We are talking about the idea that municipal bureaucrats, cut from the same crooked timber of humanity as Comcast executives, would do a significantly better job than Comcast executives.
I believe that's called "begging the question".
Who says municipal bureaucrats are drawn from the same pool of humanity as Comcast execs? Well, you do, clearly, but I don't know why you think that. Are all people evil bastards? If so, we're kind of screwed regardless. If not, then clearly a possible solution is "find the guys who aren't assholes and put them in charge". You may argue that we can't plausibly do that, but you need to put at least a little effort into it.
But even more than that:
Who says that it's a person's inherent nature that determines how well they perform, rather than the incentives given to them? Comcast execs are driven to maximize profit; the more profit, the bigger their bonuses. Of course they don't care about quality of service when it doesn't affect the bottom line. That's not because they're inherently evil (although they might be), it's just a natural consequence of how we as a society have decided to compensate them.
Bureaucrats don't earn a bonus by screwing over citizens. They get a bonus (or a promotion) by doing a good job. That means making citizens happy, or at least minimizing the complaints. And while it's true that some government workers are there because they actually want to serve their community, you don't need to accept that for this argument to work. As long as the bureaucrats are at worst neutral with respect to screwing the customer (citizen), they're a lot better than a monopoly executive.
"They'll either object to and bar it from being admissible as 'unrelated to the case at hand', or just ignore it some other way."
Yeah, no. Having an alibi is extremely relevant to the case. The only way he goes to jail for this is by somehow pleading out - otherwise, the defense gets to have a field day asking all sorts of funny questions to the police officers guarding him.
It's entirely possible that Mr. Wheeler is a rather decent person, who previously didn't know many of the things that we TechDirt readers take for granted and is now learning how the industry works from the perspective of its customers.
"In short, Disconnect.me is working to block evil activities."
According to them, sure. But when it comes to the Google Play store, the question of "who decides what's evil?" has a clear answer: Google. It's their store, they decide. You might not like their actions here (and I don't blame you), but it shouldn't be surprising.
Sadly the First Amendment doesn't apply here - this is a matter between private citizens (and companies). The government isn't involved. Even though "copyright" is being invoked, YouTube's policies are different from federal law, and this is technically not a legal issue. (Yet.)
That said, SLAPP might still apply. I might also look at laws involving fraud: Bornstein used false information to take down the video. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to get anywhere because West would have to show actual harm - he can't exactly sue for damages if he hasn't lost any money.
Honestly, his best bet is to trick Bornstein into uploading his video somewhere, and then sue him for copyright infringement. You don't need to suffer any damage for that!
I wonder what would happen if some Verizon tech "accidentally" installed and connected another 4 ports. If they don't have the hardware already on site, they certainly have it back in a warehouse somewhere.
Sure, he'd probably get fired, but imagine the PR dance Verizon would have to do to explain how all the congestion magically disappeared.
If any private company tried these arguments, they'd be thrown out of court so fast the doors would fall off. Only the feds can point to another court ruling, say "golly gee it's too hard to do both of these at once", and get away with it.
If every single reporter could figure it out, and pretty much every other person could
I don't think that's how it works. Reporters should put more effort into investigating a site than your average reader, otherwise they might end up publishing an article about Google's new products (which are actually parodies). That all these reporters figured it out in no way proves that a reasonable person - who is otherwise uninformed on the topic - would instantly be able to determine it was a parody.
Redacted Blog is crap and you're bad for reposting it
Not because of anything they wrote. I wouldn't know; I haven't bothered to read any of it. They might be tireless freedom fighters for all that is right and good, for all I know.
But nothing - nothing - excuses them from publishing a graph whose y-axis doesn't start at 0.
Humans are visual creatures. Anyone looking at that graph gets the idea that exemptions have more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Of course the actual numbers show only a 40% increase - still bad, but not quite as frothing-at-the-mouth-rage-inducing as implied.
On the one hand, yes. But there's no algorithmic way to establish fair use. (As far as I know - if you have a way to do so, please tell me.) And in many cases, the uploaders don't actually care about the incidental audio. So arguing fair use to keep it in just isn't worth the trouble.
If I understand this correctly, YouTube is providing a simple tool to remove minor portions of audio. Uploaders can use this tool when they decide it's easier than fighting over the 2 seconds of some pop song in the background.
And ultimately, this will lead to the removal of ContentID audio from all kinds of videos. Where before musicians had free advertising, and had people expressing their cultural tastes, now there will just be quiet. The few who are smart enough to not monetize or takedown will be the real winners.
Not exactly; there are a few subtle legal differences. (I agree that the DMCA process is bad, but there are levels of bad.)
The DMCA involves immunity from liability. If a content provider (like YouTube) receives a DMCA takedown notice, they are free to ignore it. This does not violate any laws. All it does is allow the copyright owner to sue them - and the content provider could still win the lawsuit and suffer no penalty (aside from legal fees).
In contrast, a court issuing a mandatory injunction is a legally binding order. If YouTube ignored it, they are guilty of breaking the law. Not accused; guilty. If this happens the judges can throw people in jail and levy all sorts of fines, completely at whim, without any right to trial or any real chance of appeal. And they will, because judges do not like being played.
When a judge tells you to do something, you do it. If you think it's wrong, you file a protest and then you do it anyways. YouTube is huge, wealthy company with very good lawyers, and this is what they did. That should tell you something. Next to that, the DMCA is nothing more than a polite suggestion.
I think she has received death threats over her appearance in this video. That counts as "harm". (Unless you want to claim that she's not harmed until someone actually murders her, but that seems to not fit with current law. Plus it's kind of cruel.)
"Copyright issue" and "first amendment issue" are hardly mutually exclusive. Just because you assert that you have a copyright claim doesn't mean you actually do. You might be lying, mistaken (contract law is tricky), or I might have a valid Fair Use argument.
Consider what happens when the courts issue a mandatory injunction order that I take down the allegedly offending material, before ruling on the copyright issue. If I later prevail in the case, then I get to repost the material - and the courts will have stifled my completely legal speech. That's exactly what the First Amendment is supposed to protect against.
There's a very good reason why precedent from the 9th Circuit (and several others) gives a very high bar for this kind of injunction. Precedent that last week's order completely ignored. I can't see it not being overturned; even if Google ultimately loses the case, the order is wrong on so many levels it's hard to even comprehend.
I mean, we haven't even gotten to the part where this was only an appeal, and should have been remanded back to the district court...
Google is saying that actors, actresses and artists don't have the right to order takedowns of the content they either appear in
That is entirely the point. If you star in a movie, and later wish you hadn't, tough luck. You don't get to go around ordering people scrub the bad movie from existence.
Google has said nothing about "retain the ownership or copyright to", because it doesn't think those cases apply. Garcia clearly doesn't "own" the movie, and her copyright claim is absurdly far-fetched. And even if it wasn't, she still has to prove that claim before demanding a takedown; you generally don't get a mandatory injunction just by filing a claim.
Re: The (unfortunate) big difference between public and private employment
And who makes that decision? Whoever it is now has the power to fire whoever he wants. I'm all for firing public employees when they deserve it, but there needs to be enough checks and balances to make sure it's actually deserved, and not just office politics or a personal vendetta.
Note that anti-discrimination laws do apply in the private sector; you can't appeal, but you can sue. It would be nice if we could apply the full protections to private employment, but that gets a little more tricky, both morally and practically. The key difference is that the public sector is "us", and we as a whole get to decide how it works; this doesn't hold for private business.