Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the redacted dept

It seems there are no lows to which the recording industry won't sink, reaffirmed this week by a series of anti-piracy ads that exploit the tragic stories of dead (and highly successful) musicians. Violynne won most insightful comment of the week for an open letter to those who might be misled by this campaign:

Dear upcoming artists reading this article,

What you're actually reading are the states caused by these performers and their record labels.

In a time before royalties (and it took a new copyright law to get them, by the way), these performers had no choice but to trust their labels, many of which withheld thousands, if not millions, from the artists which actually created the music.

Their suffering had nothing to do with people stealing their music (trying to walk out with an LP tucked under the shirt isn't easy).

Their suffering was due to lost revenue by the labels, most represented by the RIAA (whose sole purpose is to extort as much money from artists as possible).

Don't fall for the ruse. Take a few months and learn business, economics, and the law so you can manage, market, and profit by yourself.

Because the second you take that advance and sign the dotted line, you'll be hitting the bottle and pain killers too.

For second place, we head to the story of the DOJ dropping a case after being told it can't simply seize laptops at the border. One anonymous commenter pointed out how telling this reaction is:

The government would rather drop a case against a serial killer if it meant saving them the ability to continue spy on others illegally.

Proof is this case, as well as the one where they dropped a kidnapping case just so they don't unveil they were using Stingrays to catch the guy.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/08/23/baltimore-police-stingray-cell-surveillance/31994181/

Disgusting.

For editor's choice, we start out on our post about another Techdirt post that disappeared from Google due to a right-to-be-forgotten request. One commenter asked when the last legitimate such request was made, and John Fenderson supplied a simple answer:

Never. There can't possibly be a legit request since the entire idea is illegitimate.

Next, we head to the news of Universal's humorless takedown of a parody Nirvana song, where Jef Oliver noted how much online culture can tell us about the entertainment industry:

Someone posts a video on the internet. Several comments say "Enjoy it before it is taken down."

When your business is known for its over-aggressive copyright stance and not for the media it is supposed to be releasing, there is a problem.

Over on the funny side, our top two winners are extremely similar comment from the same post. There are a handful of people who like to accuse Techdirt of being a shill for Google, so when we criticized the company's actions on net neutrality this week, the sarcastic responses came fast and racked up lots of funny votes. Both top winners were anonymous, so here's first place:

but techdirt is such a google shill, how could they possibly speak badly of Google.

Oh, I get it now, Techdirt is a net neutrality shill. They shill on principle and for the public interest. How much is the public paying you Techdirt?

And here's second place, which took a more deadpan approach:

Bunch of freaking Google shills. You just won't shut up about how awesome Google is and how it can do no wrong, will you? Why don't you freaking marry Google if you love it so much?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about United in-flight wi-fi blocking certain news outlets. Someone commenting under the name United Wifi Content Police offered an in-character reaction:

Oh shit, we forgot to block Techdirt!

And finally, after documents on the tobacco industry were released as pages of solid black redactions, one anonymous commenter gave us a good blanket response for all similar freedom-of-information failures:

At least we are still free to read between the lines...

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 30 Aug 2015 @ 6:26pm

    Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

    You know the old story about how to boil a frog alive: throw it into boiling water and it will jump out again. But put it into cold water, and gradually, imperceptibly, raise the temperature, and it will feel fine and comfortable, until it is too late.

    Seems like the gun lobby in the USA has successfully employed the same tactic. When the shooting of journalists live on-air raises barely a ripple of outrage, you know a line has been crossed, with no turning back.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 6:52pm

      Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

      Gun control laws only prohibit law abiding citizens from having guns. Criminals don't care about stupid laws, that's why their called criminals.

      Obama said it best when he said guns kill more people than terrorists.
      So let's prioritize.
      580,000 Americans die of cancer, let's fix that.
      30,000 Americans die from automotive accidents, let's fix that.
      Then we can worry about the 8000 gun related deaths and the miniscule 18 terrorist related deaths.

      If you care about saving lives, prioritize and fix the things killing the most people first.
      If you care about maintaining control and/or grandstanding, prioritize and fix the problem causing the fewest deaths.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 6:54pm

        Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

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

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

        So let's prioritize.
        580,000 Americans die of cancer, let's fix that.

        Huge reearch money already going into that so it's already covered as far as humanly possible.

        30,000 Americans die from automotive accidents, let's fix that.

        Banning automobiles would destroy the US economy - and probably increase the cancer deaths. Short of that - measures are already in place to try and reduce road deaths.

        Then we can worry about the 8000 gun related deaths

        Stupid fallacy. The gun deaths can be fixed relatively easily - as places that don't have massive gun ownership (most of the rest of the "first" world) have amply demonstrated. The existence of other problems is no reason not to fix the one in front of you - or were you just being sarcastic?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

          The gun deaths can be fixed relatively easily

          Maybe, maybe not, as what should be looked at is the causes of violence, rather than the means. Eliminating, or rather trying to eliminate a means of violence is not likely to do much to reduce violence, but rather switch it to use of differing means.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

          580,000 Americans die of cancer, let's fix that.

          Huge [research] money already going into that so it's already covered as far as humanly possible.

          Bullshit. The US medical system is broken so that all services and products in the US cost orders of magnitude more than they do anywhere else, and yet we have far from the best medicine in the world. We aren't interesting in curing cancer or heart failure or stroke, rather big pharma is interested in helping rich people live longer.

          They'd gladly let the rest of us shlubs drop dead.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

          --The gun deaths can be fixed relatively easily

          I call BS on that.

          So you can easily prevent criminals from stealing guns?
          Oh, and you can easily prevent criminals from making guns?
          FYI, Making a gun is rather simple to do.
          How do you propose to easily prevent criminals from posessing guns?

          Remember, criminals don't follow laws so passing a law is not a solution to this problem.

          So lets hear it, whats this "eassily" implemented solution of yours? Or were you just living in fantasy land?

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 8:14pm

      Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

      It's been bothering me all week because the frog anecdote's been used all week.

      It's simply not true.

      Firstly, a frog is disinclined to stay in a pot of water at any temperature. Secondly, in those experiments in which they lidded the pot, the frog would get more and more agitated as the water warmed up.

      When it comes to guns, the problem is that human beings really like to scapegoat. Rather than considering that a complex problem often has complex causes, we are desperate for a simple cause that we can surgically remove with a simple solution.

      We've pushed the issue with video games, violent movies, books (which continue to be challenged to this day), role playing games, rock and roll music and even bicycles.

      So I submit that anyone who blames a shooting on the legality of guns has no more veracity than those who blamed shootings on video games. Or teen deviance on secret messages in Stairway to Heaven. Yes, that really happened.

      We have a long, long history of moral panics by which to induce that people can't tell what's dangerous, and the right to bear arms, even before we argue its intent in the US Constitution, is simply a part of liberty. It's the same basis that we get to use power tools, toss ourselves out of airplanes for recreation and camp in the Sierra Nevadas during winter, even those these all come with known hazards.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 8:39pm

        Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

        I won't blame a shooting on gun laws, but I will credit the low levels of shootings in other countries to the illegality of guns and no right to bear arms.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 8:52pm

          Narrowing the correlations

          Maybe. Do these other countries have low rates of homicide, suicide and accidental hazards as well?

          Not just ones with guns, but, like, all around.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:34pm

            Re: Narrowing the correlations

            Couldn't say off the top of my head, but next to the US most countries figures are low. Homicide and suicide are far more visceral without the aid of a firearm, requiring a little more commitment, you can't just pop off a bullet, you've got to get in there and beat someone or stab them.
            Not sure what accidents have to do with anything.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:50pm

              Re: Re: Narrowing the correlations

              I suppose one could argue that a country where people value their lives more will be one where citizens will be more careful to avoid accidents. A country where politicians truly value life will be one where laws are passed to prevent and deter accidents beyond simple grandstanding and laws intended to incriminate and fine everyone in the name of safety. For instance there is so much more to traffic safety than just speed limits. Well constructed roads with well considered layouts can go a long ways towards preventing accidents. A legal system that strongly encourages workplace safety over profits.

              A country with many accidents could indicate a deeper problem that extends to why violence is an issue.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Narrowing the correlations

                Fair enough. I had a check and while the US is higher than the places I had in mind the figures for parts of South America and Africa are through the roof.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:17pm

            Re: Narrowing the correlations

            The USA has incarcerates more people per capita than nearly every other nation. I declare that prisons are responsible for gun violence since there seems to be a correlation there.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 1:01pm

              A complex problem with multiple symptoms...

              You know, you may be onto something there.

              I suspect that our gun violence and our prison population are related to a problem of rising discontent.

              Taxation without representation. Redcoats arbitrarily arresting people and then lying in court to convict them.

              Just thinking about it makes me want to shoot a man.

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

      • identicon
        Pink Shark, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:03pm

        Re: Re: Gun Love Is Boiling The Frog

        What about toads? Surely there has to be some living creature on Earth that is dumb enough to help make that analogy work.

        Meh, never mind. I just realized it's probably humans.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:02am

          The Boiling Frog metaphor

          The issue to which the metaphor applies is that we do not respond to tyranny and injustice until the effect is personal, e.g. someone we know is personally affected. Most of the US doesn't care about (say) police escalation and the murder of Michael Brown and won't until one of their own is brutalized by the police with no means for redress.

          This is exactly the sort of thing that gets us where we are when it comes to the mass surveillance program or the extrajudicial detainment and interrogation program, both of which continue to go on despite how uncomfortable it makes us, because not enough of us have been visibly tortured or tossed into jail for petty crimes discovered through surveillance.

          Interestingly, rampage killings are visible, much like terrorism and they incline us to want to do something about them. Interestingly, depending on how you define a rampage shooting, we have about the same number of them as we have extrajudicial police killings. There may even be some crossover.

          Regardless, the public is slow to respond and protect human rights, but not because it's akin to a frog getting slow-cooked and acclimating. More that we like to think of ourselves as special and removed from the victims and assure ourselves that it can't happen to me, often based on race or location or circumstances.

          So yeah, when they come for us, no-one will complain because they can't empathize with us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 8:08pm

    I can't believe my post about Google making all their money from piracy got reported. Techdirt just likes to censor everything because they can't stand the truth!!!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:47pm

      Re:

      Oh look, it's the devil's spawn borne out of antidirt and out_of_the_blue.

      One can't help but wonder - who's the dominant and submissive, and does antidirt's wife know about this illicit affair? Maybe we'll find antidirt's email among the Ashley Madison leak...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:52pm

      Re:

      Google making money off piracy is like saying the phone book makes money off drug deals.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Almost, though there's the not so small difference that the phone book chooses what to include, whereas Google just grabs and indexes everything. There's also the tiny difference in scale between a couple thousand entries for one, and billions for the other.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is all the adverts on torrent sites. They make on that.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The ads offered by shady companies that pay pittance, even compared to 'standard' ad rates? The ads that Google wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, not only because the pay out would be ludicrously low, but because of the legal hassle it would cause if they were involved with them?

            Those ads?

            A company doesn't grow to be Google's size by acting like idiots, and they would have to be incredibly stupid to want to have anything to do with ads hosted on sites that regularly attract legal attention from governments around the world(and in fact as I understand it they are incredibly quick to pull ads from sites that even might not be 100% legal). Why open themselves up to that risk, for basically pennies, when they could steer clear of the mess entirely?

            However, assume for the moment that Google was indeed stupid enough to be involved with offering ad services to torrent sites and the like. I can pretty much guarantee that the payouts from every last site of that sort would be a drop in the bucket compared to their other sources of income, which makes the absurd claim of 'Google makes all their money off of piracy' about as accurate as saying that the government makes all of it's money off of illegal drug deals.

            Does some of the money come from an illegal source? Quite probably, build a system(government or otherwise) large enough and it's pretty much ensured to happen, but the vast majority of it comes from legitimate sources, so claiming that the minority source is the only, or even 'just' the main source isn't even close to being accurate.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              " so claiming that the minority source is the only, or even 'just' the main source isn't even close to being accurate."

              I didn't make any such claim. Just that they would, like you say, have made some money from piracy.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:45pm

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

                Not ALL their money, but not NONE either.

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

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 11:21pm

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

                  I didn't make any such claim. Just that they would, like you say, have made some money from piracy.

                  You didn't no, but the first comment in this thread did make that claim, and they're hardly the first. It's annoying correcting the same idiotic claim over and over again, and some of the irritation may have seemed directed at you, but it wasn't, it was aimed at the boneheaded line that's been repeated and debunked I don't know how many times by now.

                  Not ALL their money, but not NONE either.

                  True, but like I noted above, with a company their size, that's pretty much a given and expected. There's just too much to keep track of to ensure that none of those that use their services are doing so in illegal or dodgy ways, the best that can be reasonably expected is that they would cut off those that they discover or are informed are involved in illegal acts.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:03am

              Re: @ "A company doesn't grow to be Google's size by" doing anything the Establishment or The Powers That Be don't want.

              Fixed that for you. It's a fact that the CIA at least partly funded Google's start-up. Tt's the perfect commercial front / engine for spying on everyone full time as "national security agencies" want. Snowden says Google give NSA "direct access".

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:05am

              Re: @ "A company doesn't grow to be Google's size by" doing anything the Establishment or The Powers That Be don't want.

              Fixed that for you. It's a fact that the CIA at least partly funded Google's start-up. Tt's the perfect commercial front / engine for spying on everyone full time as "national security agencies" want. Snowden says Google give NSA "direct access".

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 10:16pm

      Re:

      You comment is reported because it's wrong, everyone knows it's wrong, and people don't feel like explaining for the hundredth time why it's a wrong, especially to someone who wouldn't listen to a thing that was said because you've already made up your mind, and no amount of evidence will change it.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 4:55am

    Oh, the old "Two Sarcastic ACs" proof that you're not shilling for Google! Who can argue with that?

    Wait. You say several ACs accuse? Doesn't several (which dictionaries define as minimum three) outweigh two? Or are those two ACs particularly honest and expert? How do you know, since they're ACs? And will you state that they're not TD writers or fanboys, but objective outside observers? And even if stated, prove that... Gosh, TWO ACs whom you assume are sarcastic? I do also, to be clear, but it is an assumption, not in the text.

    Sheesh. ... Really, what can anyone rational say when that's the totality of your defense? No denial even when YOU bring it up of purpose, just the innuendo that you're above suspicion? -- Well, you're not!

    In any case, two sarcastic ACs are meaningless compared to everyday visible facts of continuing to defend Google's "business model" of total spying on everyone, bringing up Google Fiber so often, and that Masnick states Google sponsors his little "think tank", besides whatever advertising revenue here. -- Oh, and just as I predicted you DO point to the rare carping at Google as establishing your impartiality! If that was your purpose, then faking two ACs is nothing, and trumpeting it here -- well, only proves that you foolishly believe ridicule will make valid questions go away! The "Hillary" method.

    How about flatly stating that whatever income deriving from Google or other corporations in the now "alphabet" absolutely do not correlate with the positive bias seen in your written opinions on Google nor amount of coverage. Here "income" includes stock, which I never mention because have no evidence; what I go from is visible in your own writings and by taking the Copia link. -- Go ahead, make my day just by actually STATING so you're pinned down and can't tomorrow say, "oh, by the way..."

    But okay, Google shills, I DO admit that you have two ACs whom you presume sarcastic also making accusations... Unless it's just one using TOR or other proxy... Sheesh. -- Trying to "funny" your way out is so feeble that I'm moved to give you this free advice, kids: you are far better off ignoring than trying to defend. The latter makes it look like the criticism is effective and gives opportunity for more. Like this.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:30am

      Re:

      Still using TOR? You filthy pirate you, blue.

      Go be an asshole somewhere else, I hear M. Slonecker is anxiously waiting for you to copyright infringe his anus.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:47am

      Re: Oh, the old "Two Sarcastic ACs" proof that you're not shilling for Google! Who can argue with that?

      Wow. Stunning. I dropped into the 'retarded' IQ category just from reading that.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 7:06am

      Re: Oh, the old "Two Sarcastic ACs" proof that you're not shilling for Google! Who can argue with that?

      Dude. Stop. I'm starting to pity you.

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


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