JP Jones’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Apr 4th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    As a previous Time Warner user, my new rate has only increased by $50 for the exact same internet that still doesn't reach advertised speeds and has nearly unusable WiFi! Oh, sorry, I must be too ignorant to figure out why this is an improvement. My bad.

  • Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 8:43am

    (untitled comment)

    Wasn't the whole point of a library to give the public access to information they couldn't otherwise get, for free? I distinctly remember having a free library card that let me check out a book and read it to my heart's content (as long as I returned it by the due date so other people could read it too).

    So why exactly does it matter if people are copying stuff from the library? What are they going to do, sell the stuff that someone could get for free? And even if they did, what has that cost the library?

    Also, is really that big a deal to get a snapshot taken in the library? It's not like you're in a strip club when you're telling your wife you're working late. You're in one of the most benign, neutral places you can be. It's also a public area. Who is the library to say that, assuming I'm not actively disturbing other patrons, I can't take a picture?

    Are we so desperate for stuff to get upset about?

  • Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Terrorism?

    Nope, but lawyers do.

    Once you build a society based on following the rules rather than logic laws become useless and arbitrary.

    Your definition applies to plenty of things that a logical person would not consider terrorism (horror films, for example) and does not apply to things that are usually considered terrorism (revealing classified information isn't that scary, but can still get people killed). So to make your definition work you then have to define "terror" which has a different actual meaning than the meaning you're using in context.

    Ah, context. The missing link in the American judicial system. Without context, everyone is a criminal according to the law. Which is reality today.

  • Mar 5th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    The Internet is great at delivering lots of things to a few people, broadcasting is great at delivering a few things to lots of people. To dismiss it as "less important tech" would be to make a grave mistake.

    This makes no technical sense. Replace all the cable broadcasts with internet servers and you have pretty much the same thing, just more versatile.

    Heck, since it's all "on demand" it's technically better than traditional distribution systems. In other words, the server is only transmitting data when another system queries it, rather than constant transmission to all possible reception points for all possible streams (aka cable television). Think about it, what uses less bandwith...a radio station (constant transmission) or a push-to-talk radio (burst transmission). And this is ignoring potential that is impossible for traditional broadcasting, such as cascading bandwith (i.e. Bittorrent-style protocols).

    It's not only "less important tech", it's useless tech. It's the horse and buggy to the Model T, and you're still arguing that horses are better since there aren't many paved roads or gas stations and all the laws are based around horses.

    Horse and buggies are still around, but few would argue we should have cracked down on these newfangled "car" things before they destroyed an industry. Guess what? The buggy manufacturers went out of business, started making cars or otherwise moved on with their lives, and the world kept spinning.

    Mass broadcasting is the same thing. It's legacy tech, from an industry that still thinks in terms of silly devices like CDs and movie theaters, obsolete in an age of flash drives and home theaters. The only reason these things still exist is due to laws, contracts, and those who use them for the social aspects. Which is fine...I still enjoy a good campfire or hike, but to imply that either is "modern technology" is insane.

    Broadcasting technology has been obsolete for years, kept alive by a Frankenstein of lawyers and paper that has nothing to do with technology. If you want to make the arguement that it's good for the industry, that's fine, but please don't pretend there's any technological benefit to be found there.

  • Feb 11th, 2014 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This isn't the behavior of a dictatorship, how?

    I'm going to assume you have no idea what you're talking about, or haven't thought it through. Or maybe you've just bought into war propaganda so much you've started to dehumanize our enemies. But this is not how America is supposed to fight wars, at least according to our military doctrine.

    Being a "terrorist" is not a death sentence, and does not automatically make you an enemy combatant. Being associated with a terrorist certainly doesn't. Do you think that guy's family cares that he is plotting against the U.S., a foreign country that has done nothing for them? Of course not. Why does that make them deserve death? Should we start executing the families of murderers, because maybe they still visit their family member in prison?

    WWII is a horrible example. That war became a massive murder-fest where military tactics were replaced with revenge. The sad part? Carpet bombings were ineffective. Read the history. They caused a lot of damage, but rarely affected the targeted nation's fighting capability on both sides. It was too imprecise to hit the military infrastructure and all bombing civilians did was make the soldiers fight harder and more desperately. You don't win wars that's not only inhumane, it's ineffective.

    We have a better class of soldier now, and a better class of military. This sort of thing detracts from that, and undermines our greater military objective. It saddens me to know this has been going on, and saddens me more that there are fellow American citizens applauding it.

  • Feb 10th, 2014 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: This isn't the behavior of a dictatorship, how?

    That's not how the laws of war work. You don't get to blow up a building full of civilians just because an enemy might be inside, or is likely to be inside. This is the 21st century and we DO check IDs in war zones.

    Positive ID is a requirement for the infantry in America, even in combat zones. You don't get to shoot even known terrorists if they don't have weapons.

    What makes drones so special that, without any possible risk to themselves, they get to skip this requirement? It's ridiculous and insulting to the men and women having to make that choice on the ground with their lives in danger. I imagine there's going to be some issues when people who have been court-martialed for making a bad call when they were looking in someone's eyes find out the rest of the government has been OK with "SIM card enemy ID."

    And they'd be perfectly right to be upset.

  • Jan 30th, 2014 @ 10:16pm

    Re: Copyright + gadgets = prosperity for producers. -- Gadgets without copyright = disaster for all.

    Can't compete with free?

    Riot games makes an estimated $150 million per year. Riot games only has one title, League of Legends, which is free. Heck, it doesn't even make it's money with ads.

    I could go on and on, discussing free-to-play, Kickstarter, comedians who put their shows on YouTube, blah blah blah, but you have such a twisted understanding of reality it's really not worth it.

    People will pay for things they value, whether or not they can get it for free. I can get any movie, game, or song I want for free, and easily, but I pay subscriptions to Netflix, Slacker, and have purchased thousands of dollars in Steam/GoG games. Why? They offer a better service.

    Here's the flaw in your argument. Copyright is already not enforced and piracy is widespread. Yes the industry just keeps growing, year after record breaking year. In fact, infringement is easier than ever as bandwith and technology improve.

    Copyright does nothing to benefit the majority of artists. It doesn't help consumers at all. So who's benefiting? Oh, right, the giant publishers that can't cope with technology that made publishing obsolete.

    If they die out it will have exactly the same effect as the death of the horse and buggy industry in the 20th century...nobody cares. And maybe the horse and buggy guys can go work for a company that actually does something productive instead of stealing from artists.

    You wan't moral outrage? Go read the history of the "copyright industry's" abuses of artists, and how they routinely deny artists access to their own work. Now look up the word "steal" and note how it involves taking something away from someone else. Who's the real thief? The infringer, or the person who takes someone else's work as their own and sells it?

    You've got your anger all backwards, and it's sad and funny at the same time.

  • Dec 27th, 2013 @ 2:49pm


    10,000 years ago societies could produce more physical goods than they needed; that was without modern technology. Every time we increase the labour potential of industry we reduce the amount of human investment required to maintain it; we are at the point, now, where self maintaining, self fabricating, and fully automated foundries could pump out every necessity (and most luxuries) with a social cost of ZERO and distribute them without even bothering with money at all.

    This is pretty much it. I higly recommend a book called Drive by Daniel H. Pink. It discusses intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and how they affect human behavior. The fact is that, even if someone didn't have to worry about money at all, they would still find work to do. Humans are not motivated purely by the pursuit of wealth; in fact, it's a fairly minor drive.

    There are a couple technologies that are going to really clash with the status quo of the industrial era being developed right now. Individually they are of minor importance, but together they could possibly revolutionize modern society.

    The first is 3D printing. While right now 3D printing is pretty limited and very expensive, much like 1980s era computers, the applications of these devices over the next 20 years are going to explode dramatically. The entire industrial era economy is based on manufacturing and distribution; it's only once computers put a twist in the "distrubution" model of the industrial era that we've seen a big disruption. More recently even manufacturing is becoming a point of conflict as the line between "content creator" and "consumer" continues to blur.

    Now throw a device into the mix that literally negates the need for manufacturing and distribution. As long as you have the raw materials (which are fairly universal and can be aquired easily via our existing distribution systems) you can simply print out almost anything you need. Want new shoes? Print them. Need a nail? A hammer? Print them. Want a hamburger? A fancy meal? Print it. Need more materials? Have a drone deliver them to your house.

    The next change is power. People are moving towards "clean" energy for all the wrong reasons (the environment) but discovering its biggest advantage in the process (economics). Right now most renewable energy sources are expensive investments with limited viability. Ten years from now? I expect most new vehicles will be hybrid or hybrid with purely electrical capability, and fuel cells will be looked at closely again (primarily due to 3D printing...when you can print at the molecular level you can dramatically reduce fuel cell costs).

    This has a HUGE worldwide impact, and it's one many companies and governments are desperate to avoid. Why? Because these technologies practically make the global economy obsolete. Why buy cheap manufactured goods from China when we can just print them in our own house? Why import billions of gallons of oil when we can produce our own energy?

    And what about scarcity? As a race we've long since negated food as a scarce resource; the U.S. alone could manufacture enough food to feed most of the world. We don't because we actually pay farmers to produce less food so we don't drive food prices down too low. Water isn't even a factor; with even moderate improvements to renewable energy and infrastructure we could generate more fresh water than we could possibly need. Fuel isn't an issue in a society that generates it's own unlimited fuel.

    In 20 years many mundane tasks will become automated. We already have devices that can vacuum your house, clean up after and feed your pets, wash your dishes, clean your laundry...there's no reason these things can't be further automated. Computers have effectively replaced many mid-level white collar jobs; accountants, pay companies, tax professionals, and many others are facing obsolencence in the face of Excel and tax programs. In 20 years programming will be taught along science and math as a basic skill, and computers will be able to program most simple tasks themselves.

    And this is all based on stuff we know exists today. In 20 years we could have a second computer revolution depending on theoretical technologies, such as quantum computers, fusion power, commercial and personal space travel, cloning, 3D printed organs, virtual reality...the list goes on and on.

    We're on the brink of a new world. There's going to be a lot of resistance, that's for sure. But humans are both pragmatic and idealistic, and eventually our curiousity and drive will move us farther than anyone today can imagine. I for one look forward to it.

  • Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Re: The take is set by the phrase: "adolescent years".

    Blue, you are once again operating under a false assumption. Let me make this perfectly clear. It is virtually impossible, by definition, to steal an idea. The only way you could arguably steal an idea is by hearing someone else's idea and promptly murdering them, therefore depriving them of the idea. Otherwise you are simply copying an idea. And "copying" has never, ever meant "stealing". Reality doesn't work that way.

    I don't know any other way to put it. If someone says "Hey, the sky is blue" that's an idea. If I later say the same thing, I haven't stolen anything. They still have their idea, and the sky is still blue.

    This is an uncomfortable truth, because it leads to another uncomfortable truth, which is that the only "rights" people have are those that they are given by others. "Basic human rights" sounds good but don't exist within reality. If, for example, "life" were a basic human right nobody could murder because they have a right to life. Reality disagrees.

    The funny part is you come uncomfortably close to arguing the exact point of most of the articles here on Techdirt while railing at exactly the wrong problem. The reason "The Rich" have the markets locked up is because they can use IP laws to leverage their dominance and compete at the market level using legislation and the judicial system. Since their competition can't afford the costs of lobbying and lawyers they get crushed and "The Rich" stay rich.

    If you want a fair market we need to remove IP, not make it stronger. Keep reading the stuff're so close to the truth, and still so far away.

    Good luck.

  • May 30th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    (untitled comment)

    The "tradeoffs" are between a smaller pie and a bigger one, and Picker seems to be upset if the law favors a bigger pie. I can't see how that makes any sense from an economic standpoint.

    This is simple. A bigger pie means that each piece is less valuable. A small pie means that each piece is more valuable. The big pie probably also has a lot more people benefiting from it than the small pie.

    When you're one of the people already benefiting from the small, valuable pie, why would you want to let other people in?

    From a greater economic standpoint, what you're saying makes perfect sense. More accessibility means more people benefiting which improves the overall economy. But from a individual standpoint, the individual making a lot of money now may go down to making less money, and for them that's all that matters.

    I'm not saying it's right. But you can always make sense of human greed and self-serving behavior.

  • May 21st, 2013 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re:

    That's not what I said. The anticircumvention provisions strengthen copyright holders' rights by making it more difficult to circumvent access controls. Those access controls make it more difficult to infringe. By making it legal to traffic in these circumvention technologies, that in turn makes it easier to infringe.

    Ah, I think I get the fundamental difference in viewpoint that's causing the issue. Let me see if I understand this correctly.

    In your view, copyright is a natural right that creators of works possess. They created it, therefore they own it, and anyone else who accesses must follow their rules. "Fair use" is an exception that temporarily diminshes the creator's rights in order to allow the public access to certain allowed uses of the work, such as parody or news reporting. Is that close?

    Because that's the opposite of my view, and arguably of the Constitutional view. In my view copyright is a temporary right granted to creators to supress my natural right to do with it whatever the heck I want.

    To take it to a real world example, if one of my friends tells a story at a party, what "right" does he have to that story? I can tell the story, change the story, or do whatever I want with it, as people have always done. People copy each other reflexively and naturally; look up the concept of "mirroring" in psychology. They have no natural right to their stories, ideas, and behaviors that prevent other people from mimicking or using in their own way. How do you think dialects start?

    In other words, "copyright" is a commercial protection of culture to encourage the creation of more culture. Put another way, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The key part in both concepts is the purpose or my version the "encourage the creation of more culture" and in the Constitutional language "To promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts."

    You seem focused on the rights of creators as if the purpose of those rights is to make the creators money and to prevent other people from infringing on their copyright. This is not, and has never been, the purpose behind copyright law, although it is being widely used for it now.

    So from your point of view, this change would weaken copyright law by removing the "right" of preventing infringement and loss of control. From my point of view this change strengthens copyright law by promoting the exchange of ideas, reducing economic waste by those who are not creators (the distribution companies), and by increasing the value of copyrighted works.

    To illustrate my point, I will utilize a bit of fair use:
    "So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view."

  • May 21st, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    (untitled comment)

    AJ is just excited that he found something that appears to prove his point. If only he weren't begging the question fallaciously every time he'd almost have made a valid point. By the way, using a fallacy while accusing someone else of a fallacy is called irony.

    Let me explain. The basic premise of your argument is wrong. You are saying that removing the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA weakens the rights of copyright holders because removing the anti-circumvention clause weakens the rights of copyright holders. This is a logical fallacy known as "begging the question" (as opposed to the common use where it means creating a question). Repetition of your fallacy does not improve it's validity.

    The second part of your statement must be argued for the initial postulate to be valid. In other words, you must first explain how making circumvention of protections for non-illegal uses of copyrighted material in any way affects the rights of copyright holders.

    For example, let's take another set of laws. It is illegal for you to break into my house. It is not illegal for you to enter if I give you permission, and it is always legal for me to enter my own house barring something like a restraining order. Let's imagine it is also illegal to climb into a house through a window since that is circumventing the security of the house.

    Now, as a homeowner, I have the right to prevent unauthorized entry to my home. If I accidentally lock myself out of the house, and climb in through a window, should I be prosecuted for breaking and entering under the clause of the law that states going through the window is illegal? And if that law were removed, so it is now legal for *me* to enter my house, but still illegal for an intruder, does that diminish my homeowners rights in any way? Either way the right to enter my house is unaffected...someone entering illegally is illegal, regardless of the method, and someone entering legally should not be a criminal for entering through an "illegal" method.

    So what Mike stated is correct...the actual copyrights of copyright holders are unaffected by this change. The ability to take legal activity and treat it as illegal simply due to the method would be removed. This may help reduce the abuse of copyright law for non-copyright purposes but does nothing to diminish the copyrights themselves.

  • May 18th, 2013 @ 3:46pm


    This just in:

    Your home air oscillation device using rapidly spinning polyethylene blades in order to rapidly displace the local breathable gasses. This displacement can lower the local oxygen level as well as cause rapid evaporation of body moisture and lowered body temperature. A similar effect in nature is the primary cause of deadly cyclonic activity. In fact, the Korea Consumer Protection Board released a consumer safety alert is 2006 warning of such devices causing asphyxiation or hypothermia.

    This and other issues, like the unregulated use of dihydrogen oxide in common food products, must be corrected immediately!

  • May 18th, 2013 @ 1:18am

    (untitled comment)

    Unless I'm mistaken, isn't this device primarily voice activated? As in, to take a picture, you have to either say "Glass, take a picture" or reach up and press a button. If there's a mind control feature included I certainly haven't read about it. I would think that talking out loud for recording would be kind of a big give away.

    For filming, you have a similar issue, plus you have to disable the recording LED. The device itself is not inconspicious; if you're concerned about privacy, why not just ask someone to take it off? I wouldn't think there would be any more issues in bathrooms than there are now and I seriously doubt they'll become a permanent feature of corrective eye lenses.

    Either way the fact that our government is concerned over our privacy is laughable. This is purely an attempt to get a legislative foothold on a new technology so they can ban it rather than compete. They're still trying to figure out this "internet" thing, can't have us getting some that's the same as a smart phone, but always being held in front of your face. Oooh, scary.

    Privacy is a real concern. Google Glass just isn't the big threat to it. Cute attempt to divert attention, though.

  • May 17th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re:

    That's not unique to democracy by a long shot.

    While I agree that other government systems operate on belief that is illogical or based on incorrect assumptions the fact that the law is created by majority, and thus popular, belief is unique to democratic systems pretty much by definition.

    Of course, given the staggering amount of people in the world who base the majority of their beliefs on the premise of "this is what I was told to believe" or "this is what everyone else believes", I suppose this is technically true of virtually any human governance system.

    Democracy is simply the only one that does it explicity, although technically "democracy" is a misnomer considering the U.S. is not a democracy, but now we're just examining semantics =).

  • May 17th, 2013 @ 1:48pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's not OK for you to use your CD player, but it's OK for everyone in first class to plug in their headphones to the plane's seat music player.
    It's not OK for you to read your Kindle, but it's OK for your digital watch to be on.
    It's not OK for you to watch a movie on your DVD player, but it's OK for all the TV screens in the cabin to be on.
    It's OK for the plane to be hit by lightning and environmental static electricity, but your laptop is going to magically interfere.

    As someone pointed out already, the GPS system in the phone itself is unaffected by the phone's could the plane's GPS possibly be affected? There's zero scientific basis behind these restrictions.

    It comes down to the same logic as the "Turn off all cell phones" signs at gas stations. It's impossible for your cell phone to cause a fire at a gas station. Yet you'll see this stupid sign all over the country.

    Another example is x-rays at the'll still get a giant lead bib which does absolutely nothing. The x-ray radiation created by modern imaging tech is significantly less radiation than an afternoon at the beach. So why do we still use the bibs? Because if it wasn't there, people would be nervous, because it was a problem back when they were blasting extreme x-rays to get a blurry picture.

    The disadvantage to democracy is that we create law based on popular belief...belief which may or may not reflect reality or be based on logical thought. The problem is that the only people with an interest in politics are either those with a stake in the law for their own gain or those being abused by it. Everyone else just shrugs and lets it go because it doesn't affect them, or at least they don't think it does.

  • May 15th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    (untitled comment)

    Oh, yay! I can watch TV on my tiny tablet screen! For approximately one day per month until I use up my 2gb download limit!

    Just what I always wanted. Thank you, TV, for providing me just the service I was looking for. What would I do without you?

  • May 7th, 2013 @ 8:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    Very few things can be considered "truely innovative." Most innovation is a result of collaborative idea exchange. Typically, it goes like this:
    1) Someone, or a group of someones, encounter a problem that they want to fix.
    2) They come up with an idea to fix it. It doesn't work or works poorly.
    3) Someone else sees them trying to fix the problem, and comes up with a better idea.
    4) ...
    5) Innovation!

    I can't think of a single thing that wasn't created accidentally that was a result of one person spontaneously coming up with a great idea that everyone wanted to use. Everything comes from people building on the works of others, whether it's inventions, art, politics...all these things are inherently part of society and not part of individuals.

    I personally believe the U.S.'s insane copyright laws (and they are insane, as in not based on logic or reason) is at least partially due to our extreme idealism of individualism. The U.S. believes that the individual surpasses everything else, and that individuals are responsible for these creations. It's a romantic idea, but it's completely false. No piece of art, science, or technology exists without the influence of the society that created it, period.

    That's reality. What we have is the ideal (copyright, you have the right to *your* idea/art/invention) conflicting with reality (your idea/art/invention isn't really yours, it's created from the culture you live in). And it's creating extremely wonky results.

    Unfortunately, copyright is as strongly ingrained into U.S. ideology as other myths, such as eating fats will make you fat and that the world is facing overpopulation.

    Oh no, if that doesn't get people riled up I don't know what will. If even one person gets angry, goes online to look it up and prove me wrong then I've suceeded in opening a mind.

    But I'm not going to hold my breath.

  • May 3rd, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How is it "particularly disingenuous" if I'm uniformed? That makes no sense. I don't follow these "Hollywood accounting" stories, so it's accurate to say I'm uniformed. But it's completely inaccurate and disingenuous on your part to say that someone who is uninformed and asks for information must himself be disingenuous. It's incredibly ingenuous for someone who has a lack of information to seek information out. So I don't really appreciate or understand your attack of me here.

    First of all, "uniformed" != "uninformed". They're close, but I don't think Mike was criticizing your work attire. Your attempt to sound smart in this paragraph fails pretty epically when you use the wrong word twice in a row.

    Second, you called him out to prove something so well-known it has it's own Wikipedia article. You don't get to call someone else out for being wrong when you haven't done one iota of research yourself.

    Here's the thing; if you want people to take your opinions seriously, the first step is to have a factual basis for your opinion. You don't get to demand people prove stuff then get indignant when they call you out, and we're not stupid enough to believe it was just an "innocent question." You asked because you wanted to prove Mike wrong, then played the victim once you got called out for it.

    So go get, informed, about the topics at hand before you start spewing baseless opinions. Thanks.

  • Apr 25th, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's Marine Corps, not Marine Corp.. There is no Marine Corp., at least not as a military organization.

    Just a FYI; any Marines reading this probably winced as hard as I did (I'm currently on active duty).

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