State Dept. Enlists Hollywood And Its Friends To Start A Fake Twitter Fight Over Intellectual Property

from the um,-guys? dept

For all the talk of "fake news" going around these days, you'd think that the federal government would avoid creating more of its own on purpose. And you'd think that the MPAA and RIAA would know better than to join in on such a project. However, the following email was sent to some folks at Stanford Law School asking the law school to join in this fake news project promoting intellectual property via a fake Twitter feud:

Good Morning! My name is H------, and I am reaching out to you from the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs. I gave you call a little earlier this morning, but I thought I would follow up with an email as well.

Currently, I am working on a social media project with the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement. This summer, we want to activate an audience of young professionals- the kind of folks who are interested in foreign policy, but who aren’t aware that intellectual property protection touches every part of their lives. I think the law school students at your institution may be the type of community that we would like to engage. Additionally, we know that your law school is ranked among the top schools in Intellectual Property law, and thus our campaign may not only be fun, but relevant for you all as well.

So a little bit of a recap from the message that I left you this morning. The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs wants to start a fake Twitter feud. For this feud, we would like to invite you and other similar academic institutions to participate and throw in your own ideas!

The week after the 4th of July, when everyone gets back from vacation but will still feel patriotic and summery, we want to tweet an audacious statement like, “Bet you couldn’t see the Independence Day fireworks without bifocals; first American diplomat Ben Franklin invented them #bestIPmoment @StateDept” Our public diplomacy office is still settling on a hashtag and a specific moment that will be unique to the State Department, but then we invite you to respond with your own #MostAmericanIP, or #BestIPMoment. Perhaps it will an alumni defending intellectual property in the courts or an article that your institution has produced regarding this topic.

Some characters from the IP community here in DC have agreed to participate with their own tweets: US Patent and Trademark Office, the Copyright Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Copyright Office, and the Recording Industry Association of America. We hope to diversify this crowd with academic institutions, sports affiliations, trade associations, and others!

Please give me a call or email me with any questions, comments, or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,
H--------
Official
UNCLASSIFIED

So, let's break this down. This is literally the State Department, working with the IP Enforcement Coordinator (normally called the "IP Czar") to team up with the MPAA, RIAA and Copyright Alliance (a front group for the RIAA and MPAA), along with the Patent & Trademark Office and the Copyright Office to create a fake Twitter feud over who likes copyright and patents more.

Everything about this is crazy. First, the State Dept. should not be creating fake news or fake Twitter feuds. Second, even if it were to do so, it seems to have picked one side of the debate, arguing that greater copyright and patent enforcement is obviously a good thing (how far we've come from the time when it was the State Department that fought back against SOPA and told the White House not to support it).

Separate from that, why are the MPAA, the RIAA and the Copyright Alliance agreeing to team up with the US government to create fake stories? That seems... really, really wrong. I get that they are obsessed with always pushing a misleading and one-sided message on copyright law, but creating out and out propaganda with the US government?

Also, even if the geniuses at IPEC -- an office that was set up in 2008 under another anti-piracy copyright law -- falsely believe it's their job to push Hollywood's message out to the world, how could they possibly have thought it was a bright idea to engage in outright propaganda using Twitter... and to try to enlist law school professors and students in these shenanigans?

I've put out a request for comment from the State Department's Bureau of Economic Affairs, and will update this post if I hear back.


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  • identicon
    kallethen, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:52am

    Wow, they picked a poor example with Ben Franklin

    Okay, is anybody else laughing at how they picked Ben Franklin as an example? Who, as I recall, did not seek to patent his inventions because he believed all should benefit by them?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:33am

      Re: Wow, they picked a poor example with Ben Franklin

      Also kind of funny about the "betting". They'd lose that bet: the majority of people don't use bifocals. Actually, for fireworks, the only people who might need bifocals would be those setting them off, to read any small safety warnings. If the spectators are so close as to require bifocals, rather than regular distance lenses, they'll soon be blind.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:33am

      Re: Wow, they picked a poor example with Ben Franklin

      rule #1

      Don't let facts interfere with your agenda!

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:30pm

      Re: Wow, they picked a poor example with Ben Franklin

      Noticed that straight away, yeah. Uh, Go American IP?

      Also, they clearly have no idea how bifocals, or corrective lenses in general, are used.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:54am

    This is a ticking timebomb just waiting to blow up in their faces.

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

  • identicon
    Tim, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:57am

    Really?

    This email like a hoax to me.

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

  • identicon
    codytoshiro, 5 Jul 2017 @ 10:59am

    Could this be just poor wording?

    It almost sounds like they don't really want a "feud," but just people talking about which invention is best. I wonder if they just thought it would sound cooler if they called it a "twitter feud."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:28am

      Re: Could this be just poor wording?

      Sounds like they wanted to replicate the phenomenon of twitter feuds that turn into media sensations, but fail to realize what makes those interesting. Sure, every one on the internet will tune in to read about some old tennis player mouthing off, but no one will care about a company and a government organization getting in a circle jerk of "who can agree with copyright maximalism the most?".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:15pm

      Re: Could this be just poor wording?

      This was my take, too. Conversation? Debate? Whatever it is, they're just looking to get a hashtag trending. And the advance warning means it'd be pretty easy to subvert the hashtag by, say, adding the creation of fair use, creative commons licensing, or the post-Statute of Anne recognition of the public domain to the best IP moments.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:32pm

      Re: Could this be just poor wording?

      The entire thing is 100% poor wording and bad ideas and not the bailiwick of State whatsoever. So, sure.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re: Could this be just poor wording?

        Unfortunately with the current Administration, I call it 'today'. Somehow even with the bar set as low as it can go, some people go out of their way to prove that the bar exists for a reason. I used to call them idiots and interns. Now I call them 'Sir', 'Madam Secretary' and 'Mr. President'. The last one especially rankles.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 6 Jul 2017 @ 5:19am

      Re: Could this be just poor wording?

      @ codytoshiro, this was about IP, not inventions. Those are different things, per the first comment.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:07am

    "Separate from that, why are the MPAA, the RIAA and the Copyright Alliance agreeing to team up with the US government to create fake stories?"

    Do we really need to ask given their recent history?

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

  • icon
    takitus (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:12am

    Source?

    A source link would be helpful. As it stands, this letter is _almost_ to absurd to be believed.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:25am

      Re: Source?

      A source link would be helpful. As it stands, this letter is almost to absurd to be believed.

      The letter was shared with me by a Stanford Law professor. There's no link to share.

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

      • icon
        TechDescartes (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re: Source?

        And you expect us to believe you? Srsly? What have you done with the real Mike Masnick?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: Source?

        It's FOIA-able if anyone really wants to see the long-form.

        Minor correction, however: the State Department's Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement (mentioned in the email) is not the same as the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in OMB.

        Two different offices.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 6 Jul 2017 @ 1:22pm

      Re: Source?

      Ars Technica has published an article on the subject. It cites Mark Lemley, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology, as well as an anonymous State Department official.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:15am

    "So, let's break this down." -- Actually, is SO explicit that I bet is FAKE! ... Been turned into a Masnickism, attempt to gin up a clickstorm out of alleged attempt to gin up a fake feud.

    You don't support it with even ONE link? HMM. Where DID you get this? -- Bottom line states you've yet to confirm it: what IF you don't "hear back"?

    Classic Techdirt: sourceless, contextless, sly hint of how was better when Hillary Clinton ran State, mainly attacks intellectual property and the ??AAs, topped off with 4th word from end is "IF".

    Here's similar except sourced and I'm sure true*:

    Hollywood promotes propaganda about The White Helmets in Syria
    http://www.hangthebankers.com/hollywood-propaganda-white-helmets-syria/

    https://medium.com/insur ge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies -and-tv-shows-36433107c307
    "These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles."
    ---
    * I just know you kids left at that point and are typing "oh, so YOU'RE sure, big deal". That's why I wrote it so.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:16am

      Re: At least SIXTH attempt to get in!

      What's wrong with your comment box?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      Dawww it thinks it has a real point. Isn't it precious.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jul 2017 @ 12:27am

      Re:

      If you want specific subjects to be written about, either write your own blog or submit the links through the provided mechanism above. Stop whining like a toddler because people aren't bowing to you.

      "These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles."

      Was this meant to be some kind of surprise? I knew they were involved with the making of Charlie Wilson's War (the first title mentioned), and I haven't even seen the damn thing. According to IMDB, the CIA advisor Milton Bearden is specifically credited on the film. That's pretty much standard procedure for any film involving the military or other government agencies.

      This is your idea of important stuff that should be covered here? The blindingly obvious from 10 years ago?
      Please, go back to your sandpit, the adults are talking.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:16am

    Talk about Twitter

    but ignore the elephant currently sitting in the room...
    #cnnblackmail What is up with that TD?

    CNN attacks free speech on the 4th of July.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:23am

      Re: Talk about Twitter

      You have no idea what free speech is.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Talk about Twitter

      You're free to start your own blog. You can call it. Neckbeards and fedoras. A users guide to the internet.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2017 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

        When you start your own blog you can name it what you want.

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

      • icon
        Eldakka (profile), 9 Jul 2017 @ 6:33pm

        Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

        There's a couple other options too.

        At the bottom of every page is a "submit a story" link, perhaps they could submit a story themselves?

        Some of the insider shop options are: "Lunch with Mike" and "Day with Techdirt". I'm sure that if someone purchased those options, then they could spruik their story ideas and preferences to Mike or the TD crew directly.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jul 2017 @ 12:33am

      Re: Talk about Twitter

      I find Techdirt tends to deal with truth rather than the whining of some internet troll who ran like a cockroach when their real identities were discovered. CNN just did some basic investigative journalism on someone who poked their head into the sphere of public interest, then agreed not to reveal them so long as they kept a specific private agreement.

      An actual attack on free speech would be publishing that person's name and directing the government to block or imprison them. But, that didn't happen, it was just a childish troll who showed his true colours when he thought his anonymity would no longer protect him from consequences for his actions from the rest of the public.

      That's not an elephant, it's a pathetic little rat.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2017 @ 10:16am

        Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

        To clarify, CNN says there was no agreement. They decided not to reveal his identity but reserved the right to change their mind if the story changes/continues.

        It's really pretty standard, though they worded it a little poorly.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2017 @ 2:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

          Investigating people who trash talk you anonymously, finding out their identity, bragging that you did, and stating you reserve the right to reveal his identity if he continues bothering you probably isn't the sort of thing we should just accept as standard in our media giants.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2017 @ 2:45am

        Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

        The character of the reddit user in question is completely tangential to the issue.

        CNN investigated an anonymous user who happened to get a gif critical of them in the spotlight. They then informed the guy that they had discovered his identity. They then made a public statement that they had discovered his identity and were keeping it to themselves for the reddit user's safety, since he stopped his behavior, but reserved the right to reveal it if his behavior changed.

        That is blackmail. Even if it is only implicit blackmail, it is an entity establishing a pattern of behavior the reddit user must adhere to and a possible consequence the entity will impose on him if he doesn't. There's a degree of gray area between a threat and blackmail, where the threat becomes blackmail as the consequence becomes more severe, or as the behavior the threatened party is restricting is legitimate. So the severity of the consequence is that the reddit user's safety is threatened, which should be sufficiently severe, and the behavior being restricted is his ability to use speech not sanctioned by the threatening entity (CNN).

        So at risk of his safety being threatened, the reddit user is not allowed to use patterns of speech defined by a corporation which would normally be acceptable to use in the context they were posted (politically incendiary gifs on a donald trump subreddit)

        How is that not an attack on free speech?

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2017 @ 3:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

          "The character of the reddit user in question is completely tangential to the issue."

          No, it's not. Had he been a fine, upstanding citizen who happened to make a silly gif then it's wouldn't be newsworthy, apart from the identity of the person who tweeted it.

          Instead, he was found to be an atrocious racist troll whose conduct was so horrendous that it would apparently cause terrible consequences in his life if his behaviour was to be found out. Behaviour that even he recognises is indefensible.

          His character is the entire point.

          "the reddit user is not allowed to use patterns of speech defined by a corporation"

          No, the speech patterns were defined by polite society, and to be honest basic humanity - something which the posts I've seen clearly violates. He wouldn't be so petrified of his own words being associated with him if it were merely CNN defining what was acceptable.

          "How is that not an attack on free speech?"

          Where was the government involved? Apart from the orange idiot's tweet of course.

          Free speech does not mean that you're free of consequences from actioning that right, nor does it mean that other private parties cannot respond. It just means the government can't restrict you.

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

          • icon
            The Wanderer (profile), 7 Jul 2017 @ 5:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

            Just one minor point: the principle of "freedom of speech" is not exclusively about government restrictions on speech. That's all the First Amendment covers, true, and for the most part all the law addresses - but on a philosophical (and perhaps also a practical) level, it extends to anything which restrains people from speaking freely.

            That's not to say that CNN is in the wrong here; if you want to say things that are frowned upon by (as you put it) polite society, you have to be willing to live with the consequences that society may impose upon you. It's just that if those consequences include preventing you from saying those things (as distinct from ignoring you or refusing to give you a platform), that society has thereby departed from "freedom of speech".

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 7 Jul 2017 @ 6:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

              True, but once you start expanding the definition that much, the term becomes meaningless. I can't start hurling abuse at co-workers while I'm sat at my desk here without risking my job. That doesn't mean my employer is restricting my freedom of speech. Technically, maybe, but that's the price of working in a professional environment. Just as this guy's price for living in society is to act like a decent human being or risk being exposed for not being one.

              The bottom line here is this - the pathetic troll is free to speak. CNN are not stopping him. They've merely warned him that the consequences of that speech may be the loss of anonymity. He's apparently chosen silence over family and friends discovering what a piece of shit he really is. But, he's still free to speak should he decide that the consequences are worth it, just as I'm free to start abusing co-workers if I decide to pay the price. I won't, because I'm a better person than that, but the choice is there.

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

              • icon
                stderric (profile), 9 Jul 2017 @ 1:40pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Talk about Twitter

                It's definitely not the government censoring speech, but I'm not entirely sure how much happier I am about huge corporations becoming the arbiter of who and who isn't 'a decent human being.' What happens when someone is tangentially* related to a story that offends Hobby Lobby? Ownership of Gutted Oxen, the Sexual Equality of Geese, etc.

                That isn't much of an argument I just made, but Ken White is 'a bit better at articulating his thoughts' (which kinda match up with my half-formed gut feelings). As always, avoid the Comments :)

                • I'm saying tangentially because 'Racist Troll Found On Internet' isn't a story. Neither is 'Racist Troll Makes Dumb GIF, Posts It On Internet'. Same with 'Racist Troll Is A Trump Supporter' and 'Animated GIFs Exist'. The story is 'Trump Can't Find 4chan, Uses Reddit To Get Dumb GIFs'. The gif author is just an asshole on the web, and CNN gives at least the appearance of being petty & spiteful.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:19am

    Linus Torvalds made an open source operating system #MostAmericanIP

    Jonas Salk eschewed $7bn and gave away the polio vaccine #MostAmericanIP

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:20am

    This summer, we want to activate an audience of young professionals- the kind of folks who are interested in foreign policy, but who aren’t aware that intellectual property protection touches every part of their lives.

    ...and then brainwash them into believing that this isn't the problem. Instead we want them to modify their behavior and pay up in every part of their lives to comply.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 6 Jul 2017 @ 5:24am

      Re:

      "Brainwashing" does not exist; people choose. They can be pressured using NLP and echo chambers but it is possible to question the status quo and push back. I do it all the time. If I didn't, I'd just pick a side and blindly spout my thought-leader's talking points as many other people seem to do.

      I put the responsibility of people's choices squarely on them. If I can question the status quo, so can they. That they CHOOSE not to is on them.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2017 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re:

        And Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a pseudoscience that has failed to show any efficacy in its stated goals in multiple meta analyses. Its only establishment is in anecdotal evidence, and it isn't even loosely based on established scientific theories, which makes it logically equivalent to all of the other garbage that isn't based on science and hasn't rejected the null hypothesis.

        Also, your assumption that people choose anything is baseless, since it's not even a question in the category of things science can investigate (unless your belief in free will is religious in which case it's ironically based on the notion that you can blindly trust information given to you from certain special sources, such as your parents, certain books, or your intuition).

        Also, early education is a good example of how brainwashing can and does work.

        Also, you're assuming that other people who blindly spout things don't question anything and that you don't blindly spout some things.

        Also, "If I can X, so can they" is a really terrible argument that would imply that you and all other humans exist in perfectly identical circumstances under perfectly identical rules.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 7 Jul 2017 @ 2:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          _Also, your assumption that people choose anything is baseless, since it's not even a question in the category of things science can investigate (unless your belief in free will is religious in which case it's ironically based on the notion that you can blindly trust information given to you from certain special sources, such as your parents, certain books, or your intuition)._

          People can either make choices or they can't. I chose to answer you. I could equally have chosen to either ignore you or hit the report button.

          _Also, early education is a good example of how brainwashing can and does work._

          Eh? Makes no sense.

          _Also, "If I can X, so can they" is a really terrible argument that would imply that you and all other humans exist in perfectly identical circumstances under perfectly identical rules._

          No. It implies only that if I can do something others can.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2017 @ 3:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A. You: I choose
            Me: That's an assumption without a basis
            You: I choose

            Did I miss the crux of your argument there or were you really just repeating your point without justification after I complained that it had no justification?

            B. The early stages of a child's life color what they believe because they have very little ability to discern truth from falsehood at that age. This is the point of their life when they are indoctrinated with countless cultural and social beliefs particular to their society that are difficult to impossible to fully examine. It is a solid example of people being made to believe a set of things by an outside power. The fact that someone might overcome a few of these cultural assumptions in their life doesn't change that thousands of others go unexamined.

            C. Sorry, I forgot to say that (for it to be true) would imply that you and all other humans exist in perfectly identical circumstances under perfectly identical rules. And since that notion is preposterous, it's false.

            Easy examples can be made to show the invalidity of that logical form, such as "If I can walk, so can people with no legs." You see how it doesn't apply in all cases? Since it doesn't apply in all cases, it can't actually prove anything about your case on its own. Pretty basic logic.

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 7 Jul 2017 @ 5:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A. You: I choose Me: That's an assumption without a basis You: I choose

              Okay, what do you want to call a situation in which a decision is made between two or more options? Most of us call it "choosing."

              B. The early stages of a child's life color what they believe because they have very little ability to discern truth from falsehood at that age. This is the point of their life when they are indoctrinated with countless cultural and social beliefs particular to their society that are difficult to impossible to fully examine. It is a solid example of people being made to believe a set of things by an outside power. The fact that someone might overcome a few of these cultural assumptions in their life doesn't change that thousands of others go unexamined.

              Agreed. And if we never have the beliefs with which we've been indoctrinated challenged, we might never have the opportunity to make a decision between one set of options or another. The moment at which a "choice" is made to either overcome cultural assumptions or not is when the challenge is made, in my personal experience. I've had to overcome a lot of cultural assumptions, sometimes with a great deal of difficulty, because the options were either "Be willing to consider this argument on its merits using the information available to you" or "Just keep on believing as you always have. It's less bothersome than having to deal with the likely fallout of going against the social grain." I have since learned that going against the social grain is not as bad as I thought it would be and is often worthwhile.

              C. Sorry, I forgot to say that (for it to be true) would imply that you and all other humans exist in perfectly identical circumstances under perfectly identical rules. And since that notion is preposterous, it's false.

              That makes no sense at all. See my last point.

              Easy examples can be made to show the invalidity of that logical form, such as "If I can walk, so can people with no legs." You see how it doesn't apply in all cases? Since it doesn't apply in all cases, it can't actually prove anything about your case on its own. Pretty basic logic.

              That's not logic at all. "If I can walk, so can others" implies that I have legs. Denying the existence of personal agency (the ability to choose), as you do, absolves the individual of personal responsibility. I've been under pressure all my life to accept this and to conform to that but when reality interjected with, "Excuse me, here are some facts you may find inconvenient" I had to decide whether or not to consider those facts or reject them in case I ended up in conflict with my peers. We see this every day when partisans and ideologues hop in to post their talking points irrespective of whether or not they pertain to the subject. When we challenge their assumptions they make the decision to maintain their position, no doubt for fear that changing these assumptions might cause them to lose face, or something.

              When I decided to accept that decriminalisation was the way forward for dealing with drug abuse it meant going against decades of conservative assumptions that drugs are bad, breaking the law is bad, and that voluntarily making yourself dependent on others is bad. I still believe those things are bad but I've decided that if the options before me are a) continue with a policy that does more harm than good solely on the basis that bad people ought to be punished or b) managing the problem effectively and reducing the harm it does, I'll take b) on the grounds that social problems don't really have solutions as such, the best we can do is manage them and reduce harm to the greatest extent possible. Does that make sense?

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  • icon
    ThaumaTechnician (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:22am

    They should have posted the fake news as a blog post.

    Then all of them could post comments under the username 'Anonymous Coward'.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:34am

    via a fake Twitter feud

    Wouldn't this require that at least one person be against at least one other person? I don't think "we all agree with everything you just said, here's some more stuff that we all agree on" counts as a feud.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 11:40am

    Look we all know that people in power

    never make plans so conspiracies or in other parlance plans never happen, if you say that they do you must believe that martians are invading or the grey aliens are coming for your precious fluids

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Jul 2017 @ 1:37pm

    Completely aside from anything relevant, i have always been befuddled by the usage of the word enforcement. Law enforcement? Makes sense. IP enforcement? How does one enforce property? Is this like leveraging blue? The DEA's name has always been particularly amusing.

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

    • identicon
      TripMN, 5 Jul 2017 @ 2:16pm

      Re:

      DEA - We're here to make sure you take your drugs

      Works for me.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 3:58pm

      Re:

      Err with violence that is the entirety of the state, haven't we been told for decades that the purpose of the state was to have a monopoly on violence so people didn't hurt us?

      Hessian lives matter

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 2:57pm

    No one ever lost betting on stupidity, ignorance, or complacency.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jul 2017 @ 5:27pm

    Copyright maximalists turn to lies to push their point. In other news, water is still wet.

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

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 6 Jul 2017 @ 8:05am

    State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs, the MPAA & RIAA all join together to manufacture a twitter feud to promote the RIAA & MPAA's agenda and wish list of making it harder for you to get content and controlling how you get, where you get, who you get it from and for how much.

    So why is this such a concern that the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs is out there and writing and trying to sign people on to a manufactured twitter feud?

    Seriously all these taxpayer dollars are being spent to advocate for Hollywood who has made more fucking money in the last 16 years then they ever have? and the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs feels the need to jump on board with this so called "Hollywood Twitter feud" script?

    Let me guess some congressmen or senators got paid by Hollywood to fund a PAC for them and then the congressmen and senators pressured those at the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs to get on board with this and make this a priority.

    Much like we saw with Hollywood using Mississippi AG Hood office to go after Goggle after funneling enough money his way we see Hollywood at it again. If people already didnt think the MPAA & RIAA were already a slimy bunch, this sure isnt going to make them look any better.

    Once again we see how this is not a Government for the people but against it. Taxpayer dollars used to fund Hollywood's wet dreams and agenda. This is another example of why Government is so corrupt and ineffective for the people.

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

  • identicon
    William, 6 Jul 2017 @ 8:09am

    So next thing they add to their plans is hashtagging that spam onto the fluoroscope, the one invention that Thomas Edison donated to the public domain, as he saw it was too important to the public good for him to monopolize?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2017 @ 10:46am

    This story will need more sources, or Techdirt could end up in another kerfuffle...

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


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