Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the chitter-chatter dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Another Kevin responding to some of the persistent false claims about Section 230:

Section 230 doesn't protect editorializing. The First Amendment does that.

You seem to be arguing that once the operators of a platform have editorial content, anywhere on the platform, that they lose Section 230 protection for anything posted by users. In effect, you consider all speech on the platform to be from a single speaker.

In other words, if I am entertaining Alice and Bob in my parlor, and Bob tells a lie, I'm not allowed to point out the lie to Alice without then becoming subject to prosecution for anything that either Alice or Bob might say? In such a regime, I obviously can't have guests in my house at all.

In second place, it's an anonymous response to a commenter bringing up popular claims of OnePlus ripping off Apple's earbud design:

Lots of people are blaming Apple for "ripping off" Xerox's design.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of comments from the same anonymous commenter talking about copyright issues and what legacy publishers actually want. First it's a pretty apt summary of their goals:

The legacy publishers are advancing their real objective; which is to ensure that they are the only route to have a work published. That way they decide what few works are actually made available at any time. They are not interested in a flowering of culture, but rather in restricting culture so as to maximize their own profits.

To anyone who claims this will protect creators, they should note that the legacy publishers restrict what is published to a small fraction of that created, and so ensure that most creators will never have their work published.

Next, it's an important reminder that publishers aren't creators:

Those pushing this agenda do not actually create content, although their accounting can be creative. They make money from works that others produce, and hate the Internet because it allows creators to escape their control, and grabbing of most of the profits, for the few works that they publish.

Their whole business model was developed in a world where producing copies, or distributing content was the limiting factor on the works that could be published. The Internet has removed that limitation on publication of works, and that means they lose control over published works unless they can cripple the Internet.

Over on the funny side, both our winning comments come in response to our post aboiut Richard Liebowitz getting in more trouble. First, it's That One Guy finding himself unsurprised:

How very Liebowitz

Ordered to take a course on ethics, gets caught 'cheating'.

Some people just refuse to change, but at least his various benchslaps provide some well-needed moments of humor during the hell that is 2020.

In second place, it's an anonymous commenter with an illustrative summary:

Judge "Your in a deep hole, so stop digging and grab the rope I am lowering"
Richard "toss me down a bigger shovel"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Get off my cyber-lawn! offering up one more response to Liebowitz:

I didn't realise

that "In Deep Shit" could be a lawyers default mode.

Finally, it's Norahc on our post about Banksy's attempt to abuse trademark law, with a nice tie-in:

My popcorn futures would really appreciate it if Bansky partnered with Liebowitz for that legal advice.

That's all for this week, folks!

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  • identicon
    David, 20 Sep 2020 @ 1:04pm

    Foiled again.

    It's "joke harder" for me, I guess.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2020 @ 2:01pm

    Ha! I'd missed the "default mode" one in the course of normal reading. Very apt.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2020 @ 8:28pm

    Just a reminder...

    1) "traditional publishers" include small press publishers.

    2) They consider the other side of the "restrict what gets published" coin:
    Will publishing this work earn us back what it costs us to print and distribute it?

    3) Many of these publishers also provide other services: publicity, editorial review, arranging for cover (and sometimes interior) art. Given the aggregate costs, see point 2.

    4) ... and some publishers are not above holding hostage the rights to books submitted but not published when other books by that author perform poorly. (I have an example author, publisher, and title in mind, having talked with the author.) Not all publishers are the same.

    So, when you go to a publisher, consider those services and whether you can cover them yourself, when negotiating contracts.

    One last thought, then I'll see myself out: Publishers are an extension of authors, in "seeking to restrict what gets published". And that ability to restrict is the core of the copy right itself. That is, indeed, what the article was about: negotiating the laws that govern the right.

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

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 20 Sep 2020 @ 9:06pm

      Re: Just a reminder...

      I was certainly using "publishers" as a shorthand, perhaps a bit sloppily so - I was referring to something both more broad (not just book publishers, but other copyright-based industries as well) and more narrow (the generally-huge corporate publishers, record labels, etc. that are primarily behind the push for stronger copyright laws) than you describe.

      Though I will note that, when it comes to the control of publishing and the legal enforcement of the right to copy, it would be more accurate to say "authors are an extension of publishers". Copyright grew out of printing press monopolies, and the idea of authors having an inherent exclusive right to copy their work was sort of backfilled in as it evolved.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2020 @ 4:33am

      Re: Just a reminder...

      Another big limitation on publishing through a publisher is that the industry can only consider a limited number of submissions. The fate of most unsolicited manuscripts is to linger in the slush pile, unread until they sink into the part of the stack where they thrown away when the stack height is reduced.

      Also, most creators need assistance, in the form of creative criticism, and a basic editorial look over of their work, and self publishing van attract a few people interested in an creators work to provide this assistance, so long as the creator is capable of ignoring the obvious trolls.

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

      • identicon
        Annonymouse, 21 Sep 2020 @ 5:00am

        Re: Re: Just a reminder...

        Well that's the thing. Creators need editors. Sadly most wrongly think you need a publisher to get access to a good editor. Connecting writers with editors is challenging where you have to worry about poison pills scattered about by the publishing industry on to of the usual no talent con artists found in every field.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2020 @ 7:24am

    And so, if a traditional dead-tree-pulp publisher publishes a book, it makes a HUGE difference to its liability whether it hires an editor, or lets the author arrange its own editing, no?

    NO. The publisher's liability is exactly the same.

    And if a traditional book distributor ships a book to Walmarts all across the land, it suddenly becomes legally liable for any errors found in that book, no?

    NO. The distributor does not become liable, even if the president read the whole book to the entire board of directors in secret conclave. And the distributor does not become liable, even if there are books that it does not deliver to Walmart.

    BUT, BUT, BUT--it's all different if Walmart is the largest retailer that carries books, no? And if, say, Walmart carries more Plutocratic screeds than Demagogic frothing?

    NO. The size of the distributor, or the size of the retailers it supplies, or the choices either of them make as to products shipped, does not affect anybody's liability.

    WHY SHOULD THE INTERNET BE DIFFERENT?

    BUT--BUT--BUT--SpaceBook/MyFace/Bicker/whatever are big sites!

    I'll take your word for it. But, based on my own experience, I know for certain that you can get a rich diet of news, social contacts, and accurate information on a variety of topics, without ever visiting any of them. And anyone who tells you is either a glabrous-faced mega-rostral incendiary-trousered prevaricator--or too stupid to be trusted with a sharp crayon.

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


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