New Year's Message: Keep Moving Forward

from the it-seems-like-a-struggle,-but-lots-to-be-happy-about dept

Since 2008, I've always concluded the year with a post in which I take a step back and reflect on (1) how I continue to remain optimistic despite lots of negative news (2) the overall forward progress of innovation, even while so many stories play up the negative and (3) the power to keep that forward progress moving. It started after I had a few people question how I remained so optimistic and happy, despite writing so many stories that seemed somewhat infuriating. But, as I noted at the time, the infuriating parts were mostly about attempts by people (often those in power) to hold back the pace of innovation. The forward progress of innovation marches on, however. And thus, we can and should be happy about that, even if we're angry about the pace and the efforts to hinder that pace. It's about understanding the difference between relative and absolute change. We should be happy with where things are headed, even if we're upset about the pace at which things are moving.

If you'd like to see all of the historical New Year's Message posts, they're here: Last year I started off by noting that I expected that message to be a bit of a downer, as it felt like things had been an even bigger struggle than in the past. But as I looked over the details, I realized it was the same story again. Yes, it was a struggle against forces that sought to stop progress, but the frustration was more about the pace, rather than the overall direction. And the same is true this year. At first I felt like perhaps things did move a little backwards this year, but upon reflection that's not actually the case. Potentially it feels worse because of a few bits of bad news at the very end of the year, coloring the view over the entire year.

On the whole, however, there were lots of truly positive things this year. The FCC really did pass real net neutrality rules and has at least taken some steps towards enforcing them (and even just having those rules in place "magically" made the big broadband providers suddenly figure out how to stop Netflix from being throttled). Yes, there are challenges in place to those rules, including a legal challenge and attempts to route around the rules through data caps and zero rating, but overall the net neutrality fight was a huge win for the internet. At the beginning of the process, in 2014 it was "common knowledge" that there was no way the FCC would make use of its Title II powers to put in place real net neutrality rules -- and yet, thanks to the internet speaking out, it did exactly that in 2015.

On the surveillance front, I know there's lots of reasonable concern and criticism about it, but the USA FREEDOM Act really was the first significant surveillance reform package that restricted some surveillance activities in well over a decade. That's a huge win. No, it didn't go far enough. Yes, there are many other concerns about what USA FREEDOM does allow, as well as what other legal authorities allow, but the bill was still a step in the right direction. Yes, there are concerns about other efforts, like CISA (eventually passed in the Omnibus bill as the "Cybersecurity Act of 2015"), but getting at least some surveillance reform was a big deal. And, despite what some think, there are huge opportunities to push for even bigger wins in the future against mass surveillance. But this is going to require a really big fight, especially as countries like the UK take a massive step backwards on this issue.

Similarly, the fight over backdooring encryption is a key one that we've been focusing on, but so far it's been a pretty big success. While tech companies used to basically ignore encryption entirely, Apple has been out front and center banging the drum on the importance of encryption. And, yes, the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino (despite a lack of encryption being key to either attack) have given the enemies of encryption a new foothold to argue their nonsense, but cooler heads in both Congress and the White House both seem to recognize that what's being asked for is both magic pixie dust... and basically impossible.

In the meantime, though, stronger encryption and privacy is becoming much more standard. Apple has made encryption on phones a default and Google has been moving in that direction too. Consumer friendly apps like Signal are making communications encryption much more accessible. More and more websites are moving to HTTPS and DNSSEC. The forward progress of technology is making many of the political debates... obsolete.

On the copyright front, there were some huge victories, including a really great ruling on fair use in the Author's Guild case against Google Books. It's a ruling that will get cited time and time again in copyright/fair use cases. The 9th Circuit corrected its huge mistake from a year earlier in saying that an actress had a copyright interest in her performance in a movie. And it was made clear that Warner/Chappell no longer can shake down everyone for singing "Happy Birthday." Yes, there were some bad rulings as well, including the ruling over Cox's DMCA protections, but that's just at the district court level, and we can hope that it will get fixed in later rounds.

More importantly, there are indications that many in Congress are finally realizing that copyright law does not work well with the internet today, and there appears to be some willingness to fix the problems of statutory damages and the use of the DMCA for outright censorship.

On patents, we still have not gotten the necessary patent reform out of Congress, but courts are still showing an increasing willingness to pushback on abuse, and hopefully that continues into the new year.

Yes, there's still much to be done. We could use lots of legal reforms on issues: patent law, copyright law, the CFAA, ECPA and surveillance all still need fixing. But, again, there's been forward progress on many of these items, and things that were considered off the table only a year ago are now entirely within the realm of possibility.

Meanwhile, innovation itself continues to move forward. I've talked about new consumer-friendly tools for privacy and encryption, and that is likely to increase over the next year. Similarly, we're seeing new powerful innovations that I hope will address many of the other policy challenges that we're facing. While politicians and legacy industries bemoan technology "outpacing" the law, I keep seeing examples of technology doing a much better job providing the public with what it needs, rather than policy makers trying to create laws to do the same.

On the Techdirt front, we had another fun year of discussions and conversations. Our biggest news was the launch of our think tank, The Copia Institute, which released some papers and held our first summit and some additional gatherings. Expect a lot more on that front in the coming year. We're also working on some additional things for the Techdirt community itself, so stay tuned.

As always, I'd like to conclude with a giant thank you to everyone here who's a part of the Techdirt community. As I've said in the past, you're the ones who make all of this worthwhile, no matter how you engage. 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, and that you're passionate about all that we discuss.

We know that lots of websites are rejecting their own communities these days -- turning off comments, putting up paywalls, and blocking people from reading if they have ad blockers on. We've gone in the other direction on all of these things and that's because we don't look upon each person as an opportunity to exploit, but rather a community member who we hope will participate in some way.

I've been doing this for 18 incredible years and I don't intend to slow down any time soon. This remains the best job in the world -- to write about and discuss these issues with all of you. Any time I get annoyed at what's happening in the world, it's the folks here who not only prop me up, but help me see through the clutter. I know that some of you are more optimistic than others, and some are more cynical. But overall, the depth and knowledge and passion of this community are what makes this all worthwhile.

Thank you again for being a part of all things Techdirt.

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  • identicon
    PrivateFrazer, 31 Dec 2015 @ 3:28am

    Happy Hogmanay Kids

    good luck in 2016 (especially with 'patent law, copyright law.. and surveillance') - we're well screwed here in the UK but maybe if the US can move a bit more there's hope. Also, top marks for Uruguay and Morrocco (drug laws and solar, respectively). Where's that Tesla battery?

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    • identicon
      Andy, 1 Jan 2016 @ 6:00am

      Re: Happy Hogmanay Kids

      I believe the UK will be the perfect example for citizens around the world, where at some time in the near future anonymity online will be a standard and no government will be able to access your data, maybe a few years away but also maybe only a few days away.

      And one of the positives about what the UK is doing is that they have so much data they have bogged themselves down with it all, It will be worse than a needle in a hay stack it will be like a needle in a millions fields of haystacks, sometimes it is fun to see how those that have no idea of how the internet works really destroy there chances of monitoring people.

      But in the end it will be anonymising systems that will win out and all it takes is for one person to create something that works to stop the snooping. Damn a host file can overcome a hell of a lot of there snooping right now.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re: Happy Hogmanay Kids

        sometimes it is fun to see how those that have no idea of how the internet works really destroy there chances of monitoring people.


        Politicians fear successful political activists much more that they do terrorists, and the giant haystacks can contain information to discredit them when it looks like they may be able to force a government to change its mind by leading a popular protest movement.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 3:29am

    Happy New years!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:20am

    Thank you

    and a Happy New Year Techdirt Team!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:27am

    The sound you hear is that of antidirt, Whatever, out_of_the_blue and the spammy idiot now clogging up Torrentfreak, gnashing their teeth in anger that Techdirt has seen through another year past their smoke and mirrors. Cheers, Techdirt! The world is always in need of forces against trolls.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 6:31am

    You forgot one!

    From Freedom to Tyranny and Oppression!

    We are looking a record social and political movement in the US to remove liberty from every facet of life here.

    Civil Forfeiture, a thoroughly corrupt Justice system from the Police to the DA's to the Judge's to SCOTUS right up the the very President Himself!

    If the reason for me to be happy is that this years tech toys will allow me to live in the Matrix oblivious to reality then yea I guess I can be happy... if I was THAT type of person!

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 6:50am

    And to the team at TD:

    We are the privileged ones - reaping the rewards of your efforts to expose technology issues that we should all be aware of. We enjoy the work of Mike, and Dark Helmet, and Tim and all the other kids living in the basement of Floor 64.

    We also enjoy the great entertainment provided by many of the trolls who live under the TD Bridge - the level of effort that some put into their work is far better
    than anything on cable these days.

    And for pure entertainment - you can't beat the folks out there making a name for themselves - particularly when that name becomes somewhat of a meme - we now know that digging a hole is the "Carreon Effect"; that Prenda gives us popcorn-worthy stories every time; and that Cognitive Dissonance is not a mental disorder, but rather a prerequisite for certain political positions.

    Your stories have given us Executives that have given new meaning to "Tone Deaf"; Profiteers have explored astronomical rate hikes and reaped the wrath of the net;
    and more new lawyer jokes than a school of comedy could ever use.

    Who needs cable when we've got TD?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 7:07am

      Re: And to the team at TD:

      We also enjoy the great entertainment provided by many of the trolls who live under the TD Bridge - the level of effort that some put into their work is far better
      than anything on cable these days.


      I don't know about you, but an action equivalent to taking a dump doesn't really count as effort.

      Then again, considering cable these days...

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 8:02am

    The forward progress of technology is making many of the political debates... obsolete.

    Unfortunately, there's a big difference between "obsolete" and "extinct."

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

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 8:07am

    Happy new years, folks

    I have all the love for our community: the supporters, lurkers, trolls, and true dissenters. Love all you guys and wish you the happiest and drunkiest New Years Day possible. I'll be pants-less and sipping IPAs, as per usual, but don't tell my wife and child....

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

  • icon
    timlash (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 9:11am

    Thanks to Techdirt

    Thanks to Mike and the entire Techdirt crew for a great 2015. I'll expect you to continue to fight the good fight in 2016.

    Cheers!

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Whatever (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:08am

    Happy New Year

    Happy New Year to everyone here (even PaulT, if he logs in).

    I have an important tip for you if you really want to "move forward" in 2016: Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and do your own thing. Stop trying to make other people do it your way ("you are not doing it right!"), and work instead of blazing your own trails and doing things your own way.

    Copyright, trademarks, and patents are at best three walls of a room that hold you in. The fourth wall doesn't exist. So rather than spending all your time banging on the walls, perhaps it's better to turn around and go the other direct, to move around the obstructions.

    Complaining that X company is doing it wrong, or that Y government agency is clueless is perhaps entertainment, but it's also zero traction stuff. You most often won't accomplish much (there are exceptions) but you can waste a lot of time.

    If you want 2016 to truly move you ahead, work within your own ideas, walk away from what blocks you, and you will move ahead. Will the world be with you? You never know until you try.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:16am

      Re: Happy New Year

      whatever...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 12:07pm

      Re: Happy New Year

      This all sounds very nice, and is also completely meaningless.

      Seriously, try to explain what you're talking about without using all the same vague language you just used. You can't, because there's nothing there.

      Also, physician heal thyself. You dedicate your entire life to hanging around here telling Techdirt why it's wrong, instead of (apparently) doing anything of your own.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Whatever (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Re: Happy New Year

        Sad news for you, I post a lot less here than ever before, as I am busier than ever before. Techdirt is my downtime hobby. Some people collect things or what have you, I spend some of my free time enjoying the often vapid stupidity that can be Techdirt (especially Karl these days, he's risen above his grade).

        So to explain: If copyright is a wall that stops you, then go the other direction. Rather than worry about what the "copyright monopoly" is doing, work on producing material that is GPL or better. Rather than dwell on the negative of this artist suing because of a sample or whatever, why not put more time on promoting and supporting artists who make their work freely available?

        One road is negative, hit your head against the wall type stuff, and the other is positive and uplifting.

        The same applies when it comes to cable / ISPs / service providers. Rather than hit your head against the wall against Cox or AT&T or whatever, why not work more on supporting initiatives to bring fiber to every house? Celebrate the victories and work on building more, rather than banging your heads against the ISP wall and complaining about the pain.

        So many things could happen if alternatives aren't just pointed to in vague terms, but moved forward in real terms. Real grassroots support for things changes the way the world works. Hitting incumbent players over the head with a stick trying to get them to give up a big part of their income to do it your way isn't going to work out very well. Don't worry about them, do your own things and make them better.

        It would be a great thing to be able to sit here next year and look at a list of accomplishments and initiatives, rather than reports of a whining, self justifying think tank and a few amusing but mostly arrogant staff writers. Imagine all that energy channeled towards something useful, rather than just in angry air.

        2016 could be so good. They get to choose.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 7:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          What you do here seems to be nothing but complaining about other people not doing things the way you want them to, then complaining about other people complaining about other people not doing things they want them to.

          Okay then.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          Techdirt is my downtime hobby.

          Wow. That's really, really sad. Sorry man. Hope your life improves in 2016.

          So to explain: If copyright is a wall that stops you, then go the other direction. Rather than worry about what the "copyright monopoly" is doing, work on producing material that is GPL or better.

          Copyright doesn't only affect those who enjoy it - it affects everyone, and our culture at large. So, uh, yeah -- try again.

          Rather than dwell on the negative of this artist suing because of a sample or whatever, why not put more time on promoting and supporting artists who make their work freely available?

          TD does both. Try again.

          . Rather than hit your head against the wall against Cox or AT&T or whatever

          Idiot doesn't understand how monopolies work. Or, asshole is desperate for a way to be an asshole. Cannot tell which.

          So many things could happen if alternatives aren't just pointed to in vague terms, but moved forward in real terms.

          When TD attempts that, you mock, relentlessly. Try again.

          Don't worry about them, do your own things and make them better.

          Like, perhaps, maintaining ongoing critical commentary of their nonsense so that the public is better informed? Yup, good plan.


          It would be a great thing to be able to sit here next year and look at a list of accomplishments and initiatives,


          Plenty of those. Try again.

          Imagine all that energy channeled towards something useful, rather than just in angry air.

          Constantly happening. Try again.

          God, you're pathetic.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:16pm

      Re: Happy New Year

      Whatever posting to get a few jabs in, just like he did last year?

      I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

      (You can report him now. He won't care!)

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:42pm

        Re: Re: Happy New Year

        He's a blowhard. He sees New Year's as his chance to post a "drop the bullshit" post that is "friendly" but maintains his nonsense criticism. I strongly suspect he plans this comment for 3-4 months every year. His tone gives it the veneer of something with an actual point to make - but upon an even semi-conscious reading it becomes apparent that there's even less substance here than there is in his usual ramblings.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          You can't drop what you've been sitting in waist-deep and feeding off from all year, after all.

          For the moment he seems to be going with the "downvote martyr" strategy that average_joe/antidirt pioneered. Post nothing but vapid insults and contradictory nonsense, then backpedal like mad and claim it wasn't him, and demand that nobody pay attention to what he's doing and answer his substance. (Which at the moment revolves around how everyone holding a mobile is a vicious criminal.) He's probably frothing at the mouth with his keyboard trying to figure which one of us is PaulT.

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          icon
          Whatever (profile), 1 Jan 2016 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          I appreciate all the wonderful personal attacks. Might I suggest a new years resolution that you stop worrying about me and start worrying about your own sad self?

          As for substance, well... I doubt you would know it even if someone clubbed you over the head with it.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 3:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            It's sad how you consider your personal ranting about PaulT to be substance. Also the fact that you complain about what he's doing (or not doing, rather, if you're still on about how he's logged out just to troll you while you do pretty much the same) while complaining about other people complaining about what other people are doing is pretty damn pathetic.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 6:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              One line in a post about someone (ribbing him a little nothing more) and you turn it into the entire substance of a post.

              Easy to see the problem here, and it's not in my posts. Heal thyself.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2016 @ 4:15am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                With "substance" like yours, your insults sum up everything. Consider not being such a stuck-up douchebag all the time and maybe your asshole aspects won't stand out so much.

                Also, seriously? You complain about people looking at what you do and you log out to troll again? Who do you think you're fooling here, really?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 7:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            I appreciate all the wonderful personal attacks.

            It's because, by all available evidence, you are an extremely unpleasant person. You have an inflated ego, you drip with a sense of superiority, and you back none of it up with any particularly striking insights or opinions - at least, that's what folks here at Techdirt get to see of you. So yeah, don't be too surprised about personal attacks - I find you personally very distasteful, and I doubt I'm alone.

            Might I suggest a new years resolution that you stop worrying about me and start worrying about your own sad self?

            Ooh, shall we say variations of this exact thing back and forth at each other until one of us gets bored? That sounds like fun! Boy you're tiresome.

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              icon
              Whatever (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 8:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              Since we aren't here to talk personality but are here to talk tech, the future, big government, and whatever else tickles Mike's fancy, perhaps you might want to focus on that more. If you don't like my comments, just don't read them and move along.

              The personal attacks are generally because you don't want to engage the ideas, you just want to make it personal. That usual means you already lost the point (and the plot). So don't worry about it, every one of your hateful posts just proves my point.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2016 @ 4:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                "I'm going to talk shit and if you don't like it I'm just going to talk more shit. So there!" That's your big plan? Really?

                Half your "substance" is basically "Haha, all you plebs are so stupid with your millenial entitlement, your disgusting smartphones and pirate pirate pirate. I hate this site but I'm going to scream at you and tell you all how wrong and loserly you are." Who the hell wants to have that sort of substance around?

                The poker analogy comes to mind again, because that's what your entire gimmick is. You're not interested in solutions, namely the most obvious one of if you don't like what's posted here, you could just up and leave (like you promised) instead of wasting your time posting about it.

                Also it's sad you scream about making it "personal" considering the ax you grind about PaulT every time. (For the record, neither of the anonymous posters are him, but you're probably going to whine about more IP addresses.)

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

          • icon
            techflaws (profile), 1 Jan 2016 @ 9:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            Might I suggest a new years resolution that you stop worrying about me

            Again with the misplaced superiority complex.

            NO ONE HERE IS WORRIED ABOUT YOU.

            Since you don't bring any well thought arguments to the table, all people do is setting the record straight on your continued bullshit so non-regulars don't get the wrong idea of us letting shills and trolls run rampant in this community.

            That's all.

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

          • icon
            ottermaton (profile), 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            I appreciate all the wonderful personal attacks.

            Perhaps people are just returning the favor?

            "... vapid stupidity that can be Techdirt (especially Karl these days ...)"

            "... mostly arrogant staff writers."

            And those are just 2 quick ones that jumped out at me in just this thread.

            So, maybe instead of worrying and whining about people calling you names and whatnot when you are clearly guilty of it yourself you could go do something constructive.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              "you could go do something constructive."

              He's an IP extremist. He will confuse doing something constructive with suing someone for some petty reason.

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

    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:36pm

      Re: Happy New Year

      The problem here is that you're telling everyone to do what they're already doing and have been doing for a long time. Most fights require a multi-pronged approach wherein you simultaneously blaze new trails while helping to break down the walls you refer to.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 10:41pm

        Re: Re: Happy New Year

        Whatever derives his self-worth from being critical of Techdirt, it seems. I suggest we all make it our new year's resolution to pity and ignore him.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Whatever (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re: Happy New Year

        Except they really aren't doing it. It's like a bunch of fat guys sitting around eating that extra slice of pizza talking about having big muscles and getting all the girls. They talk a good game, but they aren't doing enough about it.

        Picture all of Karl's hateful venom towards the cable industry instead focused on creating an alternative. Perhaps starting his own online steaming video channel with his own content. Perhaps building a business plan that could actually work where Aereo and others have failed. Instead, the energy is dissipated as he bangs his head against the virtual walls of the cable company head offices.

        Breaking down the walls is almost a meaningless concept. If you want the walls to go away, offer an alternative so great and so wonderful, that the walls are meaningless - and those on the other side will clamber over to join you. Prove them wrong - don't just tell them they are doing it wrong and offer them nothing of substance.

        Also, and this is very important - I am not telling anyone to do anything they don't want to do. I am encouraging them to actually do it. I am not asking them to change their goals, I am hoping they focus on them. All that energy, put towards a future where copyright, patents, and so on are meaningless is a noble goal. But the solution doesn't start by slagging off the existing players and asking them to jump blindly into your imaginary paradise. Creating that paradise and inviting them in is likely way more functional.

        The future, well... 20 years of techdirt, and we still have copyright (and more of it) and patents (and more of them) and trademarks (and even sillier ones). Isn't it time to act rather than talk?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2016 @ 11:22am

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          Breaking down the walls is almost a meaningless concept. If you want the walls to go away, offer an alternative so great and so wonderful, that the walls are meaningless - and those on the other side will clamber over to join you. Prove them wrong - don't just tell them they are doing it wrong and offer them nothing of substance.

          To continue your tired analogy...

          What does one do when the people in control of the walls fight very hard to extend them in front of any alternative? What if as soon as someone does find a new way, the wall-keepers declare it evil and demand the government help them erect new walls? What if creating an alternative that clearly and plainly avoids all the walls is deemed by folks like you as "exploiting loopholes" in the walls?

          You have a very simplistic view of things, if you think the law and the economy can be sliced up into these neat compartments and innovators can simply not worry about the folks who fight tooth and nail to block innovation. But, I don't think you actually believe that anyway - it's just one of your transparent rhetorical tactics.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2016 @ 4:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            It's even funnier when you consider that this is exactly what Whatever has been doing. Whatever is a proponent of the school of thought where if you go out of your way to present the impression of being legal, you obviously must have been doing something illegal.

            Of course, he doesn't care - because he's put himself in the position of the baiter leading the schmucks. "Go on! Walk ahead! I promise the road in front of you isn't a trap!" he shrieks, poking the schmuck forward with a pointed blade. "Why won't you walk? Are you a loser? Why won't you walk?!" Naturally when the schmuck does walk into the trap he'll dance about like a giddy schoolgirl calling the schmuck a loser.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 9:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            " if you think the law and the economy can be sliced up into these neat compartments"

            Not at all. My points generally are rather than trying to make (inseet copyright, patent, trademark, cable, whatever) company here do it your way, put all your efforts into doing it a new way and in a meaningful way.

            If you end up fighting them at that point, then more power to you. If they throw up a roadblock, attack the road block. Don't tell them how to do business or that they must absolutely change to your way - find a way to work around them.

            "What if creating an alternative that clearly and plainly avoids all the walls is deemed by folks like you as "exploiting loopholes" in the walls?"

            There is a huge difference between exploiting loopholes and actually coming up with something new. Aereo is a perfect example, their entire premise was to try to exploit a loophole to build a business and avoid paying rights holders for they content they were re-broadcasting. They would have done remarkably better to up their price a big, get rid of the silly "legal requirement" antenna farm, and get pay the proper fees for the channels they wanted to offer. Even at $10 or $20 a month, I guarantee they would have had plenty of uptake. Instead, they tried to sneak under the law and got squashed. That's not innovation, that's stupidity.

            Yes, sometimes it works. Uber has managed to avoid being completely shut down in most places, but now faces a long series of legal battles on everything from their fare base to "contract workers" and labor laws. They are busting down the walls, but in doing so, they are very likely to have one or more of those walls fall on them. Some things are not as simple as others.

            I would love to see the Techdirt staff working on new things and fighting to get them to happen. But instead they are leaning towards things like the Copia Institute Think Tank, which is basically politics and trying to force others to do things your way. It's not the act of doing, it's the act of talking - and that rarely gets things done. That isn't an accomplishment, it's more of waving the white flag and surrendering to politics as usual. It may or may not pay out in the very long run, but mouth piece new release organizations, even with links to existing senators or house reps generally don't accomplish much except generating news clips and sound bites.

            The future isn't made of sound bites.

            (see, again, I am talking about concrete things. You are talking about me. Do you understand the difference?)

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            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 10:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              I would love to see the Techdirt staff working on new things and fighting to get them to happen. But instead they are leaning towards things like the Copia Institute Think Tank, which is basically politics and trying to force others to do things your way. It's not the act of doing, it's the act of talking - and that rarely gets things done. That isn't an accomplishment, it's more of waving the white flag and surrendering to politics as usual. It may or may not pay out in the very long run, but mouth piece new release organizations, even with links to existing senators or house reps generally don't accomplish much except generating news clips and sound bites.

              Of course, this is exactly what Copia is NOT doing. Whatever, as per usual, is 100% wrong. The entire focus of Copia is working with tech companies to do something new *outside* of politics. We've got a few different working groups already moving forward working on new projects where it's the innovators doing something new.

              Of course, we've even said all that about Copia multiple times, but in typical Whatever fashion, he'll misrepresent and lie and troll. And eventually he'll go away and come back again under another name. Right?

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              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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                Whatever (profile), 3 Jan 2016 @ 9:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                "Of course, this is exactly what Copia is NOT doing."

                Yet, a Think Tank by definition is about ideas, and not about execution. The site itself isn't very helpful (blog is 3 months out of date, including the "monthly" feature thing), and most of it seems to be about trying to tell others what to do. Ideas are great, execution however is everything. 100+ posts a month here, and yet your new babe doesn't get an update for 3 months? You must really be working hard on that one!

                So far this is looking like Step2, case studies, and the like. Lots about words and telling other people what to do, and very little actual action. I know you hate it when I point it out, but there you go.

                As for calling me a liar, well, that's the easy defense of someone who doesn't like to hear all the truth.

                "eventually he'll go away and come back again under another name. Right?"

                Actually, I have switched names a couple of times (much like members of your staff, oh, oops, sorry to point that out), in part to see the reactions when people here aren't focusing on WHO but on substance. it's remarkable to see their change in attitude when you (or one of your staff) let on who is posting under a given name. Suddenly, they stop paying attention to the ideas and the bandwagon of trolls (which you oddly tolerate) goes on the rampage.

                Hope you enjoy 2016. I hope you enjoy trying to explain why a think tank isn't a think tank, and why it's not just a fancy way to be able to put your opinion out there under different pretense. it seems to be about as hot a property as Step2, because there ain't much going on, is there?

                Oh, and I know the answer... you will call me a liar and say "you don't know what is going on behind the scenes". I have read that excuse before... usually just before something quietly gets taken out behind the shed and put out of it's misery.

                Have a happy 2016 - here's to hoping you can execute as well as you talk, dip, and dance.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 3:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  "I have a few alts where I don't troll people and generally behave like a decent person instead of an asshole. Therefore I've proved everything you say wrong."

                  Seriously? That's your argument? People don't treat you in kind if you don't act like an asshole and gain a reputation for it - that's supposed to be rocket science?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                Whatever fears democracy. He knows that more and more people are increasingly sick and tired of the small hand full of corporations that have subverted the democratic for so long and he fears that the increasing resentment people have towards corporate bought laws (such as IP laws, broadcasting monopolies, cablco monopolies, and taxicab monopolies) may result in actual policy changes. It terrifies him and so his solution is to tell everyone he disagrees with to shut up. Typical IP extremist tyrant mentality.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 6:53am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  he fears that the increasing resentment people have towards corporate bought laws (such as IP laws, broadcasting monopolies, cablco monopolies, and taxicab monopolies) may result in actual policy changes.

                  I think that's very generous of you. Truth is, I doubt Whatever has any horse in this race, or any real interest in the topic - this is nothing but a rhetorical game for him.

                  He's never expressed anything that actually suggests he works in a creative field, or for a media company, or anything else that would give him reason to fear policy changes. What he has expressed - explicitly, multiple times, and even in this very thread - is the joy he derives from attacking Techdirt and wasting his days arguing in the comments. It's not about the ideas or reality, it's about the argumentative exercise. He's not a general, or even a soldier - he's a boxer. And a poor one. Like Homer Simpson, his only strength in the ring is his thick skull.

                  See, some people never, ever get the chance to be the smartest person in the room - but they crave that feeling. What are they to do? Simple: find a room where there's a lot of discussion between likeminded people who approach their topics with the same basic set of values and postulates, then reject those values and postulates while refusing to directly address them, instead arguing all the higher-level topics with an air of bewilderment that everyone is so "stupid" to not see things the way thy do. It adds nothing to the conversation, ensures everyone in the room hates them, precludes anything approaching a constructive debate, and makes them look like an ass to most observers — but it gives them that feeling of being the smartest person in the room, which is all they ever wanted.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 7:16am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                    "See, some people never, ever get the chance to be the smartest person in the room - but they crave that feeling. What are they to do? Simple: find a room where there's a lot of discussion between likeminded people who approach their topics with the same basic set of values and postulates, then reject those values and postulates while refusing to directly address them, instead arguing all the higher-level topics with an air of bewilderment that everyone is so "stupid" to not see things the way thy do."

                    Michael Slonecker's technique in a nutshell. Haven't seen that troll since he last got caught pining for out_of_the_blue.

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                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 9:30am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                    "He's never expressed anything that actually suggests he works in a creative field"

                    Do you honestly think I would do that here? I have seen what a "drudge-ing" can do to a site, why would I want to open up my life here? It's not about me, is it? It's about Techdirt and the opinions expressed by Mike and his minions. When you start making it about me, you have already lost the plot.

                    The rest is just stinky trolling. Again, I would hope the Techdirt community would join in pushing the "report" button to get rid of your nicely phrased personal attacks.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 10:12am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                      It's clear that you are accomplishing nothing here, and you yourself contend that Techdirt is accomplishing nothing -- so it does become about you and your motivations for sticking around. You've offered no indication, intentional or otherwise, that those motivations come from anything other than personal flaws unrelated to the topics at hand. The one tiny impact you seem to have here is that, with great and relentless tenacity, you are occasionally able to irritate other commenters and maybe even the writers. And you've said several times, in roundabout ways, that you take great glee in this and indeed it's the primary reason you're here - your "downtime hobby". Now, me, I'd say that's reflective of a frustrated, impotent person with an unpleasant attitude -- though it does perfectly explain your intentionally circular rhetoric. It's not that nobody pays attention to your arguments, it's just that they've never changed or evolved and by this point every techdirt regular has offered and seen convincing counterarguments a dozen times or more. So to our minds, that conversation is long over. The only remaining open question is why you continue bother - so that's the question I discuss instead of responding to your broken record opinions.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 4:01am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                      So if you have no skin in the game then exactly what is the problem? Why invest so much time and energy in a community you absolutely detest, outside of a sick fascination on borderline mental obsession?

                      Did you really think you could act like a turd and asshole and then not expect to be called out on it?

                      When has any other community lived according to the rules of, "Hey, I'm a newcomer who knows absolutely fuck all, but I'm going to talk shit about you, and you're not allowed to criticize me, ever!" and let anyone get away with it? Why do you think you're so special and you deserve to be treated like that?

                      The other guy is right. God, you are pathetic.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 12:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              Not at all. My points generally are rather than trying to make (inseet copyright, patent, trademark, cable, whatever) company here do it your way, put all your efforts into doing it a new way and in a meaningful way.

              In summary, your advice is roll over for the large corporations, because via trademark, copyright, patent, trade secrets and local monopolies, and the expansion they desire of those laws they are turning everybody else into serfs by controlling all of human knowledge and access to it.

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              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                "your advice is roll over for the large corporations"

                No, not at all. My advise is to walk away from them (heck, run as fast as you can) and do your own thing. If they are "owning" your culture then create culture without them in it. Work towards something that doesn't involve them at all, so you don't have to roll over or do anything else like that - just do your own thing.

                Your false restatement of what I said suggests "bend over and take it like a prisoner". I am telling you to get out of jail and run as far as you can. Make your own world where you don't worry about dropping the cultural soap.

                Don't roll over - but don't waste your time hitting your head against the wall either.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 8:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  I am telling you to get out of jail and run as far as you can.

                  "Fine print: I will monitor each and every one of your attempts to get out of said jail and publicly call attention to every attempt I find a reason not to like, which is essentially everything that might make a dent in said corporations, because loopholes. I will then relentlessly mock your attempt to get out of jail and your reactions in the negative."

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 3:10am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  "If you don't like the rules set by the large corporations, my advice to you is that you can always leave and do your own thing."
                  "Okay, we're Google and we've decided not to operate Google News in Spain."
                  "No! Bad Google, bad!"

                  Seriously, it's right there in your post history. And you're still trying to convince people you're not completely full of shit?

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                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 9:22am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                    Sorry, not in MY post history. Techdirt has a small flaw that allows people to post under a user's name without logging in, and thus people have posted stuff under my name. You have to look very closely to see that they are not me logged in. Hey, Techdirt, how about fixing this pretty sizable flaw?

                    So no, you can't bait me into anything, sorry.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 6:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  So, still disingenuously pretending everything can be neatly compartmentalized... Do you have the ability to make intellectually honest and even slightly consistent arguments, but choose not to - or are you so far down the rabbit hole that your brain has lost that mechanism?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              It's ironic how Whatever pretends it's everyone else that's telling IP extremists what to do when it's really IP extremists that's telling everyone else what to do.

              IP extremists are basically dictators and a patent is basically a way for a dictator to say "you shall not do x without paying me a fee first". IP laws are laws that tell people what to do and abolishing those laws would exactly be not telling people what to do. No one is telling company X to do things such and such way we are simply saying that company X should not be telling everyone else what they can and can't do. Yet a very small group of corporations/individuals decide to subvert the democratic processes by buying politicians and engaging in secretive meetings with them in order to get the laws that they want passed which is essentially telling everyone else what to do.

              "My points generally are rather than trying to make (inseet copyright, patent, trademark, cable, whatever) company here do it your way,

              It's called democracy. What you are asking us to do is to not participate in the democratic process because you are not interested in democracy. But it's OK for them to subvert the democratic process and to tell everyone else what to do by buying politicians through campaign contributions, revolving door favors, and secretive meetings and backdoor dealings. That's perfectly OK. But as soon as someone else tries to participate in democracy by discussing the issue in a way you don't like all of a sudden you have a problem with it. Only those that agree with you can attempt to effect change. Those you disagree with should stay quiet. Shows what kinda person you are and how much you care for democracy. Really, why should anyone take you seriously? Do you even take yourself seriously?

              "put all your efforts into doing it a new way and in a meaningful way."

              "their entire premise was to try to exploit a loophole"

              Isn't the definition of a 'loophole' finding a new way?

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              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 3 Jan 2016 @ 7:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                "Isn't the definition of a 'loophole' finding a new way?"

                No, for me a loophole is a sneaky way to do something that otherwise isn't legal, permitted, and reasonable. Aereo was the perfect example, attempting to twist a number of court rulings into a legal knot, trying to touch all the bases while knowing full well that what they were doing would likely get shut down at some point. They technically touched the bases, but violated the spirit and intent of the laws. They were hoping to use a small hole between the laws and the rulings to make something otherwise clearly not legal into something legal. It didn't work.

                Aereo could have been a success if they had played more by the rules. The concept is quite possibly one of the better ones in the last while. But their failure to play by the rules means they and consigned to the scrap heap of loophole tech companies.

                "It's called democracy. What you are asking us to do is to not participate in the democratic process because you are not interested in democracy."

                There is no democracy in telling private companies what to do. Calling Cox cable liars or cheats or whatever doesn't really advance things, does it? If you want to change things, VOTE THE BUMS OUT. The true issue of American politics isn't the corruption, it's that voters keep re-electing nearly the same group of corrupt idiots each cycle, and then complain about it. It's laughable.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 2:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  "There is no democracy in telling private companies what to do."

                  If you truly believe that you would be opposed to IP laws and other anti-competitive laws because they are essentially a way to tell private businesses and individuals what to do. The absence of said laws isn't telling anyone what to do, laws are a way of telling others what to do and not their absence.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 6:43am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  . Calling Cox cable liars or cheats or whatever doesn't really advance things, does it? If you want to change things, VOTE THE BUMS OUT

                  Ah, yes, we'll vote those fuckers at Cox Cable out! Why didn't we think of it before?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 7:55am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                    I think the more relevant question is who voted them in to begin with? Some democracy.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 8:08am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  "No, for me a loophole is a sneaky way to do something that otherwise isn't legal, permitted, and reasonable."

                  Ahh, so you mean like how the RIAA/MPAA and industry interests unreasonably conspire with regulators to arrange secretive meetings that the public is not invited to and how they sneakily use backdoor dealings, revolving door favors, and campaign contributions to subvert the democratic process. How the media that wrongfully benefits from such government granted monopoly privileges sneakily keeps these issues out of the public eye or tries to cover them only from one perspective. You mean like how the government unreasonably extends copy protection lengths, retroactively, due to the lobbying efforts of industry interests (such as Disney). You must be referring to the current unreasonable state of copy protection laws and other anti-competitive laws such as government established broadcasting, cableco, and taxi-cab monopoly laws. Got you.

                  You claim Aereo "violated the spirit and intent of the laws" and that they tried to "avoid paying rights holders for they content they were re-broadcasting".

                  If the spirit and intent of the law is to ensure that privilege holders get paid that is an unreasonable intent and spirit. The intent should only be to serve a public interest (ie: promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts). Nothing more. Privilege holders are not entitled to monopoly privileges. They aren't entitled to anything the government provides. Anything the government provides them is a privilege and IP laws require government to exist and are therefore a privilege. They should only be intended to serve the public interest. To make them about anything else is both undemocratic, unreasonable, and a result of corruption.

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                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 9:27am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                    "Ahh, so you mean like how the RIAA/MPAA and industry interests unreasonably conspire with regulators to arrange secretive meetings that the public is not invited to and how they sneakily use backdoor dealings"

                    Actually, YES. However, there is a catch here, I don't think the public should be invited into everything all the time. The elected officials are there to represent the public. If they are failing to do that, they should be replaced.

                    "If the spirit and intent of the law is to ensure that privilege holders get paid that is an unreasonable intent and spirit. "

                    No, there are no "privilege holders", sorry to say. Anyone (and I do mean anyone) can get a license to put a TV or radio station on the air (providing there is space on the band in your area) and you can do almost anything you want with it, within the confines of the law. One of the things that comes with this is that people who choose to rebroadcast your signal are required to pay an amount for the use of the copyright material. There is no monopoly privilege. The only monopoly is that single wall in the middle of an empty parking lot that you keep banging against.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 2:47pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                      "I don't think the public should be invited into everything all the time."

                      When it comes to issues of public policy they absolutely should be. That you think society should revolve around your arbitrary thoughts, and not what the public thinks, demonstrates your hatred for democracy. Including the public in these discussions ensures that society revolves around what the public thinks and not what you personally, as a self serving tyrant, thinks.

                      "The elected officials are there to represent the public. If they are failing to do that, they should be replaced."

                      By not inviting us to issues of public policy they have failed to represent the public. The public needs to be informed in order to make an informed decision about what they want and to inform politicians about what they want. Democracy is not about vote and pray it's about participating in the processes and it's about government allowing their citizens to participate. We need to know what our politicians are doing in order to be able to decide if they should be voted out.

                      "Anyone (and I do mean anyone) can get a license to put a TV or radio station on the air"

                      But the license excludes everyone without a license from using said spectra (at least not without permission). It is a special government granted privilege to those who get a license and only a limited number of licenses can be issued. Without such a requirement different people in different locations can use said spectra to their own benefit without worrying about licensing and having to outbid those with the most money.

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                      • icon
                        Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 6:08pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                        "When it comes to issues of public policy they absolutely should be. "

                        Read the rest of my comment. The elected officials are the public's representation at these things. The public is included in the discussion via these channels. Would you open up every meeting and every policy debate to each individual citizen who chose to appear? It's why we have elected representatives, so that we can actually get things done without having to ask each citizen individually on every item.

                        "By not inviting us to issues of public policy they have failed to represent the public."

                        The problem here is that almost everything is public policy. How would you manage this? Public forums for every proposed law? Congress is already slower than snail snot in winter, do you want to make it millions of times worse?

                        "It is a special government granted privilege to those who get a license and only a limited number of licenses can be issued"

                        Yes, but there is no restriction on who can have one. A limited number does not imply privilege to a certain race, creed, color, or social group. The US has over 15,000 full power and more than 1000 low power radio stations. That's a pretty big number, and many places still have plenty of space for new stations.

                        Moreover, in the new media world, you can stream if you like. You could make a deal to be on Sirius XM or whatever. There are many ways to communicate without some form of restriction (beyond equally applied regulations). The point of licensing is to avoid what happened at the dawn of radio and TV, with transmitters being put up, knocking others off the air with higher power signals, spurious interference, splatter, and generally making it a case of "the richest and most powerful win". Now every station in a give market has about an equal chance of success based more on content than ability to outspend others of higher power transmitters or stealing their frequency. Regulation is needed for the public as a whole to get the most benefit from what is a limited resource.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 6:34pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          There you go again.

                          When people complain about the general state of things, you tell them not to complain and run away from the system.

                          When people dislike how corporate contributions create lopsided balances in law, you tell them to vote better next time.

                          When people dislike new laws brought in at the request of corporations behind boardroom doors, you tell them well, obviously the people must have wanted them, why would they have voted the individuals currently in power otherwise?

                          And when people dislike laws like SOPA chucklenuts like you start whining about how Google magically influenced people.

                          Every single "proposal", "solution" or "suggestion" you make is poisoned with fine print and "Gotcha!" moments on the other side. And you actually think people don't notice.

                          Give me a fucking break.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 7:10pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                            I guess we're supposed to apply his earlier rule to politicians as well: don't tell people what to do, just find your own way that doesn't involve them. So if your representative takes a position you disagree with, don't send them a letter - secede from the country!

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                          • icon
                            Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 10:40pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                            I have cone to the conclusion you are trolling.

                            "When people complain about the general state of things, you tell them not to complain and run away from the system."

                            Not at all what I said. I said rather than waste your time telling others what to do, do things for yourself, in your own way. If you take all the energy wasted banging your head against the wall, perhaps you can accomplish something that makes that "wall" irrelevant.

                            "When people dislike how corporate contributions create lopsided balances in law, you tell them to vote better next time."

                            Ahh, so we should tell them to vote worse? Vote stupid? Stop trolling, voting is the way the public can make a rela change. It doesn't matter how much money a corporation or an industry puts up, the people still get to vote. Figure out why the people are voting that way and change that, and then all the money in the world won't mean shit.

                            "And when people dislike laws like SOPA chucklenuts like you start whining about how Google magically influenced people."

                            I have never said that. I do think however that Google does have a bully pulpit, and they have certainly been caught stacking their results in their own favor. I am sure "chuckleheads" like you would be complaining if TV and radio suddenly ran pro-SOPA pieces all day and all night too, right? Stop trolling.

                            "Every single "proposal", "solution" or "suggestion" you make is poisoned with fine print and "Gotcha!" moments on the other side. And you actually think people don't notice."

                            No such luck, amigo - there you go trolling again. Every solution comes with the usual "you actually gotta do something to make something happen". Techdirt is lots of talk, not so much action. Converting the energy that generates hundreds of angry and semi=angry posts a week into something positive and creative would perhaps be the biggest gift Mike could give the world. But I do think it's easier to bitch, right?

                            So stop trolling, I'm done with your lies and misrepresentations.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:54am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                              You just love leading people around in a circle and hoping they won't notice, don't you? Since you need it spelled out for you, I'll write out what anyone with half a brain cell has already figured out:

                              Telling people to "do things" is pointless if you're sabotaging every step of the way.

                              Telling people to vote and then blaming them for not getting the results they wanted is stupid if you're simultaneously promoting corporate contributions that bypass the democratic process altogether.

                              Telling people to stop complaining about things they don't like is not going to get them to stop complaining if you don't stop complaining about things you don't like.

                              But hey, keep deluding yourself into thinking only one person is misrepresenting you. Readers as a whole aren't blind, and they can make decisions for themselves. Fuck's sake, you took to whining about Google complying with Spain's requests just like Spain asked, then lied about having posted so, claiming it's some imaginary poster trying to make you look bad. Not easy to do so, everyone capable of coherent thought can see that you're a self-serving douche with little regard for anyone else that doesn't subscribe to your relentless corporate pandering.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 3:58am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                              Ahh, so we should tell them to vote worse? Vote stupid? Stop trolling, voting is the way the public can make a rela change. It doesn't matter how much money a corporation or an industry puts up, the people still get to vote. Figure out why the people are voting that way and change that, and then all the money in the world won't mean shit.

                              Which doesn't matter in the first place if the purpose of corporate funding and monetary clout is put in place precisely to undermine the citizen's vote. And when it does swing favorable towards citizens for a change you're busy complaining about Google, the EFF, Snowden, or whatever convenient scapegoat you want to accuse of piracy or refusal to submit to authority.

                              Seriously, we get it. Your entire purpose here is to kick up a massive fuss about things you can't control while whining that others have the free speech rights to do the same. (Which is why you get such a big kick from whining about PaulT having the same rights, eh?) You're not here to do anything constructive aside from putting up a flimsy facade trying to convince people that you are.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 8:49am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                              You're the one who appears to be all talk. You laid down your philosophy of "do your own thing" and people have provided you with a whole bunch of examples of why that's nonsense - but you reject those examples (without offering any actual reason) and just say "that's not what I meant" (the cry of someone who is realizing they put their foot in their mouth).

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 7:07pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          So you're one of those people who think voting once every two years is the beginning and end of democracy, and the maximum degree to which citizens should be politically engaged?

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 7:13pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          Congress is already slower than snail snot in winter, do you want to make it millions of times worse?

                          Of all the millions of people who have commented on the inefficiency of congress, you're the first I've heard whose proposed solution is "so just stop paying attention and let them take care of things unsupervised!"

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 9:06am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          "Would you open up every meeting and every policy debate to each individual citizen who chose to appear?"

                          An honest government generally would. Why should you get to arbitrarily choose what gets open and what doesn't? Who gave you that authority? Opening up to the public lets the public choose.

                          "Public forums for every proposed law?"

                          Yes, public hearings. That's how government is supposed to work. Bills should be presented to the public early on so the public can be informed and can participate. Again, you show your hatred for democracy.

                          "Congress is already slower than snail snot in winter, do you want to make it millions of times worse?"

                          Many laws and treaties were passed with public transparency present. The problem here is that you want certain laws to be quickly passed that you know the public generally disapproves of and so you don't want the public to have the opportunity to participate. If these laws are really representative of what the public wants they should have no problems passing with public participation as many laws and treaties have passed with public participation. Why do you get to personally decide which laws should be subject to public participation? Again, your contempt for democracy shows.

                          and why should congress move as fast as you think it should? So what if Congress is slow. Why do we need to be in such a desperate hurry to always get new laws passed? The purpose of government shouldn't be to get as many laws passed as soon as possible just because ... what, does Congress now need a quota of how many laws they must get passed in a given period of time? Are more laws always good? No, congress should not work under the assumption that more laws = better and so more laws sooner = better. It's not congress's job to pass more laws just because. Laws should be carefully considered and the public should have ample time to consider them before they get passed.

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 9:11am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                            (that is a minimum quota)

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:34pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                            (to continue)

                            Whatever's problem is that he thinks Congress is too slow to pass the laws that he wants. He wants to just decide that something should be law, all on his own, and have that law taken into effect immediately. Anything else is too slow for him. The public doesn't like the laws he wants? Irrelevant, only his opinion counts.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:08pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          "The problem here is that almost everything is public policy."

                          and almost everything should be debated publicly.

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:29pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                            (to continue)

                            What gives you (Whatever) the authority to decide otherwise. Self serving tyrant is what you are.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:25pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                          "The point of licensing is to avoid what happened at the dawn of radio and TV, with transmitters being put up, knocking others off the air with higher power signals, spurious interference, splatter, and generally making it a case of "the richest and most powerful win"."

                          No, allegations that this is what happened is something made up by you and the government/corporate complex that benefits from said monopolies. The current system ensures the richest win because they are the ones that can better afford exclusive control. and those that can afford such control are naturally going to hold a biased view compared to the general population just because they are naturally a part of a group of people that aren't representative of the general population proportionally to how the population is distributed.

                          Previously anyone can broadcast and utilize spectra that's not being used in a specific area. Now no one can broadcast in various spectra bands even if no one else in the area is using that spectra to listen to licensed stations or even if licensed stations don't reach a specific area. This is a very inefficient use of spectra. Without the current limitations people will naturally use the spectra optimally on a situational bases from area to area. Interference being a problem will cause some people to use different stations and if there is too much interference some people will naturally use it less naturally leaving in place those that value it more to use it. It won't be the case that no one is using it due to interference because that wouldn't make sense, if no one is using it and benefiting from it there won't be interference and if there is too much interference no one would use it because no one would benefit from it and so there won't be any interference. The tragedy of the commons scenario is a construct fabricated entirely from the imaginations of those that want government monopolies at public expense.

                          "Moreover, in the new media world, you can stream if you like. You could make a deal to be on Sirius XM or whatever. There are many ways to communicate without some form of restriction (beyond equally applied regulations)."

                          That's no different than me saying that it's perfectly OK for me to steal ten dollars from you because there is more where that came from. Theft is theft. For the government to grant monopoly privileges on cableco infrastructure and broadcasting spectra for the benefit of private interests is publicly detrimental theft no matter how you put it. It's purely a result of self serving corruption and it gives those with said monopolies an unfair free speech advantage. It's the government's way of giving a small group of wealthy people an unfair free speech advantage favoring the speech of those that can afford to buy spectra over anyone else. It's an unconstitutional government abrogation of free speech because it's the government favoring the speech of some over others.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 2:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

                  "No, for me"

                  We should not arbitrarily confine ourselves to your personal definitions or desires.

                  "a loophole is a sneaky way to do something that otherwise isn't legal, permitted"

                  The law should not assume everything that's not explicitly permitted is forbidden. It should assume that everything that's not explicitly forbidden is generally permitted.

                  "avoid paying rights holders"

                  The focus of the law should not default to ensuring that privilege holders are paid in the event of a 'loophole'. The law should not be about the interests of privilege holders. It should only be about the public interest. A law written in the interests of privilege holders with a loophole should not be criticized for having such a loophole it should be criticized for being intended to serve the interests of privilege holders. For you to claim that a law has a loophole that didn't serve the interests of privilege holders to me is an admission that said law is a intended to be a bad law and probably shouldn't exist because its very intent, to serve the interests of privilege holders and not the public holder, is perverted.

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

        • icon
          CK20XX (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 3:17pm

          Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

          I'm confused. You seem to think that TechDirt is an echo chamber that doesn't influence anyone or anything. Honestly, no one here is as obsessive about this site as I've seen you be.

          As for Karl, he's a reporter. He's been doing nothing but his job all this time, and his job is to inform others so they can take the best actions.

          Encouraging people IS sound advice though. I hope you actually do it some day!

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

          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 9:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

            Techdirt is a pretty big echo chamber, built on certain premises and on from there. It's an anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-establishment collection of horror stories and scare mongering that, like what passes on conservative talk radio, plays very well to it's audience but is laughed at loudly by everyone else.

            "As for Karl, he's a reporter"

            No he's not. He's an anti-cable crusader with an agenda, a keyboard, and a huge pulpit from which to preach. You only have to look at his site (dslreports) to understand that he has a monotone, one sided view of cable, ISPs, and the like. Not that he is actually doing anything about it, he's just talking about it. Perfect fit for Techdirt I guess.

            "Encouraging people IS sound advice though. I hope you actually do it some day!"

            I encourage all the time, I often encourage people to consider another possible outcome, possible view, or possible conclusion based on things provided. We all see the world through our tinted lenses (rose and otherwise), and put our own spin on things. I think techdirt's spin is often negative and accusatory when reality seems to show no true malicious intent. Karl's big story a couple of weeks back about a problem with a Cox subscriber was classic in this field, something as simple as a typo was turned into a sort of federal case. Clearly if they can make a typo, they MUST be scamming you, and the bandwidth metering must be 100% false and incorrect in all cases.

            That's not reporting - that piling a huge pile of personal opinion and other manure into a bad, wrapping it with a small piece of truth, and trying to turn the whole thing into the truth. Sadly for Karl, it's still manure on the insane. But that's okay, perhaps he can learn something from the experience and move forward in 2016 with a wee bit less attitude and a wee bit more factual information.

            So yeah, let's encourage the Techdirt staff to stop worry so much about what everyone else is doing, and put some positive stuff out there, taking some concrete action towards doing something - and not opening another site to talk about doing something... actually doing it! Power in 2016, they could have it!

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2016 @ 4:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              "He's an anti-cable crusader with an agenda, a keyboard, and a huge pulpit from which to preach."

              There you go again, worrying about what someone else is doing.

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

            • icon
              CK20XX (profile), 5 Jan 2016 @ 1:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year

              It's an anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-establishment collection of horror stories and scare mongering that, like what passes on conservative talk radio, plays very well to it's audience but is laughed at loudly by everyone else.

              There's a lot I could respond to here, but... I think that's enough to tell me that you cannot be reasoned with. Your attitude betrays you, as does your history.

              I'm sorry. It's always a shame to see a person go to waste, even if that person has given you nothing but headaches. And that's the kind of attitude you would have yourself if you were legit.

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 1 Jan 2016 @ 9:41pm

      Re: Happy New Year

      Apart from your usual and quite obvious "pot meet kettle", your continued attempts at tone trolling are really sad.

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

  • icon
    Glenn D. Jones (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:04pm

    Another positive development -- Biden not running in 2016

    Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone at Techdirt!

    Secondly, as a Canadian, I want to express my complete sympathy to our American neighbours. I can scarcely believe the motley crew of appalling "candidates" that you guys are being presented with, in this 2016 election.

    However, even as you despair, remember: it could have been worse. It could have been Biden.

    For much of the lead-up to his announcement, I was utterly convinced that the media cabal was going to entice him into the election. At one point, I read about him actually going to Silicon Valley (for once) to raise campaign donations...from Microsoft and Oracle (!!!). Truly, my worst nightmares were coming true.

    And then, to my astonished delight, he announced that he would not be running. It really was a wonderful surprise.

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

  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:39pm

    Happy new year to all at Techdirt. Keep up the good work. :)

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

  • identicon
    W, 31 Dec 2015 @ 4:56pm

    Happy new year, TechDirt!

    While I may complain a fair amount about tech, I truly do appreciate TechDirt as an outlet. This is one of the *very* few tech news news outlets that I trust anymore. And I truly do treasure the ability to trust in the writers of TechDirt!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2015 @ 8:29pm

    I too have wondered how Mike manages to stay upbeat and optimistic despite all the annoying news in the world. It's a trait I admire in him.

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

  • icon
    Gwiz (profile), 1 Jan 2016 @ 6:23am

    Happy New Year to the entire Techdirt community!

    I'm looking forward to another year of stimulating discussions on intreasting topics and I am wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2016.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 8:07am

    HNY

    Thanks for all the work you've done bringing us these stories.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2016 @ 3:03pm

    >ctrl +f tpp
    >phrase not found

    I don't mean to burst your bubble, but are you not at all concerned that the TPP will probably pass this year?

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

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 1 Jan 2016 @ 4:28pm

    THANK YOU, Mike!

    Thanks for running Techdirt - my favorite blog, or whatever it is - and for helping to make the world a better place.

    You are right - despite all the bad news, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket and things really are getting better. All the time.

    I'll turn 55 in 2016. I've been watching this stuff for 35+ years. (I joined EFF in 1990 during the Clipper chip fight; remember that?)

    And I can tell you people are learning, the culture is getting better (not worse!), and we are winning.

    Slowly, in fits and starts, with many setbacks along the way. But we're winning. And I think will continue to win, if we continue to fight.

    Jefferson said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Techdirt is part of that vigilance. If we (with your help) keep paying attention, and keep fighting, we will keep and expand our liberty. Despite the very real forces opposing us.

    Thank you, Mike, for all your work.

    Happy New Year!!

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

  • identicon
    psiuuuu, 2 Jan 2016 @ 9:01am

    No, thank you!

    Happy New Year, Techdirt crew.

    Now go out, have a nice relaxing cup of tea, and maybe do some gardening.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Jan 2016 @ 9:59am

      Re: No, thank you!

      Now go out, have a nice relaxing cup of tea, and maybe do some gardening.


      Believe it or not, you did, in fact, describe pretty accurately the past few days for me.

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

  • icon
    127.0.0.1 (profile), 3 Jan 2016 @ 12:57pm

    New Year's Message

    A Happy and prosperous to all.

    and ...

    Hail to Mike, (Teh) Chief Eternal Optimist.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2016 @ 4:47pm

    horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 Jan 2016 @ 2:18am

    May we have a much, much better 2016. While I do see what you pointed in the article 2015 was a bad year overall. But much like good things don't last forever, I do hope this year will be better.

    Keep strong TD.

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

  • identicon
    Kata Kata Tahun Baru, 23 Dec 2016 @ 2:22am

    Success In New Years

    Success In New Years guys and i will support your site

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


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