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by Mike Masnick


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New Year's Message: Change, Innovation And Optimism, Despite Challenges

from the happy-new-year dept

Every year since 2008, my final post on New Year's Eve has been on the topic of "optimism" about the future. It started when I had a few separate people note (in person to me) that they were amazed I seemed so happy and optimistic despite constantly writing about negative things that were happening -- people trying to block innovation, politicians passing crazy laws, judges making bad rulings, etc. As I pointed out then, I actually found it rather easy to stay happy because I had seen how far we've come over the years since Techdirt began, way back in 1997. I had seen how much innovation had happened in spite of attempts to stop it. I had seen how people and innovators routed around the problems. While much of what I wrote about did cover negative things -- and to some people I seemed angry about them -- it was mainly frustration that there were further attempts to slow things down, despite knowing that innovation and the public's interest always prevail in the end. I'm optimistic because I can see it coming, while frustrated because of all the efforts that will slow it down and limit how much of that innovation I'll get to experience in my lifetime.

For the record, here are each of the posts since 2008: As I was preparing to write the post for this year, I actually thought it might end up on more of a down note. Something about this past year felt... somehow slightly more exhausting than years past (even as I, personally, completely revamped my sleep schedule and probably got more than double the amount of sleep this year than in past years). But as I started thinking through this year, I realized just how many amazing and wonderfully good things did come to pass.

Early in the year the FCC's pretty weak net neutrality rules were struck down by the court (as most everyone expected), and at the end of the year it seems like the FCC is actually (amazingly) poised to put real net neutrality rules in place. Almost no one would have predicted that Title II reclassification would even be in the discussion these days, yet now it seems likely. That's an astounding shift towards the positive.

At the beginning of the year, the story on patents was still a huge mess. Patent trolls were still running around like crazy causing problems, and the idea of true patent reform seemed remote. Yet, Congress actually came mighty close to a decent (if not perfect) patent reform bill (only to have it killed by the trial lawyers). However, it appears that much stronger patent reform is likely to happen in the next Congress. More importantly (so far), the Supreme Court continued to make rulings that smacked down an over-expansive patent system (and the dreadful rulings of the Federal Circuit). The Alice v. CLS Bank case in particular has already had a massive impact in getting bad patents and bad patent cases tossed out (and an earlier ruling making it easier to get lawyers' fees for bad patent litigation has helped as well).

Surveillance reform turned out to be something of a bust in Congress, but it came very, very close, and there's significant interest in making a real stand in 2015 on both the key surveillance parts of the PATRIOT Act that need to be renewed and on dealing with Executive Order 12333, under which a lot of mass surveillance is really happening. Still, while Congress dithers, innovators are innovating. The number of companies that have upped their encryption game and are taking privacy seriously has been going up rapidly. We may finally be reaching a point where protecting privacy is a real competitive advantage.

We're still in a bit of a holding period on copyright reform, but the concerns and worries about what bad copyright laws have done to expression are getting increased attention and awareness. And, at the same time, alternative business models and services are thriving in incredible ways, making more culture available to more people -- and allowing more content creators to create more content, to reach more people and to make more money than ever before. It's an amazing time to be a creator.

That's not to say there aren't concerns. Congress is still working on some bad laws while ignoring broken laws that need to be fixed (such as CFAA and ECPA). The reaction of law enforcement to greater encryption is ridiculous but won't be going away any time soon. The backroom dealing by the MPAA with state Attorneys General, and the USTR on bad trade deals, shows how those legacy industries aren't giving up on their plans to hobble innovation to protect the interests of big legacy players (and to do so as secretly as possible).

But if you went back just a few years and told your older self what's on the table today, what innovators are working on and what the public is interested in on these issues, your older self likely wouldn't believe it. Real copyright and patent reform wasn't even seen as a possibility. NSA surveillance wasn't talked about in polite company. Net neutrality was a wonk issue for telco nerds. But they're all getting talked about regularly today.

And an awful lot of that is due to the power of the public speaking out. The win over SOPA may feel like it was long ago but it set the framework for the net neutrality battle, and really did help make a big difference in that fight. While similar efforts won't win every battle (NSA reform being one that so far has failed), that fight isn't over yet, and the momentum continues to shift in the right direction. The power of the internet itself to connect people and make such expression possible is truly world-changing. Sometimes it's difficult to see all that in the thick of things, but take a step back and think about just how amazing this time we live in really is.

Here at Techdirt, we were blown away by the support we received for our BeaconReader crowdfunding campaign for reporting on net neutrality. Your contributions helped raise nearly $70,000 which we've put to good use, producing over 100 stories so far and many more to come. We switched the site to default to HTTPS, to better protect your privacy (and we appreciate NameCheap stepping up to sponsor that move). Many of you have helped out as well, supporting us via the Techdirt Insider Shop (and getting some nifty swag in the process). And 2015 is shaping up to be a very big year for us. We have some major announcements about the future of our company that will come pretty early into the new year, so please stay tuned...

As always, however, my final message of the day is a massive thank you to all of you who are a part of the Techdirt community, no matter how you choose to take part. Whether you comment or lurk. Whether we're something you share with all your friends, or are just a guilty pleasure you keep to yourself. Whether you submit stories or engage with us. We appreciate that you're a part of this community, that you're passionate about innovation, the internet, free speech, privacy and a bunch of related issues.

While other sites are pushing their communities away, turning off comments or outsourcing the effort, we still believe that it's the community around here that makes this site so special -- and we look forward to sharing an exciting 2015 (and beyond) with all of you.

It's now been more than 17 years (yikes -- I'm old) that I've been writing Techdirt, and I still think I have the best job in the world. It is an absolute, unquestionable joy each and every day to share these stories, to express opinions and debate interesting topics with all of you. It's the community here that continues to inspire me every single day to see what more we can do. Thank you, once again, for being a part of this effort.

Reader Comments

The First Word

Optimistic pessimism

It can be difficult at times, remaining optimistic while reading so many negative stories, and can be so easy to slip into the mindset of 'It's just too big, there's nothing you can do, so why even try?'

However, as tempting as it may be, doing so will, ultimately fulfill the 'prophecy' of non-change. Things may be crap, but only by not giving up can they ever have a chance of being improved.

99 out of a 100 times, the effort may seem pointless, worthless, but that one time can make for some incredible results.

SOPA was a done deal... until the public took a stand on it and it was shot down.

ACTA was a done deal, already signed... until the public made their voices heard and it was scrapped.

Now, all is not sunshine and rainbows of course, after having their pet laws and agreements killed off by the public, those discussing them have taken to the shadows, doing their best to make sure the public has no chance to see what's going on, and no chance to object until it's too late.

The cure for that? Shine the light on their activities, whether they want it or not. As multiple leaks have shown, despite their efforts to the contrary, bits and pieces will make it out, but it's only continuous pressure from the public that the secrecy behind such blatantly anti-public laws and agreements will be undermined and destroyed.

Sometimes the fight(and it absolutely is a fight) of the public protecting itself from it's would-be-tyrants looks hopeless, when the government steamrolls over any democracy or public opinion, but only by giving up will it actually be hopeless.

Much like an avalanche, a few pebbles rolling about may look completely harmless, but get enough of them moving, and they can make quite the difference. Governments and corporations would like you to believe that a few pebbles won't do anything, so there's no point in trying, but that's because they know what the result is if enough of them are put into motion. They can stop pebbles, or dismiss them as unimportant, but an avalanche? Not so much.
—That One Guy

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    antidirt (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 6:42pm

    I love these year-end posts where you pretend like you're not completely bitter about everything. The problem is, the other 99.99% of your posts tell a different story. I think you're a smart guy, and you might even be a nice guy, but I just don't get the constant whining and sensationalism. You make some of most ridiculous claims I've ever seen, and then when called out in the comments, your twits pile on and you run away. Your "community" is a fucking joke. The hostility shown to anyone who dares challenge the group-think is embarrassing. You should be ashamed at the way your flock abuses dissenters. But I'm sure you just love it, because they take the heat off of you. How about writing some stuff that you can actually defend with a straight face? How about some honesty and integrity? How about setting an example in the comments? Year after year, you just become more and more unreasonable. You should hear what they say about you. It ain't pretty. Happy New Year, Mike.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 7:46pm

      Re:

      Speaking of 'constant whining'...

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 9:55pm

      Re:

      You've never dared to challenge any groupthink but have been a hateful, lying scumbag which is why the community rightfully reports you each and every time.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 1:25am

      Re:

      [^ This comment originally directed at the mirror.]

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 1:27am

      Re:

      How about writing some stuff that you can actually defend with a straight face? How about some honesty and integrity? How about setting an example in the comments?

      This happens all the time. Just not with you, because you bring absolutely nothing substantive to the table, and have no interest whatsoever in actual discussion. The saddest part is that you don't think everyone knows that.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 6:26am

        Re: Re:

        This individual does in fact bring many substantive things to the table, but they get drowned out by many who attack the person instead of confronting and debating the ideas presented.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 6:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I agree that they occasionally bring substantive points, but they are consistently buried in a stream of logical fallacies. The ad-hom insults may incite part of the response, but are really beside the point, since this person's well known debate tactics completely undermine their own arguments.

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            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 8:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            True, but almost certainly borne out of frustration trying to engender an honest conversation with persons who proclaim their willingness to debate, and then shut down all debate when things being said do not support their pre-conceived views.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 8:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That is an incredibly generous interpretation. I'd say he uses carefully chosen "real points" in order to retain a veneer that fools some people into thinking he's serious (ahem) when his only real goal is causing as much disruption as possible in classic troll fashion. To anyone who has been watching his participation over the years (YEARS!) that he has been repeating identical ad-homs and vapid talking points, insisting that nobody replies to them when in fact he's had dozens if not hundreds of replies to every point he makes, and people just stop bothering after it becomes clear that he will never acknowledge those replies.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 9:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I tend to ignore hyperbole and focus on substance. The former adds nothing to a discussion, and the latter is where I am afforded the opportunity to learn something. In the arena of copyright law, for example, the individual has repeatedly made accurate and insightful points that were most often met with derision and no meaningful attempt to respond with thoughtful and accurate commentary. To note but one example, the limited expansion of Title 17 such that a narrow class of public performances might be subject to felony prosecution was presented here as if public performance infringements were now being subject to criminal law versus civil law. For this I fault the authors of the articles. The individual correctly noted that infringing public performances are already subject to criminal law (which, BTW, is quite narrow because of the prima facie elements associated with criminal prosecutions), and that all that was being proposed was making the penalties stiffer for a narrow class of infringing activities associated with public performances. Many of those making derisive comments in response failed to show any understanding of what the law currently is and what the proposed amendment to copyright law actually entailed. For reasons unknown, the authors of those articles did not issue clarifications as I believe should have been done so that the matter was placed into an accurate context.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 10:17am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I guess after he spent several weeks spamming the site with comments that included nothing but "Cluck! Cluck!" and "Run away little mikey", people stopped bothering to pay close attention to him. Fancy that.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 4:42pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Can you link to the article about Title 17 that you are talking about and be specific about what portions you are complaining about?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:13am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2015 @ 9:01am is a typical troll. Makes overly broad claims and tells lies and when called up on it or asked to be specific he runs and hides in a corner as if no one can see it.

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                  tqk (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 6:27pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Many of those making derisive comments in response failed to show any understanding of what the law currently is and what the proposed amendment to copyright law actually entailed.

                  So what? Lots of comments on any forum are BS from the peanut gallery. The same happens in Real Life(tm). Plenty of people these days can't argue their way out of a paper bag (myself included at times). Ignore them. I do.

                  Mike/TD is also smart enough to not bother with pointless name calling and minutia. He steps up when others raise honest, substantial arguments questioning his opinions or interpretations. I just accept he's a busy guy and am happy to read what he's managed to find that I'd managed somehow to miss.

                  Stick to the meat of the issues and ignore the catcalls, and we'll all be better for it, and we might even learn something.

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              antidirt (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 5:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              True, but almost certainly borne out of frustration trying to engender an honest conversation with persons who proclaim their willingness to debate, and then shut down all debate when things being said do not support their pre-conceived views.

              This is the problem in a nutshell. Thank you. I've never seen a group of people so incredibly hostile to other points of view--all the while professing to value multiple viewpoints.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 4:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You think "Bawk! Cluck! Moo!" are substantive things?

          That really says a lot about you.

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            antidirt (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 5:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You think "Bawk! Cluck! Moo!" are substantive things?

            That really says a lot about you.


            Why are you pretending like that's all I ever said? There have been hundreds of substantive issues I've called Mike out on where he either didn't respond or ran away when he realized he couldn't score a point. I said "bawk" and "cluck" because he's a chicken--too chicken to ever stand behind his ridiculous claims. I said "moo" because I thought it was disgusting how he milked the Swartz tragedy. I welcome Mike to discuss any issue, any time, and with anybody he wants to back him up. The very notion that *I* don't want to have this substantive discussion is fucking hilarious. Nothing scares Mike more.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 6:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The very notion that *I* don't want to have this substantive discussion is fucking hilarious. Nothing scares Mike more.

              https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120818/01171420087/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week-te chdirt.shtml#c1210

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                antidirt (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 6:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120818/01171420087/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week-te chdirt.shtml#c1210

                I love that you guys keep pulling out that link. To me, that's just Mike making a bunch of excuses. Excuses are all he ever has. What he doesn't have are any direct and honest answers to direct and honest questions. And I doubt he ever will.

                Can you give me links to exact posts *of mine* that you think prove I don't want to have a debate with Mike? I sincerely doubt it. Spell it out. Be explicit. I'm not running away. I will address any question directly and honestly. Mike NEVER will do this.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 7:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  It doesn't matter. No one takes Masnick seriously anymore outside of the Googlebot types.
                  Have a great New Year- I always click to look at your censored posts.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:17am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Oh, because people take some random AC who still hasn't made a single valid point more seriously.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2016 @ 1:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    You two considered getting a private room that locks from the outside, settling in, and throwing away the key?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 11:06am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The point remains, it's astonishing that you haven't given up yet.

                  Mike has made it quite clear that he's answered you to his satisfaction and sees no point in further engaging with you, and the bulk of readers here seem to agree. So it's time for you to walk away.

                  You can walk away believing you're doing it because this blog is full of shit and refuses to engage and Mike "runs away" from every question -- that's your right. I don't think anyone really cares to try to convince you otherwise, they just want you to stop being disruptive and trying to make everything about you and your wholly imagined personal relationship with Mike. But you won't do that, because the truth is it irks you to know that so many people believe you are the coward and the one who is full of shit.

                  Your continued presence here is a sign of your own insecurity and need for attention. Or possibly your genuine love of disruption and anger, and a sort of arrogant joy that comes from telling yourself you're the smartest person in the room (which I suppose you are in your empty basement somewhere). Or both.

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                    antidirt (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 3:13pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Mike has made it quite clear that he's answered you to his satisfaction and sees no point in further engaging with you, and the bulk of readers here seem to agree. So it's time for you to walk away.

                    What are you even talking about? He's answered which question "to his satisfaction"? I've asked hundreds of different substantive questions.

                    For example, recently I've asked him why he claims that replying to an email while quoting the person you're replying to is infringement. He's never answered that. He's pointed to that earlier post where he made that claim many times. Do you believe that Mike really believes that is infringement? I don't. He's got the broadest definition of fair use there is. The context is always when he's making the completely unsubstantiated claim that "everyone infringes all the time." When he's making that claim, everything is infringing.

                    Of course, he claims that everyone infringes when it suits him, but then when it's someone like Dotcom or Fung, he can't understand how they could possibly be infringers. Post a cover to YouTube? Criminal infringement. Dotcom scrapes YouTube. Never happened. Brush it under the rug and pretend like it's not there. What infringement?

                    There's no consistency, and I'm calling him out for it. The fact that he doesn't stand up for himself as I call dishonest on his own boards speaks volumes. I'll continue to call him out and belittle him because I think it's hilarious that he won't even defend himself. He can't defend himself, because he knows it's bullshit.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 4:56pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      It's fairly clear to me, and to anyone who isn't willfully seeking as many disagreements as possible, that the email quoting example refers to a maximalist interpretation of copyright law.

                      But once again: it's clear you're not getting any more answers than you have already, to anything. Nobody's interested. Maybe that's because Mike is a self-contradictory liar and coward, I dunno -- that's not how I feel, but it's clearly how you feel. So isn't it time now for you to walk away, happy in your victory? What are you accomplishing by remaining here, except making more and more people think you are a fool by the day?

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

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                        antidirt (profile), 2 Jan 2015 @ 5:58pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        It's fairly clear to me, and to anyone who isn't willfully seeking as many disagreements as possible, that the email quoting example refers to a maximalist interpretation of copyright law.

                        What makes you think that? Here's the original post from 2007: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071119/015956.shtml

                        Mike says:
                        Boing Boing points us to a paper from John Tehranian, called Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform and the Law/Norm Gap (pdf), which attempts to show how far out of whack copyright laws are, with the simple tale of a hypothetical law professor (coincidentally named John, of course) going about a normal day, tallying up every big of copyright infringement he engages in. Replying to an email with quoted text? Infringement! Reply to 20 emails? You're looking at $3 million in statutory damages. Doodle a sketch of a building? Unauthorized derivative work. Read a poem outloud? Unauthorized performance. Forward a photograph that a friend took? Infringement! Take a short film of a birthday dinner with some friends and catch some artwork on the wall in the background? Infringement!
                        Mike is NOT treating the claim as one made by "maximalists," he's repeating what Tehranian said without a whiff of disagreement. He shows no skepticism whatsoever.

                        The rest of Mike's post shows how serious he is:
                        While the paper calls this "infringement nation," it clearly goes beyond our nation. We are living in the "infringement age," where it's impossible not to infringe on copyrights every single day -- yet many people still don't understand why it makes sense to change copyright laws to make them more reasonable.
                        Mike is clearly NOT saying that the "maximalists" think it's infringing. He obviously wants others to think it's true. It's the "infringement age," for God's sake! It's "impossible not to infringe"!! He's arguing that it's true as the basis for his final claim: "it makes sense to change copyright laws." The entire claim about the emails being infringing is so that he can advocate for changing the law. "Maximalists" have nothing to do with it. It's "true" and copyright is really SCARY!

                        It's just bullshit. And he's repeated several times when making the same argument: Everyone infringes implies copyright is broken implies fuck copyright. This argument comes up over and over again.

                        For example:
                        Nearly seven years ago, we wrote about a paper from law professor John Tehranian, in which he detailed just how much he likely accidentally infringed on copyright law each and every day, just doing normal things. *** To help promote the book, Bell has recorded an amusing video not all that different from Tehranian's premise, highlighting just how much accidental infringement you do on a daily basis -- and, yes, it includes the singing of Happy Birthday, so I'm surprised Warner hasn't killed the video yet. *** Now, some will argue that this is silly because no one is actually going after these kinds of "incidental" infringements, but Bell's point is pretty clear: "the fact that no one thinks copyright law should be fully enforced, demonstrates the need for reform." In fact, he notes that pretty much everyone agrees that full enforcement is "undesirable and counterproductive." And, really that should be a clear sign of just how flawed the law itself is.
                        Source: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140430/17244727083/how-many-times-day-do-you-violate-copyright-l aws-without-even-realizing-it.shtml

                        Another:
                        Law professor John Tehranian did some research a few years ago, into how much of his normal daily activity could be considered copyright infringement, and realized that under today's insane statutory damages rules, he had a daily liability of $12.45 million -- and that wasn't because he was downloading music. It was just everyday activities that people do all the time.
                        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131104/01464225115/once-again-riaa-shows-how-easy-it-is-to- infringe-copyrights.shtml

                        And another:
                        A couple years ago, we wrote about a research paper looking at how often you infringe on copyrights in an average day to show just how ridiculous copyright law has become.
                        Source: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090512/0041554839.shtml

                        And, the post from last week:
                        Second, it shows that everyone infringes all the time. Whether meaning to or not, it's actually fairly difficult to avoid infringing on copyrights. That's not to say that accidental copyright infringement is what's happening with file sharers or with Sony's use of the music here, but under the law, it's pretty much all the same. The fact that, as noted above, some of the biggest copyright system defenders are found out to infringe should highlight this issue pretty clearly. Even when you are a strong believer in copyright, there are going to be some situations in which you screw up and break the law. Given how frequently this happens, it certainly seems like the problem is with the law rather than all the people.
                        Source: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141227/05571829528/sonys-own-copyright-infringement-shows-how-br oken-our-copyright-system-is-today.shtml

                        Can you explain why you think he is referring to the "maximalist interpretation of copyright law"? Or are you just trying to "willfully seeking as many disagreements as possible" with me?

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 10:55pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Wow... reading comprehension fail (or willful ignorance yet again)

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

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                            antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 6:49am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Wow... reading comprehension fail (or willful ignorance yet again)

                            So you have nothing. Thanks for confirming. If you think I'm reading something wrongly, quote the exact text you're referring to and then explain how you think it should be interpreted. I've brought links and quotes and analysis. You've brought nothing.

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

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                              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 9:36am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              It's obvious in the most broad and clear way what point is being made by both Mike and the original report.

                              The only way you could possibly not understand is a) genuine stupidity or b) willful stupidity. Either way, there's no point in engaging with you.

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

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                                antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 11:37am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                It's obvious in the most broad and clear way what point is being made by both Mike and the original report.

                                The only way you could possibly not understand is a) genuine stupidity or b) willful stupidity. Either way, there's no point in engaging with you


                                I get that you need to insult me, but I'm not understanding what basis you have for thinking that Mike is being facetious when he makes the claim that replying to an email with quotes is infringement. You keep saying it's "obvious," but you have yet to back up that assertion with even one single sentence from Mike that demonstrates this purported obviousness. Can you please provide even one shred of textual basis for your claim?

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                                antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:08pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                It's obvious in the most broad and clear way what point is being made by both Mike and the original report.

                                The only way you could possibly not understand is a) genuine stupidity or b) willful stupidity. Either way, there's no point in engaging with you.


                                I assume you're not going to respond with any sort of explanation. That's fine. But the irony is pretty funny. The claim is so dumb that your defense is that Mike didn't really it. The sad thing is, he really did. Well, he purported to really mean it. I'm not sure why you can't just admit that he was (you were?) sensationalizing. That's been my point. It's not just the email thing. It's hundreds of little things just like that. They're all bullshit. This place is a house of cards built on bullshit.

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 9:33am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  You've shown your disdain for explanations and adult conversation too many times for anyone to race to give them to you. You wallow in insults, disingenuousness, willful ignorance of the point, and intentionally broken logic. You're like the most annoying kid in a classroom; everyone rolls their eyes when they see your hand go up.

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                                    antidirt (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 10:08am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    And yet I'm here making substantive arguments, backed with links and quotes, and citing case law. You're just tossing out insults and conclusory nonsense. When are you going to provide anything of substance?

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 11:41am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      As you always do, you are attempting to narrow the goal posts in such a way that you automatically appear to be in the right, and you are doing so by being disingenuous.

                                      Everyone here, including you, fully understands the context of the point being made about casual daily infringement. They (and you) fully understand Techdirt's general view that copyright law is ridiculously out of line with reality. They (and you) fully understand that this argument can be made separately but interrelatedly at different levels: the problems of copyright law as it is commonly applied in certain common circumstances, the problems of copyright law as it is interpreted by maximalists, the problems of copyright law as it is wielded in the form of threats and over-broad interpretations that are nevertheless often triumphant, the problems of copyright law as defined by an exact to-the-letter reading of the law, the problems of accepting fair use as a balancing factor to copyright law when it is so poorly-defined and subject to drastic shifts in standards, and many more aspects beyond that. They (and you) are fully capable of recognizing and applying the appropriate context to an analysis, and moving the discussion forward accordingly in a productive way.

                                      They (but not you) generally choose to do so, because they (but not you) are thoughtful and mature.

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                            Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 6:54am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Your disdain and outright hostility towards a person who has done nothing to you personally is nothing short or amazing and perplexing. His comments, while oftentimes counterproductive to substantive arguments that are well presented and accurate, are for the most part directed at the author of articles wherein the authors have made objectively wrong statements of fact and/or law, or have made statements that clearly are misleading and almost certainly known to be so at the time of their publication. The fact so many here appear to feel a pressing need to come to the defense of the authors who are fully capable of responding and engaging in a defense of what their articles state makes it seem as if this site is populated with a security force of commenters. "Save the site at all costs" appears to be the rule, but in the process it discourages others who might comment and bring value-added information and perspective that would enable a more complete understanding of issues presented here. For a site that seeks to pass itself off as having really worked through all of the issues it discusses and convey accurate information to the public through its articles, its willingness to tolerate, and even engage in, the shutting/shouting down of opinions challenging what has been said reduces much of what it does to little more than a misinformation service. This is particularly sad because it is clear to me that the authors here do take quite a bit of time researching issues, but then squander what they may have learned by presenting a cherry-picked view that is much less a news article and much more an advocacy editorial hoping to use the internet to create yet again another Astroturf campaign that hides substance behind a veneer of hyperbole, moral panic, and misleading information. I happen to read the articles here because many are quite timely and relevant to issues of importance, but must admit it is painful to have to strip away obvious bias and the selective presentation of information (requiring significant independent research) in order to gain a better understanding of all competing interests and issues.

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                              antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 7:29am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Great comment. The irony is that this site blasts other for "hyperbole, moral panic, and misleading information," while it engages in those very same tactics even more so than most. Mike's "emails are infringing" bit is just one example. Strange how my AC critic can't even admit that Mike is *really* making this claim. They're all so desperate to defend him. Heck, this AC probably is Mike. I'd actually be shocked if it weren't, to tell you the truth. I really think he's that desperate.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 9:37am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Your disdain and outright hostility towards a person who has done nothing to you personally is nothing short or amazing and perplexing.

                              Funny, I was sure this was going to be directed at Antidirt and his weird hate-boner for Mike.

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                    • icon
                      Gwiz (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 7:30am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      For example, recently I've asked him why he claims that replying to an email while quoting the person you're replying to is infringement.


                      I've asked you to explain why exactly you think this isn't infringement here:

                      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141227/05571829528/sonys-own-copyright-infringement-shows-h ow-broken-our-copyright-system-is-today.shtml#c557

                      Perhaps you missed it or were too busy to respond or....just maybe....you were too chicken to respond. Who knows?

                      Glass houses, my friend.

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                        antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 7:37am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I've asked you to explain why exactly you think this isn't infringement here:

                        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141227/05571829528/sonys-own-copyright-infringement-shows-h ow-broken-our-copyright-system-is-today.shtml#c557

                        Perhaps you missed it or were too busy to respond or....just maybe....you were too chicken to respond. Who knows?

                        Glass houses, my friend.


                        LOL! Sorry, I missed your question earlier. (1) De minimis, (2) fair use, (3) implied license. Make sense?

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                          Gwiz (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 7:49am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          LOL! Sorry, I missed your question earlier. (1) De minimis, (2) fair use, (3) implied license. Make sense?

                          Ok. Fair enough. Now let me ask you this, since all three of those items are merely defenses against infringement, which need to be proven in a court of law, is quoting someone else's email enough for a party to initiate a lawsuit and therefore the potential for claim of infringement would, in fact, still exist?

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                            Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:07am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            ke sense?

                            Ok. Fair enough. Now let me ask you this, since all three of those items are merely defenses against infringement, which need to be proven in a court of law, is quoting someone else's email enough for a party to initiate a lawsuit and therefore the potential for claim of infringement would, in fact, still exist?


                            I'm quoting you here, just as I quoted Mike extensively above, because it's fair use. As Mike has mentioned numerous times, fair use is not infringement. Could you or Mike sue me? Sure. But you would lose.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:17am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              You still didn't answer the question. Is there a potential claim for infringement? Things like fair use aren't that well defined and maybe left up to the arbitrary discretion of a court which is a valid criticism of copy protection laws. So, again, the question that you disingenuously dodged is

                              "Can you show me where in the statutes or relevant case law that says emails are not copyrighted the moment they are created? Is there some exemption that I am missing or something?"

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                                antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:25am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                I'm not dodging anything. I said Gwiz and Mike could sue me. That implies that they potentially have a claim. Are emails copyrighted upon fixation? Probably, if they're sufficiently original, long enough, etc. Given that I said they're not infringing because of DEFENSES, such as fair use, I implied that they were copyrightable to begin with. What am I dodging? How am I disingenuous?

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 10:05am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Given that I said they're not infringing because of DEFENSES, such as fair use,

                                  That is one of the problems of copyright law, fair use is so poorly defined that it becomes an expensive exercise to prove it through the courts if the copyright holder wishes to make a case of it.

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                                    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 10:34am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Just out of curiosity, how many such "quoted in email" cases are you personally aware of? I have practiced law for quite a long time, and have never seen in the reported literature I diligently follow any case where quotes from a letter contained in a reply to the letter (on paper or digital) have ever been pursued as a lawsuit in court under Title 17. Those of us who actually practice copyright law tend to focus our efforts on dealing with reality, and try to avoid "The Sky is Falling" hypotheticals used by some academics trying to score "tenure" points for publishing something. I have many friends and colleagues who are within academia, and they as well tend to look with disfavor upon those few academics who promote such hypotheticals for the reason that outlandish claims tend to detract from substantive and meaningful discussions.

                                    This said, it must be admitted that strange things happen all the time, and it is not inconceivable that some unique, compelling, and egregious set of facts might be presented at some future date that require the issue be confronted in a real world situation. What has been presented in hypos to date fall well short of such a set of facts.

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                                      antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 12:16pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      Just out of curiosity, how many such "quoted in email" cases are you personally aware of?

                                      That's a great point. There is one case in particular that I remember--and Mike is aware of it too:
                                      1. Publication of some of the contents in the email archive is lawful.

                                      At the hearing on Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, Diebold's counsel asserted that portions of the email archive contain material that is copyrighted and has no “public interest” value. Transcript of Law and Motion Hearing, November 17, 2003, p. 8:7–12. However, Diebold did not identify and has never identified specific emails that contain copyrighted content, and thus it has not provided evidence to support its counsel's assertion. See, e.g., id. at 10. At the same time, Diebold appears to have acknowledged that at least some of the emails are subject to the fair use doctrine. See, e.g., id. at 12:8–9 & 14–16.

                                      The purpose, character, nature of the use, and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work all indicate that at least part of the email archive is not protected by copyright law. The email archive was posted or hyperlinked to for the purpose of informing the public about the problems associated with Diebold's electronic voting machines. It is hard to imagine a subject the discussion of which could be more in the public interest. If Diebold's machines in fact do tabulate voters' preferences incorrectly, the very legitimacy of elections would be suspect. Moreover, Diebold has identified no specific commercial purpose or interest affected by publication of the email archive, and there is no evidence that such publication actually had or may have any affect on the putative market value, if any, of Diebold's allegedly copyrighted material. Even if it is true that portions of the email archive have commercial value, there is no evidence that Plaintiffs have attempted or intended to sell copies of the email archive for profit. Publishing or hyperlinking to the email archive did not prevent Diebold from making a profit from the content of the archive because there is no evidence that Diebold itself intended to or could profit from such content. At most, Plaintiffs' activity might have reduced Diebold's profits because it helped inform potential customers of problems with the machines. However, copyright law is not designed to prevent such an outcome. See, e.g., Acuff–Rose, 510 U.S. at 591–92, 114 S.Ct. 1164. Rather, the goal of copyright law is to protect creative works in order to promote their creation. To the extent that Diebold argues that publication of the entire email archive diminished the value of some of its proprietary software or systems information, it must be noted that there is no evidence that Plaintiffs published or linked to the archive in order to profit. Finally, Plaintiffs' and IndyMedia's use was transformative: they used the email archive to support criticism that is in the public interest, not to develop electronic voting technology. Accordingly, there is no genuine issue of material fact that Diebold, through its use of the DMCA, sought to and did in fact suppress publication of content that is not subject to copyright protection.
                                      Online Policy Grp. v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1203 (N.D. Cal. 2004) (footnotes omitted).

                                      More than 13,000 emails were published, yet the court held that the copyright owner had violated the law by sending DMCA takedown notices to have the email archive removed:
                                      Applying this standard and in light of the evidence in the record, the Court concludes as a matter of law that Diebold knowingly materially misrepresented that Plaintiffs infringed Diebold's copyright interest, at least with respect to the portions of the email archive clearly subject to the fair use exception. No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the email archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold's voting machines were protected by copyright, and there is no genuine issue of fact that Diebold knew—and indeed that it specifically intended—that its letters to OPG and Swarthmore would result in prevention of publication of that content. The misrepresentations were material in that they resulted in removal of the content from websites and the initiation of the present lawsuit. The fact that Diebold never actually brought suit against any alleged infringer suggests strongly that Diebold sought to use the DMCA's safe harbor provisions—which were designed to protect ISPs, not copyright holders—as a sword to suppress publication of embarrassing content rather than as a shield to protect its intellectual property.
                                      Id. at 1204-05 (footnote omitted).

                                      Mike is, of course, completely aware of this case. He blogged about it in 2004: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20040930/2247229.shtml And he's mentioned it recently. See, for example: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130207/00105521902/putting-together-database-bogus-dmca-takedown s.shtml

                                      There are other cases, but this is the one I remember distinctly.

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                                        antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:02pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        That's a great point. There is one case in particular that I remember...

                                        Sorry, I meant one email case I remember. It's not a "quoted in email" case. I've never heard of one of those. Which was your point.

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                                    antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 11:42am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    That is one of the problems of copyright law, fair use is so poorly defined that it becomes an expensive exercise to prove it through the courts if the copyright holder wishes to make a case of it.

                                    Mike writes post after post where he quotes others, and he's not worried about it because he knows it's fair use. When he receives legal threats, he publicly posts his responses where he proudly tells the party complaining that he's confidently quoting them because of fair use. It's not a problem for Mike, and it's not a problem for me either. I just quoted your entire comment, and I haven't the least bit of concern about it being infringing.

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                                      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 9:30am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      And right there you confirmed that you DO in fact fully understand the point about email quoting, and are just refusing to acknowledge it for the sake of a fight.

                                      Under a maximalist interpretation of copyright law -- such as the one used by the many people who send legal threats to sites like Techdirt, and who (despite whatever responses they get) could still drag them into a costly lawsuit with no guarantee of a solid defence since fair use is so subjective and toothless -- such things would be infringing. And, under that interpretation, the average person's day includes many acts of infringement, since the letter of the law and even a great deal of its spirit is completely out of whack with reality.

                                      The reason that there's no quick sentence declaring this is that, again, it's painfully obvious to anyone unless they are stupid or trying to be disruptive.

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                                        antidirt (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 10:04am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        It's "painfully obvious," yet you can't point to even a single word or sentence that supports your contention? I linked to five different posts where Mike makes the claim without a hint of facetiousness. You have proferred exactly zero evidence.

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                                          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 11:27am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          Yes. Painfully obvious. Notice how nobody else is confused by it? Nobody else sees a contradiction? Nobody else is demanding answers or claiming they've spotted some fault? Nobody is reading your links and quotes and going "oh my, what a gaffe!"?

                                          That's because, to everyone else, it's painfully obvious.

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                                antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:49am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                One last point: Mike claimed that replying to an email with quotations from the email being replied to is infringement. We're not talking about publishing someone's emails. This is not a close case. It's fair use. Considering the incredibly broad understanding of fair use that Mike has, wherein he considers much less obvious uses to be fair, do you honestly think that Mike really doesn't think the email thing is fair use? Serious question.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 9:38am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Again, utterly (or intentionally) failing to understand the point.

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                                    antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 11:38am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Again, utterly (or intentionally) failing to understand the point.

                                    I get that you need to say I'm wrong, but you're not explaining WHY I'm wrong. Please be specific. I'm happy to address your points, despite your obvious hatred of me, because I only care about substance. Explain exactly what the point is that I'm "failing to understand." It's easy to say I'm wrong. It's not so easy to explain why. Can you explain why?

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                            antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 8:12am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Sorry, don't know why I got signed out. I love the irony, though, that Mike is claiming that something is infringing, and I'm explaining why it's not. The truth is that Mike doesn't realky think it's infringing either. But he won't admit it.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2015 @ 9:39am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              No, the truth is that Mike was making a very easy and obvious point that you are refusing to understand, even though you easily could, because you love fighting in the Techdirt comments to a perverted degree.

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                                antidirt (profile), 3 Jan 2015 @ 11:40am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                No, the truth is that Mike was making a very easy and obvious point that you are refusing to understand, even though you easily could, because you love fighting in the Techdirt comments to a perverted degree.

                                And you have yet to supply even one iota of evidence of why you think Mike is facetiously making his claim. I await your substantive response. No need for further insults, but you keep acting that way if it's all you got. I understand.

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                              Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2015 @ 8:34pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Everyone knows you sign out regularly to pat yourself on the back and suck your own cock. If you get signed out, it's because you signed out. That you think anyone is getting fooled by this is hilarious.

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    • icon
      tqk (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      I wouldn't have reported you for this, though I certainly understand why others would. You're welcome to your opinion, and I believe it's far more instructive for others to actually see what you've written to better understand how worthless your contribution is. You go in for vitriolic insults ("Your "community" is a fucking joke."; charming), not discussion. You don't appear to give a flying !@#$ about what others think (it's all em>"group think" to you), nor care that they may better understand the situation than do you. You've got your agenda to push, and you're sticking with it, come hell or high water. Why, I can't imagine, nor do I care.

      Enjoy your peaceful echo chamber having now driven away anyone who might have previously wanted to communicate with you. Having fun yet?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 11:14pm

      Re:

      The irony is that your entire post is nothing but a rant where you spend the entire time complaining and whining. Instead of telling us how bitter you are why don't you just leave if you don't like the blog so much. Since you have nothing substantive to say and your only complaint is that you don't like when people disagree with your indefensible position I suspect that you won't be missed.

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        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 6:02am

        Re: Re:

        The problem is that so many of his positions are completely defensible and accurate on the substantive points of law he makes, but a cadre of people here (both principals and users) refuse to even admit to the possibility that he might be right and they might be wrong. He is correct in saying it is hypocritical to profess being open to counter-arguments when actions are taken to undermine one who speaks about factual inconveniences to the strident editorials published here.

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          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The problem is that so many of his positions are completely defensible and accurate on the substantive points of law he makes"

          So instead of arguing any of those positions or giving any specific examples for us to discuss you choose to simply make overly broad, indefensible, claims and expect to be taken seriously.

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    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2015 @ 11:45pm

      Re:

      I guess I get a year ender in too... I wonder how long before the "community" decides I have violated standards.

      Mr Masnick is a very smart guy. It takes a certain skill and self confidence to be able to restate the world in your own terms and have other people believe you, even in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary. Techdirt is very much about telling the truth, but it is also about telling it slant.

      The real future?

      We face the fact that governments worldwide are starting to come to terms with the internet, and are starting to demand that their sovereignty and laws are respected when dealing with their people. From European privacy laws, right to be forgotten rules, and even Kim Dotcom, it's becoming more and more clear that the wild west internet killing all business models is facing tough headwinds.

      We are also starting to see the corner turned on piracy. from The Pirate Bay to changes in laws in Spain and attitude in Sweden, it's harder than ever to run a pirate site. Changes in laws in places like Canada in relation to VPNs and such show the way of the future, where the hidey holes aren't as secure. Caselaw will continue to mount to define corporate and personal responsibility online, and it's very likely that the truly anonymous internet may in fact be mostly a thing of the past. The universe of hackers, script kiddies, and government supported "cyberwar" operations make it even more pressing to get rid of as many of the ways of hiding as possible.

      The funny part to me is that many people blame "da gubbermint", Obummer, or whatever other local nasty they can come up with. The true enemy of your privacy and your anonymity online is the very people who use those things to break the law, to hack, to steal, and to attack others. The overwhelming success of these groups means that your freedoms online will very likely be curtailed, limited, or tracked, to protect others.

      From what was probably a zenith about 3 or 4 years ago, a careful eye can spot the trends, and see where things are going. There are fewer places to hide, and all the onion routing and dark webbing won't help you out. Reality is changing, and the net will be forced to change with it. The lawyers and the law makers and the lobbyists are here, the party is all but over for this existence. :)

      Have a wonderful, safe, and prosperous new year. Support artists, support those who create, and make sure they can continue to create in the future.

      (you can click report now... I don't care!).

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2015 @ 1:05am

        Re: Re:

        A little late to the circle-jerk of liars, aren't you, bobmail? Or are you planning to make a few more posts, then claim you haven't made more than "two posts" in the last five months?

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

  • identicon
    RR, 31 Dec 2014 @ 7:56pm

    Thanks

    Thanks for all the hard work. I appreciate it.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 8:12pm

    Optimistic pessimism

    It can be difficult at times, remaining optimistic while reading so many negative stories, and can be so easy to slip into the mindset of 'It's just too big, there's nothing you can do, so why even try?'

    However, as tempting as it may be, doing so will, ultimately fulfill the 'prophecy' of non-change. Things may be crap, but only by not giving up can they ever have a chance of being improved.

    99 out of a 100 times, the effort may seem pointless, worthless, but that one time can make for some incredible results.

    SOPA was a done deal... until the public took a stand on it and it was shot down.

    ACTA was a done deal, already signed... until the public made their voices heard and it was scrapped.

    Now, all is not sunshine and rainbows of course, after having their pet laws and agreements killed off by the public, those discussing them have taken to the shadows, doing their best to make sure the public has no chance to see what's going on, and no chance to object until it's too late.

    The cure for that? Shine the light on their activities, whether they want it or not. As multiple leaks have shown, despite their efforts to the contrary, bits and pieces will make it out, but it's only continuous pressure from the public that the secrecy behind such blatantly anti-public laws and agreements will be undermined and destroyed.

    Sometimes the fight(and it absolutely is a fight) of the public protecting itself from it's would-be-tyrants looks hopeless, when the government steamrolls over any democracy or public opinion, but only by giving up will it actually be hopeless.

    Much like an avalanche, a few pebbles rolling about may look completely harmless, but get enough of them moving, and they can make quite the difference. Governments and corporations would like you to believe that a few pebbles won't do anything, so there's no point in trying, but that's because they know what the result is if enough of them are put into motion. They can stop pebbles, or dismiss them as unimportant, but an avalanche? Not so much.

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

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 31 Dec 2014 @ 10:58pm

    Important Safety Message

    Happy New Years.

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

  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 31 Dec 2014 @ 11:47pm

    Ta

    Thank you, Techdirt writers and commenters, for providing an enjoyable, informative site.
    Much obliged and Happy New Year.
    :)

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

  • identicon
    Robert, 1 Jan 2015 @ 12:26am

    Year end

    All I can say is thank you to all Techdirt staff, you show me what really happens before laws are written.

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 1 Jan 2015 @ 11:37am

    Novannum

    Thank you Mike, Techdirt staff, and Techdirt community.

    May the future be a time where Techdirt is no longer needed as a forum to air dirty corporate and political laundry, and the discussions here are instead about where to go next in a world of unlimited opportunities and fluid innovation.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2015 @ 7:12pm

      Re: Novannum

      Your well-wish reminds me of John Lennon's Imagine. Almost hopelessly optimistic.

      I'll apologize in advance, since I'm not fond of long creative posts like this in comments sections, but I'll share a similar optimism. Happy new year.

      Imagine there's no patents
      It's easy if you try
      No hell of lawsuits
      Innovation free to fly
      Imagine all the people
      Creating without fear

      Imagine there's no copyrights
      It isn't hard to do
      No suing other writers
      Just writing something new
      Imagine all the rock stars
      working like we do

      You may say I'm a streamer
      but I'm not one of the billion
      I just don't believe it's a human right
      to get paid long after your work is done

      Imagine there's no royalties
      Eventually we can
      find inspiration in all
      the history of man
      Imagine all the people
      Sharing all our words

      You may say I'm a dreamer
      but I'm not the only one
      I hope some senators will join us
      And the entitlement era will be done

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2015 @ 11:58pm

    Optimism Captain!

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

  • identicon
    staff, 5 Jan 2015 @ 3:52pm

    more dissembling by thieves

    'Patent trolls were still running around like crazy causing problems'

    Same old dissembling by Masnick -the large multinational tech pr puppet. All he knows about patents is...he doesn't have any.

    Can you say ‘dissemble’? Just because they call it patent "reform" doesn't mean it is.

    It’s about property rights and jobs. When government fails to uniformly and justly enforce property rights they contribute to the wealth and power of the well placed few, suppress the ability and rights of the rest to make better lives for themselves and their families, support giant monopolies that enslave and impoverish the public, and commandeer the government.

    Property rights and jobs in America are now hanging from a frayed thread. These changes are killing our small and startup firms and the jobs they would have created. Some in Congress and the White House continue to follow the lead of their giant multinational campaign donors like lambs...pulling America along to the slaughter.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/eriktelford/2014/10/22/google-leverages-patent-reform-for-c rony-ends-n1908760
    http://www.npr.org/2013/11/06/243022966/secret-persuasion-how-big-campaign-donors- stay-anonymous

    All this patent troll and ‘reform’ talk is mere dissembling by China, huge multinational thieves and their paid puppets. If you tell a lie often enough and can dupe others to repeat that lie, eventually it is accepted as fact. As Mark Twain said, 'truth is not hard to kill, and (that) a lie well told is immortal'. Those who use the amorphous phrase 'patent troll' expose themselves as thieves, duped, or doped and perpetuate the lie. They have already damaged the American patent system so that property rights are teetering on lawlessness. Simply put, their intent is to legalize theft -to twist and weaken the patent system so it can only be used by them and no one else. Then they can steal at will and destroy their small competitors AND WITH THEM THE JOBS THEY WOULD HAVE CREATED. For the last several years now they have been ransacking and looting small entities taking everything they can carry. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more American jobs to China and elsewhere overseas.

    Do you know how to make a Stradivarius violin? Neither does anyone else. Why? There was no protection for creations in his day so he like everyone else protected their creations by keeping them secret. Civilization has lost countless creations and discoveries over the ages for the same reason. Think we should get rid of or weaken patent rights? Think again.

    Most important for America is what the patent system does for America’s economy. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they acknowledged inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity AND THE JOBS the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the American economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. For a robust and stable economy America depends on a strong patent system accessible to all -large and small, not the watered down weak system the large multinationals and China are foisting on America.

    For the truth, please see http://www.truereform.piausa.org/
    http://piausa.wordpress.com/
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/04/the-conservative-case-against-patent-reform/#disqus_thread
    http://w ww.law360.com/articles/561199/justices-should-back-off-patent-eligibility-michel-says

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2015 @ 4:52pm

      Re:

      Sadly, Riley, you don't own the patent on being a moron. Otherwise I think we'd have less morons like you around!

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


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