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Posted on Techdirt - 24 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the virtual-gathering dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from That One Guy in response to FOSTA supporters making an unsurprising pivot to killing off pornography:

Fetch me my fainting couch!

You know what would make finding actual exploitation a hell of a lot easier, as shown post-FOSTA? Not lumping any and all sexual content into the same bucket and making it so platforms have a very strong incentive to not see anything lest they be hit with massive fines, driving sexual content off of sites that are willing and eager to help law enforcement find actual victims and instead having that sort of content on sites that don't give a damn and/or are incentivized to look the other way.

There's some dark hypocrisy to be found in the fact that those decrying the victimization of a group of people are themselves using those victims as nothing more than props for their own ends, all because some people just can't stand the idea that naked bodies and sex exists.

In second place, it's Jeremy Lyman with thoughts on why the pandemic has led to a huge uptick in cord cutting:

You Only Need One Channel™

Nothing like being home 24/7 to make you realize that having 300 channels just means that you're paying for 300 things you don't want to watch.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of comments about the Copyright Office. First up, it's MathFox pushing back on one commenter's suggestion that its staffers are being bribed, since the truth is likely far simpler:

I don't think the grunt-workers are bribed. They self-select (why else apply to the copyright office) and are keep hearing all that stories why copyright is good and their work protecting and expanding it is important. An institutional echo-chamber. And if you provide a report-writing team with data that supports a specific message it's easy to get the message in the report; especially when the writing team beliefs in the message too.

It could be that some in management pulled some strings when selecting the team and selecting the data infuenced by "external incentives" like personal friendships, previous or future employers or other lobbying.

Next, it's Anonymous Anonymous Coward talking about the office's attack on libraries:

Pay me, pay me, pay me

Yet another example of the Copyright Office being co-opted by the 'everything must be owned, and by owned we mean controlled and monetized on a per use basis' crowd (read one chapter tonight, another payment is due tomorrow for the next chapter).

This push for control is just another step on their way to a one way Internet where they 'control' all the content and want payment for even 'thinking' about their IP. You cannot create because we are the creators (by which we mean we control the creators ability to get their works out there) and we control all original thought. Culture, ha! It ain't culture unless we say it is and have proper income even if you are just singing to yourself in the shower.

The open Internet scares the hell out of them. Give them an inch and they will take ten miles. Now, how do we get the also co-opted congresscritters to see things from our side, rather than theirs.

Over on the funny side, both of the winners come in response to the aforementioned uptick in cord cutting, and anonymous first place comment comes in response to Jeremy Lyman's winning insightful comment:

Or, if you're lucky, 299.

In second place, it's justok questioning our post title that described it as "the worst quarter ever" for cord-cutting:

Error in title

Should be: Covid-19 Just Triggered The Best Quarter Ever For Cable TV 'Cord Cutting'

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Bloof and a reaction to the spate of op-eds claiming the internet only works because of the death of net neutrality:

I for one refuse to believe that Sam C. Cot of the WSJ is merely a PR shill for big telecom conglomerates! He's as trustworthy and neutral as NYT opinion writer Adam T. Telegraphson!

Finally, we've got Crafty Coyote deploying the perennial, practically obligatory, but still very apt response to copyright overreach (although that was tangential to this particular story):

But without the financial motivation that copyright provides, how will grandmas all over the world be properly motivated to post pictures of their little angels online? It's a 95-year monopoly for 95-year old people

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 23 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

One Week Left To Get CIA: Collect It All For 25% Off

from the indoor-activities dept

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All with
the code STAYINSIDE until the end of May »

CIA: Collect It All on Kickstarter

If you're running out of things to keep you entertained at home (and who isn't, at this point?) then don't forget that CIA: Collect It All, our recreation of a real CIA analyst training game discovered via the Freedom Of Information Act, is on sale for 25% off with the coupon code STAYINSIDE. The sale lasts until the end of the month, so there's just over a week left to get your copy!

CIA: Collect It All is a game for two or more players with over 150 cards representing global crises that must be dealt with, intelligence techniques for addressing them, and the unexpected twists and turns that reality throws at an analyst's best laid plans. It also comes with a set of variant rules that turn it into a storytelling game that generates tales of intrigue and spycraft.

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All with
the code STAYINSIDE until the end of May! »

6 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 20 May 2020 @ 1:49pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 243: The .ORG Deal Post-Mortem, With Mike Godwin

from the the-podcast-returns dept

We're back! It's been a while since the last podcast, for obvious reasons, but today we've got a new episode following up on something we discussed with Mike Godwin in January: the Internet Society's proposed sale of the .org domain registry. That deal has since been cancelled, and some groups including the EFF assert that it showed ISOC can't be trusted to handle the registry, so this week Godwin joins us again to discuss what happened in more detail.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 17 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the distant-discourse dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous commenter responding to some questions about the Ohio workers the government wants companies to snitch on:

This is regular workers in non-social-distanced workplaces. They will have spent the past few weeks unemployed, collecting unemployment because they've been laid off at the choice of their employer (at the direction of the State).

Now, without requiring workplaces to be adapted for social distancing, Ohio is asking for workers to go back to potentially dangerous, un-social-distanced workplaces. The workers refusing to go back into work are doing so, in their opinion, because their employer is refusing to provide a safe workplace, and thus are unemployed at the behest of their employer until such time as the employer wishes to provide a safe workplace for them to return to. This is (perhaps) a valid reason to continue collecting unemployment. The lockdown certainly implied that workplaces that could not provide social distancing were unsafe, and thus that was a valid reason for their initial unemployment.

Ohio are saying that it's not a valid reason and that by refusing to return to an unsafe workplace the employee has quit voluntarily.

From there, I suppose it's really up to the reader whether they think it's an employer's duty to provide a reasonably SARS-CoV-2 workplace.

In second place, it's That One Guy on the subject of America's efforts to keep COVID-19 vaccine data locked up:

'Oh no, is the floor okay?'

Thing is, if they are trying to get that data I can't really find it in myself to get upset. We're talking about a data related to a global pandemic, data that should be shared freely in order to better address the mounting death toll, not locked up to protect company profits or used to score political points.

When lives are literally on the line and the body count is already massive anyone who looks at that and thinks 'How can I use this for my benefit?' absolutely deserves to get slapped down, and if that includes governments then so be it.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from Stephen T. Stone building on the first place winning comment:

Ain’t no maybe about it, baby. If an employer says an employee must return to the job, but refuses to offer anything in the way of safety protocols/PPE that will reasonably protect the employee from COVID-19, that employee has a good goddamn reason to collect unemployment. Anyone who thinks otherwise should look at the current number of COVID-19 cases — and deaths — as the best justification for the paranoia around working during a global pandemic.

Next, it's Thad digging into the differences between the Streisand Effect and what Devin Nunes is doing:

No, this is different.

The Streisand Effect is when someone tries to cover up something they don't want people to know and calls more attention to it in the process.

That's not what Nunes is trying to do. This is once of a series of performative lawsuits designed with a couple of purposes in mind:

  • Feed a victim narrative during an election year -- "look at how these evil liberals have targeted me; please donate to my reelection campaign."

  • Intimidate his critics. Even though these lawsuits are meritless, they're going to be expensive and bothersome to the defendants, and will make other small press outlets think twice before they criticize him.

He's not actually trying to suppress these stories. He's only pretending to.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is dan8mx with a question about Richard Burr's seized phone:


He promptly unlocked his phone and removed the passcode upon upon being asked for it by law enforcement I trust?

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone responding to Jeffrey Katzenberg's comment about the "hundreds of people" using Quibi:

Jeffrey may have revealed more about Quibi than he meant to reveal with that.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of nods to Thad again, who was in a quoting mood with sharp instincts it seems. First, there's a response to the question of who in their right mind would hire Richard Liebowitz:

The only export of NowWhat is the NowWhattian boghog skin, which no one in their right minds would want to buy because it's thin and very leaky, and the export trade only manages to survive because of the significant number of people in the Galaxy who are not in their right minds.
- Douglas Adams

And next, another response to Katzenberg and Quibi, this time in the form of a popular meme cited as simple text, but which I have replaced here with the real deal:

That's all for this week, folks!

20 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 16 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: May 10th - 16th

from the week-by-week dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the backlash was coming in to the appeals court ruling that put a dent in NSA surveillance, with politicians crying foul in response as they hoped to spy on more Americans, while the EFF saw the ruling as reason enough to withdraw its support for the now-worse USA Freedom Act — which nevertheless overwhelmingly passed the Housea big fight in the Senate. Meanwhile, a new "he forgot about it" excuse appeared regarding James Clapper's lies, while the government was showing off its inconsistent treatment of leakers and whistleblowers.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, music publishers were still trying to squeeze cash out of lyrics websites, the RIAA successfully got a court to rule that LimeWire was guilty of contributory infringement, and the producers of The Hurt Locker were gearing up for their infamous barrage of copyright lawsuits. A brief in the Viacom/YouTube trial tried to rewrite the DMCA, while Brazil rejected the idea of its own DMCA-style notice-and-takedown system.

This was also the week that the freshly-launched "Humble Indie Games Bundle" was blowing up the charts (I actually missed the launch of the bundle the previous week, because we covered it with such a low-key headline when it still wasn't clear how big a deal it would become). By the end of the week it had hit a million sales and it was starting to become clear that it was a big deal, though few might have guessed it would still be going strong today.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the Senate passed the Iraq appropriations bill that also had a tacked-on problem in the form of the Real ID Act, which looked likely to end up making identity theft easier, and immediately became the target of brewing legal challenges. Following the FCC's recent rejection of the broadcast flag the previous week, the MPAA was looking to legislate it back into existence, while a minor ruling in the Napster investment lawsuit included an important detail about what qualifies as "distribution" for copyright purposes. And it was starting to look like there might be a little resistance among federal agencies to the idea of being Hollywood's personal copyright cops.

7 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 10 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-cows-come-home dept

This week, we've got a double-winner on the insightful side with Thad taking both the top spots. In first place, it's a simple, often-useful reply to (in this instance) Amazon's ability to take away movies people have "bought":

Pirates, as always, are unaffected.

In second place, it's a longer debunking of another comment making some silly assertions about COVID-19:

Well, okay. First of all, it's pretty clear you haven't actually read any of those links you just provided.

Some of your sources are pretty questionable: your first link is a video of something called "The Fat Emperor Podcast". You're fucking joking, right?

And some of your sources are reliable but don't actually say anything about COVID-19. That Mayo Clinic link has nothing to do with vitamin D's effect on respiratory illness; it's about bone disease.

Now, a handful of your links do appear to be legit, and several of them do seem to make a reasonable case that there's a correlation between vitamin D deficiency, likelihood of getting COVID-19 and other similar respiratory diseases, and having worse cases of them when infected.

As such, you may well be right that people should be taking vitamin D to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and other types of illness.

However, you are speaking about it as if it were some kind of miracle drug. It isn't. It may well be more effective than remdesivir (which may not be effective at all), but it's not a vaccine. It may reduce your likelihood of getting COVID-19, and it may reduce the severity of the disease if you do get it. Those are certainly good things, and vitamin D has other health benefits besides.

But I think you're greatly overstating your case when you say "vit D, vit C, zinc combo is already, well proven, in countless places around the world, to be effective against not only CV19, but regular flu."

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous comment about how not every business closure can be blamed on the coronavirus, but a lot will be:

SARS-CoV-2 will be the scapegoat for unrelated failures for years to come. If there was a stock ticker I could invest in for "things SARS-CoV-2 had nothing to do with but was blamed for anyway" this would be the time to go long.

Next, it's Tim R responding to the neverending attacks on Google News:

Even if Google News were monetized, he makes it sound like Google is in competition with newspapers, trying to wipe them out. It's a news aggregator. It aggregates news. Without the newspapers and other online media, Google News doesn't exist. It's in their best interest for online properties to be successful. And there's no better way to do that than sending them traffic. You know, that very metric that any other advertising web site on the planet treats like gold.

Over on the funny side, we've got a one-two punch regarding the possible legal fees and sanctions looming over Devin Nunes and his lawyer, with the first quip coming from an anonymous commenter:

Oh boy!
Nunes is going to have a cow.

Not to be out done, another anonymous commenter won second place with a reply:

Maybe he'll finally put these cases out to pasture.

And for completion's sake, the first editor's choice on the funny side goes to Samuel Abram for continuing the riff:

Good point. After all, he's milked those cases for all they're worth…

And last but not least, pivoting to the subject of a Texas appeals court brushing off Section 230, we've got That Anonymous Coward with a pretty scathing jab:

If Facebook had shown up with a badge would the Judges have understood immunity then?

That's all for this week, folks!

30 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 9 May 2020 @ 1:25pm

This Week In Techdirt History: May 3rd - 9th

from the and-then-and-then dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was overshadowed in some circles by the resultant fight between Hollywood and Periscope streaming, which quickly led to a worryingly broad restraining order. Meanwhile, the new IP Czar kicked off his tenure with a very concerning speech, the EU was examining whether linking to infringing material is infringing, and Keurig was cautiously backing down from its foray into coffee DRM. We also saw an important win in one appeals court with a ruling that the NSA's bulk records collection was not authorized by the PATRIOT act, but a loss in another circuit with a ruling saying that warrantless phone tracking falls under the third party doctrine and doesn't violate the 4th amendment.

Finally, in the midst of a lockdown, while Fortnite launches a no-combat mode and folks who play Animal Crossing are engaged in a sweeping economic drama over the price of virtual turnips, it seems like high time to revisit this post about the "video game" being replaced with the "living game world".

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Congress was busy wrestling over exactly which digital technologies its members are allowed to use, we were questioning why warrantless wiretapping is even necessary when warrant requests never get rejected, and the latest already-ruined attempt at patent reform entering new territory, a Rupert Murdoch property was yet again caught hypocritically engaging in evil "aggregation", and a UK court ruled that sports schedules could somehow be covered by copyright. This was also the week the FCC finally gave the unfortunate go-ahead for selectable output control.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, a mystery patent buyer who prevented a bunch of patents from falling into the hands of Intellectual Ventures was revealed to be Novell making a defensive move. AOL flagged a bunch of official government emergency alerts as spam and tried to awkwardly stand by the error. Opponents of open source were latching onto the silly idea that it's somehow illegal, while fans of DRM were latching onto the equally silly idea that it could be made universal, interoperable, and effective. And the MPAA had somehow convinced the Boy Scouts in Hong Kong to start offering up a new intellectual property badge for scouts who sufficiently absorb Hollywood propaganda.

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Posted on Techdirt - 3 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the from-six-feet-away dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from James Burkhardt in response to someone questioning our use of "OK, Landlord" in reference to copyright holders:

You've missed the forest for the trees there my friend.

As used in this article, Landlord is being used to describe a property owner who extracts passive rents from the use of their property. This can, as you point out, describe most ways of extracting passive rents even when we aren't discussing land. But in the US landlords aren't nobility either, but we still call them landlords. In the same way, a property management company could be called property rental service, like a car rental service, but we've made artificial distinctions between the passive income generated by the exploitation of land versus transportation. Income generated by exploiting the use of property are described as rents.

The rhetorical point of calling them landlords is that while copyright holders claim they own property, they generally ascribe what they own as the content, rather than the rights to exploit the content. And when you describe income derived from those rights as rents and the holder as a landlord, you cast the lie to the claim that what they own is the content rather than the right to exploit the content in specific ways. Active Income is not generated from the content itself or its copyrights, but into the utilization of the content. Copyrights provide a passive rent income, taxing those who wish to utilize the content. The point of calling them landlords is not to suggest they are nobility who owns land, but to suggest they are rent seeking - having secured or developed some content (land) they now looking for rents for its use, rather than exploit the work directly.

In second place, we've got PaulT adding a corollary detail to the commonly-mentioned fact that Disney's success is built on mining the public domain:

Always worth sharing.

It's also worth sharing the origins of Star Wars - Lucas originally wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, but after being refused the licence went on to create a script that openly plagiarised not only that source, but also Akira Kurosawa movies, world war dogfight movies and various other sources.

If Disney's demands were based in reality, they wouldn't legally have the products they're trying to protect to begin with.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous commenter responding to MIT Tech Review's attacks on Silicon Valley's technological innovation:

Since Rotman doesn't understand that not all knowledge transfers between fields, somebody should say something along the lines of this to him:

"You write articles, right? Well you need to go code a video game now."

Next, it's That One Guy responding to AMC Theaters pouting and threatening not to carry Universal movies over comments about eliminating release windows:

A telling tantrum

If the only way a theater can compete with viewing at home is if people have to go to theaters for the first few months to see a new movie then they have essentially admitted that their product is so utterly crap/overpriced that the only way they can stay in business is if people have no other choice.

Restaurants and fast food places stay in business just fine despite the fact that people can buy food and cook at home because those stores add value, whether that be cooking more complex dishes that people might struggle with or simply removing the hassle of cooking. If theaters aren't offering enough to offset the price then that's kinda on them/the studios for making the deal so poor that it's not worth the cost, and the solution to that is to add value or reduce the costs so that it's actually a good alternative for people, not desperately try to hamstring the alternative and show just how rubbish even the people running theaters think their product is.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is a rare case where it's not entirely clear if the anonymous comment (responding to our post about an increase in bad patent approvals) was meant as a joke, but it certainly racked up the funny votes:

Or maybe patent attorneys are writing more detailed and better claims that are not abstract.

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone responding to Disney's bizarre attempt to force Twitter users to agree to the Disney terms of service if they tweet about Star Wars:

Only a Sith deals in copyright.

As good as that is, an anonymous quip about the same story is, I think, even better, and thus our first editor's choice for funny:

Just pray they don't alter the deal any further.

And finally, we've got an anonymous response to Mike's 50,000th Techdirt post:

Clearly you’re just a shill for Big Number.

That's all for this week, folks!

14 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 2 May 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: April 26th - May 2nd

from the temporal-distancing dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we learned more about one of the NSA's sweeping but useless surveillance programs, and about the stunning lack of oversight when the CIA wants to drone-strike people. But we weren't learning more about the TPP, since it was secret, even though President Obama was demanding critics explain what was wrong with the agreement they weren't allowed to see (just as a UN expert was saying that secret trade negotiations are a threat to human rights). Tom Friedman, meanwhile, was maybe going just a little overboard in advocating for the deal.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the UK Labour Party was yet again caught apparently infringing on copyright with a campaign poster while also being the champions of the Digital Economy Bill and its draconian copyright rules. They claimed "innocent error" — a defense notably absent from their own law. In the US, a worrying bill was pushing to extend DMCA-style takedowns to "personal information", while Twitter was taking down a lot of tweets over bogus DMCA claims, and an appeals court upheld a hugely problematic ruling about who counts as a journalist.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, Wal-Mart was making a hilariously late second-entry into the online music store market, while Disney was backing down from a video-on-demand offering that I suppose counts as a distant ancestor to Disney Plus. Nathan Myhrvold was mixing up innovation and invention with Intellectual Ventures, while the head of the Patent Office was floating some very bad ideas about reform, even as companies like Intel were getting vocal about the problem of patent trolls.

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Posted on Techdirt - 29 April 2020 @ 1:28pm

New Gear By Techdirt: OK, Landlord

from the well-deserved-eyeroll dept

Get your OK, Landlord gear
from our store on Threadless »

Yesterday, we wrote about law professor Brian Frye's deployment of the phrase "ok, landlord" and its success in riling up copyright holders who, usually, are insistent that copyrighted content should be treated just like property. We liked the idea so much that we figured it ought to be on a t-shirt — and so now it is, among other things!

OK, Landlord t-shirts, hoodies, buttons, notebooks, and many other pieces of gear are now available on Threadless, where you can also find our Copying Is Not Theft gear. All profits support Techdirt, and irritate copyright maximalists!

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Posted on Techdirt - 26 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the social-contact dept

This week, both our winners on the insightful side come in response to one particular comment from Australia's treasurer about the country forcing Google and Facebook to pay news organizations for sending them traffic, which he described as something that will "help to create a level playing field". Anonymous Anonymous Coward took first place with a baffled refutation:

It's our game, we make the rules, till Google quits that is.

If they want a level playing field, wouldn't all the players need to be playing the same game? Google doesn't write news articles, the media organizations do. The media organizations don't run search engines, Google does. Those seem like different games to me. It's more like cricket and croquet.

I am not sure why Facebook is even in the conversation except they have a lot of money and apparently some of their users post things about subjects that also wind up on media organizations sites. Does Facebook actually post snippets from media organizations? Or is it that users post snippets? If the latter is the case, how is that Facebook's fiscal responsibility?

And an anonymous commenter took second place with a simple prediction:

No, it will force Google to pull out of Australia and bankrupt Australian news orgs for lack of traffic.

There must be something in the air down under. Their politicians seem outright stupid.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with Richard M, who had a response to the claim that there's some wisdom in the government censoring COVID-19 messaging to avoid "panic":

There is a huge difference between creating panic and following the science rather than politics.

Political leaders who hide the truth from its citizens never do it for the good of those citizens. It is always for the good of the political leaders who are lying and hiding the truth.

Every single decision Trump has made during this outbreak has been politically motivated rather than what is good for the country. That is poorly motivated and there really is no honest way to spin this as "Trump has been making decisions based on what is good for the country".

The sad thing is that he has completely miscalculated the political and economic side of things. Nobody (or at least very few) are blaming Trump for the virus coming to America. It is his response that is the problem.

If instead of trying to downplay, ignore, and hide what was happening he had attacked it like South Korea both the political and economic outcome would have been much better. If we had numbers anything like SK or Germany his approval rating would be extremely high right now compared to what he now has which is low and getting lower.

However he responded exactly like he would do when running his companies, hiding the bad information as long as he could hoping he would be able to fix the problem before it became public. This is what he has done his whole life though to be fair he is not the only businessman to work this way, he has a lot of company when it comes to that mindset.

The problem is that this a horrible way to run a country in general and especially one in our current situation. It is the exact opposite of what he should be doing which has killed tens of thousands of people with many more deaths on the way.

Next, we've got hij pointing out one of the big holes in Ajit Pai's implication that killing net neutrality made it possible to keep the internet alive during the pandemic:

No mention about access?

Mr. Pai is conveniently ignoring the students who were sent home but are struggling to keep up with their classes because they lack access to broadband. Students who cannot get access at home have been forced to go to public places and expose themselves and their families. Students should not be forced to rely on Chik Fil A to complete their school work.

https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/rural-students-without-doing-school-work-chick-fil-parki ng-lot/n4Fu1cVrDHghJnPUxxijjO/

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is wshuff, who rightfully wasn't going to let the story of former NASCAR boss Brian France suing a parody twitter account pass without noting the coincidental name of the defendant:

It is at least nice to finally see John Steele on the right side of a lawsuit.

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone whose wish has more or less come true regarding China's government accusing Twitter (which is banned in the country) of disrespecting free speech:

Can we nominate the statement from the Chinese Embassy for a Funniest Comment of the Week award?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment defending the "net neutrality saved the internet" crowd:

not coincidence at all!

The facts advocates of net neutrality don't want you to know:

--Net neutrality causes mutations that increase the risks of 17 separate forms of cancer or carcinoma.

--Net neutrality exacerbates global warming. Seas (and most lakes larger than 146 km sq.) would be boiling for 3 months out of every year, most of Florida would be rendered uninhabitable, and fall fashion lines would suffer significant sales drops, leading to unemployed marketers in major cities (and unemployed 6-cent-per-hour sweatshop sweatshirt factories in tropical countries). Atlantic City would become a tourist attraction.

--Net neutrality is one of four preconditions for the rise of Chthulhu; the other three conditions are imminent in isolated communities across the U.S.; and there are already 17 communities where two conditions are simultaneously present.

--Net neutrality could force Mickey Mouse and Rapsody in Blue into the public domain. Creative artists everywhere would contract tuberculosis and die starving in the streets. People who couldn't read both words and music would be locked out of performing gigs and forced to seek careers in politics.

But science is hard, and people don't want to hear the truth, so they just read those blogs that whinge on and on about how many legs is good or bad. It's enough to make you want to take up basketweaving or flintknapping as a career.

And finally, it's Wyrm with a comment about the Canadian publishing group that wants its own Google tax:

Google: "No problem, we can pay you. 1 cent per link? 1 dollar per link? 100 dollars per link? No problem. However, you should expect the number of links to be zero. Have a nice day."

That's all for this week, folks!

9 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 25 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: April 19th - 25th

from the those-were-the-days dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, Sony was once again warning the media not to report on leaked emails — and they even sent a letter to Techdirt, to which we publicly responded — while MPAA boss Chris Dodd was implying that the US should go after Wikileaks for publishing them. Perhaps because the emails revealed things like how the MPAA pirated clips from Google commercials to make its own propaganda videos, and strategized about how to "tell the positive side" of internet censorship. Meanwhile, major record labels were trying to get SOPA by the back door, via a lawsuit against MP3Skull, and the war on owning-what-you-buy was being waged on fronts from GM vehicles to DVDs.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, since everyone had already seen ACTA after the full text leaked, the USTR decided it was time to release it. The revised text was only slightly less awful than expected, and of course was missing one piece of information that would have been especially interesting: what each country was pushing for.

Also this week in 2010: Google began releasing stats on info and takedown requests from governments, a look at piracy stats showed the UK ones to be just as bogus as US ones and revealed that the MPAA unsurprisingly refused to share details on how it collected its numbers, and the Canadian entertainment industry was launching a new media campaign to push for draconian copyright laws.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, Verizon's CEO was deftly responding to consumer demands by complaining about the very fact that customers want any kind of service at all, while the ISP war on VoIP was bringing more companies in more countries into the fray, as was the recording industry's war on lyrics websites. We took a closer look at the entertainment industry's relationship with federal law enforcement, Microsoft's weak-sauce attempts to keep Encarta competitive with Wikipedia, and the latest impossible promise of perfect DRM (coming just as other providers of copy protection software got locked in a patent battle). This was also the week that Adobe bought Macromedia.

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Posted on Techdirt - 19 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-word-is dept

This week, our first and second place winner on the insightful side is PaulT, on our post about the pro-Trump 12-year-old who was told that people calling him a defender of racism and sexual assault is protected speech. One commenter asserted that this means these terms have lost all meaning and can be lobbed at anyone you don't like, and Paul put that notion to bed:

You do know that Trump was sued several times for the former and one of the most famous parts of his campaign was him openly admitting to the latter, right?

Yes, words do lose meaning when the person displaying himself as being well defined by them faces no consequences from doing so, but that has nothing to do with the media showing you that person's own words.

For second place, it's Paul's prior comment with thoughts on the same post:

"In one popular clip, C.M. called Hillary Clinton “deplorable.”"

Well, that is the level of insight and originality I'd expect from whoever pushed him into this...

"They’re calling Donald Trump a psychopath. They say he’s mentally unfit"

...and he's done nothing since the day of his election to disprove that, and seems to be getting steadily worse. I wonder how the 22 million unemployed confirmed today feel about his fitness for office as he ensures his name is on their pity cheques that might keep them fed for a few weeks while he sneaks in more tax breaks for the rich.

"It was this interview -- along with C.M.'s interview with Alex Jones"

How am I now shocked by that association? Did Dan and Jordan do an episode? I'll have to track it down.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous comment about the French government forcing Google to pay newspapers for sending them traffic:

I have no sympathy. Zero. Any company that doesn't want to show up in Google search results, or have a snippet shown, just has to set a flag. The news agencies want to get paid rather than pay for something which they claim is essential to their survival. (I mean, in the aggregate search results are essential for Google too, so it seems the current price of "free" is about correct once you take the monopoly power out of it.)

From the linked article:

Google may have treated in the same way, economic actors with different situations outside of any objective justification, and therefore of having implemented a discriminatory practice.

Discrimination by treating them the same! I wonder if this makes more sense in the original French.

Next, it's Thad with a response to a common oversimplification about congress:

FFS, spare me on the "everyone in Congress is the same" crap. There are good people in Congress and there are bad people in Congress.

There are deep and serious problems with money in politics, and they go deeper than partisan divisions. But this tedious bullshit about how everyone in Congress is alike is both wrong and lazy.

Maybe you're the one who should be reading up on your representation in Congress and their specific strengths and weaknesses. There is, after all, an election in November, and you've probably got a House seat and possibly a Senate seat to vote for. To say nothing of down-ballot offices.

But actually familiarizing yourself with who's sitting and who's running and who's taking money from where is a lot more work than painting 535 people with the same broad brush.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is another comment from Thad on our post about an unexpected tweet-thread from Steak-umm:

I think we've already established Trump doesn't know how to sell steak.

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with another comment on the post about the 12-year-old Trump fan:

Roy Moore isn’t a racist and a sex abuser. He’s a Republican.

…whoops, tautology!

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one final nod to Thad, this time for responding to the comment that the 12-year-old does a good Trump impersonation:

That's because Trump does such a good twelve-year-old impersonation.

And finally, we've got a comment from Norahc about our post entitled Senator Tillis Angry At The Internet Archive For Helping People Read During A Pandemic; Archive Explains Why That's Wrong:

You do realize you could have stopped the headline after the first six words, right?

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 18 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: April 12th - 18th

from the let's-reminisce dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the White House was floating the idea of crypto backdoors while the Senate Intelligence Committee was finally deciding it should maybe keep a real eye on the Intelligence Community, and we learned that the Baltimore Police Department had asked the creators of The Wire to not include details about their cellphone surveillance tools. The lawsuits against the FCC's net neutrality rules were pouring in from the usual suspects while Republicans were rushing to kill the rules and Verizon was claiming that nobody really wants unlimited data. We also got a look at some emails from MPAA boss Chris Dodd, revealing the organization's real feelings about fair use (it's bad!) as well as its feelings about giving money to politicians involved in writing copyright law (it's good!)

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Apple was exercising its control over the iPhone ecosystem, a book publisher was trying vainly to exercise control over people ordering books from abroad, and a Japanese newspaper was hoping to exercising control over whether people can link to its website. The TSA admitted that body scanners could save images, the RIAA insisted that musicians can't make money without them, and telcos still maintained that Google was getting a "free ride". This was also the week that an online publication won a Pulitzer for the first time, and the week that the Library of Congress announced it would begin storing tweets.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we took a look at how tricky things were getting in the VoIP space because people were forgetting or ignoring the fact that voice is data. We were pleased to see IBM free up a bunch of patents, but wondered why the New York Times felt that this was so baffling it needed exhaustive explanation. A customer sued Comcast for handing their info over to the RIAA, muni broadband was doing better in some places than people thought, and Google quietly launched its pre-YouTube video offering. Meanwhile, we were shocked-not-shocked to learn things like that people prefer buying cars online and mobile carriers won't make money selling music.

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 April 2020 @ 1:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the isolated-discourse dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That Anonymous Coward with a response to our comment about how copyright filters work:

No this is the way copyright filters work when the law is completely unbalanced in favor of one side.
No penalties for being wrong.
No penalties for lying.
No penalties for assuming everything belongs to you.

Corporations have proven time & time again they can not be trusted. They have lied, claimed the sky is falling and the government keeps rewarding them with larger umbrellas for their actions.

One wonders what would happen if we used the corporations estimates of the damage they might suffer as the basis for an award to people silenced unfairly.

In second place, it's Richard M responding to the the US Navy's firing of a captain who expressed his concerns about the coronavirus:

Chain of Command Problem

I am hearing a lot the he should have done this via his chain of command rather than including others in his letter.

I call bullshit on that one. They only reason he would have sent the letters out was if his superiors were not taking care of the problem.

This is a guy that is charge of a aircraft carrier. That is not a post they give to just anyone, he was a highly regarded carrier officer. There is no way in hell he would just jump out and start sending letters like he did unless the people above him were failing to take care of the situation like they should have.

From what I have read and considering there is probably no evidence one way or the other his superiors were more worried about keeping staffing up than making sure the sailors were safe.

His point about not being at war does seem to be addressing this exact issue. Since we are not currently in a shooting war. Did the navy think having the carrier down for a week or two before they could replace the crew was going to cause some country to attack us? Seriously?

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from Stephen T. Stone about another person getting fired for telling the truth, in this case the Inspector General who brought the Ukraine whistleblower complaint to congress:

If telling the truth about your boss can get you fired, you’re being fired not for telling the truth, but because the boss didn’t want you telling the truth to anybody. That should tell you a lot about the ethics of your boss — and your own ethics, if you choose to play along, and especially if playing along puts lives (including yours) at risk of injury or death.

Next, it's Sok Puppette with a close look at the EARN IT act:

Hmm. It actually may be worse than that, because it appears to apply beyond what you'd think of as "platforms".

The recklessness and "best practices" requirements are applied to all providers of "interactive computer services". The definition of "interactive computer service" is imported by reference from 230. That definition is:

The term "interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

The part about "system... that enables computer access" sweeps in all ISPs and telecommunication carriers, as well as operators of things like Tor nodes. And "access software provider" brings in all software tools and many non-software tools, including open source projects.

Under 230, those broad definitions are innocuous, because they're only used to provide a safe harbor. An ISP or software provider is immunized if it doesn't actually know about or facilitate specific content. No ISP and almost no software provider has any actual knowledge of what passes through or use its service, let alone editing the content or facilitating its creation, so they get the full safe harbor, with minimal or no actual cost to them. And anyway nobody has been after them on 230-ish issues, so including them doesn't hurt.

Under EARN-IT, those same definitions would be used to impose liability, so now those parties actually get burdens from being inside the definition. That's worse than a repeal of 230. It doesn't just remove a safe harbor; it opens an avenue for positive attack.

This commission could decide that it's a "best practice" for ISPs to block all traffic they can't decrypt. Or it could decide that it's a "best practice" not to provide any non-back-doored encryption software to the public, period.

Or, since those might generate too much political backlash at the start, it could start boiling the frog on the slippery slope by, say, deciding that it's a "best practice" not to facilitate meaningfully anonymous communication, effectively outlawing Tor, I2P, and many standard VPN practices.

Then it could start slowly expanding the scope of that, possibly even managing to creep into banning all non-back-doored encryption, without ever making any sudden jump that might cause a sharp public reaction.

Back on the platform side, over time the rules could easily slide from the expected (and unacceptable) "best practice" of not building any strong encryption into your own product, to the even worse "best practice" of trying to identify and refuse to carry anything that might be encrypted. Start by applying it to messaging, then audio/video conferencing, then file storage... and then you have precedents giving you another avenue to push it all the way to ISPs.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous response to someone who thought the signatures on the arrest warrants for reporters that Jerry Falwell Jr. managed to get issued looked a little sloppy:

I could understand how dealing with someone like Falwell could lead one to drink....

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with a response to the red light camera company that says coronavirus is killing its business:

I can sum up exactly how I feel about this news with one emoji: 🎻

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter providing an amusing addendum to the story about paranoid people burning down 5G towers:

The idiots in Birmingham didn't even burn down a 5G cell tower, it only had 2, 3 and 4G.

Finally, we've got one more response to the US Navy situation, which ultimately resulted in the resignation of Acting Secretary Thomas Modly, and while I admit I don't entirely see the connection to the clip that Bobvious linked, I'm enough of a Blackadder fan that I had to include it:

The USS Barbra Streisand

Manned by a Modly crew.


That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 11 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: April 5th - 11th

from the the-style-at-the-time dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we learned that the feds had been tracking international calls for much longer than we thought, via the DEA, for nearly a decade — in a program that would have continued were it not for Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. The discovery led quickly to a lawsuit by the EFF and Human Rights Watch. And speaking of Snowden, this was the week John Oliver famously interviewed him in Russia for a segment about surveillance on his show. We saw some other examples of surveillance too, like the revelation that the Baltimore PD had gone Stingray crazy and was instructed by the FBI to withhold information from the courts, and that the DHS had decided in 2009 that border patrol can search and copy people's devices on a whim.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the patent office hired an economist to add some actual evidence to patent policy, and we wondered if a lot of the problems with software patents could be solved if they hired a team of "obviousness developers" too. We looked at how the DMCA is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech while in the UK, the House of Commons promised to ram through the Digital Economy Bill — and delivered. The whole thing was like a bad joke, and one ISP vowed not to abide by its rules.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we were suggesting that the recording industry seize the opportunity to give people what they want and just sell nice, portable, standard MP3s — but of course, that didn't mean we wanted politicians stupidly stepping in to mandate a single music format. We noted the cultural importance of sharing music, and the fact that the internet is about communication not content. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see the unexpected secondary trends birthed by mobile phones: like watchmakers freaking out and plumbers doing good business fishing phones out of toilets — not to mention fake trends largely manufactured by the media, like "toothing" for sex partners via Bluetooth.

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Posted on Techdirt - 5 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the stay-home,-comment-more dept

This week, both of our winning comments on the insightful side come in response to the news that Jared Kushner's coronavirus task force has been using private email accounts for official business. In first place, it's That One Guy breaking down his reaction:

'Lock... him... up?'

The best case scenario I can think of is this is just hypocritical incompetence, where they're using private email accounts because doing otherwise would take work, and the whole point of nepotism is to avoid that, with it only getting more damning from there such as the potential they are trying to keep the public in the dark because they know full well that something they are doing would not go over well with the public(can't imagine what though, I mean it's not like there's an absolutely staggering pile of money up for grabs...).

Given the point raised in the article about how hard Trump ragged on Hilary for using a private server during the election I don't see that they deserve any 'maybe they just didn't think about it?' benefit of the doubt here, such that the assumption should be the worst case scenario, full blown corruption, until proven otherwise.

In second place, it's PaulT answering one commenter's question about why so few candidates on either side of the aisle actually seem worth voting for:

A combination of the effectively binary system not allowing true independents to have a chance, a primary system that tends to favour the status quo, and a shift to the right politically over the last few decades which means that even a true centrist will appear to be hard left-wing to a lot of people.

Meaning that, if your politics are truly centrist or centre-left there's not really any representation, and you're completely out of luck if you're an actual left-winger. I just hope you realise that a vote is still necessary, even if it's not for your ideal choice.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of responses to the misguided freakout about the Internet Archives enabling more checkouts of ebooks from their library. First up, it's Heather M with a librarian's take:

Libraries and copyright issues.

As a librarian I for one welcome the Archive. In fact I was ecstatic. Our library had to close and it really bugs all of the librarians that we can't provide services people need safely. One idea we had was to continue our storytimes on line. We can't the biggest publishers will only let people do a live event and then we are to delete any recording we've made. How is this helpful how is this even reasonable? Do they think that by restricting us people are going to rush out and buy their books. Newsflash That isn't going to happen. It didn't happen before the new plague and it is sure not happening now. But when people ask why we can't and we tell them why I can guarantee the names of the publishers who did this are going to linger in memory far longer than the memory of a book being read on line.

Next, it's PaulT again with a thought on misleading pleas about authors needing income:

Well, yes, it's clearly an emotional ploy that's not taking into account the wider picture. Typical for these kind of arguments, along the lines of the stereotypical "starving musician", who is often starving because they signed to a label for a 4 album deal who then refuse to release their 2nd one because it's too uncommerical.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Sok Puppette responding to one commenter who decided to defend bad cops after a court smacked them down:

Based on my training and experience, I know that posters of inflammatory and idiotic comments are often trolls. I therefore have a reasonable suspicion that you are a troll.

If you persist in this behavior, I will have probable cause to believe that you are a troll. My training and experience, trolls lurk under bridges and eat children. Based on my awareness that you are a troll, I will fear for my safety and may be forced to discharge my weapon.

If you persist in this course of action, I cannot be responsible for the consequences of your behavior.

In second place, it's That Anonymous Coward responding to the audacity of performance rights organizations trying to get licensing fees from rental car companies:

It finally happened...
After decades of trying to jump the shark, they have now attempted to jump the sharknado.
Our only hope now is that fight each other to the death while we listen to radios without paying them.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment that in fact mostly racked up insightful votes for its reminder that the world of older books is much bigger than classics and money-makers, but I think it deserves a funny nod for how colorfully it illustrated this fact:

You mean those books that have been out of print for 20 years (and only had one printing), are forgotten by used book stores, and were last seen in a box in your uncle's attic beside the stuffed octopus and the box of 1980's tax documents?

Jeez, I didn't think they'd be so upset about the 1994 land survey of Maricopa County water rights, or "Flax and you: the businessman's new threads." Both very good reads when you're out of Ambien.

Finally, it's DannyB wondering about the nomenclature that's often employed by collective licensing organizations:

Something I don't understand?

Why are they called "Collection Societies"?

I thought organizations like this were called "Collection Rackets" and prosecuted.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 4 April 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: March 29th - April 4th

from the that-rings-a-bell dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, in what was not an April Fool's joke, President Obama signed a silly cybersecurity executive order that amounted to little more than an empty threat, while raising some concerning questions. Meanwhile, in the TV world, analysts were still happily pretending cord-cutting doesn't exist and doing their part for an entire industry in denial (to the point cable companies would throw tantrums when forced to offer a la carte channels). We also took a look at how the TPP could be used to undermine free speech, and a ridiculous ruling in Ireland that required ISPs to kick accused filesharers off the internet.

Ten Years Ago

There were a couple of huge rulings this week in 2010. In one, the district court in the Myriad Genetics case ruled that patents on isolated genes are invalid, in a decision that would have a widespread impact. In another unrelated but equally monumental ruling, a court said the Bush administration broke the law with warrantless wiretaps.

Meanwhile, a huge wave of automated copyright shakedown lawsuits hit the US, the EU was putting the pressure on Canada to change its IP laws, the Olympic Committee was already hard at work securing its sweeping powers in Vancouver for 2012, and Sony made a lot of people very angry and ruined a lot of cool projects by removing the ability to install other operating systems on the PS3.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years earlier in 2005, Sony was on the receiving end of a sudden disruption when a judge ruled that the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 infringed on patents and could not be sold in the US, while over on the Sony Music side, the boss was asking the Supreme Court to step in and stop piracy (the very real chilling effects of the entertainment industry's stance on Grokster weren't getting it done). Librarians and hobbyists were stepping up to oppose the broadcast flag, ISPs were practically begging to be regulated by blocking VoIP usage, and Verizon was blaming the entertainment industry for its decision to cripple Bluetooth on phones.

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Posted on Techdirt - 29 March 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the say-some-more dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is virusdetected with some predictions about the future of the unicorn licensing lawsuit that a judge forcefully deferred:

This case is likely to be a fantasy, too

Determining what merchandise is infringing will require incredibly painful analysis. An Amazon search for "unicorn merchandise" yields over 1,000 hits. A similar Google search produces too many hits to be worth counting. The artist's trademark isn't exactly crisp (neither are her images) and it's unclear what, exactly, she copyrighted. References to unicorns seem to date back to the 4th century B.C. and subsequent descriptions and illustrations cover pretty much every imaginable variant of a four-legged animal with a single horn. This feels just as shady as some of the music copyright disputes ("sorta sounds like" == "sorta looks like"). The judge has exhibited far more patience that the "damn fool" attorney deserved.

In second place, we've got Igualmente69 with some thoughts on one of the RIAA's favorite legal strategies:

"that the DMCA actually requires internet access providers to completely kick users off upon the receipt of multiple (unproven) claims of copyright infringement."

If this is correct, then it is another part of the DMCA that is unconstitutional. The government mandating punishment without judicial determination of guilt blatantly violates the guarantee of due process.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with Bt Garner who has a question for the Houston police chief who wants to prosecute false statements about COVID-19, first amendment be damned:

How far up?

There have been some wildly inaccurate statements from the top of the US government, wonder if he wants to investigate those falsehoods too?

Next, we've got wereisjessicahyde with an observation about Adam Mossoff's argument that longer patents are needed to incentivize the development of coronavirus vaccines:

The 3rd sentence of his own piece reads...

"Biotech companies are racing to develop these vital drugs at record speed with massive investments of time and money"

... so it's pretty clear not even he believes his bullshit.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is David with another response to the unicorn dispute:

Well, Judge,

if due to your inaction unicorns are extinct next year, you will be the reason for it.

Frankly, I'm fed up with those buggers anyway.

In second place, it's DannyB with a question about Jonas Salk choosing not to patent the polio vaccine:

But what incentive would he have without a patent?

If he didn't get a patent, then what could possibly explain why he would develop such a vaccine? What incentive could there possibly be other than unbridled greed? It doesn't make cents.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with That One Guy getting sarcastic about AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's record compensation:

Makes sense

I mean it takes some real skill to lead a company that lost literally millions of subscribers and tens of thousands of employees, so it's no wonder they gave him millions more in pay than the last year, that kind of talent is clearly worth the pay to keep around.

And finally, for those of you who follow law Twitter and, especially, Techdirt friend Ken White aka Popehat, it's Tim R latching on to one particular detail in our post about the Baltimore cop facing criminal charges for stealing three kilos of cocaine:

"It's former leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, is serving a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges."

I guess it really is RICO every once in a while.

That's all for this week, folks!

5 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 28 March 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: March 22nd - 28th

from the back-to-the-past dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, while AT&T was changing its story on Title II classification when it protected AT&T, the first legal challenges to net neutrality rules were filed, and the State of Tennessee was fighting the FCC to be able to block muni-broadband. We got a look at the extremely concerning rules in the leaked corporate sovereignty portion of the TPP agreement, and learned more about how the USTR bullied other countries into extending copyright, while the copyright industry was still pushing for stricter rules in Australia. On the brighter side, copyright troll Perfect 10 was ordered to pay $5.6 million over a bogus lawsuit.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Viacom was using its legal battle with YouTube to brazenly pretend the DMCA requires proactive filtering, while Hollywood was still parroting made up facts about piracy that the AP happily parroted, and one lawyer in a criminal copyright trial was pushing back on casual use of the term "piracy", on the basis that it's prejudicial. We learned that the ACTA agreement was set to cover not just copyright and trademarks, but seven areas of intellectual property, while EU negotiators continued to insist it would move forward and there was nothing to worry about — though reports from the field suggested that negotiations weren't going so well. The full ACTA draft was leaked midway through the week, and it was full of all the troubling stuff we expected and more, raising serious constitutional questions.

Fifteen Years Ago

In 2005, there was still an idea floating around that you could cause an explosion by using a mobile phone at the gas pump, which Mythbusters dispelled this week. List spam was on the rise while classic spam was apparently still working, and phishing was looking unnecessary given how easily people would give up personal info. And screensavers were still a thing — and a vector for malware.

We were watching the actions of newly-minted MPAA boss Dan Glickman, and his big idea seemed to be just telling people not to tape movies and, bafflingly, to make the movie industry more like the IRS. But at least he had the help of the FBI, which was ramping up its role as Hollywood's private enforcer.

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