from the rebuking-the-rebukers dept
When we posted about the news that all the major movie studios had sent bogus takedowns over the Pirate Bay documentary, the apologists in our comments panicked, and started desperately scrounging for ways to downplay this latest example in the long history of DMCA abuse by Hollywood. Their favorite approach was to claim that because many other DMCA takedowns are legitimate, the multiple examples where they are totally illegitimate and used to stifle free speech just don't matter, and aren't even worth discussing. It was the response to this preposterous notion that spawned both of our most insightful comments of the week, with first place going to RD:
Ok so what have you learned? You have learned that:
A) the *IAA's have issued false DMCA takedowns that are ILLEGAL and a violation of the law, but since this only happens (according to you) in about .1% of cases, its perfectly OK to ignore BREAKING THE LAW since *most* of them are not.
which leads you to the inescapable conclusion that:
B) It is PERFECTLY OK to violate the law, as long as that violation is a MINOR amount compared to the whole.
Which means that:
C) You have ZERO principles and following the law is OPTIONAL for you, and it's simply a matter of negotiating by what degree of violation you are engaged in.
Which brings us to the final conclusion:
Since the VAST MAJORITY of people (ie the population) are NOT engaged in infringing activities, the few "outliers" are too small to have an impact, and therefore its OK for them to violate the law in THE EXACT SAME MANNER IN PROPORTION that you are swinging in here to defend the *IAA's EXACT SAME actions.
So by your own logic, you shouldn't be supporting those who go after infringers. QED.
Highlighting the valid use of a law? Really? There is no need to highlight when a law is used properly. There IS a need to highlight when a law is abused so that we can try and refine and amend it to ensure it does not get abused.
In practice copyright is used:
* to censor undesirable speech
* to prevent you from owning what you bought
* to prevent competition (even when copyright itself is not at issue)
* to make outrageous but bogus claims (I have the copyright on this feature, this flavor, this color, this style, or over plain hard facts).
* to limit growth of the public domain through abuse of copyright length
* to destroy the public domain by re-copyrighting it
* as a tool to accuse and send extortion shakedown settlement letters, aka "copyright trolling", (see practitioners: Prenda, Righthaven, MPAA, RIAA)
* to prevent fair use of any kind, no matter how legitimate that use may be
* to enable "collection societies" to collection on works they do not own
* to enable "collection societies" to shakedown people's private use of the radio (or other music) in a public location
* . . . and other things I'm sure I've missed
Copyright bad? Does it need reform? Don't even think such a thing!
Next, we have an anonymous commenter pointing out the irony of a retired soldier claiming that video games breed "trained killers":
And what does the military train people to do retired Lt. Col? Go to the middle east and have picnics with and dances with our enemies?
Sure it's not teaching people to go up and shoot random Americans in the street, and most military people are law abiding citizens, but some of them do kill innocent Americans and commit violent crimes. Just like some violence video game players do those things, but most don't. By your same logic we should therefore be blaming the military for violent crime done by people in the military.
On the funny side, we start out on the not-so-funny story about high school students being arrested for throwing water balloons. One commenter wondered what the penalty would be for the related lark of kids throwing each other into the river, and Baldaur Regis took first place with his response:
In the US, throwing meat balloons is a Class A misdemeanor. If the meat balloon is less than 147 cm (4' 10") in height, the offense is classified as dwarf tossing, a crime punishable by having to appear in a FOX TV reality show.
For second place, we head to the somewhat-funnier story about a would-be murderer foiling his own plot via a butt-dial to 911. Someone parodying our more socially maladjusted commenters under the name average_horse_of_the_blue racked up lots of points by echoing a currently-trendy trolling tactic:
At no point in this story does Mike say that murder is wrong. He's a murderer apologist. He parses words. Words bad.
He's words apolologist.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we head to our post about news agency AFP making some major errors in its reporting about Kim Dotcom's recent patent threat. We were quite surprised that a couple of commenters viciously defended AFP's error, and doubly so when one claimed that reporting on baseball while calling runs "touchdowns" would be no big deal. This prompted an anonymous commenter to do some reporting of his own:
A famous hockyball player claims to have the greatest number of homedowns in a single quarter. News at 26 o'clock.
And finally, with the fallout of Prenda's despicable tactics continuing to pile up, some people have strangely claimed that we only applaud justice in that case because Prenda is "anti-piracy" (which they are most definitely not, since piracy was the source of all their money) and Techdirt is "anti-copyright". On one post, Matthew Cline snuck in first with his own deduction based on such accusations:
Wow, it's amazing how many judges are anti-copyright!
That's all for this week! We're off tomorrow for Memorial Day, and back to business as usual on Tuesday.