Hugh Mann’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 13th, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    Maybe copyright isn't the real problem here . . .

    More than demonstrating any perceived negative extreme of copyright, perhaps it is more importantly one more indication that tattoos are kinda dumb, and really worth thinking twice about before asking some guy to jab you repeatedly with a needle filled with a foreign substance in a manner that will mark you so prominently and permanently.

    In any case, if you're going to have yourself marked that way, it sure doesn't seem unreasonable that you should be the one responsible for any issue that arises for someone else as a result. And if the argument is that the NFLPA should be able to easily prevail against any such copyright claim, then the tatted-up players shouldn't have any problem with signing up to release and indemnify the NFLPA and all other relevant parties.

  • Sep 4th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    "Feet on the ground equivalent..."

    Actually, I think the more apt "feet on the ground" analogy would be to send a bunch of cops who, rather than "grabbing IDs", merely call in the name of everyone they recognize.

  • Jul 15th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

    Well, just a nit . . .

    . . . but it would be a "circumvention" device, not an "anti-circumvention" device.

    The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA prohibit circumvention devices.

  • Apr 22nd, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    The odds?

    The odds of an American dying in a Columbine/Aurora/Newtown sort of incident are also basically zero, but that sure seems to have pushed a lot of people to claim "something must be done!"

  • Mar 31st, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Supreme Court often misunderstood

    Yes, I am sure that there are indeed some who actually can "disagree" with the Court's opinion. I would be willing to bet big money that the vast majority, though, are not really equipped to be able to criticize the Court's analysis. They can certainly dislike the state of affairs that comes out of it, but most have no clue how the Court actually works, so they have no frame of reference to be able to agree or disagree.

    And as for legal and medical second opinions, nothing I said is in conflict with what you said. Someone can always get a second opinion, and sometimes you can catch a lawyer or doctor missing the mark. Doesn't mean everybody who says they "disagree" with an opinion or diagnosis has any reasonable basis for doing so.

  • Mar 29th, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    Supreme Court often misunderstood

    Well, even those who HAVE heard of the Supreme Court usually don't really understand what it's job is - including the news media. If the media understood the Court, they wouldn't ask stupid poll questions like how many people "agree with" a particular decision. The job of the Court is to interpret our laws and determine whether or not they stand up to Constitutional scrutiny. It is not to determine whether a particular law is a good idea or not. Plenty of things that are bad ideas, or even unfair, may still avoid running afoul of the Constitution. So, when some dumbass reporter asks "do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision on" some case, it's a pretty safe bet the respondents are not basing their answers on their vast knowledge of Constitutional law. They're more likely saying they don't like the circumstances that are the result of the Court's ruling. That's quite a different thing from having an informed opinion about how the Court reached its decision. It's like saying you don't "agree" with your doctor's diagnosis merely because you dislike it, not because you have any real medical reason to dispute it. When the Court renders a decision, the way to get around it is to then push Congress to re-do the law so that it no longer in conflict with the Constitution, or amend the Constitution itself.

  • Mar 29th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Lack of uniforms actually would be an issue...

    Not necessarily an insurmountable issue, but one that would have to be taken seriously and addressed. We live outside of town, and it's an issue if my wife is home alone and a strange car pulls into the driveway and some nondescript person knocks on the door. What if someone gets the idea of using the cover of a Walmart delivery to engage in a home invasion?

    I tend to agree that it definitely is creative thinking, and it seems like there should be way to make it work. I wouldn't be too quick, though, to dismiss as merely an attempt to elicit "moral panic" questions about how we know we can trust the person who shows up at the door.

  • Mar 20th, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    Re: A bit of a leap . . .

    To clarify, I disagree with the implication that Pallante's comment at all "suggests" anything like "personal use" not being infringement.

  • Mar 20th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    A bit of a leap . . .

    . . . to go from "piracy should not be about the teenager downloading music at home" to "personal use maybe shouldn't be considered infringement."

    I think it's not unreasonable to consider that infringement may exist on a spectrum, and that the term "piracy" may best apply to large-scale infringement and/or those purposely engaging in infringement with a profit-making intent. However, that doesn't seem to me to necessarily lead directly at all to the idea that the teenager in his room at home should be completely off the hook for downloading content he didn't pay for.

  • Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy?

    No, those who are merely religious are not automatically wacko in my eyes. But, fundamental, fire-and-brimstone, "mark of the beast" Christianity IS wacko. It just is.

    But, yes, even the wackos in our society have the right to be wackos, as long as their ridiculous beliefs are sincerely held and are not interfering with legitimate and reasonable societal functions.

    I don't see any significant difference between RFIDs and regular ol' hall passes and taking attendance each period. Both are ways of making sure the kids are where they are supposed to be and that their whereabouts are known. It's just that RFID is fancier and more accurate.

    Merely thinking something is evil is not a religious argument. I think Hitler was evil. What religion is that? I'm willing to bet they don't even REALLY know what the "mark of the beast" even is. They just know "it's bad, m'kay?" Or, as I suspect (admittedly with nothing but my gut and an inherent distrust of those who cling to extremist religions, as support), this is a very convenient excuse, not a sincerely-held religious belief.

    As someone else (perhaps several others) has already noted, does this family also refuse to use driver licenses and other forms of ID? Do they refuse to use keys for their house? Are motion detectors "the mark of the beast"? If a security guard notes their entry to a building, has their religious freedom been trampled by the observation?

    There are much more legitimate arguments on both sides of this issue. We shouldn't have to deal with someone who wants to shake their magic totems at the whole thing.

  • Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Privacy?

    ... and I just plain reject the "religious freedom" crap. Those who are so fundamentalist that they look for "the beast" in everything should probably be home schooling their kids anyway in order to turn them into the next generation of fundamentalist wackos.

    In any case, I actually suspect the religious thing is more a position of convenience than one of conviction.

  • Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Privacy?

    I didn't say it was about improving education or being compassionate to kids or any mamby-pamby stuff like that. But I don't see it as some sort of scam in that they're not fabricating kids in attendance who don't even exist or something like that. If there are 100 kids on campus, they want to make sure all 100 kids are accounted for. They're not using it to claim they've got 150 kids in attendance.

    As for "blind acceptance of an Orwellian state", do you get really good radio stations on that tinfoil hat of yours?

  • Nov 27th, 2012 @ 9:34am


    I didn't realize students had a right to wander around school unsupervised. What do they expect to do when they get a job that requires access cards with their name and picture on it?

    As long as there's no expectation on anybody's part that the card is used at all after school hours or off school grounds, what's the issue?

    And it doesn't appear to me that it's just some sort of money grab by the school - part of their regular funding is based on students showing up. They want to make sure they are counting every last one that they can legitimately count. I'm not hearing anything that indicates to me it's some sort of a scam.

    While I can understand the logic of trying to get one vocal opponent to appear to switch camps, and how that might seem to be a good result if it meant fewer students overall were causing trouble over this, I disagree with using that tactic. Even though it might make tactical sense, I think it's strategically misguided.

  • Nov 19th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    So . . . .

    . . . how many people are watching movies while jogging?

  • Nov 5th, 2012 @ 5:45pm

    My biggest complaint about your post . . .

    . . . is that you used "focus group" as a verb. But such mis-uses of the English language do really annoy me, though, so don't think you're getting off TOO easily.

    Yes, I think it's true that most of us are too focused on the short-term to provide much opportunity for the success of any plan with a real chance of solving long-term issues. And I do agree that this seems to be independent of political ideology. Everybody feels like they've bitten the bullet enough, and it's someone else's turn to bear the cost for a while.

    On the one hand, I'd love to see ANY viable candidate actually say outright that things are going to suck for a while for everybody, but they'll then start getting better after X years. As much as I disagree with President Obama on many issues, I think he did make a brief (and weak) stab at an approach like this during the campaign for his first term. He didn't stick with it long, though, and has never really returned to it. Anybody who tried it for real would go down in flames, I think, unless he (or she) had some sort of superpowers.

  • Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Well, not really . . .

    Quick correction: three dead listings and SEVEN (not three) live ones. The total is ten.

  • Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Well, not really . . .

    I did a quick check at, and it seems there are ten listings for registrations of "TEBOWING". Three dead and three live. The three live ones all seem to be for the word mark, as used on various products and services. I don't see one for the act of tebowing itself.

    And, just because you are not looking to make money doesn't mean you're not using the mark in commerce. Maybe he wants to give away T-shirts or something. Or sell them for good causes, or maybe donating the proceeds to his church.

    Further, I think the argument that some people might be so confused as to think that making a big showy deal of dropping to one knee to modestly pray in front of millions of viewers is prohibited, I think we could look to the test that has been used before on TechDirt. Would a moron in a hurry make that mistake?

    In any case, in my admittedly very quick, cursory search, I didn't see a registration that could even loosely be interpreted as impacting the act of praying in the Tim Tebow style. It could impact the act of selling a T-shirt that has a message about tebowing, but not the act of striking the melodramatically casual pose itself.

  • Oct 1st, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: It might or might not be negligence - but probably usually not.

    Well, frankly, that seems like arguing there's no need to put a lock on the door, either, because there's "data security on a system".

    Again, it will depend on the circumstances.

  • Oct 1st, 2012 @ 10:03am

    It might or might not be negligence - but probably usually not.

    Negligence is somewhat dependent on the circumstances. It's not that leaving your wireless connection unprotected is NEVER negligence, it's just that in the scenarios trotted out thus far it has been found to not be negligence, because that particular defendant didn't owe that particular plaintiff any particular duty to lock down his wireless service (and, thus, others in similar circumstances could rely on this in their own situations).

    One could easily imagine a scenario, however, in which the defendant WAS under a duty to take more affirmative steps to protect the plaintiff's content. Perhaps it's because of a particular specific arrangement, e.g., you accept confidential information from the other person under a non-disclosure agreement that says you'll take at least reasonable steps to protect that particular information from disclosure to third parties.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see at some point online services inserting an obligation to use wifi security as a condition to subscribing/using such services. As long as ISPs themselves don't do it, it would seem unlikely to open up wifi hotspot-providing merchants to any liability, as Starbucks would not themselves subscribe to the music service that their customer is accessing.

    And, of course, these examples are actually more contract-based, though negligence might play into the claims by the plaintiff in these situations as well, as he tries to cover all the bases in his suit against the defendant.

    So, anyway, it's not that leaving your wifi unsecured is not EVER negligent, just that it doesn't work to support the claims so far brought by plaintiffs.

  • Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

    Obvious - use a disclaimer AS advertising

    Seems like they could just say in their ad, "Ms. Child never agreed to endorse our products. She just used them, which is even better."


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