Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the chitter-chatter dept

This week, following the huge overreaction of Canadian telecoms to the site TVAddons, some commenters expanded on the ways in which this is not truly about piracy. Ryunosuke was one such commenter, and his explanation won first place for insightful:

I agree, Piracy, like a black market, is a symptom of a system that is not working. Something that is in demand is not being properly vented, in this case, entertainment. Between high costs and bloated legacy channels, and the general asshole attitude of the gatekeepers like this entire article points out. People are looking for... alternative methods of consuming entertainment and culture.

Meanwhile, after a federal court stripped immunity from a sheriff, That One Guy won second place for insightful by mildly celebrating while pointing out how depressingly low the bar appears to be right now:

*"[A]s an officer charged with enforcing Louisiana law," Sheriff Larpenter "can be presumed to know the law" ... More to the point, "[p]olice officers can be expected to have a modicum of knowledge regarding the fundamental rights of citizens."

Now if only more courts were willing to apply such a standard, things would be ever so much better.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we return to the first post for another comment on the real reasons beyond piracy, this time from an anonymous commenter:

It more a case that any hint of copyright infringement gives them an excuse to destroy a legal competitor. Piracy is not the real problem, but rather the increasing number of self publishers, and the technology that makes finding and viewing that content easy. If somebody is watching self published content, they are no longer eyeballs to be counted for the purposes of gaining advertising revenue.

Next, we head to our post about North Carolina's weird and misguided "Restore Campus Free Speech Act", where a surprising number of commenters failed to see that the law was a far greater attack on free speech than any of the behaviours it supposedly sought to correct — but Stephen T. Stone offered a refreshingly nuanced and levelheaded look at the situation, responding piece-by-piece to one such comment:

One of the issues is that free speech has turned from stating your opinion to yelling down the opinion of others.

That is still protected speech, though. And nothing is legally preventing the shouted-down from shouting back or expressing themselves through other avenues of expression.

Free speech use to be a positive. Haul out your actual soap box, stand in the middle of the park, and yell out your opinion as loud as you like. People might laugh, people might point. but you could do it.

You still can. The only thing stopping most people is the fact that complaining on the Internet offers immediate satisfaction and fewer consequences than does going out in public and yelling in the middle of a public park.

Now you try to bring your soap box and people beat you up for showing up and expressing an opinion they don't like.

In fairness, the opinions that get people punched often resemble the kind of rhetoric that would go over well at a Klan rally. Justified? No. Understandable? Hell yes.

People seem to have confused unpopular speech with illegal speech. Instead we have a mob rules problem.

Admittedly, yes, heckler’s vetoes and whatnot are a legitimate threat to the freedom of expression. That said, not all speech is “equal” in terms of having legitimacy—e.g., racist propaganda, screeds about how women are biologically inferior to men and should thus leave tech jobs to men—and protests against such speech should be protected.

I also respect her rights to express her opinions - providing that those opinions are legal.

Holding any given opinion, even ones about illegal activities, is legal. Acting upon opinions about obviously illegal activities, on the other hand…

That universities have to cancel her legal speech because of mob rules is a really sad thing.

We could have a nuanced discussion about whether universities that receive public funding should have the right to exercise discretion when choosing who to invite on campus as a speaker. That said, universities should also be able to consider factors such as student safety and the overall legitimacy of a person’s ideas and opinions before allowing that person on campus to speak. How much would you really fault a university for disinviting, say, an advocate for the revival of racial segregation?

Yes, the mob is expressing their opinion. But their free speech ends where it impinges on the free speech of others.

Being denied a platform—or being protested while on that platform—does not necessarily infringe upon the free speech rights of a given person. That person can go find another platform and speak there.

When the schools have to shut down events because of threats of violence and destruction of school property, something is really wrong.

Inviting speakers who advocate for horrible ideas (e.g., advocating for legalized rape) and threaten the safety of other students (e.g., outing a trans student against their will) is just as wrong.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is DannyB with a response to Bob Murray's argument that the ACLU is too biased to file a brief in his lawsuit against John Oliver:

John Oliver should move to dismiss the case on the grounds that Bob Murray is too biased to bring this lawsuit.

In second place, we've got a response from Thad to a bizarrely angry commenter on our post about the latest developments in the monkey selfie case. I won't try to offer the entire context of the very long thread, but suffice to say Thad noticed something about one angry comment in a long string of angry comments:

...did you just misspell your own name?

(The answer is yes. Yes he did.)

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from Roger Strong that racked up lots of insightful votes as well, posed as a mock conversation illustrating the fragmentation of digital content:

Question: I'm already paying for cable, including several CBS channels. Does this mean I'll get Star Trek: Discovery?

Answer: No. They created a CBS streaming channel for that, "CBS All Access." Outside the US it's available on Netflix.

Question: Cool! So I can just pay a bit extra for Netflix and...

Answer: No. It won't be in Netflix in Canada.

Question: Oh. That must be because CBS All Access has announced that they're coming to Canada. So if I pay for a subscription to CBS All Access, I won't have access to a library like the one on Netflix, but at least I'll get Star Trek: Discovery?

Answer: No. In Canada CBS sold the rights to a specialty channel, so it won't be on CBS All Access. You'll need to pay an extra $80 a month - nearly $1000 a year - above and beyond what you're already paying for cable.

Question: Oh. Well I'm already paying for streaming access to the Star Trek library via the Shomi account that came with my cellular service. It was one of their big selling features. It'll be available there, right?

Answer: No. The cable/cellular companies shut down Shomi, and you know it. They still charge you for it because you're on contract.

Question: Does this cartoon by The Oatmeal mean anything to you?

And finally, we've got a brief but pointed comment from Radix about Eric Bolling's lawsuit against Yashar Ali, responding specifically to the demands for "relief as is just and proper" and "not less than $50 million":

Pick one.

That's all for this week, folks!


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2017 @ 1:03pm

    If you're are going to go out in thiis world and start arresting people, you aught to at least know what for. That you are given a card blanc good faith by a judge seems like there are no counter weights at all to balance the scales.. if you catch the drift.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 13 Aug 2017 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      They should at least be consistent on some of the common stuff.

      A decade or so ago a bunch of us in a local forum were discussing bike riding habits.

      I was taught way back in elementary school - in a bicycle safety class taught by a uniformed police officer - that you should ride in the center of the lane. It's your lane, and a car should pass you as if they're passing another car. Others in the forum had been taught to ride in the center or right "rut."

      The one thing everyone could agree on was that the worst place was right up against the curb. Debris and sewer grates could throw you in front of traffic.

      So someone had the bright idea to walk over to the police station and ask.

      The officer at the desk told him that the right "rut" was the correct place to ride. At which point her superior came out of his office at stated that he'd issue a fine to anyone he caught riding there. It was up against the curb, or not at all.

      If police can't agree on a common issue like that...

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Aug 2017 @ 4:12pm

        Re: Re:

        It was up against the curb, or not at all.

        Ignoring that biking there would mean dealing with debris and grates as your class noted, and require darting into traffic when you encounter a vehicle or other obstacle preventing you from hugging the curb I guess, but I'm sure all of that that would be totally safe...

        They either really didn't like people on bikes or didn't spend any time at all thinking through what their position would mean.

        Your point however is well made, if you can get two different positions from two different officers, then who exactly are you supposed to listen to? Whoever happens to have the highest rank at the time?

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

      • icon
        ThaumaTechnician (profile), 13 Aug 2017 @ 5:07pm

        Re: Re:

        You should ask them to quote the law and explain it.

        I once had a question about fog lights on a car. The car dealer told me that when the fog light are on, the headlights MUST be on - rendering them useless - unless they're yellow lamps, in which case he said it was OK to turn them on with the headlights off. I disagreed, and said that I doubted the colour made any difference.

        I happened to going to a police station for a service call a day or two later, so I asked my questions to one of the officers in the parking lot on my way in.

        After consulting a laminated flip chart, he told me that he wasn't sure what the rule was, so he radioed "the traffic specialist" to ask. A few minutes later, this officer stopped by the station's parking lot. I asked him my questions about the fog lights' installation and use. He quoted the law verbatim. So I asked him what the heck that meant.

        "Any lights, no matter the colour, mounted in a position other than the standard/front headlights - that is fog lights below those standard lights or lights mounted on a roll bar like for an off-road vehicle - can only be turned on 1) when the standard lights are on, and 2) in conditions where the standard headlights' high-beams are allowed to be turned on."
        - But, if the headlights are on, the fog lights are useless. What about daytime driving lights, which run at a lower voltage?
        - Yes, the headlights are on, so that's OK.
        - OK, second question: when are you allowed to turn on your high beams?"
        He quoted the law, which didn't mean anything to me. So I asked him to explain.
        "Any place where there are street lights, you're not allowed to have your high beams on. Plus, whenever other drivers signal you to turn them off, say by flashing theirs, you must turn your high beams off."

        Simple enough. I went to the dealer, explained the law, and he set them up the way I wanted to.

        This is in Montreal, so YMMV. Likewise, there has to be a simple set of rules for bicycling in your town, it can't be up to the officer's feeling of what the law is. Maybe your town even prints an information guide, for schoolchildren (and police officers?).

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

  • identicon
    monica cooper, 13 Aug 2017 @ 3:45pm

    freedom of speech

    Universities are cherry picking the "speech" they approve of so they need to give up my money if they aren't going to let everyone speak and aggressively protect ALL speech. They don't get to pick and choose what is legitimate or relevant as you suppose in your article. You, also clearly do not understand the First Amendment and are "misguided" as well.
    Article is all over the place.

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Aug 2017 @ 4:12pm

      Re: freedom of speech

      Who is you? There are multiple respondents, each with a particular point of view.

      Universities can pick whomever they want to speak. That they should be picking a variety of points of view is at issue. That they have some ability to control the population of their campuses, to prevent them from overreacting in violent or other inappropriate ways is also at issue.

      It used to be that attendance in a college or university was about giving someone sufficient information that they might intelligently be for or against an opinion on some subject. Enough information to create critical thought.

      Today, it seems it is more about creating safe spaces where no one hears about opposing points of view. Points of view that people are free to either accept or reject, but should be heard, or at least known about, otherwise one is just being brainwashed in whatever the prevailing opinion is.

      If a university has a speaker that students don't like (even without hearing them) then the students just should not attend the speech, or possibly hold their own speech (after the fact) posing opposing points of view. The 1st Amendment allows speech, it does not force listening, nor does it prevent responding.

      It would be irresponsible for universities to present only one point of view as that does not promote critical thinking, which is, or should be one of the goals of such institutions. Without promoting critical thinking, they are just agenda pushers, and one would pick their university by picking an agenda they wish to be indoctrinated in, rather than a subject they wish to study.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2017 @ 8:53pm

        Re: Re: freedom of speech

                    You, also clearly do not understand…

        Who is you?

        Mike!     Obviously.

         

        Unless it's Dark Carab.

         

        Wait…   Mike! is Dark Carab?     This is very confusing.

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

  • icon
    Túi Lọc Bụi (profile), 14 Aug 2017 @ 2:47am

    Crazy guys =.=

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

  • identicon
    Thad, 14 Aug 2017 @ 9:52am

    I'm gonna be honest, I don't think that was even the funniest thing I said in that thread.

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

  • identicon
    Really?, 14 Aug 2017 @ 3:46pm

    Wow, so much of what Stephen T Stone said in his response is just so... wrong. And it gets recognized as nuanced and levelheaded? Really?

    "In fairness, the opinions that get people punched often resemble the kind of rhetoric that would go over well at a Klan rally. Justified? No. Understandable? Hell yes."

    No. Not understandable. You don't like the speech? Don't listen. Violence is NOT a valid response no matter how much you don't agree. If you believe it's understandable, you are figuratively in the car with the Nazi, running over people.

    "Admittedly, yes, heckler’s vetoes and whatnot are a legitimate threat to the freedom of expression. That said, not all speech is “equal” in terms of having legitimacy—e.g., racist propaganda, screeds about how women are biologically inferior to men and should thus leave tech jobs to men—and protests against such speech should be protected."

    Also bullshit. Speech (including heckling) is NOT a threat to freedom of expression. If someone heckles you, that's the risk you took in speaking in the first place. All speech IS equally legitimate, your opinion about it doesn't matter. Read the damn Constitution.

    "That said, universities should also be able to consider factors such as student safety and the overall legitimacy of a person’s ideas and opinions before allowing that person on campus to speak."

    Again with the "legitimacy" BS. By who's standards? What confers this "legitimacy"? How do you get elected to be the arbiter of "legitimacy"? I herby declare that talking about burritos and the color fuchsia during the month of August is ILLIGITIMATE! So I say, so shall it be!!! /snort

    "How much would you really fault a university for disinviting, say, an advocate for the revival of racial segregation?"

    Funny. Sounds like the definition of a BLM "safe space" to me. Let's all consider the difference between "*you* can't go here" and "*you* have to go there". Pretty much neither is acceptable.

    "Being denied a platform—or being protested while on that platform—does not necessarily infringe upon the free speech rights of a given person. That person can go find another platform and speak there."

    Sure, might makes right - say what we like or we'll attack you - the epitome of reason. Making it unsafe for someone to speak without fear of assault is just SO progressive...

    So, to round it out - nothing nuanced or levelheaded here - just more of the same "it's ok if WE do it" mentality, being touted by the same old lefties in charge here at TD.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:50am

      Re:

      If someone heckles you, that's the risk you took in speaking in the first place.

      Except where the heckler is trying to shut down a speaker a, (which does not necessarily mean they agree with the speaker). The heckler is saying I will not allow the speaker to proceed, or other people here what they have to say. That is the opposite of free speech, as it is trying to prohibit speech.

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

  • identicon
    Venue matters, 15 Aug 2017 @ 6:56am

    So speech blocks speech? How does that work? Who decides who's speech is more "legitimate"?

    The Constitution and the Supreme Court, that's who. Speech is speech.

    What you CAN do is choose your venue - if you are speaking in a public forum, you are open to heckling - the heckler has the exact same rights as you do.

    If you are in a private venue, you (or the owner of the venue) absolutely have the right to control who is present and regulate their behavior. If you don't like hecklers, kick them out. They have NO right to force people to listen to their speech in a private setting.

    So, speak in public and get a bigger audience, with the risk of counter speech, or speak in private to a limited audience and be safe.

    Your choice.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.