JP Jones’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Not feeling it

    Yay, someone else understands why data caps are basically scams. Sometimes I feel like I'm explaining the world is round to a bunch of people who have been convinced it's flat, and no amount of "look, LOOK at the ship coming up on the horizon!" yelling makes any difference.

    I think it comes down to taking advantage of the fact that people for some reason think of the internet like electricity, in which your usage of it is directly related to the output of the utility (I won't get into why this doesn't actually apply to electricity companies either, since output tends to be set regardless of customer use, but this is the way most people seem to understand it).

    A better analogy is (somewhat ironically) cable TV. Cable charges you by the channels...in other words, how much access you can have. They don't charge you by viewing time, because regardless of how much shitty TV you watch, the back end resource is not being consumed. To be fair, cable companies don't really deal with bandwidth in the same way, but the concept of having to expand infrastructure to deal with capacity rather than throughput is very similar.

    Basically ISPs are getting away with charging you for your channels and how many hours you watch TV, even though the latter metric is basically irrelevant to their infrastructure. If you're an ISP, this is pretty cool, but if you're a consumer with even a basic understanding of the mechanisms involved, it's completely ridiculous.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 2:22am

    Re: Re: anonymous

    Another angle to consider (and it's hard to do objectively, which is why we must consider it objectively) is that child porn is technically evidence of a crime.

    For example, what if viewing a photograph of a murderer standing over a dead body were a crime? Not actually committing the murder, but just viewing or possessing it? What do you think the chances of someone reporting that image to the authorities becomes?

    Pretty much zero. Child porn is awful, but it's not the image that caused the abuse, it's the offender in the image. That's the crime we should be focused on. If we encouraged people to report images rather than delete or hide them, how many more actual child abusers would we catch? I mean, come on, you have an actual image of the perpetrator (maybe not the face, but there's still identifying features), the victim, and their environment, along with any digital metadata we can extract.

    In my opinion the FBI should have, at the very least, an "amnesty box" for child porn that people can submit stuff they find to (along with where they found it), and there should be programs to help people who find themselves sexually attracted to children before they become child abusers, just as we have programs for other psychiatric disorders. It's counter-productive to disincentivize criminal reporting and seeking help; that only makes it harder to find child abusers and encourages the creation of new ones.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 1:45am

    Re: Information is Power

    "You can't legislate morality, but morality laws are really good at removing any opposition to those in power."

    Keep in mind that Pakistan, although secular in comparison to many other Islamic states, is based heavily on religious rule. Before people get too jumpy about me calling out Pakistan for being religiously oriented, I would point out that Islam is the official state religion of Pakistan and the country has the strictest blasphemy laws of any Muslim-majority country.

    In what is essentially a theocracy in all but name you absolutely can legislate morality.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 1:15am

    Re: Not feeling it

    I'm not sure your "absolute net neutrality" scenario reflects what net neutrality actually is. At no point are all service providers required to offer the same speeds. If I want to by a 5 Mbps service, or a 25 Mbps service, net neutrality has no effect on that.

    And, even if we somehow made all carriers only offer the same speed (why?), it still wouldn't reflect the actual speeds you get online. There are many factors that influence speed online, from network congestion to physical distance from the servers to bad weather to the speed of the server you're connecting to, depending on your location and internet type. It would be virtually impossible for ISPs to guarantee a single speed for "all sites."

    I actually have the opposite issue with caps. I have no issues with tiered bandwidth. This makes technical sense; a faster transfer rate uses up more bandwidth, decreasing (relatively speaking, and depending on usage) the overall bandwidth available for other customers. In fact, bandwidth is the single biggest limiting factor to ISPs and expanding bandwidth (and corresponding data transfer rates) is the biggest expense that ISPs incur outside of infrastructure fees, taxes, and electricity.

    Data caps, on the other hand, make no sense to me. An ISP is not limited in the total amount of data it can transfer in a month, only in how much data it can transfer at any point in time. In other words, the size of the pipe and how fast the water is flowing matters...the water source itself is unlimited. This may seem like a subtle difference but it has huge implications for the way internet pricing works.

    The "theory" behind data caps is that someone with a finite amount of 'water' will naturally ration it more than someone with unlimited 'water'. If you feel you have to ration your data usage, you are less likely to use more of your 'pipe', or bandwidth. A finite amount of data is easier for most people to understand than bandwidth, and thus data caps were born.

    They had other advantages for ISPs. First of all, data caps are completely arbitrary, and don't exist as a real limitation for ISPs. This meant they could promise all kinds of ridiculous bandwidth options with the confidence they could just throttle the people "using" the most data (no actual resource is used), and since the people transferring the most data are likely the same ones using the majority of the bandwidth, they could promise high and then never have to worry about being required to fulfill that promise. And since the data caps were imaginary anyway they could easily offer a tiered service that didn't require any new infrastructure. It's a pretty sweet deal for the ISPs.

    None of that really has to do with net neutrality, but to me the fact that they are offering "unlimited data" (data is always unlimited for an ISP since they aren't the endpoint of a transfer) for certain high bandwidth services only serves to highlight how full of crap they've been about data caps. After all, streaming video is one of the higher data use functions...while compressed, you still download the entire video during the course of viewing. So if we can give unlimited data for watching movies, what is stopping you from giving it in general?

    Net neutrality means to me that I can get up to my 25 Mbps regardless of what website I visit; so if I go to CNN.com I have the same potential max speed as when I visit techdirt.com. But it makes sense that I would spend more for a bigger/faster pipe, so if I want 50 Mbps I need to pay more than the guy with a 5 Mbps speed that's using a comparatively tiny portion of the overall network at any given time. But creating arbitrary data caps and then choosing people to bypass your made-up limitations is ridiculous.

  • Oct 12th, 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Re:

    Or C) Neither.

    You know what kills people? People kill people. All the time. And have for centuries and centuries before guns or video games, and in extremely high numbers.

    Heck, if you look at the historical record, and want to use faulty "correlation = causation" logic, if anything guns and video games have steadily been reducing worldwide violence.

  • Oct 12th, 2015 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: But that violent video games aren't good is true regardless who says it.

    High statistics does not mean they're caused by My Little Pony or the Bible. Correlation (if there even is a correlation) does not equal causation.

  • Oct 11th, 2015 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Those Same Movies And Games Are Available In Other Countries ...

    High violent crime rate compared to whom, exactly? According to Wikipedia we're 110 out of 218, yet by every count we have by far the most guns and highest rate of gun ownership by nearly double the closest other country.

    The number of guns in the US has steadily risen, yet violent crime rates have steadily decreased. I won't say that it's caused by more guns, because then I would foolishly implying that correlation implies causation. Sort of like you did.

  • Aug 14th, 2015 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or, the most likely result is that everyone would look around, notice that there isn't actually a fire, and tell the idiot to shut the hell up and watch the movie.

    Seriously, people double check even after hearing actual gunshots to see what's going on, do you honestly believe anyone is going to jump up and run out of a theater in blind panic just because one person claimed there was a fire that no one can see or hear?

    The biggest myth in the "fire in a crowded theater" piece isn't the law, it's that apparently people think everyone else instantly reacts to baseless exclamations of danger in sufficient levels to cause injury to others. Yeah, right.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    The group that released the videos, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has never, as far as I can find, had a member charged with or implicated in violence against abortion providers. There was one murder associated with a different anti-abortion group (Operation Rescue) where the murderer got information from that group and the group's leader was indicted with a conspiracy to damage an abortion clinic. And by "associated" I mean "shared a legal defense team" and general political stance. That's sort of like saying Aasif Mandvi is associated with ISIL because both are Muslim and believe in Allah.

    I wonder if people would be having the same reaction if someone snuck a camera into a slaughterhouse. For example, previously the Supreme Court has ruled that you can't prohibit videos of animal cruelty except in very specific circumstances, and not to hide evidence of that cruelty. What if someone released information about government abuse of human rights?

    Be careful what you wish for. Even if you are for abortion that doesn't mean you should ignore any evidence of wrongdoing. I personally am a huge fan of Elon Musk, but if someone released a video of him kicking puppies for sport, I wouldn't disregard it just because I think he's awesome.

    I'm not saying the videos are accurate or even representative of Planned Parenthood...I think more investigation needs to happen first. But I do believe there needs to be investigation.

  • Jul 17th, 2015 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about evidence from computers that are wide open

    Yet is still better than Linux.

  • Jul 16th, 2015 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    This strongly applies to our understanding of economics as well. Any time an economic theory begins with the assumption that humans will act purely in a rational, self-interested manner you may safely assume the any experimental results from said theory will result in near-random events.

    After all, according to some leading economists, economic bubbles don't exist. This is why people don't take justice or economics seriously...when you come from a fundamentally flawed assumption how can your conclusions be accurate?

  • Jul 15th, 2015 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Consider this

    Definitely sarcasm. Kill switches in our own gear would never be accepted by the military for exactly that reason. Hell, our gear breaks down all the time without built-in failure mechanisms.

    You want to know how you deal with the enemy using your gear against you? First, take care of your shit, and don't leave it unguarded, so they can't get much of it in the first place. Second, if they do get it, kill them.

    Lots of people believe that the U.S. military is the strongest in the world because of our technology, but while it helps, that's not really the primary reason we win wars. Our military is strongest because of two things; training and number of troops. The best gear in the world with someone who isn't trained properly and doesn't have the resource support structure will be overcome by someone with moderate gear that has better training and/or more people.

    I know the military is unpopular with a lot of people on this site...no problem, you can have your own opinion. But the U.S. military is not respected around the world purely because of our toys; there is real training and skill behind our forces.

    It's really too bad we keep getting used for stupid crap that we shouldn't be doing. We're very effective at winning wars and moderately effective at pointless policing actions. The fact that our mission is political BS isn't really the fault of the military.

  • Jul 15th, 2015 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: The debate they're avoiding

    That has already been proposed by the chief of police of Houston, Texas. Seriously.

    And if that isn't evidence it's an awful idea, I don't know what is!

  • Jul 15th, 2015 @ 11:42am

    Re: The debate they're avoiding

    I have an even simpler idea...why not require all U.S. citizens to install cameras that record every room in their home and around their property at all times? The video is stored in secure, government facilities and will only be accessed with a warrant or for national anti-terrorism efforts.

    Think about all the benefits; you don't even need a phone to find where the bad guys are. If someone breaks into your house, there is now video evidence. Domestic violence? Video evidence. And it will only be used to protect you!

    How could anyone possibly object? If you have an issue, you must have something to hide!

  • Jul 13th, 2015 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Is It Property, Or Isn’t It? -- But policing is EVERYONE's responsibility.

    So, wait, are you saying neighborhoods are legally obligated to have guards stationed around your property and prevent trespassers? Odd, I've never seen that before.

    Sure, if someone trespasses on your property you can call the police to help out, but if the police just happen to see someone on your property they probably aren't going to do anything. How do they know that person is unauthorized? Heck, it could be your buddy coming by.

    Also, the majority of people will naturally accept that being beaten and robbed is a negative thing and has a moral response. Most copyright infringement is literally as "bad" as jaywalking, and in the vast majority of cases is completely victimless. The only people who truly believe copyright infringement is wrong are those who have been convinced it's wrong by swindlers trying to pin creator's woes on someone other than themselves.

    Sorry if I'm not feeling pangs of sympathy for imaginary slights. Without modern copyright law people wouldn't even notice copyright infringement; you always notice getting beaten and robbed, regardless of the law. It's not a reasonable compromise, it's a paid-for racket that keeps rich men rich and benefits nobody but them.

    First you'd have to prove some actual benefits to me for copyright before I'll buy your "compromise" is anything close to reasonable.

  • Jul 10th, 2015 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Out of the frying pan, into the fire(but now with self-righteous satisfaction as you roast)

    In what economic theory is this true? "Hollywood Accounting Theory?"

    Because actual economic theories would disagree, as would the law itself. And even if piracy were somehow considered stealing in economics, terminology alone would not miraculously change reality.

  • Jul 10th, 2015 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Is that a 3D pie chart?

    It would be more misleading if all the actual percentages weren't listed on the chart. A 2D pie chart would give virtually the same conclusion based on the numbers presented.

    I'd be fairly shocked if someone thought: "Man, I was convinced that the 45.6% going to labels was bad, but then I realized it was a 3D pie chart and that the 45.6% actually looked closer to 46.7% compared to the rest, so my conclusion is now totally different!"

    Yeah, right.

  • Jul 10th, 2015 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And when I choose not to buy something at all, $0 goes to the artist. So are you saying that someone who chooses not to purchase a good is stealing?

    Because the uncomfortable fact is that money is only lost if the person would otherwise have purchased the product. Since actual evidence implies that those who pirate the most also purchase the most, the most logical conclusion is that, if anything, not pirating is stealing, not the other way around, because those who don't pirate spend less on content!

    It's not an uncomfortable fact for anyone who understands basic economics. Ever heard of "advertising?" People generally don't pay for ads, they're given out for free, and companies spend billions producing them specifically to give them out for free. If $0 is going to the person creating the ad, why are they spending so much money creating them?

    Oh, right, because ads make money by promoting a scarce good while utilizing a non-scarce good. This is literally Marketing 101. Yet copyright has managed to break this economic fact by trying to convert infinite goods into scarce goods, and then everyone seems to be shocked when people don't follow the rules.

    People have been trying to regulate the economy forever, and the most common result is that the people that can influence the regulations get rich at the expense of everyone who can't. That's because economic principles simply don't care about laws other than how those laws try and bend them out of shape.

    The sad part is that regulation is necessary for a thriving economy. Once the regulation becomes "beneficial" rather than punitive, however, it tends to shift money to those who are on the benefit side rather than punish those abusing the natural imbalances of the economic system.

    And, surprise surprise, that's exactly what we're seeing.

  • Jul 10th, 2015 @ 1:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    Huh, the first thing I thought was "glad Russia has all those super-effective gun control laws!"

    Maybe if she actually knew how to handle a gun she'd still be alive. Also, who gives someone a loaded, racked pistol for a picture shoot?

    Guns don't kill people. Ignorant morons that use guns without learning basic safety rules kill people*.

    * Before the anti-gun nuts get started, psychos will kill people regardless, as Russia's high murder rate even without guns shows.

  • Jul 10th, 2015 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Mythological Trey & Matt History...

    From the very Wikipedia article you quoted:

    Brian Graden, Fox network executive and mutual friend, commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film as a video Christmas card...Graden sent copies of the video to several of his friends, and from there it was copied and distributed, including on the internet, where it became one of the first viral videos...As Jesus vs. Santa became more popular, Parker and Stone began talks of developing the short into a television series.
    So, um, they circulated their short to a guy who put it online and it became one of the first viral videos, and they decided to make it into a show because of its popularity. Saying that free internet circulation of their initial short was responsible for their success is absolutely a true statement, and nowhere does it say that such circulation was unauthorized as it was done by the very person they willingly gave it to. Why is it so difficult to read Wikipedia?

    And you're right, it's their work, and they can do what they want with it. It's only going to reduce their overall viewership, end up making them less money, and increase piracy rates.

    Or are you so naïve you believe that putting the episodes on Hulu Plus is going to make a bit of difference?

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