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Toronto, Canada


Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 1 December 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 264: A More Competitive Web, With Cory Doctorow & Daphne Keller

from the different-framings dept

This week, we're having another conversation about how more decentralized, interoperable, and competitive systems could help restore the original promise of the open web — and this time around we've got a pair of guests with perspectives that are related to, but distinct from, the protocols, not platforms idea that we talk about so much. Author Cory Doctorow has been discussing adversarial interoperability or competitive compatibility, while Stanford's Daphne Keller has been proposing magic APIs, and both join this week's episode to discuss what all these things are, how they differ and relate, and how they could save the web.

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 - 30 November 2020 @ 12:35pm

Get 25% Off CIA: Collect It All, The Real CIA Training Game Recreated By Techdirt

from the sale-time dept

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All
with the code HOLIDAY2020 »

In 2018, we launched a Kickstarter to fund CIA: Collect It All, our recreation of a real declassified card game that the CIA used to train analysts. Today, we're running our second annual holiday sale, offering you 25% off boxed copies of the game with the coupon code HOLIDAY2020.

CIA: Collect It All is a tactical card game with over 170 cards representing global crises, intelligence gathering techniques, and unexpected obstacles to an analyst's job. It includes a set of rules for playing the game the way it was played for CIA training, and a new set of alternate rules that turn it into an improvisational storytelling game. In addition to the boxed game, you can also get the print-and-play PDFs for free or any price you name, and make your own copy!

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All
with the code HOLIDAY2020 »

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

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the takesgiving dept

This week, That One Guy took both top spots on the insightful side, winning first place with a response to Sherwin-Williams very stupidly firing the employee who made paint mixing cool on TikTok:

'... Wait, where did that sales spike go?'

'This man is making videos of our products and driving a ton of positive attention to them, what should we do?'

'Fire him, how dare he think of stealing our product for his personal gain!'

'He's not only paying for all of what he's using he's donating it to charity afterwards, providing double the PR gain for us.'

'Did you just suggest that I was wrong about something?

'Nope, I'll get right on firing him for his impertinence.'

In second place, it's his response to the court denying immunity to cops who beat and tased an unresisting man to death:

The rule stands: 'Only call the cops if you want someone dead'

That this even needed to be said shows how utterly corrupt and horrifying the US legal system is. There is video evidence of half a dozen thugs with badges either beating, tasing and ultimately murdering someone suffering a psychotic break or sitting back and watching while that went on and it had to be explicitly ruled that no, that does not fall under acceptable police behavior which means that yes, they can be tried and potentially face consequences for their actions.

Good on the judge for not falling for the legal abomination that is qualified immunity, but the fact that a case this damning even needed a circuit judge to rule on it shows just how utterly vile the law has become and how insanely privileged and protected police are from even the chance of consequences for their actions. With a corpse to point to, testimony of the store owner and video evidence of what took place this should have been the shortest murder trial in history, rather than something that higher courts needed to weigh in on and that still needs to go to court.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got two more comments from that first post, including a followup from That One Guy. But first, commenter jonr arrived with an important update:

Yay for Florida Paints

And there's an update: In a video just posted to his account, Anthony says he has now been hired by the company Florida Paints and will be moving to Florida to help make their paint cool. So there's at least one paint company that gets it.

...Which prompted this rejoinder from our dominant insightful winner of the week:

'First our sales tank, now theirs is spiking, what's going on?'

Oh that is just too good, not only did Sherwin-Williams fire someone who was providing great PR for their brand but they ended up driving him directly into a competitor's arms in the process, leaving nothing but bad PR for them as the new employer gets all of the good.

Whatever exec made the decision to fire him really needs to be shown the door post-haste, as while it may be too late to recover from this fumble with 'leadership' like that they're going to 'lead' the company straight into bankruptcy.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Beefcake with another comment on that same post, summing up the situation thusly:


Paint saint complaint restraint attaint.

Update: Aquaint

In second place, it's an anonymous comment about Parler that may have been intended as a joke but was more likely just so-stupid-you-have-to-laugh — garnering it plenty of reports and a whole lot of funny votes:

Parler is a free speech capitalist platform providing a good safe space using moderation, based off the FCC and the SCOTUS
Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are Marxist platforms, providing bad safe space using communist censorship.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of other comments on that post. First up, it's a observer with a direct response to that winning comment, pointing out one of the most obvious ways that it's very dumb:

Yes, the multi-billion dollar private corporations are /checks notes/ Marxists. Do you even look up the words you use before typing them?

Next, it's TheResidentSkeptic with a response to one particular piece of phrasing in our post, in which we suggested Parler is learning the same lessons that Twitter has learned:

Wanna Bet?

"... Parler is learning ..."

Methinks you give them too much credit...

That's all for this week, folks!

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

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

from the timelines dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the attacks on encryption continued, with David Cameron's former speechwriter publishing an incredibly dumb article in the Telegraph and Dianne Feinstein contradicting her month-old fearmongering about cybersecurity with demands for encryption backdoors — while a supposed ISIS encryption manual that people had been freaking out about turned out to be a guide for journalists. Meanwhile, we learned about widespread illegal wiretaps by police in California, and that reports of the end of NSA domestic email collection were incorrect — and, long before he was the Supreme Court's most prominent alleged rapist, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was offering up a strident defense of the NSA's bulk metadata collection.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the TSA was on everyone's minds thanks to its still-new naked scanners, which suddenly had the support of the president after he traveled with the CEO of a company that makes them. Some were trying to find out if the TSA had ever actually caught a terrorist, and being told it's a state secret, while the stories of incredibly invasive and demeaning searches for people who don't get scanned continued to flood in. One airport tried to claim that recording the TSA's gropings was an arrestable offense, and the agency's attempt to demonstrate to congress that the searches are fine completely backfired — and Homeland Security investigators were discovering that TSA agents weren't even good at spotting prohibited items in the scans.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we continued to watch the fallout from the Sony rootkit fiasco, with anti-virus firms trying to explain why their products couldn't catch it and the state of Texas filing a lawsuit against Sony, all while the label's sales plummeted and got it in hot water with many of its artists. TiVo was trying to thread the needle with a new offering that included copy protection but it unsurprisingly wasn't enough to stop TV executives from threatening to sue. And finally, for anyone who is currently trying to get their hands on a next-gen console, enjoy this fifteen-year-old post about people paying thousands for Xbox 360 consoles on eBay.

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Posted on Techdirt - 22 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the whatcha-sayin? dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That One Guy with a response to the UK politician who launched the "Infotagion" fact-checking service and called for social media companies to start blocking disinformation with his help:

No no no you wannabe dictator it's called The Ministry of Truth, you can at least get the gorram name right if you're going to rip off the rest of the book.

In second place, it's an anonymous comment summing up the general frustration a lot of us feel regarding the Senate's attitude about Section 230:

It frustrates me to no end that these people:

A. Scapegoat 230 to hide the fact they have a problem with free speech.

B. Are using said section to try and distract from their utter failure to provide their constituents ANY sort of relief aid or help of any kind.

It's amazing that in a time where there's a pandemic, record unemployment, high body counts due to said pandemic, a housing crisis just to name a few, they're focused on carving up Section 230.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous response to someone asking what the harm is in Disney's abuse of copyright:

Announce that you are going to create an animated movie based on the works of Rudyard Kipling, and watch how fast you get a threatening letter from Disney's lawyers

Next, it's Thad reacting to GitHub and the EFF pushing back against the youtube-dl takedown with a note for another platform:

See, Twitch? This is how you do it.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Bloof with a response to someone who insisted their opinion will "not be swayed" when it comes to Trump firing Chris Krebs after the latter debunked claims of election fraud:

'My feelings don't care about your facts!'

In second place, it's Thad with a good ol' Simpsons reference in response to the aforementioned UK politician's impossible content moderation demands:

Agnes Skinner: I want everything in one bag.
Squeaky-Voiced Teen: Yes, ma'am.
Agnes: But I don't want the bag to be heavy.
SVT: I don't think that's possible.
Agnes: What are you, the Possible Police?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Dave and another comment about the youtube-dl pushback:

It was at this moment the RIAA knew…

…it EFF-ed up.

Finally, it's an anonymous comment carefully reacting to the Trump campaign's ridiculous SLAPP suit against CNN:

In my opinion...

Disclaimer: The following statement is my opinion and my opinion alone. It is not a statement of fact.

I, being the person writing this statement of opinion, that being a statement not of fact, would like to say, as a matter of opinion, that it is the non-factual opinionated perspective of myself that this lawsuit is, in my opinion, but not factually, bullshit.

The preceding statements have been my opinion only and not statements of fact. The preceding sentence declaring that the preceding statements were an opinion is factually true, that is, it's a fact that the preceding statement were an opinion, in my opinion.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 15th - 21st

from the on-the-record dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the world was reeling from the Paris attacks that killed 130 people. Unfortunately, many were also treating it as an opportunity: haters of encryption quickly started somehow blaming Edward Snowden, and defenders of the surveillance state began using the attacks to justify mass surveillance and push to expand it (which France had already done twice in the past year. Senators were moving to legislate backdoors to encryption and extend NSA programs, and Manhattan's DA got in on the act with a white paper seeking an encryption ban... and then it turned out that the Paris attackers had coordinated via unencrypted text messages. The whole thing was a failure of the intelligence community that had long been fighting for surveillance despite little evidence that it works. But this didn't stop anyone from treating encryption as a bogeyman, and by the end of the week France had rushed through an internet censorship law and Hillary Clinton had vocally joined the anti-encryption brigade.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, in keeping with its strategy of pretending the government can save it, the entertainment industry was ramping up its astroturf campaigns and generally lying about stuff in order to supportthe COICA online censorship bill that was back up for another vote later in the week. As was expected, the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with COICA, and Ron Wyden was one of the few senators speaking out vocally against the bill and saying he planned to block it. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown were seeking more information on the legality of certain provisions in ACTA (the latest text of which still had plenty of issues) only to be stonewalled by the USPTO, while many defenders continued to insist that ACTA didn't need Senate approval anyway because it was somehow not a treaty.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, things just kept getting worse for Sony in the wake of the rootkit fiasco. First, it turned out that the copy protection rootkit included copyright-infringing code. Then, security researchers discovered that the web-based uninstaller Sony was offering opened up a new and serious security hole on users' machines that would let any other website easily hijack them. The rootkit was looking like it might be the most widespread malware of the month and finally, after dragging its feet for over a week, the company announced that it would pull all CDs with the rootkit from stores, and offer swaps to people who bought them, but it really felt like too little, too late. By the end of the week, Sony started offering unprotected MP3 downloads in exchange for the CDs in a final attempt to make good, which seemed like a fittingly ironic end for a misadventure that began with music DRM.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 18 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 263: Is The Techlash Over?

from the and-what-exactly-is-it dept

This week, we've got another panel discussion for you, with Mike joining Georgetown Law fellow Gigi Sohn and panel moderator Zach Graves of the Lincoln Network (both also former podcast guests) at the Reboot 2020 conference to discuss the "techlash" — the public opinion backlash against big tech — and try to figure out what exactly it is, and where it's going in the future.

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 - 18 November 2020 @ 11:42am

New Gear On Threadless: Fire In A Crowded Theatre

from the you-can-indeed dept

Get your Fire In A Crowded Theatre gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

You've heard it said, usually in defense of some sort of restriction on free speech, and often by people who really should know better: "You can't yell fire in a crowded theatre!" There are a whole lot of reasons that it's a terrible phrase that should have died a long time ago (see Popehat's thorough explanation) but they won't all fit on a t-shirt, so our gear offers a simple rebuttal. It's an old favorite design that we're relaunching today in our Threadless store: You Can Yell Fire In A Crowded Theatre.

As always, the design is available on t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and other apparel — plus various cool accessories and home items including buttons, phone cases (for many iPhone and Galaxy models), mugs, tote bags, notebooks, and of course face masks.

Check out this and our other gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

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Posted on Techdirt - 15 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the speak-now dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Bruce C. with some thoughts on whether inaccurate polls are a kind of misinformation:

Some meta-discussion...

Interesting that the polling error(s) may be worse on this election than in 2016, but Biden's popular vote was big enough that the pollsters still picked the right winner...

If we define misinformation as simply false information regardless of motivation or cause, this means we need a deeper classification of types of misinformation.

Some possible examples:
1) 20/20 hindsight: Best knowledge available that later turns out to be false. Erroneous polls partly fall into this category, but may fall into others. Another example is changes in scientific theory over a longer time period like Newtonian gravity vs. Relativity.
2) Errors in modeling. This is where one of your underlying assumptions is incorrect in your theoretical model and your information is based on the model. This is the charitable explanation for the initial CDC recommendation that masks were not a good method to prevent spread of COVID19.
3) errors in data collection - Garbage in, garbage out. But there can be different reasons for bad data: for example collecting survey data from the wrong distribution of respondents can be caused by poor understanding of the voting population, or by not being able to poll certain sections of the population due to lack of response.
4) Glass half-full/half-empty - letting your preconceptions color your interpretation of the results.
5) Sensationalism: A constant problem in the media where they emphasize the most extreme/unexpected information even if that's only a small portion of the whole story.
6) Out of context - often related to sensationalism. Technically true, but only under limited circumstances.
7) You should have known better. Publishing something as fact with insufficient research. Negligent disregard for the facts.
8) Lies, damn lies and statistics. - straight disinformation. Willful disregard for the facts.

In second place, it's an anonymous comment about a classic PC game that can't be sold today due to IP uncertainty:

I think the important takeaway is this: These companies MIGHT own the rights but won't look because it's too much effort BUT will find out who does so they can sue them.

Is it any wonder people don't respect copyright?

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with another nod to Stephen T. Stone for sharing another third-party joke:

2020: look guys this is a time for unity not finger-pointing


Next, it's That One Guy summing up the nonsense around the photo of a certain gun-toting couple:

'That thing we're super proud of is damaging our reputation!'

They felt so proud of pointing guns at a bunch of protesters that they printed the picture on christmas cards, and now they want to complain that the knowledge that they were threatening to kill a bunch of people has been harmful to their reputation?

Just a tip you self-centered psychopaths, if you're going to claim harm from something it helps if you aren't boasting about it, as that kinda undercuts the whole claim.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Stephen T. Stone passing along a new twist on a famous phrase, based on Donald Trump's event location snafu, and the neighbors they ended up with:

Or as I saw it said elsewhere: “Between a cock and a charred place.”

In second place, it's Stan responding to a supposition we made about Devin Nunes voting against anti-SLAPP:

What about his cow?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of comments about why the Trump team seems to have forgotten all about TikTok. First, it's an anonymous suggestion:

They did not forget, they have much more important things to deal with. Right now they are working 24/7 on stopping the caravan.

Next, it's Bloof with a reply to that comment:

They're working 25/8 on building the wall too!

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 14 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 8th - 14th

from the hindsight dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we looked at early warnings of the EU's all-out attack on hyperlinks, while the silly Monkey Selfie lawsuit was winding forward, and a new surprise player entered the copyright fight over Happy Birthday. The MPAA's attempt to sneak SOPA in the back door was rejected, but the agency was getting cozy with the House Judiciary Committee. And we looked at the unsurprising trio of industries that most loved the TPP agreement.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the USPTO was going in the wrong direction when it came to standards for patents, while we were sad to see the MIT Tech Review come out in favor of patent trolls. We saw some examples of overly draconian punishment with a sentence of 30 months in prison and over $50,000 in fines for a DDoS attack, an arrest in Japan for a leak of a new Pokemon character, and a university promising to report file sharing to police and warning students about five-year prison terms — so it was a good week to also take a look at just how insane statutory damages for file sharing are.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, Sony was not-really-dealing with the fallout from the previous week's rootkit fiasco. As a class-action lawsuit was being prepared, the company was flubbing its media response and claiming rootkits aren't a problem because most people don't know what they are — never mind the fact that virus writers were already taking advantage of Sony's technology to hide their tracks. This prompted some to take a deeper dive into Sony's EULA, and find some ridiculous provisions like requiring you to delete all your music if you go bankrupt. Finally, at the end of the week, the company was browbeaten into "temporarily" stopping production of the rootkits, though apologies or admissions of wrongdoing were not forthcoming.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 11 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 262: An Open Protocol For Web Monetization

from the evolving-business-models dept

Recently, Techdirt began a new monetization experiment with Coil. It's a system for making payments on the web, but it's not just another micropayment service layered on top of existing technology — it's part of a broader effort to create an open standard for web monetization based on the Interledger network protocol. This week, we're joined by Coil founder and Interledger co-creator Stefan Thomas to explain how an open protocol for payments could change business models on the web.

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 - 8 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the so-sayeth dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is wshuff with a response to the complaint that Sci-Hub has no incentive to ensure accuracy or ethical standards of research papers:

Oh, you mean like that time Elsevier published fake journals?


In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with a simple response to our post about how a lot of people who think they have problems with Section 230 actually have problems with the first amendment:

I have but one response to this article:

A-fuckin’-men! 🙏

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with another simple comment on that article, this time from an anonymous commenter responding to someone who brought up the supposed free speech implications of "being denied access to a large audience":

The 1st amendment says nothing about being granted an audience!

Next, it's PaulT responding to a comment about the lack of unbiased "mass media" (labelled as "Fact #1"):

Fact #2: there in not any source of truly neutral, unbiased information anywhere. If you think that your favourite non-mass media source is completely unbiased, I'd check your wallet because you've been conned.

The trick is to understand the inherent biases in the sources you visit and temper them with sources with different biases, not to pretend you don't have the bias problem.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Thad with a response to our post about the interesting and valid question raised by Shiva Ayyadurai's lawsuit against a Massachusetts official, and specifically to the development that he is proceeding pro se:

Well, you know the old saying: anyone who represents Shiva Ayyadurai has a fool for a client.

In second place, it's an anonymous response to some fearmongering about all the bad that will happen under Biden/Harris:

Sure, Jan.

Just like Obama took all your guns, Hillary was locked up, Mexico paid for the wall, and you repealed and replaced Obamacare with my sooper dooper Trumpcare.

At some point, when you're that wrong, people start thinking you're full of shit.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment offering the only reasonable explanation for modern copyright law:

I think copyright is to encourage the author to continue creating new works even many years after their death.

Finally, we've got Khym Chanur in a thread started by a certain commenter who believes that anyone with a gap in their comment record is some sort of fake bot or sockpuppet — this time with someone who responded noting that "I don't comment often, although I read this site most everyday and normally find comments I would have made already made":

Pfft, real people don't let "I have nothing new to add to the discussion" stop them from cluttering up the conversation.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 7 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 1st - 7th

from the from-the-archives dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the UK government released its "Snooper's Charter" surveillance bill after pretending it had backed down on the worst provisions — when in fact the bill mandated backdoors to encryption and aimed to legalize over a decade of illegal mass surveillance. In the US, documents from the DOJ confirmed the extensive powers of Stingray devices, while legislators were moving to turn the agency's "guidance" on the devices into law. The think-tank behind SOPA was now pushing for the US to encourage other countries to block the Pirate Bay, while attacks on Section 230 were still mainly the realm of some law professors. And then the biggest release of the week came on Friday: the full, very bad text of the TPP.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, we were surprised to see the DOJ weigh in against gene patents, and the USPTO was not happy about it. The Jammie Thomas trial got its third jury verdict with another huge award of damages that highlighted how the framing of the jury instructions changes everything in such a case. A YouTube star was being threatened by music publishers claiming parody isn't fair use, a reality show was sued for copying an idea, and a pizza shop sued a former employee for "stealing" their recipe — while librarians in Brazil were forcefully speaking out against copyright, calling it a fear-based reaction to open access to knowledge. Also, this is the week that the proposal of a Right To Be Forgotten started making the rounds in Europe.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the FCC okayed the big telco mergers of SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI, while SBC was making demands of Google, and Sprint was launching its mobile broadband network. The movie industry was trying to plug the "analog hole" and Congress appeared to be going through the motions to appease them without much enthusiasm. But the most memorable development of the week was the discovery that Sony's new copy protection on CDs was a dangerous rootkit, and that other malware could piggyback on it, and that the same DRM was on CDs from other companies... all of which forced Sony to scramble to release a "patch" which didn't really fix the problem, and which itself turned out to come with a bunch of highly questionable baggage.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 3 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 261: How Would You Regulate The Internet?

from the no-easy-answers dept

There are countless debates raging over every aspect of internet regulation — questions of social media moderation, net neutrality, antitrust, copyright, privacy, and plenty more — and the election happening right now is going to have a huge impact on those debates. This week, we're joined by international policy expert and former European Parliament member Marietje Schaake for a long conversation that starts out focused on criticisms of Facebook and quickly expands into a far-reaching look at what the next generation of internet regulation might look like.

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 - 3 November 2020 @ 1:00pm

New Gear By Techdirt: That's Not How Any Of This Works

from the it's-really-not dept

Get your Not How This Works gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

We deal with a lot of... incorrect takes here at Techdirt. Whether it's a technological issue, a business concept, a legal question, or some combination thereof, there's always someone espousing an idea that is wrong in almost every respect (see: the current discourse around Section 230). So today we're launching our latest line of Techdirt gear featuring a general purpose reply that we've found ourselves screaming (internally or otherwise) in many such situations: That's Not How Any Of This Works.

As always, both designs are available on t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and other apparel — plus various cool accessories and home items including buttons, phone cases (for many iPhone and Galaxy models), mugs, tote bags, notebooks, and of course face masks.

Check out this and our other gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

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

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the spooky-speech dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous response to the warnings that Twitch sent out to users who were hit by RIAA takedown demands, which prompted them to "learn about copyright law":

Yep. I sure learned my lesson about copyright law, alright. "If a copyright holder objects, my content will be arbitrarily removed, fair use notwithstanding." yay!

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with a simple reaction to Zoom shutting down an NYU event discussing whether Zoom should shut down events:

Having the right to do a thing doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we're going to feature a pair of comments that began a thread, because they are somewhat necessary to understanding the second place winner on the funny side that's coming soon — and that means starting with one additional nod to Stephen T. Stone, who had this to say about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump threatening a defamation lawsuit over the Lincoln Project's billboards in New York:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ivanka Trump:

The truth can only defame you if you feel shame over it.

That comment garnered this anonymous reply:

Dear Mr. Stephen T. Stone, I cannot agree with you. The truth can never defame you. But I could agree if you said "You can only feel defamed by the truth if you feel shame over it."

I do think the power(less, soon, we hope) couple is experiencing far more of a "how dare they" moment than a "that's false" moment.

And so, to avoid breaking the flow, as we move over to the funny side we'll start with the second place winner, which is Stephen T. Stone with a final reply rounding out the exchange:

How dare you improve my axiom with a better axiom crafted through logic.

how dare

That leaves us with the first place winner on the funny side — Deepstateagent responding to our post about Lindsay Ellis and the bizarre legal attacks and conspiracy allegations against her from a wolf kink erotica author:

Come on, the conspiracy should be obvious to anyone, I mean why would two organisations which views on a topic align, come to the same conclusion and do similar actions, even more proposterous would it be to think suchs organisations could work together outside of a conspiracy with a goal to destroy a single person.

And of course such a conspiracy would only target an important person, so saying it would be unlikely that there would be a conspiracy against Cain because she isn't important enough is clearly shown to be false, because there is a conspiracy against Cain.

No no, Youtube and Patreon where clearly created in a conspiracy by the EFF and the OTW at the beginning of time just so Lindsay Ellis could make a video with the clear goal to totaly and absolutely destroy Cain and even remove her from having ever existed.

You'd have to be delusional to come to any other conclusion considering the undeniable and self evident proof provided here.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got another brief exchange, this time starting with Glenn and his initial reaction to the Addison Cain madness:

Is there a lawyer somewhere who could sue for defamation on behalf of wolves everywhere?

And finally, in response, it's That One Guy echoing exactly my first thought upon seeing Glenn's comment:

I mean, PETA somehow managed to find lawyers that would do so for a monkey, so it's not impossible...

That's all for this week, folks!

69 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 31 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 25th - 31st

from the happy-halloween dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the fight over the CISA cybersecurity bill was on, but it looked like Facebook was secretly on the wrong side of this somewhat-disguised surveillance bill (a true purpose that was occasionally admitted if you looked in the right places). But none of this stopped the Senate from rejecting all the amendments that would have protected privacy and passing CISA with a 74-21 vote. Elsewhere, the EU was working on net neutrality rules that were full of loopholes and other problems. Meanwhile, the DOJ was saying Apple should decrypt customers' phones because the company still owns their copies of iOS, James Comey was blaming violent crime on citizens with cameras, and the Library of Congress released new DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions that were a complete mess.

Ten Years Ago

Five years earlier in 2010, in the same week, there was a prime example of a DMCA exemption mess when we noted that jailbreaking iPhones was legal, but jailbreaking an Xbox could land you in jail for three years. The Lenz v. Universal case was moving forward as Universal argued that the dancing baby video was not obvious fair use, a judge ordered Limewire to shut down entirely, and Myriad Genetics officially appealed the ruling that invalidated gene patents. The US was basically saying it would just ignore anything in ACTA it didn't like, while a group of law professors was urging Obama to drop support for the agreement and we were looking at how it could create insanely broad new criminal copyright liabilities. And we had an early mention of the brewing controversy around a little company you might have heard of, at the time still known as UberCab.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, some prominent technology commentators were still missing the point of the rise of amateur content online, while the online world of self-published movies was set to take off and even television networks were, ever so slightly, starting to grasp the need for change. The mobile web was still being hampered by attempts to section it off and pre-decide how it would work, while mobile email was beginning to move beyond the world of BlackBerry (and BlackBerry seemed to have suffered a bit of a glitch in the UK that got the devices temporarily banned by the BBC). MP3 player makers who weren't Apple were complaining about the Apple-induced shortage of flash memory, and Google abandoned its attempts to appease authors and publishers and went back to scanning books after a temporary pause.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 27 October 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 260: The Future Of Silicon Valley

from the what's-next dept

With the pandemic spurring a mass switch to remote working for many people, especially those at tech companies that were among the earliest adopters of the trend, discussions about the uncertain future of Silicon Valley have resurfaced. This week, tech reporter and VC partner Kim-Mai Cutler joins the podcast to discuss whether the pandemic-driven changes in how we work will drive a mass-exodus from California and threaten its status as an innovation hub.

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 - 25 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the "the-discourse" dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Stephen T. Stone doing the one of the only things you can still do when the feds continue to fail in their quest to find the dreaded antifa — be sarcastic about it:

Wow, it’s almost as if antifascism is an ideology instead of an organized hierarchial group and the biggest domestic terrorism threat in the United States comes from right-wing groups such as anti-government militias~. Imagine that~.

In second place, we've got a double winner from Thad that also took second place over on the funny side. It's a response to the usually-reliable claim that Republicans aren't stupid, but rather know their claims are bullshit:

Are you sure? Because I find it very easy to believe that Donald Trump Jr. really is just that stupid.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous response to the insistence that Google is a monopoly:

But a monopoly in what? In mobile phone stuff, maybe—can one realistically use non-Apple mobile phones without a Google account? They have about 80% of the market last I checked, and I've heard that some apps won't work without the proprietary Google services available. But saying their search engine is anticompetitive is perplexing.

The first Google result for "search engine" is "17 Great Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google"; then a couple of German results for some reason, then Startpage and a Wikipedia page. Google have paid Apple and others for promotion, but it's super easy to switch to a bunch of others. I can't think of many things with less lock-in than search engines. (I switched from Altavista to Google after using it once, then to DuckDuckGo when Google started banning anonymous access. Didn't take a minute to update the bookmark.) Barr using this as an example of anticompetitive behavior can be seen as a shibboleth of a low-quality lawsuit and/or Barr's unfamiliarity with the market.

Next, it's Stephen T. Stone with a simple question about the claim that social media networks are desperate to silence conservatives:

Then why doesn’t Twitter get rid of those conservatives? Twitter has that right. The conservatives can go to Parler and build their little shitpile there; they have no legal right to force Twitter into hosting speech.

(Answer: Twitter, like Facebook, is bending over backwards to be nice to conservatives so the service doesn’t appear “biased”. An account that reposts Trump’s tweets verbatim would get [and has been] suspended/banned for saying the same exact thing as Trump. How is that not “special treatment” for conservatives?)

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is David with a response to Stephen's first-place insightful comment above:

Man, you sound like a brain-washed radical leftist (checks notes) DHS homeland threat assessment.

We've already had the second-place double winner, so we'll move straight on to the editor's choice with Zonker responding to the DOJ's argument that the generic use of "Google" as a word is evidence of a monopoly:

I keep getting Comcasted every time I call customer support about my cable service.

I'm also sick and tired of being Verizoned every time I hit the limit on my unlimited phone plan.

Finally, it's Rocky with a simple question for someone spreading some supposedly-censored news:

Wow! How did you even hear about that if it was censored?

That's all for this week, folks!

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

This Week In Techdirt History: October 18th - 24th

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the FBI was seriously dragging its heels on a FOIA request we filed, while we were looking at a recent terrorist bust by the agency that didn't seem to be very hampered by people "going dark", and Apple was in court fighting against demands that it unlock a phone. We took a look at how cable television is the exception to a pattern of decreasing prices for tech hardware and services, while the cable industry was still trying to explain how cord-cutting wasn't a real problem. And Tim Berners-Lee was speaking out about Facebook's plan to bastardize the internet with a limited free offering.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, there were a lot of shots fired in the legal war over commenters, with Google being ordered to turn over the IP addresses of YouTube commenters in one case just as a Canadian cop was filing another case with a similar demand, and a Broadway actor was also suing Twitter to unmask an anonymous tweeter — though perhaps the most fiery anger towards anonymity was from Gene Simmons who... wanted the nebulous online group Anonymous thrown in jail. Blizzard was employing a dubious copyright theory to go after cheat creators, an English heritage organization was making a beyond-dubious claim that it holds effective copyright on any and all photos of Stonehenge, and Joe DiMaggio's estate was trying to block the use of a photo of DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe with a threat that seemed like it might turn into a battle over questionable publicity rights — something we generally expected to fuel a growing category of IP trolling. There were developments in a few major copyright lawsuits too, with Righthaven losing to fair use in the first ruling to come down on its operation, the Golan case being appealed to the Supreme Court, and Viacom busting out the big guns for its YouTube appeal by hiring former solicitor general Ted Olson.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the booming world of blogs was facing its first big spam crisis, while traditional news publishers were beginning to come to terms with how deeply they needed to rethink their operations for the internet. India joined the list of countries getting scared about Google Earth, though a tragedy in Pakistan was demonstrating how satellite images can be a good thing. Viral video makers JibJab were being awfully hypocritical about fair use and apparently failing to properly understand what it's for, while Craigslist was disappointingly fighting against scrapers and aggregators. And two of the biggest and most controversial internet names of the era were teaming up as Michael Robertson hired DVD Jon to hack for him.

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