amoshias’s Techdirt Profile


About amoshias

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  • Nov 15th, 2016 @ 10:22am

    Where can lawyers help?

    Any suggestions for groups where, as an attorney who cares deeply about the issues frequently discussed here, I could offer my time and work?

  • Nov 8th, 2016 @ 6:02am

    Aaaand... My final thought on the matter...

    "if Techdirt is getting paid to post shit like this, they certainly don't need MY money..."

  • Nov 8th, 2016 @ 6:00am

    Funding for this article was provided by...

    Anne Hobson works for a joint called R Street, a think tank which promotes transparency. I mean, for everyone but themselves, because they're a c(3), so there's no way to tell if the companies she is defending paid for this article... But I think we can take a reasonable guess. (I actually kind of love the fact that they tout their transparency: here! Look at our last three tax returns! Sure. There's nothing actually IN then, but we don't really expect people to download them, just to see that have them up and respect our transparency...)

    The Mercatus Center, where Christopher Koopman works, at least has an admirable policy against its scholars doing work for hire and against anything which smacks of conflict of interest. Of course, they're ALSO a 501c(3), so... Trust and don't verify?

  • Nov 8th, 2016 @ 5:44am

    (untitled comment)

    I have long thought there is a special place in hell reserved for people who make arguments so poorly that people who ostensibly support them walk away LESS in favor of their position. If I'm right you two are going there.

    The arguments you make are so weak, so removed from anything even close to reality, that you come off as nothing but industry shills scraping the barrel to try to get people riled up. Admittedly what you're saying seems like a good, solid example of modern economic theory, which I hope says something about modern economic theory.

    Here's one hint, I'll leave the dozen others as an exercise for the reader: "scalping is good because it lets rich people go to see Hamilton wherever they want" is NOT a winning argument. I'm guessing the people you hang out with loved it, most people won't.

    Again, I started out reading this saying "ugh, perfect, the government wants to regulate tech at the behest of industry again." I came away from this article thinking that might not be a terrible idea. Take what you will from that.

  • Oct 21st, 2016 @ 8:07pm

    "Wikileaks is not explicitly anti-American."

    Perhaps not explicitly. But Julian Assange IS. And the tool - the tool that I lauded when it came out, the tool that I volunteered to do legal work for - is so corrupted from its original mission by a founder with an ego that rivals Trump's that it is worse than useless. It trades on its reputation to be a propaganda tool, and a tool to feed Assange's hunger for publicity. Honestly, I'm not that sure I see the difference between the work Wikileaks is doing and the work James O'Keefe is doing.

    The worst part is, by turning his brilliant innovation into what it is now, Assange is destroying whatever GOOD work it could potentially do in the future. I no longer have any interest in Wikileaks. It is an archetypical organization corrupted by its success.

    Luckily, there are now many, many other tools that do the same thing. Put Wikileaks on the longboat and light the torch. It did its work; it forged the path for others. It's dead. Mourn it, but don't pretend it's still alive.

  • Sep 19th, 2016 @ 6:14pm


    That's interesting. Why do you find it sad?

    I'm a big fan of speech, even speech I don't like. I'm not a fan of vindictive billionaires being able to use the US court system to reshape the media landscape to their liking. And I'm especially not a fan of the precedent this sets for OTHER billionaires who get butt-hurt by something a mean, nasty tabloid says about them. Or the mean, nasty New York Times.

    If Thiel had just done the honorable thing and BOUGHT GAWKER - which would not be a major outlay based on his estimated net worth - that would have been one thing and easy to laugh off, although still disturbing. But doing it on the cheap - using OUR court system - is sickening.

    Okay, so there - those are my reasons. What are yours?

  • Sep 3rd, 2016 @ 7:21am

    Re: EU and Apple

    Yes, I'm totally sure that if the US changed it's laws to lower the business tax rate - already incredibly low - NO OTHER COUNTRY would ever think of lowering THEIR tax rate to compete. This definitely wouldn't be a race to the bottom, that would end with America worse off than it is.

  • Jun 27th, 2016 @ 9:11pm

    Nobody is arguing

    that Uber doesn't offer a great service. They've got great tech and make something that was really annoying vastly more pleasant.

    Now, if only they hadn't attached that great tech to a business arm which basically said "Okay, we're going to ignore every law and regulation known to man, and hopefully by the time anyone notices us we'll be big enough that they won't be able to do anything."

    Shane C - well done, great comment!

  • Jun 14th, 2016 @ 5:05pm

    God save us from purists.

    "I think we should do X."

    "Rabble rabble rabble! X is wrong! You should never do X, you evil so-and-so!"

    "Okay, I've listened to you guys and now no longer support X."

    "You are a terrible person for changing your position!"

    I am so sick of this.

    You know what? When I'm against a politician's position, I WANT them to change it. And if they think that changing their position will lead to being lambasted for that on TOP of being attacked for their original position - with no credit given for the new position - then what reason could they possibly have to change? And if that's the case, you should admit it as well - you were just arguing so that people would hear how smart you were. Not because you were actually trying to accomplish anything.

    I DON'T CARE if in her heart of hearts Clinton believes in the TPP as long as she stands against it. I just DO NOT CARE. Her actions are what are relevant. Yes, editing the book is weird and plays into a certain narrative about clinton, and YES, she would be better served by a forward which said "Hey, the earlier version of the book contained a bunch of info that I don't agree with, so rather than publish a new version of a book that misstates my current positions I've edited it as follows."

    But you know what? I just don't care that much. And I'm sick of the Clinton Outrage Brigade which constantly puts me in a position like this, where I'm standing up for a woman that I frankly can't stand, because the attacks on her are so ridiculous.

    Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich suggested reviving the House Un-American Activities Commission today. But really. Hillary Clinton Is Not Pure Enough is definitely the fight you need to be fighting.

  • Jun 1st, 2016 @ 1:48pm


    I'm sorry, why is that ridiculous? Because I don't see it.

    The simple fact is, it's MY medical information. *I* am allowed to share it if I want. *YOU* - the person I entrust it to, because as a society we WANT people to trust their doctors so the doctors can do their jobs - are *NOT* allowed to, except to the minimum extent necessary for you to do the job I'm paying you to do. Simple, straightforward rule.

    I wish this rule were in place in other areas of my life. My internet data, my cellular location data, etc, etc - IT'S NOT YOUR DATA. I let you use it because in order to [have cell service, use the internet] I have no choice.

    The idea that you want to WEAKEN this minimal protection - that you seem to think that just because I hurt a doctor's feelings he should be able to share something of mine... I honestly don't know how that makes sense to you. But here's the simplest angle possible - when you go to the doctor, do you really want to have to think about everything you're saying and not saying - to give the doctor the minimal information possible, maybe missing something important, because you don't want the doctor to be able to tell people in the future?

    No. Of course not. That makes no sense. So the rule is, doctors keep their mouths shut, no matter what, even if someone hurts their feelings. Making that rule more complicated just doesn't make any sense. Don't believe me? Well, if you scroll up a bit, there's a whole article about a bunch of doctors who couldn't even follow that really, really simple rule...

  • May 24th, 2016 @ 10:17am

    I will admit...

    I'm really surprised that this is an issue at all. I would have assumed that when you're someone as fantastically wealthy as James, who literally makes his living licensing the depiction of his body, that you don't get a tattoo without signing a contract with the artist. I would further assume that somewhere in very-rich-people-land there's an echelon of tattoo artists who are familiar with these issues and SIMILARLY want to work out this kind of stuff beforehand, because "I do tattoos for LeBron James" seems like something which is probably worth a LOT of money.

    Further further, even if I'm wrong (which I obviously am) how can a long-shot suit worth a million bucks be worth it for these people? Let's say they settle with Take Two for some reasonable fraction of that - they're still trading off any possibility of future business.

    Then again, a search for "solid oak sketches" turns up nothing but references to this (and another) suit... no website. Maybe they did the tattoos a long time ago, before James became famous or something...

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 12:19pm

    For canary purposes...

    Can you amend this and say something like "We will update on XX/XX/XXXX if we haven't received a gag order by then?"

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 4:19am

    Ridiculous chart

    I don't understand why you don't like that chart. It seems like an incredibly useful piece of information - it clearly shows that, as Google has increased its takedowns by a factor of a hundred thousand (from 10k/year in 2010 to 1b/year in 2015) music industry revenue has stayed completely flat.

    That seems like incredibly worthwhile information to me - it seems like that tends to show that takedowns have absolutely zero impact on music industry revenue. In fact, considering that it seems to come from a music industry source, I would think this would put to rest forever the idea that Google negatively impacts the music industry.

    Maybe it's meant as an olive branch!

  • Mar 9th, 2016 @ 5:18pm

    (untitled comment)

    Wait, what?

    "Yet, despite the Batmobile's ever-changing appearance and functionality, and despite its expression in comic and film form not being identical to custom real-life productions by a car enthusiast, the court ruled against Towle and essentially claimed the very idea of the Batmobile was deserving of copyright protection."

    You understand how comic books WORK, right? How they have artists and writers constantly interpreting and re-interpreting the different elements within them? How is anything you said in that paragraph any different between the Batmobile and Batman himself? This page ( has at least 35 different and distinct costumes that Batman has worn throughout the years. If I draw a character that is recognizably Batman, but uses a color combination that DC has never used, am I somehow NOT violating copyright there? By the same token, if I create something that EVERYONE RECOGNIZES AS THE BATMOBILE, and the only reason it has VALUE is because people recognize it as such... well, honestly, that doesn't sound like stretching copyright law to me. That sounds like the fundamental protection that copyright is supposed to extend to creators.

    I honestly don't even understand how you can write this article - which fundamentally recognizes that "Batmobile" is something that everyone reading this will understand without explanation. The *idea* here is that a billionaire playboy who fights crime as a superhero has a cool car. If you want to make your Techdirt car - which a souped-up crimefighting car in the style of the Batmobile but with Techdirt regalia in place of the bats - THAT is the idea/expression dichotomy. Making a Batmobile, that everyone recognizes as a Batmobile (and seriously, spend 30 seconds googling Mark Towle, the first image that comes up is him standing in front of an AWESOME replica of the Adam West Batmobile) is copying the expression. Just because there might be some differences in detailing cannot make a difference.

    I also think it's fundamentally weird that you seem to take umbrage with the idea that the batmobile is an inanimate "character". Does copyright protection somehow not cover characters unless they are animate? So the Mach 5 from Speed Racer (btw, another car which Mark Towle has copied, with a license this time, which is why it's on my mind) isn't protected? Cinderella's castle? The Enterprise, the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing fighter? All of these things, because they're not animate, can't be copyrighted? I'm not sure what the legal basis for this is, but I would love to read the case law you're basing your statements on.

    Do I think DC is WISE in shutting this guy down? No, they should probably offer him a license - the stuff he does is AWESOME. But if he's making money selling people batmobiles, I'm not sure there's any reasonable argument that they're not within their rights to shut him down.

  • Mar 8th, 2016 @ 9:46am

    (untitled comment)

    "Incredibly, the DOJ hits back on that claim by saying that because Apple licenses rather than sells its software, Feng was actually using Apple's property, and thus it is not too far removed:"

    Far from being incredible, this is actually a really smart and plausible legal argument, because they're just using Apple's own words against them. Apple has opened the door to this type of argument by being one of the pioneers of the legal fiction that we don't own the toys we buy from them - a fact that this site rails against on a fairly regular basis.

    Look, it's a lousy situation all around. If this argument works, it strengthens the DOJ's position on forcing companies to break encryption AND strengthens Apple's position on licensing - two big losses for the populace. Just because Tim Cook happens to be the hero of the hour because his company's financial interests momentarily align with the public's privacy interest, don't forget that doesn't magically make Apple good guys. They've fought really hard for the right to screw their fans in many different ways - don't feel bad for them because one of the legal mechanisms they use hurts THEM as well as us. In the end, we're the ones who are losing.

  • Sep 15th, 2015 @ 1:48pm

    I find this site so weird sometimes.

    I don't get this site sometimes. Are you trying to tell me that when this applicant tries to sue someone for trying to sell panties with "NO FUCKS GIVEN" there wouldn't be an EQUALLY OUTRAGED article up here blasting the fact that the trademark had been granted?

    Of course you would. This application is utterly ridiculous. It's a common phrase, containing material that - whether this rule makes sense or not - is smack dab in the center of a rule that disallows the word "fuck" in trademark applications.

    Your argument that - somehow - the context renders the word "fuck" not obscene here is ridiculous on its face. It's the transgressive nature of USING the word fuck in this context that gives the phrase "I don't give a fuck" its linguistic power. Does it sound really, REALLY silly for a patent examiner to have to explain that using the word 'coitus'? Yes, absolutely. (Anything that uses the word coitus sounds ridiculous.) But that doesn't magically grant your argument validity.

    Maybe the PTO should let the word fuck into trademarks. I don't know, frankly, and I don't care. But that's the rule right now, this application clearly falls within the ambit of the rule, and letting your hatred of the PTO overwhelm your common sense doesn't help anyone. Techdirt is better than this.

  • May 29th, 2015 @ 6:16am

    Am I missing something?

    So... Rockstar has defended itself in court against a bunch of nutjobs. This makes them "first amendment heroes"? How? Since when? Did you think that, if they were "first amendment bad guys" they would have just shut up and paid Lindsey Lohan (I think) millions of bucks?

    You know it's possible to report on interesting news in this area without the parties being either heroes or villains, right? Rockstar ain't no hero, never has been. Are they villains? No more so than any other company in the same situation, probably.

  • May 8th, 2015 @ 5:43pm

    (untitled comment)

    The most telling line in this piece -

    "If you're begging for more gun regulation, this seems to be a good way of working backwards towards it."

    Like an unfortunately percentage of Libertarians who make it into the public eye, Wilson is much more interested in thumbing his nose at "the man" than actually achieving any useful change. This IS an important issue, and a really important conversation to have. By letting a narcissistic kid like Wilson drive it, the only guarantee is that everyone on every side will wind up with a worse outcome than we'd get otherwise.

    I think there's a special circle of hell for people who make their arguments so badly, that even though I generally agree with your point, I find myself being forced to disagree with you. Wilson is clearly going there.

  • Mar 12th, 2015 @ 8:04am


    If that's what you want - and it's a perfectly reasonable thing to want - push for a law that actually criminalizes improper access to law enforcement databases. Don't push to accept the misuse of an already vastly overbroad law.

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 1:11pm

    Please, PLEASE don't tell me you're siding with Defense Distributed.

    Cody Wilson is the kind of idiot libertarian who is more interested in giving "the establishment" the finger than actually exercising any common sense... and actually trying to ACCOMPLISH anything. This is a perfect example. You want to ship out 3-d printers? Wonderful. Do that. You want to scream at the top of your lungs "HEY THIS MACHINE PRINTS OUT GUNS" while you're doing it? Why are you surprised when a company like FedEx doesn't want to deal with the hassles you cause?

    Does the fact that a 3-d printer can make a gun make it against the law? No. Does marketing your 3-d printer as a gun factory make reasonable people at least start wondering if they'll be legally liable for shipping it? YES. FedEx is right, juvenile libertarian is a moron, there's just nothing to see here.

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