Mason Wheeler’s Techdirt Profile


About Mason Wheeler

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  • Jul 1st, 2016 @ 11:55am

    Malicious advertisements on Techdirt

    I just tried to read this article and got auto-redirected to a page that tried to automatically download a "important Firefox update". I'm not sure which advertisement did it, but something's getting in that shouldn't be.

  • Jun 30th, 2016 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Careful What You Wish For

    Thank you.

    Do you know what you get when certain very vocal idiots spend years screaming "RACISM!!!!!!" over every little thing that manages to negatively impact some minority in some way, and then nearly every time, when you actually look closely at it, you see that racism had nothing to do with it in the first place?

    Anyone familiar with the old tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf could have predicted this one easily enough: The answer looks a whole lot like the story of the current presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

  • Jun 30th, 2016 @ 4:35am

    (untitled comment)

    The Brexit story is one that the entire world ought to be paying very serious attention to, because the vote was not only historic, but its consequences, whatever they are, ought to be instructive to other nations that want to use nationlism to propel this sort of agenda.

    "Whatever they are" being the operative word here. We still don't know, in any meaningful way, what the consequences are, because not enough time has passed for any but the most trivial and short-term of consequences to have actually come about.

    Many times, something that looks good at first turns out to be bad in the long run, and vice versa.

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re:

    Wow. TIL Texas fails at basic Separation Of Powers.

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 12:57pm

    (untitled comment)

    Wait, how does a judge, corrupt or not, make a decision on what gets installed in the county in the first place? Isn't that an executive action?

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 8:04am

    (untitled comment)

    I get it: this is the political platform of someone running for President, and thus it's going to be worded in a vague and noncommital way on these issues, because these aren't issues that lead people to decide whether or not to vote for someone as President.

    Then you don't get it, any more than Team Hillary does, or the vast majority of the establishment politicians on either side, unfortunately.

    Think back to 2012. While politicians were debating a bunch of policy-wonky jibber-jabber that nobody but policy wonks actually cared about, there was one very serious political issue that got Americans across the country so up in arms over it that we crashed Congress's communications systems because we were so passionate about telling them to vote the right way, and everyone here should remember what that is: SOPA.

    That was the one notable thing that ordinary citizens actually cared about... and none of the candidates made an issue of it, which I found truly bizarre and, as Mike likes to say, tone-deaf. I remain convinced that, had Mitt Romney taken up the charge of resistance to SOPA and real, pro-user copyright reform, and painted the Obama administration as the strong allies of copyright abuse that they always have been, that he would be President today, despite everything else. (Whether this would have been better or worse than our current situation is a matter for debate. Whether it would have happened, though... I don't think there's any question of that.)

    This is something that, when people become aware of it, they act on. But politicians don't realize that, and it seems that even Mike Masnick doesn't realize that.

    That's very disappointing!

  • Jun 28th, 2016 @ 11:20am

    (untitled comment)

    The First Amendment argument is basically a backstop in case the CDA and SCA arguments fail, and then there's a Constitutional argument to appeal. ... There are exceptions, but generally speaking, the First Amendment doesn't like any law that blocks out speech entirely, even if it's commercial speech.

    I honestly don't see how the First Amendment applies here. The problem isn't the speech (posts on a website) but rather the illegal commercial action (offering short-term rentals in violation of the law). Let people post whatever they want on a website, but if they act on it, they're breaking the law and the First Amendment has no grounds to protect them.

  • Jun 28th, 2016 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    Ugh, where's the "sad but true" button?

  • Jun 28th, 2016 @ 7:31am

    (untitled comment)

    You want companies to stop doing stuff like this? Make it unprofitable to!

    Pass a law that says that any company found to have obtained money through illegal business dealings faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 100% of the money obtained. You could even give it a snappy, memorable name. "The Crime Does Not Pay Act" comes to mind.

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Frank Zappa would be pleased

    Speaking of chosen names, what kind of horrible person would name their kid "Dweezil" in the first place? That's just asking for a thoroughly miserable schooling experience, all 12+ years of it...

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 1:26pm


    the minute they solicited one million dollars through social media platforms, the Star Trek: Axanar movie ceased to be a fan film and crossed over into professional film production.

    And what is wrong with that?

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 11:36am


    It's offensive to the people who own the rights.

    Then screw them. The idea that you can "own the rights" to culture itself is offensive on a far more fundamental level.

    If Paramount said "we own Star Trek and so if you want to make a fan film, you have to pay us 5% and display a prominent notice that this is a fan work and not actually affiliated with Paramount," that would be one thing. But saying "no, you can't build on this, so shut the whole thing down" is crossing a line that no one should ever have the right to cross.

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 7:48am

    (untitled comment)

    About the best explanation I've seen for why the jury decided this way in this case, was that the jury just liked Page and Plant more than the plaintiff -- Michael Skidmore -- who was the "trustee" of the estate of Randy Wolfe, the deceased musician who wrote Taurus. But, when copyright decisions are being made based on who's more likable, that doesn't sound like a particularly functional copyright system.

    If I were on a jury, asked to decide a case like this, I wouldn't vote on likeability, but I would certainly be biased against the trustee on general principle. The guy who contributed to our culture is gone; go out and do something worthwhile yourself if you want to be rewarded for it!

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 7:45am

    (untitled comment)

    I just looked at the page in question. It was posted on May 9 and didn't receive a single comment until yesterday. Since then, it's garnered dozens.

    ...don't we have a name for that?

  • Jun 23rd, 2016 @ 8:06am


    When the web browser was invented ,
    No one thought it would be used for business video streaming meetings, live streaming games ,
    streaming music or video,s to phones or tvs.

    Maybe not, but when the webcam was invented almost immediately afterwards, plenty of people could see it coming. All we needed was for bandwidth to catch up...

  • Jun 23rd, 2016 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, obviously. Afterall, it's not like it's a well-known aspect of human psychology that people tend to be unwilling to admit they were scammed even in the face of all the evidence or anything...

    And on a more objective note, wasn't the big selling point of Bitcoin that it's a decentralized system that can't be controlled by any malicious authority? When we consider that Bitcoin mining is so overwhelmingly dominated by a relatively small Chinese cartel that the actual Bitcoin developers are unable to fix widely-acknowledged bugs in the system because the Chinese don't want them fixed, is that not an objective sign of failure?

  • Jun 23rd, 2016 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: CUBIC inch.

    Not at all. It wasn't their measuring that we objected to.

  • Jun 22nd, 2016 @ 10:49am

    (untitled comment)

    None of this should surprise anyone. Bitcoin has always been filled with fraud and scamming almost from day 1. At what point do we finally just call it a failed experiment and move on?

  • Jun 21st, 2016 @ 7:23am

    Re: Silver lining?

    On the one hand, being forced to pay out the nose for a 'proper' hotel means people are less likely to visit NY.

    Last time I visited NYC, I paid a very reasonable rate for a proper hotel. If you don't know how to find good rates, that's not the hotel industry's fault.

  • Jun 17th, 2016 @ 2:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    Wow, this judge is totally awsumb!

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