"The song did get a bit heavy handed with using "stealing", but I thought it was a bit of deliberate satire..."
While the word 'stealing' has different interpretations depending on which side of the argument you're on, the 'sue', as in bring legal action, does not. It didn't seem satirical to me, it seemed ignorant. I'm a huge fan of Oliver's work, and Last Week Tonight in particular, but this seems like a real clanger to me.
"Many don't know what they're getting into. The record labels prey on artists, yet people keep blaming the victims."
Between Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, the Wilson sisters, Sheryl Crow and the others, there are many, many decades of music industry experience involved here. They're not they noobs you speak of, they know exactly what the situation is. I wouldn't call them victims either, they're the very lucky winners of the music industry lottery.
"So, they can't pursue legal action. They can't revoke their license. What can they do? Make an appeal to emotion to a receptive audience, which might make politicians think twice before using a song without the artist's support, or potentially face some negative publicity."
That's exactly what they can do, and if Oliver's story had not used the words 'unauthorized', 'illegal', or 'sue', it would've been perfect. I loved it, it was hilarious even though I knew those aspects were completely wrong.
"Mike, it's not about legal entitlement, it's about respecting the artist and their contributions..."
But this article clearly is about legal entitlement, and when artists falsely claim it. Respecting the artist and their contributions is a completely different story (one Techdirt entirely agrees with you on). Being respected doesn't allow you to make legally false claims. Why is that so hard for many to understand?
"The artist is then required to come out and say the Republican candidate cannot use their song."
The artist is not required to say anything, and the whole point of the article is to point out that in most cases the artists can't truthfully claim the use is unauthorized, illegal or infringement. They're more than welcome to yell from the rooftops that the use is not approved by them, they hate the person using it and the song means the opposite of what the person using it thinks. But that's all.
Having said that, I'm constantly amazing by politicians using songs without first checking to see if the artist is going to publicly shame them as a result. Some clearly don't even read the lyrics beyond the catchy main chorus line.
"In the world I like to live in this kind of mistake is career ending."
There are many, many areas of technology development that would be stopped dead in their tracks if that kind of attitude was prevalent. Cars and planes are obvious examples. Luckily for us the world you like to live in is not the world we all actually live in.
Let's not forget that the police who detained this man for hours, despite the fact that he was under no suspicion of wrongdoing, did so in order to confiscate evidence of their own wrongdoing. Every possible reading of this story absolutely screams police cover-up. Are you sure this is the hill you want to defend?
"Police officers have the right to detain you if you have evidence related to an investigation and to prevent you from either destroying that evidence or releasing it to social media or the news."
I don't believe that right is nearly as broad as you think it is, but can you explain how being detained, handcuffed, in a car for hours was required in order for the police to remove a hard drive? You can't possibly believe that's not grossly overstepping what the law allows and what was even necessary.
Way to completely miss the point of the article, which is the abuse of the copyright system for purposes other than what's is supposed to be for. Your frustration with cheating is entirely understandable, but still doesn't excuse fighting it this way.
"I don't know why Techdirt is complying with the wishes of this person."
This article twice states they are not complying with the request to remove the old stories.
"Any request by this person to erase their mistakes should only be honored if they have provided restitution to the victim."
Given Mike's extremely low tolerance of requests to delete relevant truthful info, if the circumstances of this case have led him to decide not to further publicize this person (but not remove the story) then I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
As is your simplistic and rigid thinking about, well... everything.
"Burning the Flag could be perceived as a threat as well, why are once class of people protected from that perception but not others? That would be racism under the color of law."
First, for flag burning to be considered a threat it would actually have to be threatening. Clearly that is not the case here. Second, race has nothing to do with it nor are we discussing different "classes of people". Flag burning is an action, and it's treated legally according to the context just like many other actions.