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  • Dec 13th, 2017 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: When there's no competition...

    the FCC was created with the understanding that they would regulation the sector as a natural monopoly meaning that it was in lock step with creating/establishing monopolies for these businesses and to regulate them as such.

    Did you read the article?

    A natural monopoly is neither created nor established; if it were, it would not be natural.

    The mention of "natural monopolies" at the establishment of the FCC is about recognizing that these markets are natural monopolies, whether or not any regulations exist around them.

  • Dec 13th, 2017 @ 6:22am

    Re: Deplorable To See Teh Courts Take The Law Into There Own Hands

    Wow. I haven't thought about DECnet in a long, long time.

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Considering the judgement is only for $20,000 and basically "stop using Comic-Con for your event", I don't see much benefit in tossing another huge pile of money down the toilet for an appeal.

    The benefit, aside from being able to use the generic phrase "Comic Con" to describe their event, is...

    Other events that have been using the Comic-Con moniker to describe their events will likely have to take steps to either obtain a license, or come up with some other term to describe their events.

    ...avoiding the necessity of this happening.

    Locking up a descriptive phrase to one particular entity is an undesirable thing, and is not the best outcome for either the public or the market. (I'm reminded of the case of the "Tower Defense" trademark, in which a generic term - literally, one that describes an entire genre of games - was ruled to be owned by one relatively minor player.)

    Accepting "the bad guys won" is not a good outcome, particularly in a case that affects so many more people than just the ones directly involved - and I think that the fact that I don't find it particularly surprising for you to suggest it is a little saddening.

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Does that scale to the extent which would be necessary for the global scope needed to substitute for what cable news (etc.) currently provides?

    Also, again, what regulations are preventing it? I honestly can't think of any that would seem to be getting in the way.

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even beyond authoritarian / libertarian, it actually makes more sense (IMO) to use a multi-axis system.

    The one I know best is the one presented by The Political Compass, which defines left/right as an economic axis and uses libertarian/authoritarian as the other axis.

    They provide various plottings of historical figures and recent/current politicians, of various regions, on their chart, based on what is known of those people's views.

    They also provide a sizable "quiz" which you can use to determine where you fall on the chart. It's not exactly unquestionable, but it seems reasonable from what I can tell.

    Everyone I've ever gotten to take that quiz and let me know their result has come out "left libertarian", and most of them have been further in at least one of those directions than Gandhi. (This is probably reflective of sample bias more than anything else.)

    By contrast, every US politician whom I've seen appear on the chart except Bernie Sanders has been in one of the other three quadrants - and the large majority of them, like the bulk of politicians and parties from elsewhere in the world, have been in the "right authoritarian" quadrant.

    (Bernie, IIRC, was somewhat left of center and right about exactly at the zero point on authoritarian vs. libertarian.)

  • Dec 11th, 2017 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Would you care to explain what that way is, and what the regulations preventing it from (so to speak) "going live" are?

    Note that by "a way to handle it", I don't just mean a technical solution, which is indeed certainly already known; I mean something that encompasses the entire structure, from the technical details to the economics of it all to the licensing aspects to probably other things I can't focus in on right now - the whole shaboozle.

    If nothing else, the economics of having people sitting there behind a news desk waiting to provide commentary on whatever comes along as soon as it happens don't seem easy to work out for something without the economic might of something like the cable behemoths. And while having people doing that has downsides (the constant pressure to give coverage to things that really shouldn't be newsworthy, just because there's nothing better to cover at the time, for example), I'm not sure I see any other way to make sure that you have people available for real-time commentary at any given moment.

  • Dec 10th, 2017 @ 3:18pm


    Real-time live coverage of events where that matters.

    In other words: mainly news, with a side of sports, and commentary on both.

    Once a way to handle that via on-demand streaming without consumer lock-in is found, I suspect the decline of cable TV will accelerate rapidly.

  • Dec 10th, 2017 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oversight by companies

    Date of birth still determines the age at which you shift from "early retirement" to simple "retirement", which is an important thing that needs tracking in some companies' employee-compensation systems.

    Whether the benefits of designing a system such that it needs to track that outweigh the disadvantages of storing the date of birth is another question.

  • Dec 10th, 2017 @ 6:50am


    If the guy (or girl) is so desperate to hide their identity, you have to wonder why. If complying under duress with the DMCA notice is preferable to exposure, then their identify is significant.

    The reason seems clear to me: because lack of anonymity would expose the writer to what a commenter above called "extrajudicial punishment", not just by this one MLM company, but by any of the (I presume numerous) others which the blog targets - now or in the future. That holds true even if nothing else the blogger has done is in any way legally questionable.

    Also, where do you get "under duress" from? I don't recall seeing any indication that he exhibited any objection or resistance to taking down the objectionable link; it's entirely possible that he didn't realize (either as an honest mistake, or as an oops-I-didn't-make-that-connection oversight) that putting it up could be infringing, and that he had no problem with voluntarily taking it down as soon as he knew.

  • Dec 7th, 2017 @ 7:40am

    Legal rationale

    The legal rationale is that the Fourth Amendment is adhered to during the collection process, so it cannot possibly be violated when the collections are accessed by the FBI, NSA, CIA or other IC component.

    But... I kind of thought the objection (or one of them) was that the Fourth Amendment is not being adhered to during the collection process.

    Also, how does this fit with the "your privacy is not violated until someone actually looks at the data" line of reasoning, which (IIRC) multiple surveillance defenders have presented? The position taken in that argument is that the collection of the data does not constitute a search, and only when someone looks at the data does a search occur, so as long as no one looks at any collected US-person communications without a warrant the Fourth Amendment is not violated.

    If the collection of the data is not a search, then the Fourth Amendment is not involved at that stage, so the Fourth Amendment's requirements cannot have been satisfied at that point; a warrant must be required at the "someone looks at it" stage.

    If the collection of the data is a search, then the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement would seem to apply at the collection stage - and no warrant of sufficient particularity to be valid can possibly authorize bulk collection of the volume of data from the multiplicity of sources which is and are involved in practice.

  • Dec 6th, 2017 @ 9:09am


    I think these are supposed to be a contrast. I.e., "He's already shown that he can take on the biggest Internet companies and win, so he's likely to have more of a problem with raising money than he will with that."

  • Dec 5th, 2017 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Probably your assumption wrong: looks like Trump wants it out.

    As I put it six-plus months ago (and other people posted online, quoting me; I didn't really have a place to say it at the time):

    "Donald Trump's credibility is so poor at this point that if I heard that he'd announced that the sky was blue, I would literally want to go outside and check."

    That is not in any way an exaggeration, or a misuse of the word "literally".

  • Dec 4th, 2017 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suddenly your faith in "free market" vanishes?

    We'd certainly all be better off if he could manage that.

  • Dec 3rd, 2017 @ 5:17am


    Under the logic underlying the Third-Party Doctrine - which I don't like, for its conclusion, but have had a hard time trying to refute - no one has a privacy rights in anyone else's information, and the fact that someone else has collected it does not change it into being that someone's information.

    Thus, although the individual (the first party) could assert a privacy right in his or her own information if it were still under his or her control, and the company (the third party) could assert a privacy right in the company's own information, the company cannot assert a privacy right in the individual's information, and the individual cannot assert a privacy right in information the individual no longer controls.

  • Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suddenly your faith in "free market" vanishes?

    I can live with these assholes, I just can't stand by and let ignorant liars advance lies, ignorance, or hypocrisy like they are superior while talking down to everyone else like they are inferior.

    So, are you a pot, or a kettle?

  • Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Suddenly your faith in "free market" vanishes?

    No, I think what he was trying to say is something more like "anyone who supports regulation (of the kind / in the way advocated here on Techdirt) deserves (someone like) Pai (regardless of whether or not they actually have him)".

    It's possible to deserve something and not get it, after all.

  • Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 4:50am

    Re: Boolean logic

    Unfortunately for that logic, I'm pretty sure that the act of receiving the E-mail (with the document attached) would constitute "accepting" the document.

  • Dec 1st, 2017 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When the FCC was established they openly delclared that they were going to regulate the telcos as natural monopolies.

    This because the "run a wire to each person's home" market is a natural monopoly - that is, one where the most natural and most economical solution is a monopoly.

    That is not a value judgment. It does not mean, or say, that a monopoly is a good thing.

    All it says is that the choice is not "monopoly or no monopoly", but "regulated monopoly or unregulated monopoly".

    The FCC's decision to "regulate the telcos as natural monopolies", did not create those monopolies. By definition, a created monopoly is not natural.

    All the FCC's decision did is recognize the reality that trying to force a non-monopoly solution into a situation which is naturally suited to monopoly will cause more harm than leaving the monopoly in place but regulating it will.

  • Nov 30th, 2017 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I'm aware of Maine's situation (although I haven't heard an update on it in a few months, and I don't know if I'd heard the maybe-OK-for-federal-offices bit).

    What they seem to have adopted (or tried to adopt) is about the worst ranked-preference voting system, in terms of avoiding the "spoiler effect" and other perverse incentives, that I'm aware of - but it's still almost certainly better than single-choice first-past-the-post, particularly in regard to improving the chances of having more than two viable political parties.

  • Nov 30th, 2017 @ 5:36am


    Eh, I'm fairly sure this is just to give them room to not have to fight every site-blocking court order to the death.

    While site blocking is generally bad, and it would certainly be nice if Comcast would fight against it, I can easily see why it's reasonable for them to not want to be bound to doing so in every single case regardless of the merits or the expense.

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