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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 20 October 2020 @ 1:45pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 259: A New Model For Independent Journalism, With Casey Newton

from the how-journos-get-paid dept

The origins of Techdirt lie in a newsletter that Mike started over 20 years ago, and in all that time, the business models for online journalism have never stopped evolving and changing, especially when it comes to independent reporting. Now, newsletters are making a comeback with a new model, driven especially by writers flocking to the Substack platform. One such person is technology journalist Casey Newton with his new Platformer newsletter, and this week Casey joins the podcast to discuss his experience and what it can teach us about the future of independent journalism online.

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 - 18 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the louder-for-those-in-the-back dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous comment responding to someone who framed the debate over Section 230 as a contest between the free speech rights of citizens and corporations:

Citizens have never had the right to force a corporation to carry their words. Indeed the newspapers and traditional publishers place even more restriction on what they will publish that Internet sites that allow user generated content.

Your problem is that people do not want to listen to you, so you want the government to force them to listen. You will not succeed in that, as people will find other ways of communicating where they can avoid the likes of you.

In second place, it's Bloof with some thoughts on the controversy over the social media blocks of the NY Post story about Hunter Biden:

Fortunately conservatives have Parler and Gab where they can share misinformation to their hearts content... Oh wait, they don't want that, they want an audience for their lies and they know normal people aren't super keen on going places where hate flows free.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got an anonymous commenter once again clarifying an important point about that incident:

Twitter DID NOT BLOCK A MAJOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE! The article in question was easily available by, you know, goin to the ny post site and reading it!

Next, we've got That One Guy raising a good counterpoint to our criticism that Twitter's block played into the narrative of "anti-conservative bias":

'You looked at me funny, anti-conservative bias!'

Not saying Twitter didn't screw this one up, but to be fair these days having rules at all that are applied to 'conservatives' is seen as evidence of 'anti-conservative' bias so they were basically in a lose/lose situation, where they either let the story fester on their platform and spread freely, in which case they get called out for allowing bullshit, or they do anything to hinder it, in which case the perpetual 'victims' scream about how persecuted they are again.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Thad responding to a particular sentence from our coverage of the controversial block — "NY Post released a story that[...]'s hot garbage":

But you repeat yourself.

In second place, it's PaulT responding to a commenter who seems really, really angry about open source:

I always love it when ignorant dickheads use open protocols via their open source browser to navigate to a website built on an open source database, web server on an open source operating system to talk shit about how open source is useless.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Hieronymous Cowherd's comment on that same post, which was about how the pandemic-driven explosion of distributed teams working from home follows a route charted by decades of such organization in the open source development community:

Is this finally a case of

Herd Community?

Finally, we've got Uriel-238 offering some free advice for the FBI task force in Portland:

The Antifa Hierarchy

Well I could have told them the Antifa is the active arm of the Deep State.

This should be easy for the FBI: They capture someone and ask them if they harbor anti-fascist sentiments If the answer is yes, their subject is clearly Antifa.

Other signs can be: They own a white van or a black duffel bag.

These are all signs they are from Antifa or the Black Bloc.

Unlike other insurgency groups, Antifa is a monolithic unilateral front, kinda like the Swedish Borg. When a member of Antifa joins he or she get a decoder ring, an indoctrination video and an easy-to-memorize manual that explains the whole hierarchy from the bottom-most goon to the Taco Grande Supreme Commander of the Upper Echelon.

The reason the FBI has not yet been able to infiltrate Antifa and acquire their own copy of these materials is this: The video is super effective.

In fact, the Antifa indoctrination video may be too effective, and capable of bringing down entire established institutions. If an FBI special agent passed it on to other agents or analysts, they too might become radicalized and join the burgeoning ranks of Antifa!

The White House has suggested as much, that the Comey directed FBI has been subverted, hence its antagonism to the Trump presidency and the current administration of the DHS, as shown by the uncovered Strzok/Page texts.

One should always be on the lookout for Antifa sleeper agents who can be anyone in the walks of the United States.

Aside from the flagging devices above (white van, black duffel bag) Antifa sleepers will also purport and flaunt an extreme Protestant Evangelical Christian identity and lifestyle. Watch for the words Jesus is my co-pilot, a phrase Antifa use to signal their presence to each other. If one person says it, and another person responds positively or reaffirms the sentiment, this is likely two antifa sleepers connecting in order to collaborate on future sorties.

See something? Say something! Report all sightings to the DHS anonymous tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or call your local precinct.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 17 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 11th - 17th

from the how'd-it-go? dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, while one judge was calling everyone's bluffs about encryption, James Comey was insisting that "dozens" of terrorists have eluded the FBI because of it and Chuck Grassley was telling the DOJ to get back to the fight, and some were noting how just because the administration had said it wouldn't pursue backdoors didn't mean the next one wouldn't change course. Plus, we noted that the lack of fervor from the NSA on the issue simply suggested that they already had a way into people's phones. Meanwhile, the appeals court handed a clear fair use win to Google over book scanning, while the battle over the Happy Birthday copyright was gearing up for its next phase.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, we looked at the rapid rise of copyright shakedown operations in the US — in fact, there were so many that they were starting to fight with each other over trademarks on their very similar names and copy ceach others' websites. Meanwhile, more countries were reacting to ACTA and Ron Wyden was seeking answers on whether it would impact US law (which independent analysis suggested it absolutely would) — but though all this was leading to some growing reluctance among US officials, we doubted that they would ever really decide not to sign the agreement.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the instant messaging wars were in full swing and Microsoft and Yahoo were finally managing to provide some basic interoperability. RealNetworks and Microsoft settled their antitrust fight, more and more people were speaking up about patent trolls, and we looked at how it was the recording industry's obsession with DRM that helped make Apple so powerful, to the industry's chagrin.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 13 October 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 258: The TikTok Order And What It Means For Innovation

from the what-a-mess dept

We've got another cross-post episode for you this week, featuring Mike's recent appearance on Robert Amsterdam's Departures podcast. The conversation touches on many aspects of internet regulation, Section 230, and related issues — but the main focus of discussion is one big mess: Trump's executive order about TikTok, and what it means for innovation.

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 - 11 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the some-people-are-saying dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous commenter with a necessary "from the article" reply to someone questioning Voice Of America's political independence:

Who did not read the article:-

The USAGM may oversee VOA, but its officials are not allowed to breach the "firewall." If there are questions about a journalist's objectivity, it's supposed to be handled in-house by VOA editors and any outside journalists/experts the VOA asks to help ensure its review is handled just as objectively.

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone commenting on the issue that sparked that discussion — the administration's investigation of a VOA journalist for anti-Trump bias:

Funny how conservatives who proclaim favor for “free speech” do their best to undermine the First Amendment at every chance. “Every self-imposed label, a rejection”, indeed.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment from Stephen T. Stone, this time about the idea of bringing back the Office of Technology Assessment:

Ah, but that would undo one of the chief goals of Republicans going back to the days of Newt Gingrich: destroying independent expertise with which Congress could consult. Republicans can’t have their knowledge (and authority) questioned if they keep out of the room “experts” who can tell Congress “this is fucked up and here’s why”. Bringing the OTA back would give Congress access to people who know what the hell they’re talking about — and that scares the shit out of Republicans, especially Tea Party–era Republicans who’ve been taught to distrust science, experts, and anyone who they believe is a “know-it-all” because they know more about a given subject than do Republicans.

Democrats, for all their faults (coughfailuretofightclimatechangecough), at least pay lip service to the idea of listening to scientists and experts in their fields. Republicans, more often than not, would rather we all get on our knees and pray.

Next, it's James Burkhardt with a very level-headed assessment of the controversy over the Cuties documentary:

The movie strikes me as another Rorschach test, Like Sandman.

If you saw the film prior to the Netflix ad campaign, you probably saw a film which used imagery disturbing to the average individual to make a point about the effects that sexualization of women in media has on children. You probably perceive that the actual volume of sexualized imagery being employed is minimal in comparison to the run time.

If you saw the ad campaign first, you probably saw an overly sexual depiction of underage girls far in excess of what was needed to make the point trying to be made. It was smut for pedophiles and nothing more.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Baron von Robber with a different response to some of the wilder accusations about Cuties:

I heard they hid kids in the basement of a pizza parlor too! Are you Qless?

In second place, it's cpt kangarooski with a joke that someone had to make about hackable IoT chastity devices:

Hacking one of those is a real dick move.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with a response from teka to the accusation that VOA must be corrupt because that's what the commenter would be:

Theaters might be shutting down but there is a lot of projection still going on.

Finally, it's That One Guy responding to Devin Nunes' attempt to invalidate one of the most important distinctions in defamation law:

Same thing either way really

Honestly I can see his point here, I mean why would you want a higher bar for defamation for public figures than your average joe, it's not like public figures have more power and reach, a greater potential impact on the people around them and might be tempted to sue anyone who said anything 'mean' about them to protect their power and position, resulting in a chilling of speech regarding people that most need a check on their behavior due to their potential impact.

Nope, much like how it makes perfect sense to have the same laws for bikes as there are for airplanes since both of them are methods of travel it's only sensible for there to be the same standards for defamation for public figures as there are for your average person on the street, since in both cases it's a matter of speech.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 10 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 4th - 10th

from the expecting-different-results dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the TPP negotiators pulled an all-nighter to finish the latest draft of the agreement, though of course it still remained secret. An announcement from New Zealand, however, confirmed that it would extend copyright terms and lock-in terrible anti-circumvention rules, leading us to reiterate that it's not a "free trade" agreement but rather a protectionist one. Then, at the end of the week, Wikileaks released the final intellectual property chapter (and it was basically as bad as expected).

Ten Years Ago

Before the TPP, it was ACTA. This week in 2010, negotiators announced that ACTA was nearly complete and that the final text would be released by the end of the week — yet somehow (shocking!) the MPAA was able to announce that it was in favor of the current text it wasn't supposed to have seen. Many in the EU Parliament were not at all happy about the agreement, and in Mexico the Senate actually voted unanimously to remove the country from negotiations. When the text was released on Wednesday, it had shed some of the worst aspects of earlier versions but was still full of problems, and for some reason the negotiators were still obsessing about secrecy in their briefings about the now-public text.

Also, just to hammer home how long this thing's been going on, here's a 2010 post about some of the early blows in the fight between Oracle and Google.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the Grokster decision was just one factor in the messy fight over the criminality of writing software, the USPTO was busy producing anti-piracy propaganda, and DRM-makers were espousing the importance of DRM even though, as usual, numbers suggested that file sharing is good for sales. The recording industry was demanding too much in its negotiations with tech companies and setting its sites on satellite radio as its new target, not to mention trying out new arguments against fair use. But we saw one great ruling from Australia, where the Supreme Court found that mod-chipping consoles does not violate anti-circumvention laws.

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Posted on Techdirt - 6 October 2020 @ 11:55am

New Gear By Techdirt: Nerd Mentality & Nerd Immunity

from the nerd-harder,-harder dept

Get your Nerd Mentality and Nerd Immunity gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

Our last t-shirt was a joke (not that we'd object to anyone buying it!) but today we've got a pair of real new additions to the Techdirt Gear store in the tradition of Nerd Harder, our most popular design. Introducing Nerd Mentality and Nerd Immunity!

As always, both designs are available on t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and other apparel — plus various cool accessories and home items including buttons, phone cases (for many iPhone and Galaxy models), mugs, tote bags, notebooks, and of course face masks.

Get your Nerd Mentality and Nerd Immunity gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

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Posted on Techdirt - 4 October 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the hear-ye-hear-ye dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous comment summing up the ridiculousness of the constant Republican attempts to force social media to host speech:

Businesses can't be forced to bake cakes for gay people.

You can't be told to wear a mask.

You can't be told who you can sell a gun to.

But social media companies should be forced to publish your hate speech?

"Small government," right?

In second place, it's another anonymous comment responding to a commenter on that post complaining about Techdirt's comment "censorship":

If you keep on claiming that you decide where what you say is acceptable, some people here will exercise their right to get you comment hidden, which is not censoring. Free speech includes the rights of other to refuse to listen to you.

That post also drew the perennial and incorrect claim that "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies" — leading to an anonymous response that is our first editor's choice for insightful:

And where is this de facto public forum that is also a social media company? Is it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Youtube, TikTok, Snapchat, Parlor, Gab, 8chan? Please do tell me, which one of these social media companies have become the de facto public square?

And please tell me, what are the criteria that makes a company the de facto public square such that they lose their 1A rights?

When did all public lands close down their town squares forcing people online?

When did this happen? I don't remember hearing about any legal decision that stated social media companies are now part of the government in relationship to the 1A.

If the government can't force a bakery to bake for a gay couple, why should they force companies to host somebody else's speech?

Where did you even get this statement anyway? Legal opinion? Federal Law? Your asshole?

Why do you hate the first amendment so much? (Never mind, don't answer that)

Also, I live in Seattle, and there is a very robust "public forum" downtown where all sorts of people espouse their political opinions on a daily basis. So I can say with a high level of certainty, that the public forum has not been replaced by any social media company here.

Next, it's yet another anonymous comment, this time about the lawsuit trying to hold Facebook liable for failing to stop militants from going to protests to shoot people:

So I can not think of much good to say about Facebook. However if SCOTUS has ruled that cops have no duty of care to save civilians, I can't see how a third party communication service can be held to have it either

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Eric with a question about a major omission from The Social Dilemma:

What about addiction to techdirt...

Haven't seen the movie...but i assume they did not cover techdirt and its impact on mental health! techdirt is clearly designed to be addicting due to the content they produce. I need to start my day by seeing if any new articles were posted overnight, I need to check at lunch, often time at the end of the work day I'll check again...don't even get me started on the lack of articles on the weekend - what am I supposed to do on Sunday morning, be with my family?! Its about time a documentary gets created about techdirt and it's impact on the emotional well being of it's die hard fans.

In second place, it's That One Guy responding to the hypocrisy of the FCC commissioner cheering on Zoom for blocking people:

Be careful of the standards you use, lest they be used on you

Being convicted of a crime means you can be booted off of a privately owned platform and there's no grounds to object? Well, I can't possibly see that backfiring for members of Trump's cult...

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with Bt Garner and a question about our latest t-shirt offering:

So if I buy the $751 shirt, can I write that off as a business expense on my 2020 taxes?

Finally, it's Rocky expanding on a discussion about the challenges of algorithmic content moderation with a great quip:

"Stupid computer! It doesn't do what I want, only what I tell it to do!!"

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 3 October 2020 @ 12:10pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 27th - October 3rd

from the oh-yes,-that dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, while many sites were going to war with ad blockers, we unveiled the ability to turn off ads on Techdirt in your user settings. Various emerging info revealed sketchy behavior by the Secret Service, the State Department's success in planting anti-Wikileaks questions in the 60 Minutes interview with Julian Assange, and the surveillance failures of the Postal Service. Rightscorp was telling its copyright-trolling targets that they need to hand their computers over to police, PETA was defending its supposed right to represent the selfie-taking monkey, and — though it seems minor compared to what's going on right now — we talked about the increasing number of attacks on Section 230.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Citibank was abusing the DMCA to try to hide its comments on Obama's bank reform policy, a city council was claiming copyright infringement over one councilor countersuing Righthaven. Meanwhile, Congress was pushing the COICA anti-infringement bill, and we took a look at all the technologies it would have blocked in the past, then all the current technology it was likely to interfere with, while Tim Berners-Lee stepped up as an opponent to the bill (and the RIAA, of course, stepped up as a hysterical supporter) — and by the end of the week, the bill was shelved.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the ever-changing world of mobile phone etiquette was grappling with Bluetooth headsets while some restaurants were splitting into phone and no-phone sections. The pessimism about cameraphones was faltering as a new music video was shot entirely with a phone, and some early battles over transit map apps were popping up, while Motorola's CEO was whining about the iPod Nano and Seagate's CEO was making the case for hard drives over flash memory — while SanDisk made a much-anticipated announcement about flash storage that turned out to be... new copy protection technology. Professors were following in the shoes of doctors and freaking out about online reviews, Warner Music was foolishly overestimating its power in negotiations with Apple, and Sony was repeating its past ways by trying to block developers from hacking the PSP.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 29 September 2020 @ 1:40pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 257: Making A Better Internet

from the distributed-web dept

This week, we're featuring another panel discussion that Mike participated in. At the recent DWeb Meetup, Mai Ishikawa Sutton moderated a discussion with Mike, Cory Doctorow, Jay Graber, and Amandine Le Pape with a focus on how to build a better, more decentralized web that isn't controlled by a few big tech firms. You can listen to the full audio of the panel on this week's episode.

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 - 27 September 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the discourse-shmiscourse dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Thad with some thoughts on Ajit Pai and Section 230:

I'm not sure how much Pai actually buys into this whole "FCC should regulate websites under section 230" business. He hasn't actually come out in support of it; he's just said he'd study the issue. My read is that he knows as well as O'Rielly did that this mumbo-jumbo isn't going to fly, but he's not going to come out and say so in public because he doesn't want to end up like O'Rielly.

Even if Trump gets a second term, I wouldn't be surprised if Pai hemmed and hawed and stalled as long as he could before trying to actually take a side. And what side he came down on would probably have a lot to do with whether he still wanted another term or figured he'd done enough and was ready to go back to Verizon.

None of this should be interpreted as praise or defense of Pai; at best, he's a coward who's just going along with this to appease Trump.

In second place, it's Bloof with a response to a tiresome rant:

Is there a quicker way to stop people taking you seriously than using the term 'SJW' to describe people you disagree with? It's certainly up there with 'As a libertarian, I think...', 'The free market will...' and 'the marketplace of ideas'.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with That One Guy responding to some pushback on the idea that the TikTok debacle gives China an excuse to mess with American companies, on the basis that China already does so:

There's a world of difference between messing with a company but having to keep at least some plausible deniability during the process should you get caught, and therefore being limited in what you can do, versus being given free reign to screw with companies because if someone tries to call you on it you can just point to what they did and demand that they explain why it's okay for them to do something but not you.

Next, we've got xyzzy responding to the opposite argument about China — the idea that because it bans stuff, the US should too:

Ah, the old, because "China has an authoritarian regime, that bans a whole bunch of stuff, so the USA should become an authoritarian regime..." argument?

How about, "the USA is a bastion of free speech that the rest of the world looks up to, which makes China look bad in comparison" approach? Oh, I forgot, Trump burnt that boat a while back.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous commenter who found himself caught in the web of Evil Big Tech:

Google made me write this, I have no control over my own actions... ... hold on, they're telling me that I am just supposed to say that 'big tech good' and leave out that they're making me do it. Just ignore the part about me being controlled... they're telling me that I did this of my own free will and to let you all know that.

In second place, it's a response to the comment from Bloof that won second place for insightful, with That One Guy answering his question about red-flag terminology:

'Sheeple' might get that result quicker, but only just.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment about the trademark dispute between Ubisoft and Monster Energy:

To one degree or another I associate both Monster Energy and Ubisoft with upset stomach, so there's some legitimate chance of confusion.

Finally, we've got kallethen with a response to the Walmart press release about TikTok which was so rushed it quoted the company as saying... "Ekejechb ecehggedkrrnikldebgtkjkddhfdenbhbkuk":

I have to admit, the person writing Walmart's press release sure did sum up my thoughts on this whole debacle.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 26 September 2020 @ 12:30pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 20th - 26th

from the rings-a-bell dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, a major scandal began when Volkswagen was accused of using software to cheat emissions tests. The White House was the FBI, CIA and much of the military were not doing basic email encryption — but in India things were going in the opposite direction. The monkey selfie saga began a new chapter with PETA filing a lawsuit on behalf of the monkey, and then an even bigger copyright bombshell hit when a judge ruled that Warner Chappell doesn't hold the copyright on happy birthday. Plus the world got a new famous villain with a sudden hike in drug prices introducing everyone to a man named Martin Shkreli.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Intel was threatening to break out the DMCA anti-circumvention lawsuits against anyone using the recently-leaked HDCP master key, state AGs were turning their attention to Backpage (which was gearing up to fight back), and movie studios were freaking out about fan pages. The MPAA was apparently fishing for censorship tools in ACTA by talking about Wikileaks, while the Senate was offering them a gift with a new bill that would enable global censorship of "pirate sites" (with a special loophole allowing the DOJ to avoid due process. And we saw a variety of interesting developments in various lawsuits: one judge was entertaining the notion of implied licenses in a Righthaven lawsuit while another was shutting down US Copyright Group subpoenas, a UK judge was similarly not impressed by copyright pre-settlement campaigns, and a judge in Spain smartly ruled that Google is not liable for user uploads.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, there was a mess of internet jurisdiction cases in Canada with one ruling being overturned on appeal while another court muddied the waters with a ruling based on the overturned ruling. Hollywood was pouring money into an ill-fated attempt to build better DRM technology, which could be described as them calling their own bluff. Following the Supreme Court's decision in their case, Grokster was scrambling to sell to a "legit" company, as were several other file-sharing software providers. And one judge in a RIAA lawsuit thankfully recognized that parents aren't liable for their kids downloading music.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 22 September 2020 @ 1:32pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 256: Little Brother vs. Big Audiobook, With Cory Doctorow

from the doing-something-different dept

The third book in Cory Doctorow's Little Brother series is coming soon — but as usual, Cory is doing something different as part of the release. Fans and Techdirt readers know he's an outspoken opponent of DRM who makes sure all his work is available DRM-free, but that isn't so easy when it comes to audiobooks, where Audible's market dominance forces DRM onto everything. So while publishers eagerly picked up Attack Surface for printing, he retained the audio rights and is running his first-ever Kickstarter to release a nice non-DRM version. This week, Cory joins Mike on the podcast to discuss why he's doing it, what he's giving up, and the industry changes he hopes to inspire.

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 - 22 September 2020 @ 11:15am

This Week Only: Free Shipping On Techdirt Gear From Threadless

from the get-it-quick dept

Get free shipping on Techdirt Gear orders over $45 with the coupon code FREESHIP92031e946 »

Have you had your eye on some gear from the Techdirt store on Threadless? Then this is the week to pick it up! From now until Friday at 3pm PDT, you can get free shipping on orders over $45 in the US and $80 international with the coupon code FREESHIP92031e946. The offer covers all our designs, including the new Otherwise Objectionable gear celebrating two of the most important words in Section 230, and our wide variety of face masks.

There's also our complete line of Techdirt logo gear and, as usual, a wide variety of products available in every design: t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and other apparel — plus a variety of cool accessories and home items including buttons, phone cases (for many iPhone and Galaxy models), mugs, tote bags, and stylish notebooks and journals.

This week only! Get free shipping with the coupon code FREESHIP92031e946 »

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Posted on Techdirt - 20 September 2020 @ 12:50pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the chitter-chatter dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Another Kevin responding to some of the persistent false claims about Section 230:

Section 230 doesn't protect editorializing. The First Amendment does that.

You seem to be arguing that once the operators of a platform have editorial content, anywhere on the platform, that they lose Section 230 protection for anything posted by users. In effect, you consider all speech on the platform to be from a single speaker.

In other words, if I am entertaining Alice and Bob in my parlor, and Bob tells a lie, I'm not allowed to point out the lie to Alice without then becoming subject to prosecution for anything that either Alice or Bob might say? In such a regime, I obviously can't have guests in my house at all.

In second place, it's an anonymous response to a commenter bringing up popular claims of OnePlus ripping off Apple's earbud design:

Lots of people are blaming Apple for "ripping off" Xerox's design.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of comments from the same anonymous commenter talking about copyright issues and what legacy publishers actually want. First it's a pretty apt summary of their goals:

The legacy publishers are advancing their real objective; which is to ensure that they are the only route to have a work published. That way they decide what few works are actually made available at any time. They are not interested in a flowering of culture, but rather in restricting culture so as to maximize their own profits.

To anyone who claims this will protect creators, they should note that the legacy publishers restrict what is published to a small fraction of that created, and so ensure that most creators will never have their work published.

Next, it's an important reminder that publishers aren't creators:

Those pushing this agenda do not actually create content, although their accounting can be creative. They make money from works that others produce, and hate the Internet because it allows creators to escape their control, and grabbing of most of the profits, for the few works that they publish.

Their whole business model was developed in a world where producing copies, or distributing content was the limiting factor on the works that could be published. The Internet has removed that limitation on publication of works, and that means they lose control over published works unless they can cripple the Internet.

Over on the funny side, both our winning comments come in response to our post aboiut Richard Liebowitz getting in more trouble. First, it's That One Guy finding himself unsurprised:

How very Liebowitz

Ordered to take a course on ethics, gets caught 'cheating'.

Some people just refuse to change, but at least his various benchslaps provide some well-needed moments of humor during the hell that is 2020.

In second place, it's an anonymous commenter with an illustrative summary:

Judge "Your in a deep hole, so stop digging and grab the rope I am lowering"
Richard "toss me down a bigger shovel"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Get off my cyber-lawn! offering up one more response to Liebowitz:

I didn't realise

that "In Deep Shit" could be a lawyers default mode.

Finally, it's Norahc on our post about Banksy's attempt to abuse trademark law, with a nice tie-in:

My popcorn futures would really appreciate it if Bansky partnered with Liebowitz for that legal advice.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 19 September 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: September 13th - 19th

from the oh-the-memories dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we got a big, confusing mess of a ruling on fair use and the DMCA in the famous "dancing baby" video lawsuit. We also saw a loss for the Motion Picture Academy after its five-year crusade to make GoDaddy pay for "infringing" websites, and the owner of the Miami Heat was hit with $155,000 in legal fees after losing his bogus copyright lawsuit against a blogger. Meanwhile, China was beginning a big push to get American tech companies to agree to its rules, while the DOJ was backing down from charges against a professor driven by China hysteria.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Yelp got yet another Section 230 victory against an attempt to hold it liable for bad reviews, while a reputation management company was threatening to launch a similar lawsuit against TripAdvisor in the UK, in what appeared to be a publicity stunt. A terrible appeals court ruling was killing the first sale doctrine, while Craigslist was engaged in a fight with South Carolina's attorney general and we wondered why other internet companies weren't standing up for it. And the latest big DRM-breaking event happened with the apparent leak of the HDCP master key which was soon confirmed by Intel.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the fights over online reviews were in their infancy, with doctors leading the charge. Ebay spent an eyewatering amount of money to purchase Skype, and we noted this meant the company needed to become an expert on net neutrality, fast. The RIAA was going around overstating the results of the Grokster case, while the courts in Taiwan were contradicting an earlier ruling on the legality of file sharing software by sending file sharing executives to jail. And Lego was suing a Danish artist for using her middle name — "Lego" — to sign her paintings.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 16 September 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 255: Threatcasting The Election

from the predicting-disinformation dept

Late last year, we designed Threatcast 2020: a brainstorming game for groups of people trying to predict the new, innovative, and worrying forms of misinformation and disinformation that might come into play in the upcoming election. We ran a few in-person sessions before the pandemic hit and ended our plans for more, then last month we moved it online with the help of the fun interactive event platform Remo. We've learned a lot and hit on some disturbingly real-feeling predictions throughout these events, so this week we're joined by our partner in designing the game — Randy Lubin of Leveraged Play — to discuss our experiences "threatcasting" the 2020 election. We really want to run more of these online events for new groups, so if that's something you or your organization might be interested in, please get in touch!

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 - 13 September 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the said-and-done dept

We've got a double winner for first place this week, with one comment reaching the top of both the insightful and funny charts... as was its stated goal. It's justok responding to our post about students and parents gaming an AI grading system:

Funniest and Most Insightful Comment

This is both the funniest and most insightful comment. This comment is both the most insightful and funniest. Joke. Laugh. Post. Comment. Keyword. Funny. Funniest. Insightful.Laugh. Side-splitter. Blow. Your. Mine. Mind.

In second place on the insightful side, we've got Bloof responding to Trump's anger over Twitter refusing to take down a parody of Mitch McConnell:

Conservative cancel culture at it's finest. For all the wailing about the left and society as a whole shunning conservatives who say and do crappy things, they sure do love trying to use the weight of government to inflict their will and crush anyone and anything that hurts their feelings. Maybe something could be done about the thinness of their skin if there was universal healthcare.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with Rocky with a response to the assertion that "removal of 230 protection against spam won't increase the levels of spam seen currently":

This statement belongs together with some other famously wrong statements:

"Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
-Darryl Zanuck, producer for 20th Century Fox, 1946.

"We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out."
-Decca Recording Company, after rejecting Beatles in 1962.

"No, it will make war impossible."
-Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
-Ken Olson, 1977

Next, we've got Stephen T. Stone replying to that comment with another hall-of-famer:

See also:

“The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone.”
— Jack Valenti, then-president of the Motion Picture Association of America, 1982

Over on the funny side, our second place winner is wshuff responding to the FBI's horror at discovering that Ring doorbells can also be used against law enforcement:

Cue Bill Barr’s angry call for tech companies to nerd harder and come up with a secure back door that lets the Ring camera see and hear everybody but law enforcement. But only real law enforcement. Not bad guys pretending to be law enforcement.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment responding to the French government's move to criminalize the act of insulting mayors, with and old and very English joke:

Like the Englishman who was fined for calling a duchess a "pig". "So," he asked the judge, "I can't call a duchess a pig?"

"No, that's against the law."

"But can I call a pig a duchess?"

"Of course."

Turning to the duchess, he said, "Good afternoon, duchess."

Finally, we've got a comment from Pixelation in response to our case study about how sarcasm presents a practically insurmountable challenge for automated content moderation. I'm not really sure what to make of it:

I'm sorry

Sarcasm is super easy to detect.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 September 2020 @ 12:00pm

Get Your Otherwise Objectionable Gear Before The Senate Takes It Away!

from the what-timing dept

Get your Otherwise Objectionable gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

On Monday we released our line of Otherwise Objectionable gear in our store on Threadless and, the very next day, GOP Senators unveiled their latest attempt at truly stupid Section 230 reform: a bill that would remove those two critical words from the law. Of course, those who understand how important Section 230's moderation protections are to the internet will fight to prevent this bill from passing, and then there's the fact that it's pretty obviously unconstitutional — but while the fight continues, there's never been a better time to declare your Otherwise Objectionable status with pride.

As usual, there's a wide variety of gear available in this and other designs — including t-shirts, hoodies, notebooks, buttons, phone cases, mugs, stickers, and of course the now-standard face masks. Check out all our designs and items in the Techdirt store on Threadless!

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Posted on Techdirt - 7 September 2020 @ 9:00am

New Gear For Section 230 Fans: Otherwise Objectionable

from the two-big-words dept

Get your Otherwise Objectionable gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

If Section 230(c)(1) contains "the twenty-six words that created the internet", then (c)(2) contains the words that gave them some critical help. Among those words are two that are especially important, "otherwise objectionable", as they turn a limited list of specific content that can be removed into an open-ended protection for platform operators to moderate as they choose — and now you can wear them proudly with our new gear on Threadless.

As usual, there's a wide variety of gear available in this and other designs — including t-shirts, hoodies, notebooks, buttons, phone cases, mugs, stickers, and of course the now-standard face masks. Check out all our designs and items in the Techdirt store on Threadless!

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