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Posted on Techdirt - 22 October 2017 @ 4:16pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the better-late-than-never dept

Sorry for the late post, everyone! A glitch crept into our admin system and I was unable to access the leaderboards for most of the day. But now, without further delay, our top comments of the week...

First place on the insightful side is a simple, no-nonsense response from Mononymous Tim to a fired cop's complaints about public release of his body camera footage turning people against him:

It's called accountability. Deal with it!!

In second place, we've got a proposal from That One Guy for a way to fix the civil asset forfeiture system:

How to fix the problem in five minutes:

'Any seized property and/or money without proper, verifiable documentation tracking who it was taken from, when it was seized, and the legal justification for the seizure shall be considered to have been acquired illegally.

The property/funds shall be immediately transferred to a neutral third party, which shall hold on to it for a period of six months, during which members of the public may present evidence to demonstrate that they were the previous owners of a given pieces of property. Any property left unclaimed after this period has expired shall be liquidated, and the resulting funds shall be transferred in their entirety to the public defender's office, to be used to pay the legal fees of those that would otherwise be unable to do so.'

Wouldn't be perfect(those that couldn't provide proper documentation would still be screwed, but I'm really not sure how to get around that offhand), but it would remove the NYPD's main motivation for stealing anything they can get their hands on, and provide a good motivation not to do so at the same time.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a response from takitus to the sneaky choice by copyright trolls to start calling settlement offers "fines":

I’d imagine most people think of a “fine” as something they’re required (by a government or other authority) to pay as a form of punishment, whereas a settlement suggests a negotiated, voluntary agreement between parties. By replacing the latter term with the former, these letters suggest that the recipient has already been tried and found guilty.

I’m sure this choice of language was completely accidental...

Next, we've got a story from ShadowNinja suggesting that the main reason ISPs don't want to have to provide more accurate broadband maps is that they are just really bad at it:

Story time, I think part of why the ISP's don't like this is because they're so incompetent that their own internal maps are wrong.

Years ago the business I worked at wanted to upgrade to get Verizon FIOS. But we were told repeatedly that it wasn't available in our area. This was despite the fact that:

  • Our next door neighbor, a dental office, already had FIOS.
  • We could clearly see the FIOS boxes outside of our window on the cable lines.

After some arguing with them over the phone we finally got them to send a technician out, to verify that their maps were wrong and we could get FIOS.

But the best part? A few years later we got a knock on our door from a Verizon salesman, asking us if we wanted to upgrade to the FIOS we already had!

So yes, despite them having several years to fix their maps, and being told by us that FIOS was available in the area, and despite the fact that we were paying for it, Verizon was incompetent enough to send a salesman to our door offering to sell it to us.

Over on the funny side, both our winners came in response to the Canadian couple that is suing their neighbour for building a similarly designed house to their own. The first place winner is an anonymous commenter who was quickest to the comments with a healthy dose of eye-rolling sarcasm:

They copied other things too

Both homes have walls, roofs and floors clearly copying the first. They also have lawns, use outside air and have water and electrical incorporated right into the home itself.

Madness.

Next thing you know, they will be installing a driveway, walkway and wait... They already copied those too. Those bastards are going to pay now.

Some people really need to just be barred from every using the court to demonstrate their insanity. Maybe they should be wearing a helmet and bite guard to prevent the online assaults that they deserve for bringing a lawsuit like this in the first place.

And the second place winner was a different anonymous commenter with an entirely different kind of joke:

It's an infringing day in the neighbourhood, an infringing day in the neighbourhood, and won't you be my plaintiff...

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got two more responses to the effort by ISPs to silence calls for more accurate broadband maps. Orbitalinsertion proposed a shortcut solution:

Maybe the FCC should just ask the NSA. Those ISPs have already handed over everything to them.

But I think this anonymous commenter had the most efficient suggestion:

A truly accurate map would just be the United States, shaded in all one color, with the key reading "Not Good Enough."

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

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

from the more-copyright dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, we saw more copyright nonsense as South Park was sued over a character design and textbook publisher Pearson managed to take down 15-million student and teacher blogs with a single DMCA notice — but of course, being punished for a bad DMCA notice was and is almost impossible. As we approached the 30-year anniversary of the CD, we lamented the lack of music industry innovation, while the numbers continued to show that file sharers are also big media buyers. And Harvey Weinstein made an appearance on Techdirt — over an unhinged rant about piracy.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007 things weren't much different, though perhaps even sillier, with one law firm trying to use copyright to claim you can't look at its website's source code, a bunch of media companies claiming it's infringement to skip commercials, Congress pushing for anti-P2P laws with claims that P2P promotes identity theft, and the RIAA launching its lawsuit against Usenet.com. Amidst all this, YouTube made a major announcement and ContentID was born.

Fifteen Years Ago

And guess what? More of the same this week in 2002 — but it was a week when more people were noticing the problems. Some were (rightly) worrying about the future of expanding DRM, and talking about copyright law as the new prohibition and a tool that lets corporations destroy America's cultural heritage, and asking if we really want to put the dinosaurs in charge of evolution. Copyright defenders were hitting back weakly, with arguments amounting to "trust me" and "shut up, Gary Shapiro, we don't like you".

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 17 October 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 141: Donald Trump, Howard Stern... And Copyright

from the it-shows-up-everywhere dept

This episode was supposed to come two weeks ago when the news was a little fresher, so by now you almost certainly know all about the copyright claims on Donald Trump's appearances on the Howard Stern show. Though delayed by an outage at our cloud recording provider, the episode is still an interesting listen, with frequent Techdirt contributor Cathy Gellis joining the podcast to discuss the deeper question of whether copyright truly even exists on the interviews in the first place. Sorry for the delay, and we hope you enjoy it!

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 - 15 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our winning comment on the insightful side comes in response to the president's recent threats against NBC, with Geno0wl racking up the votes to take first place:

Could you even imagine

Trump's base brush this off as a flippant remark(like they do for everything he does from his bull pulpit).

But flip back a year and imagine the shit-fit the right would be throwing right now if Obama said this exact same thing about Fox News. It would be insanity. Hell imagine if Obama said literally half the things Trump says now. They would be foaming at the mouth.

In second place, we've got a comment from Baron von Robber in a thread on that same post, but it's a versatile one that works in many contexts:

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" - Hitchens's razor

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment from that post, in which crade brings some perspective to the problems that do exist with the news media:

Yes, there is something wrong, but there are also ways to correct it without government interfering. News organizations rely on their reputations. Simply outing them (you know, actually pointing out specific things that are fiction or lies, and proving so) would easily destroy their reputation for people who are seeking truth in news.

People who are seeking echo chambers or who are willfully ignorant are another story, but that's their right as free people correct?

The answer has to be in teaching the population critical thinking and why the objective truth is valuable, the consequence of echo chamber isolation / willful ignorance.

It's worse if there is deliberate systematic targeted misinformation.. (Like to manipulate the U.S. population to do whatever Russia wants for example)

Next, we have an excellent comment from aerinai that came in response to Twitter's blocking woes, but which taps into a larger and very important idea that we've discussed before — that the root of many of these problems is the ascendance of platforms over protocols:

Unfortunately, platforms are the sexy, new thing that everyone loves. Close down the hatches and let a single company create a 'platform'.

Email doesn't have this problem because it is a Protocol. Twitter has the problem because it is a platform. BitTorrent doesn't censor applications, because it is a protocol. The Apple App Store has a problem because it is a platform.

So the more we feed into Platform culture, the more you will see people putting arbitrary control over how people use it. Not necessarily good or bad; it is their right as the platform curator, but we just need to understand curators will censor at their whims because reasons.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes from Toom1275 in response to another commenter pointing out that, while it's great the Internet Archives found a way to liberate some works via a never-before-used piece of copyright law, it's just further evidence of how wholly broken the system is:

"You're giving him CPR for a bullet wound to the head?!"

In second place, we've got a response to a particular commenter, which I won't bother explaining because you'll know what it's about — and if you don't, it's really not worth learning:

"I tried to post the same comment 9 times and I'm so confused why my comments won't pass the filter!"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of comments from regular fixture Roger Strong, starting with one more response to Trump's NBC comments:

This is so insane and stupid it's as if the US Patent and Trademark Office were put in charge of the executive branch.

And next, a wonderful summing-up of the latest attempt by science publishers to stop researchers from sharing their work:

"Dinosaurs Against Unauthorized Comets"

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 14 October 2017 @ 1:00pm

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

from the see-changes dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, while Hollywood was wining and dining New Zealand politicians to help get their copyright demands into the TPP, the similarly bad provisions from the dead ACTA were unsurprisingly appearing in CETA. The RIAA was continuing to share bogus math, this time about the supposed decline in musicians, Microsoft was caught sending an especially amusing takedown to Google over a link to... Bing, and copyright maximalists were celebrating the settlement in the Google Books/Authors Guild lawsuit, even as another judge was ruling that book scanning is obviously fair use.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, there was a sea change as more and more artists began to realize that they could try different business models instead of relying on record labels, with bands rushing to embrace free distribution and even some high-profile artists like Madonna taking control of their own business. But for the most part, the recording industry was still trying the same old things, and making incredibly weak attempts to compete with folks like iTunes. Maybe basing your business on copy protection was not such a great idea.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, as the future of webcasting was unclear at best, Silicon Valley was applauding the growing efforts to fight back against Hollywood, even as the copyright battle was heating up thanks to things like broadband fearmongering and a new lawsuit against Mp3.com from some big names in music — or, most importantly, the beginning of the Eldred vs. Ashcroft case before the Supreme Court (which would sadly go on to uphold the constitutionality of the 1998 copyright extension.)

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 10 October 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 140: WTF With Tim O'Reilly

from the big-picture dept

The rapid forward march of technology has long bred two leading camps of onlookers: the techno-optimists and the techno-pessimists. Honest people on both sides, however, must admit that technological innovation has had both positive and negative effects. Internet legend Tim O'Reilly is one of the people who think a lot about these issues, and his new book WTF? What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us — which discusses in detail the world that we are building with technology — was released today, and we're pleased to have him join us on this week's episode to talk about the book and the future of innovation.

(Apologies for the lack of an episode last week — an ongoing outage at our cloud recording platform has left us unable to access the audio files. Though that episode is a bit out of date now, we're hoping we'll be able to get it out later this week.)

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 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from all the way back on last week's comment post, where an anonymous commenter took a moment to thank us for the openness of our comments:

tiny bit off topic, but since this article is about comments this still seems fitting:

I wanted to say thanks for having a site that makes it easy to post comments.

There have been several sites that I've felt inclined to comment on (or file software bug reports to :( ) that I simply gave up on due to insane requirements like having to create an account or give my email address. If the barrier to entry for "basic community participation" on a site is not trivial, then odds are it's not worth the time or energy.

I know it sounds kinda crazy but in person you don't have to present photo ID or give your street/mailing address just to talk to someone. Internet communities have no strong reason to be different (that can't be addressed in better ways).

(Thanks for the kind words! We have every intention of keeping it that way.)

In second place, we have a response to SCOTUS's decision not to review Kim Dotcom's civil asset forfeiture case, where one anonymous commenter responded in the form of a quotation:

It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.

But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

- John Adams

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more response to that post, this time from That One Guy offering a brief summation of events:

So the DoJ steals his stuff, tries to hold it over his head by requiring him to forgo his right to fight extradition if he wants to try to get it back, the courts buy the DoJ's argument in it's entirety, and the supreme court decides that it's not interested in even considering the case.

Goodbye right to fight extradition.

Next, we head to our post about the UK Home Secretary's patronizing and ignorant stance on encryption backdoors, where one commenter proposed that a safe system could be developed by using a separate individual encryption key for every message, prompting an anonymous commenter to put the scale of that suggestion into perspective:

Average number of iMessages sent per year: 63,000,000,000,000,000.

Current secure key storage size: 2048 bits (256 bytes)

That's 1,600,000,000,000,000 bytes of information per year.

Would you care to put up the cash for the 1.6 petabytes of storage that your suggestion would take (not counting the necessary metadata needed to tie the key to the message)?

Oh, and don't forget that you have just shifted the one thing you would need to decrypt all messages from "the master decryption key" to "access to the database of decryption keys." Unless you really trust Apple to keep those keys secure (as much as you'd trust, say, Yahoo!, Equifax, eBay, Target, Evernote, FriendFinder, SnapChat, the Turkish government...)

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes in response to the lawsuit against a King's College football coach over tweeting a page from a 1982 motivational book. Roger Strong was struck by the book's title:

You have to respect someone who writes a book called "Winning Isn't Normal", and 35 years later still endeavors to prove it by example.

In second place, we've got a response to Oracle's letter attempting to scare the White House away from open source software, where Toom1275 took advantage of the syntactically ambiguous punctuation in the letter's subheadings, which began with the label "False Narrative":

At least Oracle was nice enough to clearly label some of its false narratives as such for us.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more nod to Roger Strong, this time for a comment on the UK Home Secretary post making a good comparison about the futility of demanding the impossible:

Her government would also find it much easier to balance the budget, if only those mathematicians weren't so patronizing in their responses to requests to change the rules of mathematics.

Finally, we've got a comment from Vidiot about Oracle's letter, which went ahead and gave a key sentence a new ending to make it much more accurate:

"The USG’s enthusiasm for open source software is wholly inconsistent with..."

... Oracle's need to skim easy federal money from decades-old, proprietary installations.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 7 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

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

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, as copyright trolls continued their war on open wi-fi, rightsholders in the EU sought new storage media levies for the cloud and US ISPs were gearing up to enact their "six strikes" plan, we were trying to kill the myth that the constitution guarantees copyright. Some people at least seemed to get it, with a high-profile EU Parliament Committee proposing the ability to create non-copyrighted content, a DOJ lawyer exploring the fact that copyright needs to change in the internet age, and Psy mega-amplifying his Gangnam Style fame by allowing anyone to use the song and video for anything.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, it was expected and then confirmed that the RIAA would win its lawsuit against Jammie Thomas — even as we speculated that investors would soon force the RIAA to abandon its aggressive lawsuit strategy. In that trial, a Sony-BMG exec made some pretty absurd statements, around the same time that Viacom's CEO gave a speech demonstrating that the company is wrong about almost everything related to the internet and modern media, and the president of the ESA was calling for lots more DRM. But at least one group of creators was experimenting: Radiohead announced the pay-what-you-want plans for their album In Rainbows.

Fifteen Years Ago

Even back in 2001 this week, Hollywood already had its hooks in the government (and was working hard on getting them into colleges too). The music industry was heavily on the offensive and sending misguided musicians to complain to the government about downloading. As Napster creator Shawn Fanning was giving interviews about the service's demise (and even selling life story rights to MTV), the next generation of file sharing tools was starting to wonder if the "Betamax doctrine" would ever prove effective as a defense. Meanwhile, Congress was still considering an onerous and extreme DRM bill (which as we'll see in a few weeks was eventually killed, surprisingly, by.... Senator Patrick Leahy, who is more recently known for introducing a terrible copyright bill).

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Posted on Techdirt - 1 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the we-comment-too! dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side was... me! But I prefer to highlight reader comments, so I'll just link off to that and move on to featuring the second and third place winners. First up, it's an anonymous response to Larry Lessig's new campaign for electoral reform, suggesting a different take on the problem:

The real problem isn't one of how we elect the president, or for that matter, any political figure. The real problem is getting competent figures into office. And that is a real bitch of a problem. Reason is quite simple. At this moment, the only thing that a political figure needs to be competent in is collecting votes. Period. End of discussion. The ability to actually understand the issues. The ability to actually act in the public good. Everything that would make a ruler a GOOD ruler doesn't even come in a close second behind the ability to actually attract votes. And unless some method is created to put competent capable people in charge, no method of electing them will work. Hell, look at the 2016 election. We had a choice of Hillary or Trump. Would anyone honestly claim that either of those two people would be capable and just ruler? I certainty hope not. We basically had to choose between two very bad choices that no rational person would desire.

Next, we've got a comment from Michael on a post about SESTA, responding to the assertion that "we don't allow physical sites to be KNOWN criminal bases":

Yes we do. Take, for instance, US highways. People are constantly breaking the law on those things by going faster than the speed limit. Are we holding the department of transportation responsible for the actions of those drivers?

Or let's try something much closer - what about a prison? If an inmate sexually assaults another inmate, is the prison administration found criminally liable?

Of course not. In the real world, we hold the criminals responsible. It baffles me why anyone making the argument for SESTA would not already be calling for laws that "prevent" criminals from using the phone system, highway system, and utilities by holding the phone company, DOT, and utility company responsible for not policing the use of their services. Or, well, I suppose it is possible that the SESTA supporters would want that as well.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a parallel response to my first place winning comment, which was in response to someone questioning an apparent contradiction in Techdirt's commentary on piracy. Orbitalinsertion had a different and equally compelling way of framing it:

It's not about "exactly the way Techdirt wants", Techdirt notices what people actually do.

It's almost as if you think this is ideological...

The point is, if you want subscribers, you don't drive them to ignore you, or [back]to piracy, by doing a crap job at your offering. People who could never afford it, or who are the stereotypical "i want everything for free, just because" sorts who the cranky types like to hold up as the only kind of pirates, are going to pirate or not either way.

Making content costly or annoying to consume will lose customers regardless if it is in the format of cable tv or streaming. It isn't about some sort of ideological "format war" in that regard, either. Comcast could do exactly what Netflix does, only they won't. Near the entire benefit of a newer technology delivery system in this case is psychological/cultural: they got providers to treat them differently because reasons, even though they would probably like to treat streaming just like cable. It's new! Maaaaagic. That's how stupid these industries are. And this is them being stupid again.

Next, we head to our post about Elsevier's new Wikipedia rival, where we were accused of yet another hypocrisy — condemning Elsevier's monopolistic practices, but supposedly not Google's. Though any company with the reach of Google bears keeping an eye on in that regard, an anonymous commenter clearly spelled out how the "Google monopoly!" crowd is exaggerating things:

Can you point out what is monopolistic about Google? I use Google because they makes a good product but I think in just about everything Google offers, I have at least 2 other alternatives to choose from. The only thing I see that is monopolistic is that everyone uses it, willingly. Windows doesn't even come with Chrome or Google Search as the default. It is Edge and Bing. Mac and Linux default to Google search but usually they are Safari and Firefox. Elsevier on the other hand is a company that I think shouldn't even exist in this day and age. Any research that is paid by the government/public should be freely available to everyone and not put behind the paywall of a private company.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes in response to an infamous copyright troll demanding someone hand over their hard drive for examination. Roger Strong suggested a unique defense:

Sovereign Immunity

I signed the rights to my hard drive data over to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. He can't touch it.

Our second place winner needs a little context, and so we're going to go out of order and slip in an editor's choice first to make that possible. The first comment that arrived in response to the Elsevier post didn't even earn a funny badge (quite possibly because the winning reply siphoned off votes) but is still deserving of a nod. It was TechDescartes latching on to Elsevier's description of its new service:

Department of Redundancy Dept.

"completely automated, algorithmically generated and machine-learning based"

This is repetitive, redundant, and repeats itself.

But it was Stephen T. Stone who won second place for funny with an addendum:

Just like Elsevier.

That just leaves us with one more editor's choice on the funny side, and this time it's Dan with a response to the silly copyright dispute between two makers of banana costumes for Halloween:

I'm glad my plantain costume is safe to wear.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 30 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 24th - 30th

from the copycopycopyright dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, the fallout from the farce that was the Megaupload raid — made worse by the revelation that the New Zealand government used illegal wiretaps in the case — the public was starting to realize more about the disasters of copyright overreach. There was no shortage of examples, from copyright trolls and aggressive rights collectives around the world, to terribly onerous laws on the verge of passing in countries like Panama, to insane statements like that of a former Register of Copyrights who thought new technologies should seek prior approval from the government, to absurdities like an author being punished for torrenting his own book.

Ten Years Ago

They wouldn't have had any lack of examples this week in 2007, either — though at least there was some pushback from various corners, like the growing number of judges smacking down the RIAA's file sharing lawsuits (you know, the ones that almost certainly accomplished nothing, and one of which was for the first time on its way to be heard by a jury. You might remember it: the defendant was someone by the name of Jammie Thomas...)

And just for fun: it was surprising and amusing to see a headline about "fake news" all the way back in 2007, though the context was, as you might imagine, very different from today.

Fifteen Years Ago

The main flashpoint of the copyright fight this week in 2002 was still the insane Hollywood hacking bill, which was the subject of fierce debate. While the bill's sponsor defended it with empty statements that belied either ignorance or indifference, Congress was inviting only Hollywood representatives to come whine about piracy and support the bill. Dan Gillmor invited Jack Valenti to share his (unconvincing) side of the story regarding the MPAA's heavy-handed actions, while Gary Shapiro of the CEA was clearly and carefully making more nuanced arguments wherever possible — but of course, the opposition had the potent weapon of recruiting celebrities to the cause.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 26 September 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 139: How Scandalous Are Facebook's Ad Scandals?

from the and-what-can-be-done? dept

Facebook is under a lot of scrutiny these days over its advertising and content moderation systems, especially since the high-profile revelation of Russia-backed ads during the election. But are things being blown out of proportion? And what, exactly, is to be done? This week we dig in to Facebook's ongoing advertising scandals, and debate what they really mean.

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 - 24 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-turtle-moves dept

This week, after we expressed some serious concerns about Senator Blumenthal's comments on SESTA, Uriel-238 won most insightful comment of the week by summarizing and questioning the train of thought:

Legislator: This is my bill to stop evil people.

Analyst: This doesn't stop evil people at all. It simply wrecks a chunk of the economy.

Legislator: Evil people use that chunk.

Analyst: Way, way more good people use that chunk. And they'll suffer badly without that chunk. Also it won't stop the evil people from finding another chunk.

Legislator: Well, this is my bill to stop evil people. Until you write a better bill to stop evil people, I'm going to put my support behind this one.

Where do we get the idea that passing a bad law is better than passing no law? These are the motions of a drowning man climbing on and dunking nearby swimmers in desperation.

Meanwhile, over in the UK, Theresa May was making her own insane comments about how internet companies need to remove extremist content within two hours. Anonymous Anonymous Coward won second place for insightful with a short list of just some of the problems with this idea:

I would suggest putting May in the position of finding and analyzing things that might be 'extremist', but it is likely that ANYTHING that did not start out with praise for May and/or her ideals would be deleted without further examination.

Then there is the concept of what constitutes 'extremism'. Extreme could be left or right or up or down or any other label so long as one takes the time to go further than others. What definition will she put into law?

Further, is she employing the concept that what is law in Briton should be law everywhere?

And finally time. Some laws have the ability to be...well let's say intensive (aka very very long) and might take more than two hours to even read, let alone analyze. Is May purporting that all Internet companies hire super fast readers, or people that can watch video at 4 or more times regular speed, and still comprehend it...comprehensively... and have the full faith and credit to NOT take down something that may not be 'extreme'? Or is she going to rely on black box algorithms?

Maybe May should be asked about how she will clean up the messes she is making.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more response to May's impossible demand. Aerinai offered a proposal in response:

I am completely fine with them passing this law... just they also need to pass a few other laws as well.

Law Number 1: This law will find mismanagement of public funds (i.e. graft, kickbacks, improper expenditures, etc.) within the same requisite amount of time within the government. The government heads will then be held responsible any time any of these activities occur and are not caught within 2 hours.

Law Number 2: I also want NHS to be able to identify medical fraud within 2 hours, otherwise the employees will be subject to criminal penalties...

Law Number 3: I want lawmakers to have all of their facts checked and a retraction for their false statements to be done within 2 hours and failure to issue such retraction will result in criminal and civil penalties.

I mean... if asking Google to censor 'extremist' content in 2 hours is fine, these should be a piece of cake as well!

Next, we have a response from Mike Godwin to the strained accusation that Google is behind his opposition to SESTA:

Mr. Anonymous omits facts that undercut whatever point he thinks he's making about me.

(1) I worked for EFF from 1990 to 1999. Google didn't exist then.

(2) I worked for CDT from 1999 to 2003. Google didn't fund CDT then.

(3) I worked for Public Knowledge from 2003-2005. Google didn't fund Public Knowledge.

(4) I worked for Yale University from 2005-2007. Google didn't fund my position at Yale.

(5) I worked or Wikimedia Foundation from 2007-2012. Funded by individual donations, for the most part.

(6) I worked for Internews from 2013 to 2014. Funded by the U.S. government, for the most part.

My work for R Street certainly has benefited from Google funding, as well as funding by many other sources, but my work on Section 230, now more than two decades old, has no roots in Google funding (and certainly not in Backpage funding).

My views about Section 230 are a function of my work on internet-freedom issues dating back now more than a quarter century. Maybe they're incorrect views, but nobody whose sole argument is that I was paid to have those views is likely to be persuasive on that point.

Mike

Over on the funny side, our first place comment comes from TechDescartes in response to HP bringing back ink cartridge DRM:

HP Multifunction

Print/Fax/Scam

In second place, we have a similarly short quip from Roger Strong in response to Verizon cutting off its "unlimited" wireless customers:

I have unlimited respect for Verizon.

Using their definition of "unlimited."

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of comments in response to the EFF's resignation from the W3C over the approval of the EME DRM standard. TechDescartes offered up a thought on the lack of detailed information about the vote:

trans•par•ent

So much for transparency.

Origin from Latin transparere, from trans- ‘um’ + parere ‘no’

In response to that — and, I suspect, inspired by Cory Doctorow's invocation of Terry Pratchett's Lord Vetinari (I am a huge Discworld fan) in a piece at Wired — an anonymous commenter provided another relevant passage regarding the lovable tyrant:

"And these are your reasons, my lord?"

"Do you think I have others?" said Lord Vetinari. "My motives, as ever, are entirely transparent."

Hughnon reflected that 'entirely transparent' meant either that you could see right through them, or that you couldn't see them at all.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 23 September 2017 @ 12:30pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 17th - 23rd

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

There was all sorts of copyright nonsense this week in 2012, beginning with a claim from the Canadian Mint over a musician's album cover photo that included some pennies sitting on a table. We noticed some disturbing things hiding in the history of US copyright, like the fact that the Copyright Act explicitly says disruptive innovation should be blocked, or that somehow a letter written by John Adams in 1755 had still not entered the public domain. The Spanish octogenarian who gained notoriety after her extremely poor "restoration" of a fresco of Jesus decided, for some reason, to start exercising her copyright over the famous failure, and we also saw the beginning of the copyright dustup over The Innocence of Muslims.

Also, this was the week that the Big Four record labels became the Big Three, with regulators approving Universal's purchase of EMI.

Ten Years Ago

Things weren't much better this week in 2007, with the copyright czar stepping up to sing the praises of the DMCA and copyright holders gloating over every mole successfully whac'd in their pointless crusade. NBC seemed insistent on making life harder for paying customers> (though CBS seemed to have a better handle on internet video), the Canadian recording industry was flip-flopping on private copying levees lest people get the impression downloading was legal, and a book store at Harvard was trying to claim copyright on... its book prices.

Fifteen Years Ago

Guess what? More of the same this week in 2002. The music industry was touting new "CD-killer" music formats without mentioning their real motivation was the enhanced copyright protection of new, pointless devices, while at least one record company was taking the absurd anti-leak action of sending reviewers individual players containing the CD and glued shut. Cablevision gave everyone a preview of the DRM future by accidentally turning on new copyright protection technology for a little while. At least CEA head Gary Shapiro was eloquently making the point that downloading is neither immoral nor illegal, though that sensible understanding of the situation unsurprisingly didn't catch on with the entertainment industries.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 19 September 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 138: When Godwin's Law Met The Streisand Effect

from the chance-encounters dept

On Friday, we posted video from last week's World Hosting Days, in which Mike Masnick sat down for a talk with Mike Godwin — a.k.a. the originator of "the Streisand Effect" meeting the creator of "Godwin's Law". As promised, we've got the audio from the event for this week's podcast, so if you haven't watched the video (or you just want to revisit it) tune in for a fun discussion about the history and changing meaning of these now-famous terms.

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 - 17 September 2017 @ 12:30pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Derek Kerton, with an excellent response to the game developer that has decided to DMCA PewDiePie videos (though it is very generally applicable):

""I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make," writes Vanaman on Twitter."

I am sick and tired of people who get angry when value is added on top of their platforms by other players in the economy. That's how business works.

You don't hear steel workers angry when carmakers make a car from their steal then, "make money off what we make."

You don't hear carmakers getting angry when taxi companies buy their cars, then "make money off what we make."

The fact is, your products, my products, ANY product ain't worth shit to the market if we don't offer the buyers the opportunity to extract Economic Surplus from it. Whether that's in the form of Consumer Surplus, or Value-Added revenues from a business - people should be able to use your products to serve their needs.

And it doesn't matter if you like or don't like what they do with it. It is literally none of your business.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_surplus

Meanwhile, after we discussed Harvard's decision to rescind Chelsea Manning's fellowship and pointed out the fellow whose letter and protest sparked the choice (Michael Morell) is responsible for bad intelligence that started the war in Iraq and killed thousands of US soldiers, ShadowNinja rightly pointed out that there's much more to the story than that:

For Havard to rescind its offer to Manning, over false claims of putting US soldiers at risk from a guy who has admitted his own decisions lead to the deaths of thousands of US soldiers, is a total travesty.

Why must we be too American focused on this?

The deaths of American soldiers are frankly peanuts compared to all the other hundreds of thousands of deaths the war caused in Iraq, mainly among the Iraqi's.

Here's a link with information about the deaths caused by the Iraq War, and the different estimates of casualties.

The most relevant section about the deaths here.

Various scientific surveys of Iraqi deaths resulting from the first four years of the Iraq War estimated up to one million Iraqis died as a result of conflict during this time.[1] A later study, published in 2011, estimated that approximately 500,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion.[2] Counts of deaths reported in newspapers collated by projects like the Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants. Updated estimates from the Iraq Body Count Project report an estimated 173,766 – 194,058 civilian deaths from 2003-2017. For troops in the U.S.-led multinational coalition, the death toll is carefully tracked and updated daily, and the names and photographs of those killed in action as well as in accidents have been published widely. A total of 4,491 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014.[3] Regarding the Iraqis (see Tables section below), however, information on both military and civilian casualties is both less precise and less consistent. Estimates of casualty levels are available from reporters on the scene, from officials of involved organizations, and from groups that summarize information on incidents reported in the news media.

So at best only a mere 174,000 Iraqi's (the vast majority of them non-combatant citizens) were killed in the Iraq war. Likely the number is closer to over 200,000 when counting all deaths, not just Iraqi's. And if the worst case estimates are right and the vast majority of estimates are heavily under-counting the deaths, over a million people died as a result of the war.

And that's just deaths, it doesn't count all the other many costs of the war.

In that post, we also mentioned Harvard's recent decision to deny admission to a woman who was about to be released from prison for killing her child. One commenter flatly asserted that there should be no sympathy or redemption for her, and our first editor's choice for insightful is the anonymous response that discussed that notion at great length:

There are five basic reasons for imprisoning a criminal.

The ones most people agree on are removal, deterrence, and retribution. That is: putting criminals somewhere that they can't hurt the general public, offering disincentives to committing crimes in the first place, and giving a sense that the person has been given a punishment that has fit the crime.

There aren't many people who'd disagree with serial killers being deprived of people to kill, or that some sort of punishment is needed to keep people from flouting the law with impunity, or that something must be done to provide a sense of justice and closure after a crime is committed.

There are two other basic reasons behind imprisonment, though, and very different philosophies about their place in criminal justice.

Scandinavian systems tend to focus on rehabilitation. That is, removing a person who commits a crime from the general public, and making it so that when they are allowed to rejoin society, that they're unlikely to commit any further crimes. The point is to make it that the person who comes out isn't the same person who went in: they're not a criminal anymore. And, if preventing recidivism is the goal, it seems to work: in Norway, a released criminal has a 20% chance of re-offending within five years; in the U.S., it's over 75%.

This seems to be because the U.S. system prioritizes retaliation over rehabilitation. That is, not imposing the best solution onto the problem, but rather inflicting as much pain as possible on the person who dared to flout the law.

That kind of stance just plain isn't healthy: not for the person wanting the punishment, nor for the person dealing out the punishment, nor for the person receiving the punishment, and especially not for the society in general.

Michelle Jones did a horrible thing. No one is denying that.

She needed to be removed from society, to provide justice for her child's death, to protect other children, to show other people who might be tempted to resort to violence against children that it will be punished. No one is denying that.

Do the twenty-plus years that she's spent in prison make it right that she killed her child? Of course not. But, even given my own unremarkable life, I'm a much different person than I was twenty years ago.

Ms. Jones has lived a longer time since killing her son than she had before committing that atrocious deed, the vast majority of that time in prison. She's been given the punishment that society dictated for her, and now wants to start her life over as a better person. And yet you want to keep punishing her.

If the U.S. ever wants to solve its crime problem --- and especially its recidivism problem --- you're going to have to get away from the idea that punishment must continue after the prison sentence is over. Because, even though I wouldn't say that I've done anything worthy of imprisonment, I know that if I was imprisoned, paroled, and released, and the stigma of my crime left me with no job, no friends, no support network, and, in short, no ties to the community at all... If I had no way to support myself, and no one whose good opinion I cared to maintain... If the only thing that stood between me and reoffending was my moral strength and willpower, and those slowly started to get eaten away as I starved and was looked down upon from every angle...

Well, I'm not going to say that I'd turn to a life of crime, because my currently well-fed, well-regarded, gainfully-employed, and generally-quite-comfortable self is in a good position to say that a life of crime isn't something he would ever consider turning to. But I do have to wonder how many of my reasons to not steal would have to be taken away before I did seriously start making that consideration. And, judging by the American recidivism rate (once again, 76.6% of released prisoners in the U.S. are re-arrested within five years), I'd be naïve to think I'm the special person who wouldn't bow to that pressure.

No amount of punishment is going to bring Ms. Jones' son back to life, and the criminal justice system has declined to punish her further for killing him. So, if child killers shouldn't be going to college to try to contribute to society, to try to make the world a better place after paying for their horrible deeds, what should they be doing when they get out of prison?

For our next editor's choice, we head to our post about the fight to have We Shall Overcome recognized as a public domain song, where Thad elaborated on the harm done by robbing the public domain:

Indeed, I'm not the first person, and won't be the last, to observe that the last major copyright term extension was pushed by a company that built an empire on adapting stories from the public domain (from Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk in the Silly Symphonies shorts, to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and I believe they started work on The Jungle Book as soon as it entered the public domain).

There are plenty of creative works that have been suppressed, and both their creators and the public deprived of them, over copyright disputes; the documentary Eyes on the Prize was out of print for years due to disputes over music copyrights (including, presumably, the fraudulent copyright on We Shall Overcome). The Peabody-winning comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 has a number of episodes that are currently unavailable for legal distribution because those episodes include movies that they no longer have the rights to; if not for the copyright extensions of '76 and '94, many of those movies would now be in the public domain and the episodes would be available for sale. (Note the qualifier "for sale" -- because of course those episodes are available for free, on YouTube, torrent sites, private networks, etc.; people are watching those episodes and not paying for them, and, as the sales on the legally-available episodes have proven, would be willing to pay for them if they had that option.)

It takes a pretty perverse kind of reasoning to rail against people watching videos on YouTube as freeloaders who just want something for nothing while simultaneously defending the companies that have been fraudulently making money off of Happy Birthday, We Shall Overcome, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous commenter on our post about the Equifax breach, and specifically responding to our reiteration of the problems with the total lack of transparency at Equifax over the years:

Well, what they're collecting is pretty transparent *now*.

In second place, we have a response from Anonmylous about Charles Harder's loss in a New Hampshire court:

So in summation....

I guess the Judge could be paraphrased as saying "What do think this is, East Texas?"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous response to Comcast's lawsuit against Vermont in which it claims that having to expand broadband infrastructure violates its first amendment rights:

Talk about a double standard. I called up Comcast and told them I wasn't paying my bill because it "violated my First Amendment rights" and all I got was forwarded to a collections agency.

And finally, we've got a comment from dropcap that elegantly identifies a way in which PETA could be considered right about the monkey selfie case — as long as you embrace some deeply faulty premises:

"the need to extend fundamental rights to animals..."

• Copyright law provides an economic incentive to create art.
• Copyright law does not apply to non-human animals.
• Non-human animals produce far less art, per capita, than humans do
• Animals are almost exclusively driven by financial concerns.

Since all of those statements are obviously true, I'm going to have to side with PETA on this one.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 16 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 10th - 16th

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, we were watching as the House of Representatives got ready to move forward with extending the FISA Amendments Act despite huge problems and a worrying lack of information about secret interpretations of the law. Of course, it quickly passed — basically thanks to lots of lying and misrepresentation about what the bill actually contained. Meanwhile, having failed to get new cybersecurity legislation passed, the White House was looking to tackle the issue with an executive order, the draft text of which was leaked at the end of the week. Of course, we were also worried about efforts to make cybersecurity enforcement the job of the ITU, an idea with a whole host of problems of its own.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, we were appalled at (and slightly amused by) the pathetic attempts at "innovation" on display in the legacy recording industry, such as the hype around the "ringle" — a combination of a single and a ringtone! Imagine that! Similarly, Universal Music seemed to have gotten the message that subscription services are a good idea, but gotten the details of the implementation entirely wrong. It was also around this time that we started to hear complaints from sound engineers and audiophiles about iPods and earbuds destroying the sound quality of music — though perhaps that was just a way to get press, much like blaming Facebook for destroying the economy. Meanwhile, Prince, unpredictable as always, decided to sue eBay, YouTube and The Pirate Bay for copyright infringement.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, the bizarre blanket ban on video games we mentioned last week quickly started to fail in the courts, the battle between China's censors and Google heated up then fizzled out, and a well-known AP writer joined the ranks of people totally misunderstanding the digital music debate. The music industry was doing its best to paint Kazaa and Morpheus as infringers, while Morpheus was seeking summary judgement saying it doesn't violate copyright law. And one on-the-money essay explained how the industry was killing the goose that lays the golden eggs by trying to destroy digital music.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 12 September 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 137: Customize Everything!

from the 21st-century-trends dept

While the 20th century was defined by mass production, since the digital revolution there has been talk about what might be the main trend of the 21st century: mass customization. Today, we're starting to see customizable mass-produced offerings pop up in a number of spaces such as apparel, and this week we discuss whether mass customization is finally approaching critical mass.

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 - 10 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, we're going to go out of order again, since we've got a good discussion with our first place winner in the middle — sandwiched by two good editor's choices. On our post about friend-of-patent-trolls Judge Rodney Gilstrap crafting an incredibly broad set of conditions for having patent cases heard in East Texas, aerinai offered up our first editor's choice for insightful with some thoughts on the impact this will have:

Goodbye East Texas Jobs

So let's assume for a second this is allowed to stand.... All I'm hearing is it is dangerous as a company to have business dealings or employees in East Texas...

Assume for a moment that you are a tech company that has to litigate this nonsense. Wouldn't it make more sense for me to lay off my East Texas workforce (especially in remote instances like this) to lower my risk? Be cheaper to fly in a sales person every week than 'establish residence'.

If you live in East Texas, say goodbye good paying jobs, courtesy of your one and only Judge Gilstrap!

In response to that, we've got our first place winner for insightfulAnonymous Anonymous Coward going ahead and taking the idea one step further:

Not only that, but websites will probably block IP addresses assigned to East Texas because Judge Gilstrap will interpret that that constitutes having a business in East Texas. He appears to be quite imaginative in not only his patent case rulings, but in his interpretation of SCOTUS rulings.

Funny what power does to logic. Or, maybe not so funny.

And then, in response to that, we've got our second editor's choice for insightful from Paul Brinker, offering a capper to the discussion:

I have to agree with this. As a business owner I would restrict all travel, business, and customers from East Texas.

I would go so far as make this a public corporate policy.

This way they would have to make some new test like "My Website can be seen from Texas" which will quickly fail in higher courts.

And now all that remains on the insightful side is our second place winner, a very simple anonymous comment in response to this week's good news about the dismissal of Shiva Ayyadurai's lawsuit against us:

Congratulations!

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes yet again in response to that very first comment about Judge Gilstrap's patent test, anonymously chiming in:

What is this east texas you speak of? It seems I can't find it on google maps any longer.

In second place, we've got a response from TechDescartes to the convoluted nightmare of Spotify streaming licensing:

Troll-kien

One license to rule them all,
one license to find them,
One license to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of anonymous comments. The first came in response to the Screen Actors Guild's strained attempts to stop IMDB from publishing facts about actors, offering a possible explanation:

Explanation for illogical arguments

"I'm not a competent legal scholar, but I play one on TV."

And the second was a very British response to UK terrorism law reviewer Max Hill's anti-encryption comments:

Had to check twice, but

Mr. Hill's first name is indeed Max, not Benny.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 9 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 3rd - 9th

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, as the election drew near, we noted that both the Democrats and Republicans were in deep denial about the need for copyright reform — even as the tide seemed to be turning on bad copyright laws in some other countries. Meanwhile, the copyright takedown game was going nuts as usual, with rightsholders issuing takedowns over content that has been gone for months, and automated bots managing to take down the live-stream of the Hugo awards (for showing clips from an award-winning show) and even the official stream of the Democratic National Convention (with claims from a shockingly long list of media companies).

Ten Years Ago

Ironically for sci-fi fans who couldn't watch the Hugos in 2012, this same week in 2007 it was a sci-fi writers group abusing the DMCA to take down content. Meanwhile, Ridley Scott gave as an interlude from Hollywood's usual complaints about technology being used for piracy (like the MPAA's new crusade against camcording in UK cinemas) to complain about small screens killing the art form. This was also the week that Apple made major updates to its iPod line including the introduction of the iPod Touch, and we noted that the excitement around the technology was itself a good argument against music industry business models.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, record labels were actually backing away from copy protection, although their official music download sites were still languishing in obscurity. The industry was fresh off an insane attempt to stop piracy with a lawsuit against internet backbone providers, and Duke University had just received a curious anonymous $1-million donation to fight abuse of the DMCA. This was also the week that Greece passed a somewhat-infamous anti-gaming law that, due to its vague wording, effectively banned all video games.

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Posted on Techdirt - 4 September 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-grapevine dept

This week (or last week, I suppose — this post was moved for the long weekend!) our first place comment on the insightful side comes in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions using Hurricane Harvey as an argument for increased police militarization. An anonymous commenter set things straight:

Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer...

...no.

What's needed instead are exactly the kinds of resources that this administration wants to strip out of FEMA: simple, basic essentials that are relatively inexpensive and save lots of lives.

Let me give you a timely example. The Cajun Navy, bless their hearts, showed up in force in Houston to do whatever they could to supplement the hopelessly-overwhelmed local, state, and federal personnel. And now some of them are dead, because they didn't have lifejackets (PFDs). A minimal PFD for this kind of work costs about $100, a good one is about $250, a bulk order for several thousand would no doubt drive the price down.

No, it's not very cool and sexy and oh-gosh-look-at-the-pretend-soldiers, but it's a basic tool that keeps people alive in situations where they'd otherwise die. A quarter-million dollars worth of PFDs is chump change in comparison with the overall expense -- flying helicopters is REALLY expensive -- but it would yield value far beyond its price.

That's just one example. There are a lot of others, including swiftwater rescue training -- something that almost none of the Houston city personnel have had because there's no money for it. But SWR is essential for anyone trying to perform rescues in fast water, particularly in urban areas where there are all kinds of hazards under the surface. Two days of quality SWR instruction costs $250/student and is probably enough to keep them from dying while trying to keep other people from dying.

Harvey. Sandy. Katrina. This is the new normal. There will be another one. Soon. And money needs to be spent on basic gear and basic training before one of these turns into a multi-thousand person casualty event. So don't buy the cops AR-15's: buy them PFDs and SWR training. Those are FAR more likely to keep them alive.

Meanwhile, a Deputy AG was trotting out a fable to make an absurd point about intellectual property, leading Ninja to win second place on the insightful side by making some critical modifications:

Good Lord they're still at these flimsy bullshit claims?

I'll fix the little story for him:

As a child, I learned a fable about a hen that finds some wheat grains and asks other animals for help in planting them. Nobody is willing to help but some will give it money via crowdfunding campaign, so the hen does the work itself hiring some people to help. At every stage of the process – harvesting the wheat, threshing it, milling it into flour, and baking the flour into bread – it keeps building and people keep financing it as they are interested in the results. But when the work is finished, everyone wants to eat the bread. So the hen makes infinite copies of that bread and everybody is happy, some even pay for some copies! Seeing how successful the bread is, hen decides to go for Bread 2.0 with new pepperoni fillings. The end.

Yes, I would download a bread.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of comments from the same pair of posts. First, in response to the post about Sessions, one commenter left some thoughts that included an easy-to-make but unfortunate error in the conflation of two homophones, inspiring TechDescartes to coin a rather good phrase:

Spelling matters. Which makes me think of a TLDR for the post:

We don't want the military enforcing any ordinance and we don't want the police touching any ordnance.

Next, on the post about the Deputy AG's copyright analogy, one commenter tiresomely accused us of just being a bunch of pirates who won't acknowledge creators' rights, leading Stephen T. Stone to spell things out in more detail:

Their "intellectual property" rights are given to them by a set of laws that never foresaw modern technology. If copyright could be updated in a way that aligns with the Internet Age, the ease of copying data, and the original intent of copyright, I would likely support it. But it cannot—at least, not while corporations control the writing of such laws—so I cannot.

I will stand against black-box code that cedes partial control of my device to someone who does not own it—DRM. I will stand against instant takedowns content if even a small part of it uses someone else’s content under Fair Use guidelines—the DMCA. I will stand against a corporate welfare system that locks up the cultural commons behind a gated wall—the current length of copyright terms. I will stand against any part of copyright law that forgets the law’s original purpose: To strike a bargain between the artist and the general public such that they both benefit from the creation of any given work of art.

I will also support, in any way that I can, artists whose work I enjoy. I will ask others to support artists in any way they can. I will ask people to pay the often underpaid and overworked freelance artists more than those artists think they deserve for their time and skill. And I will support an individual artist's right to monetize their work as they see fit.

You may judge me by these principles. Doing anything less will show a distinct lack of your own.

Over on the funny side, guess what? We've got the same pair of posts again! This time, first place goes to an anonymous commenter with some more thoughts for Jeff Sessions:

Hurricane Harvey was a surprise attack by nature

Meteorologists predicted that the hurricane would strike farther south and west. Nature staged a sneak attack by hitting Houston instead. The police must be adequately militarized to meet these attacks in kind, and to retaliate against Nature with the full surplus might of the United States military.

And in second place, we've got a comment from TechDescartes about our admittedly inconsistent use of typographical emphasis when people like say stupid things about copyright like comparing it to a fable about physical goods:

Excellent post...

...but someone needs to go check on Mike. I think he broke the Ctrl+B and Ctrl+I key combos on his computer pressing them so hard.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous response to a bizarre complaint that we aren't showing enough "journalistic balance" by reporting all the good things about killing net neutrality:

Mhm. I also wonder where is journalistic balance in weather reporting? They say tomorrow's gonna be hot and humid in Florida, but what about balance - they need to report about Floridian summer snow and blizzards as well.

And finally, we've got a comment from Bruce C. proposing an idea for solving the Facebook moderation problem:

Do what NPR did...

Maybe Facebook should shut down its comments section. After all, multiple organizations claim it improves their interaction with their users.

That's all for this week folks!

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