MikeW’s Techdirt Profile


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  • May 5th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    Oh, is that what that's called?

    I have one of those, and I have to use it to join social networks, do online shopping, or do things with government websites. Worse, it doesn't function on any browser that isn't Internet Explorer. I sincerely hope the US doesn't follow through, but if it does, at the very least I hope that it allows other browsers.


  • Jun 28th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Look outside

    Are there any places left on earth that actually do respect basic civil liberties?

    Every country respects civil liberties... of people not concerned with them. The US respects the civil liberties of Chinese, Ecuador respects the civil liberties of Americans, etc.

  • Apr 25th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Fixing copyright--or not

    Let's have them do this and then face the trolls. Maybe if taxpayer money is going to pay off trolls, then the deficit hawks in congress will actually do something to fix copyright.

    Or at least, that would happen in a sane world, but with all of the tax dollars going to parasites already with nary a peep from the self-proclaimed deficit hawks, we shouldn't get our hopes up.

  • Apr 8th, 2013 @ 9:02pm

    Secretely on our side trying in vain to highlight the insanity of our patent system

    One has to wonder, hearing all of these stories of ridiculous patents, if some of the perpetrators of these actions are misguided souls who are trying to push the limits of the patent system in order to somehow get it across to the policymakers that it is ridiculous.

    Kind of like the guy in Australia who patented the wheel

  • Feb 13th, 2013 @ 7:32am


    He is not saying anything about the Williams case on its own merits, only about its use in this issue.

    My cursory reading of the link seems to suggest that it is about a business overcharging its customers, not to customers making off with its wares. The difference is that the business tends to have much more power in the marketplace than an individual customer. In the case of Williams, it was the railroad that had the only route from point A to point B, and in the present case, it is the record companies that have a government granted monopoly to collect from customers and likely to also shortchange artists. In one case the one in the position of power was being charged for gouging the weaker party, in the other, it is the one in the position of power that is completely destroying the weaker party.

    If we want to get more nuanced, the sisters in the Williams case most likely didn't have another readily available way to get home and so did not have any real choice but to cough up the extra money. The record labels have a wide variety of different ways that they could reach customers and potentially monetize their fandom, but they continue to insist on their own narrow predefined business models from a bygone era and relying on lobbyists and courts to enforce their wishes, thereby alienating the same fans that they should be relying on.

    Furthermore, even if the case does apply here, the Railroad overcharged by 66 cents and had to pay damages of around 75 dollars. A fine that is just over 100 times the actual damages. In this case, it is several thousand times. In what way is that not problematic.

  • Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Uh.... isn't this what you wanted?

    If accusations of being Hitler were treated the same as accusations of copyright infringement, no politician would make it to a position higher than state legislator before being promptly removed from office. And many wouldn't even make it that far.

  • Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

    Just imagining the conversation

    Officer 1: Hey look, that guy's selling some swag!

    Officer 2: Hey, good catch, we better confiscate it and shut him down!

    Officer 1: Why? He looks legit.

    Officer 2: He's not. I just know it.

    Officer 1: Shouldn't we...you know...check with the team first?

    Officer 2: Nah, if we're wrong, then we'll give him back his stuff and no harm no foul.

    Officer 1: Well, except for all the lost sales due to his stuff being in our warehouses.

    Officer 2: You obviously haven't been here long, or you'd know how it works.

    Officer 3: Yeah, and this is a great way to score some free gear for our kids!

    Officer 1: Ah, well, in that case, let's do this!

    (.....Much later....)

    Mike Masnick: But what about that guy who sold a fake ticket on craigslist?

    DHS: We can't go after everyone! Only those from whom we can get free swag and domains to plaster our logo on. What can we get from random craigslist dude?

  • Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Re: Not learning from past mistakes

    "The companies funding these groups (MPAA, RIAA, etc) should begin taking a results based funding approach. Or perhaps they should just look at the past 100 years of results, and determine if they should continue funding them."

    AAACK! Someone is using common sense! They must be a pirate and a pirate sympathizer! Burn them!

    Seriously, though. Results based approach? Who needs that when you can ruin innocent people's lives just fine the old way?

  • Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:52pm

    Past death

    Hey, if copyright can still incentivise creation 70 years after the author's death, why can't we punish someone by putting them in prison and keeping them there until several years after they've died? If the incentives work, so will the punishment.