I highly doubt there is a single paid commenter on techdirt, let alone one lurking behind every dissenting AC.
Yeah, I agree. I seriously doubt there are any "paid" shills here either.
I know that there is a one or two here who troll for the lolz only and have even stated as much. There is one wannabe lawyer who can't see past the trees (letter of the law) in order to see the forest (overall impact to society). And there is one who appears to be an angry failed music promoter who wants to blame all his misfortune in life on piracy. Top all that off with a few loonies like bob, out_of_the_blue and darryl and you got one hell of a mix, but I doubt any are paid to comment here.
If the comments are strong enough that someone feels the need to file a lawsuit about it, why should the anonymous person be able to hide behind a higher standard?
Reason #1: Because any moron with a lawyer can file a lawsuit for just about any reason, including "He hurt my feelings!".
Reason #2: Because anonymity has been recognized prior to our country's founding and has been upheld by the Supreme Court multiple times.
From the 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission:
Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . .anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
Reason #3: Because speech itself is protected by the Constitution. Just because some yahoo with a lawyer claims it to be illegal or unprotected speech doesn't necessarily mean it is. A court of law usually determines that.
"The records also indicate that only 5.86 million of these users ever uploaded a single file to either Megaupload.com or Megavideo.com, demonstrating that more than 90 percent of their registered users only used the defendantsí systems to download."
That 90% figure doesn't mean anything really. Basically it means that one person was sharing with 9 others. That would be the about the average for a small business sharing work files with their peers.
Adding into the mix would be artists using Mega as a platform to earn money by driving downloads of their own works, which one would imagine to be at least a 1:1000 ratio or so.
I am still not sure why you think that figure is significant in any way.
I don't think it's fair to put the burden on the artists. Artists are not businessmen, nor should we expect them to be.
I don't know if it's fair or not, but the truth is that if you want to make money from your art, it's a business.
I don't expect every artist to be a savoy businessmen, but every artist needs to make at least one smart business decision, even if that one and only decision is who you want to handle all the other business decisions.