"I know I would want the cops to shoot the guy holding me hostage at the first opportunity"
If the cops had perfect knowledge, then I would agree. But in the real world, I would want the cops to be sure they are targeting the right person before shooting, which means doing a bit of investigation first.
I was making a bit of a joke to highlight a particular point. IP addresses are more useful because they are relatively reliable -- it is relatively difficult for you to use a different IP address.
MAC addresses are less useful (and, in a sense more unique) because it is trivially easy to change them to something else. My portable devices really do get randomized MAC addresses that change every day. So, MAC addresses are so unique that my devices don't even keep the same one for very long.
There is no ethical difference between the two. A link is just a pointer to a parcel of data somewhere else. There is no more of a moral or ethical issue to linking to anything anywhere than there is to pointing to a physical place and saying "it's over there".
From the point of view of a site operator, there are simple mechanisms that prevent the sort of deep linking that you're talking about (inline images, etc.) If this is a big deal for a site, they can stop it easily already with existing tools. I do exactly this on my own websites to prevent anyone from inlining images, so that I'm not paying for bandwidth that is really being used by a different site.
People at his wealth level don't worry about money in the same way normal people do, but they absolutely worry about money and seek to increase their pile. The difference is that you and I worry about money because we worry about affording the stuff we want. The ultra wealthy worry about money because money is power, and they want to maximize their power. Also at a certain point, the amount of accumulated wealth becomes like a score in a game of "collect it all".
"training 911 operators to actually get a call back number"
As another commenter said, this could be a very bad thing to do. However, I wanted to note that 911 operators do have the phone number of who calls them, and in certain circumstances they will call you back. For example, if you call 911 and hang up on them, they'll call you back.
"I just think that, in plenty of other contexts, this kind "feel free to use our stuff, and in exchange we'll help you do more and make some money" should be seen as a good thing."
I think that is a good thing, but from reading and watching what the Fine Brothers have been saying about it, I have the distinct impression that this point is the least interesting to them. More interesting to them is to have some sort fo club they can beat everyone else with.
I may be entirely wrong about this, but that is entirely how they come off when they speak.
"Agree that was stupid and wrong. But separate from their offer to help others do videos."
I don't think you can seperate the two that much. I know very little about the history of these guys, but it looks like they've engaged in a lot of stupid activities both before and after this announcement.
This tells me that there is a very high likelihood that they will continue to engage in stupid activities into the future, only now they're offering a way to get on their "we won't mess with you" list.
I agree with Oxford, I think it's not just wrong, but painfully so. But the masses seem to disagree, and unfortunately it's the English-speaking masses who determine what is correct or not rather than you, I, or Oxford.