. I know you will.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    CK20XX (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Actually politicians were exactly the sort of criminals I was thinking of.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    The big difference is that a cable company runs cable directly from their CO to your house. That cable is theirs and it's their responsibility to maintain. Aereo uses the internet and they are only responsible for the connection up to their ISP. They are not a cable company, they are a web service. If Aereo is a cable company, then so is YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, and any other web service that is capable of rebroadcasting recorded content.

    Aereo is an online DVR, not a cable company.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    Nobody will buy a full cable package just to see the OTA content. They would buy "basic" cable, which is much cheaper. The cable packages subsidize the basic cable, no doubt, but they aren't going to let people have basic cable for free when they control access to it.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re:

    "Because nothing says "I'm committed to this" like spending half your annual income on something."

    That's a nice platitude but spending money is not considered speech.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "They sure can - as soon as they negotiate usage rights, like every other cable company. SCOTUS didn't order them out of business."

    And cable companies shouldn't have to negotiate usage rights just because they can buy and pay for politicians. Heck, broadcasting companies really shouldn't be given monopolies on broadcasting spectra in the first place, abridging my natural right to broadcast on those same spectra, for their own personal commercial benefit. That was likely a result of law buying as well. For them to then restrict what I can do with that which is broadcasted on those spectra just shows how one sidedly bought our system is and has been for far too long.

    and laws shouldn't be about ensuring things are 'fair' between and among different big business entities with no regard for the public interest. They should be about serving the public interest. That differing big business interests are only interested in battling for favorable laws among themselves in each of their interests while the legal system and courts are deciding which business gets which laws based on the interests of the contending businesses with no regard whatsoever for what's in the public interest is an outrage. Broadcasters aren't even entitled to the exclusive privilege to broadcast in the first place and yet their complaint is that someone is rebroadcasting their transmission without paying them extra? The audacity!!! What spoiled brats.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    (errr ... cable companies shouldn't have to negotiate usage rights just because broadcasters can buy and pay for politicians *)

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "like every other cable company"

    The only thing the legal system should consider in granting these monopoly broadcasting monopoly privileges is the public interest. What's 'fair' among differing industry interests should not even be a factor in the equation since broadcasters are not even entitled to these monopoly privileges. Unfortunately it seems like the only thing not considered by our legal system and the courts is the public interest.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    (that is the only interested party that should matter is the public interest. It seems like the only interested party that doesn't matter is the public interest).

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "They sure can - as soon as they negotiate usage rights, like every other cable company."

    Which they can't do because 1) they have been ruled to not be a cable company and so don't qualify for compulsory licensing and 2) CBS has said outright (and the other networks have heavily implied) that they will not grant a license to the like of Aereo.

    "Would you pay $30-50 a month for the same service, if there were channels like ESPN in the mix?"

    No.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "Broadcasters have a dual business model"

    Their business model is to parasite off the legal system to get monopoly privileges they are not entitled to and to use those monopoly privileges to make money. Their business model is predicated on the existence and activity of government to give them exclusive monopoly privileges and to enforce those privileges. They are not entitled to anything the government provides them and they are certainly not entitled to anything the government exclusively provides them. Just because they can buy and pay for politicians and manipulate the media (through the abuse of their media monopoly privileges on broadcasting) to get what they want doesn't make it right.

    The government shouldn't pass laws based on the desired business model and commercial interests of broadcasters. They should pass laws only based on the public interest. That's not happening here and it's an outrage that the public interest, the only interest that should be considered here, is the only interest not being considered by our legal system.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: loophole

    "Aereo wanted them to focus very closely on a few very technical details and ignore the overall function."

    The function of the law should be to serve the public interest. As a member of the public I don't care about laws intended to function to resolve the insignificant quibbles among broadcasting companies (that wrongfully receive exclusive broadcasting monopolies they are not even entitled to) and cable companies and how that's allegedly not fair to Aereo. I want the laws to function to serve the public interest. They should only serve the public interest. That their function is something other than the public interest and it's to serve your opinion about what's 'fair' to service providers when determining how an undeserved monopoly privilege should be regulated is not acceptable.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    IOW the legal system effectively ruled in favor of the interests of incumbent players. Aereo (and the public) got the worst of both worlds (again) while the court ruled in favor of cable companies (by preventing competing services from offering an alternative broadcasting distribution service with the benefits and features they can offer it had they only paid the compulsory rate that cable companies get to pay) while allowing broadcasters to avoid having to get compulsory license rates and allowing them to charge what they want. In the end the public is the loser.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: loophole

    The government has turned into an arbitrator among business interests with no regard for the public interest when the only interest that should be regarded is the public interest.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Re: Spending money IS considered speech

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2014 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mayday

    This is the reasoning a lot of people use when decrying the idea of parties and declaring themselves to be Independent. However, I think it's often based on the false premise that the political parties are monolithic entities with no diversity of opinion. You can be a Democrat and not support every big-government solution to every social problem. You can be a Republican without being a jingoistic tax dodger. You are not a special snowflake just because there are some issues on which you disagree with the people in a particular party. On the contrary, it'd be pretty unusual if you perfectly aligned with the prevailing views of any party.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Dan G Difino, Jul 14th, 2014 @ 4:33am

    Isms

    When you put all the isms together, you get ismismismismismism.. kind of looks like what I ate yesturday. See how all the smisms run into the isms?

    When you put two libertarian lawyers heads together, you get felonious assaultism. Just thought that was worth mentioning, may be wrong.. I'm not advocating violence here.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Jul 14th, 2014 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Mayday

    Then what point does a party serve if its platform doesn't really represent anyone? A party is a monolithic banner--a statement that a group of people with differing opinions all agree on issues X, Y, and Z. However, the number of issues that the parties have taken hardline stances on has grown to the point that it really doesn't represent anyone anymore. And yet, if you fail to hold to them, you're considered either a fool or an idiot, sometimes even called worse.

    Parties are really no longer about issues, they've become social identities--a badge used to define in-groups and out-groups, who are you for and against. They're just like sports teams, it's more about who you identify with and cheer for, it has little to do with facts or performance. When politics becomes a sport, it's less about about governance than it is about winning for it's own sake.

    Unless we can refocus the meaning of "party" back to what it used to be, what you think it means, we're just better off without them.

     

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


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