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  • 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.

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Wait, so you're saying you think...

    You missed my point entirely. Read my post again. Yes, obviously, the fact that we're paying them is significant. Or did you think that when I said "this is a newsworthy item" I meant that any article about any company anywhere whose employees were acting like human beings act would be newsworthy? (hint: I wasn't.)

    But it's significant WITHOUT the ridiculous assertion that private employees DON'T do the exact same kind of thing. So why not leave that assertion out, and make the article that much more worthwhile?

    Also - oh my god, I'm on a computer that doesn't have NoScript... the ads on this site advertise gold bullion? Libertarian tinfoil hat indeed.

  • Feb 12th, 2015 @ 2:03pm


    "A novel way of looking at the loss of Mr Tran's once valuable trademark to genericide."

    Well... you clearly don't understand what the world genericide means... what makes you think that you know better than Mr. Tran about the "value" of any potential trademark?

    "It surely will mean more growth, and hopefully Mr Tran will see some of that growth himself. Hey, as long as Mr Tran is happy, good for him."

    What your sneering tone doesn't really seem to pay any attention to is the fact that we have evidence that not getting into the trademark game is working for Mr. Tran. You don't have to say "hopefully" he'll see some of that growth. He's seeing a huge amount of it. Did you read the article?

    Oh wait, you're just a troll. And I fell for it. I lose an internet.

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 6:57am

    I wish this site wasn't so hung up on 1984...

    This whole line of commentary is fundamentally weird to me. I feel like much of the time, people here are so overwhelmed by government overreach in the last decade or so that it becomes the lens through which everything is viewed - which means that you miss real, immediate, and obvious threats in favor of a parade of horribles involving the government. Yes, it is terrible to think that in the future, the cops could have an army of private informants sitting in everyone's living room, listening all the time. But that's hardly the worst-case scenario.

    You know what IS the worst-case scenario, to me? Not some theoretical (and admittedly likely!) hobgoblin of the cops, or FBI, or CIA getting their hands on that data. The worst-case scenario is the one that has a 100% chance of being true - that SAMSUNG has the data they're collecting. That a private company - with no responsibility to me, no safeguards or checks, and an explicit motive to monetize every drop of that information would be spying on me in my own house. There is no action the US - or any other - government has taken which is so bad it hasn't been matched by some corporation out to make a buck.

    It feels stupid to have to say this, but I will - OF COURSE I don't want the cops, or FBI, or CIA, to have access to this data. OF COURSE I wish I lived in a country where the 4th and 5th amendments were better-respected. But as an average, everyday Joe, I will walk my data over to the NSA myself before I hand it over to Samsung.

    Really, though - if you buy a TV, or phone, or whatever, explicitly advertised as spying on everything you say... what else do you expect?

  • Jan 15th, 2015 @ 11:40am

    I feel like you're missing the point...

    Mike, I feel like you're missing the point when you write, at the end, that Judd and others still think they're guilty even after they're cleared of all charges. I think even that seemingly-damning statement relieves Judd of the worst part of this.

    He knows damn well the people involved aren't guilty, and doesn't care. Innocence, guilt, protecting the public are nowhere on his radar. This abuse gets him three things. Fame, money, reputation. Of course, he has to put up the front that people are guilty - but no sane person could believe that's what's happening here. He's ruining people's lives for his personal benefit; he's a psychopath, and like so many instead of being put away he's put in a position of power.

  • Nov 25th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Look, I know conspiracy theories are fun and all...

    but let's try to get our heads on straight here. The assumption from the beginning, by many in the IT world, has been a very reasonable one - that we're not dealing with messages from a server here. Given the federal government's generally TERRIBLE infrastructure, many sites have pathetically tiny email systems. I worked at a DoD site - considered a tech center - where users were given 30 megs of storage space. Because of the nature of the work I was regularly sent individual attachments which would fill up my inbox. EVERYONE had outlook .PST files on their individual computers. Is this a stupid way to do things? Yes, absolutely. Do I know for certain that the Lerner emails that are missing are from a personal hard drive? Absolutely not. But it seems extremely likely.

    To Mr. 5-months-is-enough-to-delete-incriminating-emails - I know 30k emails SOUNDS like a lot. It is not. It's probably about 15 days of work for someone who had never done that kind of thing before, probably half that for someone who actually has some familiarity with document review.

    Disaster recovery guy? It sounds like you've got an IT background, but it's possible that you're not familiar with disaster recovery - but it doesn't work like a drive mirror. The things you're talking about bear no relation to the reality of how tape archiving works.

    But from my point of view, the biggest problem here is that by even talking about server problems and email infrastructures, you're fundamentally buying into the idea that there's a scandal here. We've been through literally YEARS of Issa bullying everyone in his arm's reach, trying to manufacture a scandal whether there was one or not. And what's come out is that the IRS took the somewhat lazy tack of focusing on groups whose names clearly indicated that they intended to violate the laws pertaining to their nonprofit status. Which, to be honest, seems reasonable to me. But then again, profiling always SEEMS reasonable when it's against people you don't like, and I generally don't like liberal or conservative groups who pretend to nonprofit and nonpartisanship.

    So it's profiling, and that's wrong, and I'm absolutely willing to let that principle stand over my own feelings of "yeah, not too bothered by this." But where's the coverup? What's the point? The scandal - such as it is - is out in the open. Occam's Razor is that this is stupidity and laziness.

    But who knows? Maybe it'll come out - if Issa keeps pushing to keep himself in the news... oops, I mean, if he keeps tirelessly investigating this - that the White House ordered the IRS to use their powers to TAKE AWAY THE TAX BREAKS of a bunch of fairly insignificant progressive and tea party groups. Truly, a plan worthy of Lex Luthor.

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