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  • Oct 4th, 2017 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Obvious explanation


    Of course I considered those other things. The DEFAULT ASSUMPTION is that you're just some anonymous troll sitting in his mother's basement in the US. But we live in times where it's been shown that Russia has a great amount of resources dedicated to doing precisely this - sowing doubt and disinformation in comments forums on American websites. Thus far, I have seen no evidence Egypt - that great international superpower - has equivalent capability or interest.

    The russians are behind everything? Seriously? What is up with you people?

  • Oct 2nd, 2017 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Obvious explanation

    So... wait. Are you legitimately asking why the heads of a particular government would trust the intelligence apparatus of that government? Because you know the standards by which most of us judge the NSA aren't the standards by which the upper echelons do...

    You know what's weird about living in 2017? I look at that comment - as well as the Anonymous Conspiracy Theorist two comments down - and I think "Wow, I wonder if these comments are being written from a Moscow suburb." That seems entirely plausible.

  • Sep 26th, 2017 @ 5:54pm

    God save us from Lawrence Lessig.

    Don't get me wrong - I think he's one of the brightest legal scholars of the modern age, and his work has fundamentally changed and improved both thinking about copyright, and copyright itself.

    But from what he's written above, it seems clear that he never learned the lesson that the rest of us, unfortunately, have had to live with since Eldred v. Ashcroft - that what makes someone a brilliant legal scholar doesn't necessarily make them a brilliant advocate. This is a man who took an eminently winnable case, and rather than give the justices an argument they could connect with, that could sway them - the way his opponent, the beyond-brilliant Ted Olsen did - he talked down to the nine justices of the supreme court and gave them a cold, boring lecture. And he lost. And so did all of us.

    That's a clever bit of logic related to Bush v. Gore up there. And you know what? Not a single damn person cares. I'm on his side, and *I* don't care. It is a boring, dull, legalistic argument that will lose in any court it's brought before.

    Go and think big thoughts, Larry. Then hand them over to an actual advocate.

  • Sep 20th, 2017 @ 7:05am

    (untitled comment)

    I definitely do not get the title of this piece. When I opened it up, I thought that the idea that they might be interested in file-sharing wasn't particularly weird at all... And then you went on to lay out all of the excellent arguments in favor, one at a time. What is weird about their interest?

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 6:45pm


    Would completely disbanding the FBI be that bad a thing?

  • Apr 27th, 2017 @ 9:44am

    I understand why you gave this the headline you did.

    I think a more accurate one would be "Shady shit done by company that has been constantly in trouble for doing really shady shit is not quite as shady as previously reported" but that's just not nearly as catchy.

    I mean... do you see why people (myself included) wonder whether your reporting about Uber is fully neutral? There are probably a half-dozen news stories a day that get a major tech item wrong. And most of them involve something more significant than a downgrade from "shady" to "less shady." But you chose this one. And at its absolute best interpretation, this story still shows Uber doing the thing that is most problematic about Uber - Uber breaking rules/regulations and doing whatever it wants. I'm not saying the correction isn't real - it clearly is - but... so what?

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, like the AC above you, you're thinking of the early-80s NRA - the NRA I was a member of growing up, the NRA from when they were actually a group promoting responsible gun ownership, the NRA from before they let their lobbyist take over the organization. Today's NRA is a corrupt shadow of that organization that exists for no other reason than to perpetuate its own power.

    Which is a shame, because this is a time we NEED the NRA of the 60s and 70s.

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Right, because the ONLY CHOICES in this country are to stand at one extreme or the other. Jesus christ, with you people...

    And actually, no. I can honestly say that - as someone interested in the issue, I could not name one major voice on the gun control side of the issue. Who would you consider the "loudest voices"? And what have they said as insane as Lapierre's paranoid rants in *2016* that, trust him, Obama was just waiting for the right minute to finally come and take away your guns?

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    What in god's name are you talking about?

    Believing in freedom of speech does not require me to agree with him. And if you look at this and think, "Oh, distributing computer code to 3-d print an illegal firearm? That's a cut and dried first amendment case, there's nothing complex or nuanced about it" then I honestly don't think we're sharing enough basic facts to have a conversation.

    But I'm sure it's easier to attack my belief in free speech than to make an actual argument.

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 1:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    Gun laws are mostly a total mess because the gun manufacturer lobbyists, led by the NRA, have convinced gun owners that it is the lowest form of treason to even THINK the word "regulation." As a result, when gun laws get passed, guess who isn't at the table? People who are passionate about guns. The people who are at the table - AT BEST - are people like me, who shot a little at summer camp as a kid but who frankly knows nothing. the NRA - which was a good organization, when I was a kid, but which is the definition of Washington corruption now - has made it so that the people who taught me what little I know, as a kid, now just want to sit back and make fun of people who don't know the difference between a clip and a magazine, rather than sitting down and talking about it.

    It really makes me sad. I think in a vacuum, I'd be much more on the side of gun rights than regulation. But when the loudest pro gun voices are Wayne Lapierre and Cody Wilson, well, I know if I'm going to take a stand, it's not going to be with them.

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 12:31pm

    (untitled comment)

    Part of the problem is that Cody Wilson is his own worst advocate. I'm pretty on the fence about whether what he's doing should be okay - but every time I listen to him spouting off his juvenile, in-your-face need to stick it to the man, regardless of the consequences, I get more and more firmly into the "shut him down" camp.

  • Feb 28th, 2017 @ 7:00am

    Re: Why protect trade secrets by law?

    I alluded to this in an earlier comment - we let trade secrets be protected by law basically simple efficiency. This kind of thing happens rarely; the security required to stop it would be expensive and intrusive. Rather than ten thousand companies locking their documents in safes and searching their employees twice a day, we solve the problem by making this kind of almost-theft illegal.

    If it were legal, I could break into Google's labs, photocopy all their documents, sell them to Uber for fifty million (five hundred in this case) and do six months for breaking and entering if I got caught. That encourages corporate espionage. Heck, I'll take that deal.

    I think the reason it becomes a confusing area of law is because a lot of companies misuse or, by claiming things are trade secrets which are not.

  • Feb 28th, 2017 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Yeah, I don't get your point here, Mike.

    You certainly can win, and I didn't say it sounds like you're shilling for Uber. It sounds like you clearly appreciate Uber for their impressive, industry disrupting technology, and it seems - based on my perception and that of others in this thread - that causes you to turn something of a blind eye to the incredibly unsavory things the corporate side of the company does. You could, when you write about Uber, consider whether your viewpoint is well supported and if you're letting your biases trump other concerns.

    It has to be at least a LITTLE bit of a red flag to you that you've responded so many times in this comment thread. And some of the comments are the typical Techdirt-bashing that comes up in every thread, but I think there are a lot coming from the same angle as me - people who appreciate the hell out of what you do and who feel your position in this particular piece is really weird.

    You talk a lot about companies respecting their audiences and their communities. I think this is one time you should seriously listen to what we are saying.

  • Feb 27th, 2017 @ 5:53pm

    Yeah, I don't get your point here, Mike.

    Because it kind of seems like you're saying that patents shouldn't exist at all.

    I'm hardly a patent maximalist; I agree with the point of view that says the vast number of patents I see should not exist. But some clearly should, because actual invention should be rewarded. We want more of it, and patents are one possible way to encourage it. (And some smart people recognize that their patent will make them more money if they don't exercise it than if they do.)

    But it seems like you're making an analogy between copying a song or TV show - IE a widely distributed piece of art - and copying an unpublished, literally secret invention a company hasn't yet released. I *AGREE* with the "well, what have you lost?" argument when it comes to copying the song. But in this case, the "what have you lost?" argument is so blindingly obvious - the first mover advantage is enormous and this is a cutting-edge tech field - that it seems weird to me that you're falling back on "But it's also not "stealing." All of the information is still retained by Waymo." that it seems to me like all you're doing is falling back on semantics about the word stealing. Yes, you're absolutely correct, that no unique physical object was removed from Waymo's premises. But in the great scope of things, this is much closer to the traditional definition of "stealing" than what we, you, me, and our community, generally object to when the RIAA and MPAA call downloading a movie theft.

    I know you get accused of shilling for companies a lot... from my point of view, that's clearly not true. But you do demonstrate this weird, WEIRD love for Uber that makes you overlook a ton of the crappy things they do. Like buying stolen plans from Google to bootstrap their own effort. This is literally the heartland of what intellectual property and trade secret protections exist for. The reasons those laws exist is because they're EFFICIENT - it is SO much better to protect trade secrets with laws than through the level of complete security paranoia you'd need if you knew a rival could just swipe the plans to what you're working on with no repercussions. And I feel like you spend so much more time than me thinking about this stuff, and the position you're taking is so weird - and just doesn't seem well-supported from someone who can almost ALWAYS support his points, even when I disagree with them.

    So I'm just going to call it your Uber-blindness, and then call it a day. But I really, really think you need to rethink your point - or at least rewrite the article so it comes across better.

    Or just stop writing articles about anything to do with Uber, they rarely come across as your best.

  • 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?

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