JP Jones’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 2nd, 2015 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Title II does not create net neutrality.

    I really am honestly shocked that the same people that fought against SOPA PIPA are so eager for the government to take over the Internet.

    You do know there is a difference between regulation and control, right?

  • Feb 23rd, 2015 @ 1:28pm


    Actually, neither is true. This article is kind of a strange one for Techdirt, although I realize it's being at least a little facetious.

    Piracy is caused by a couple of things, but the two biggest are service and price (with the former substantially higher than the latter). Most people pirate because piracy is more convenient than legal services. The product you get from piracy is, in virtually all cases, superior to the product you get from a legal source, and it requires less overall effort and headache.

    Once a service comes out that's even slightly more convenient than piracy, piracy rates drop down to miniscule numbers. Music piracy hardly even exists anymore, even though internet radio is inferior to piracy's media files and iTunes is absurdly expensive for what you're getting.

    When the Oscars come out, they highlight movies that people become interested in enough to check out, but not interested enough to pay the ridiculous costs and inconvenience associate with them. Want to see Birdman? Better expect to pay around $20 at the low end, $70-$100 if you have kids and/or want some popcorn. Want to see Interstellar? Too bad, barring some special showing you can't for another month since it's out of theaters but not yet available on DVD. American Sniper is still theater exclusive and Whiplash isn't out on DVD until tomorrow. Piracy is literally the ONLY way to watch four of the biggest Oscar movies at home.

    Is it so shocking that highlighting these films as "must see," then preventing people from legally watching them at home, is going to cause a jump in piracy?

    Either way, there is no legal method to buy a purely digital version of a movie at the current time. I can buy a DVD and rip it, but considering my computer doesn't even have a DVD player (why would I use a 4 gb storage device that takes up the space of a large postcard when I could use a 128 gb storage device that fits on a keychain?), this is rather annoying and arguably not very legal, depending on the DRM I'm circumventing. I can stream it online, but if I want to watch it on my laptop on a plane, or camping, or in a car, or when my internet is down, or when their service eventually goes out of business, too bad.

    How can anyone possibly be surprised at piracy when piracy is free and giving you a product that you literally cannot buy from the creator? It's completely insane.

  • Feb 21st, 2015 @ 5:48pm

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

    Bah, wasn't signed in. Oops.

  • Feb 19th, 2015 @ 10:41am


    Forbes and Bloomberg disagree. Hey look, I can spend five seconds on a Google search too!

    That being said, Elon Musk has stated that Tesla is not expected to be profitable by normal accounting standards until 2020. Short term profits are not the only thing that a company (and investor) should look at when determining the value of a company. The reason our economy collapsed so spectacularly was because everyone was doing precisely that.

    Sometimes you have to invest at a pure profit loss in order to gain long-term rewards. Infrastructure, research, and a market are all real benefits that they're spending money on at the loss of potential profit. These things will pay themselves back once the market is established with interest.

    It sometimes horrifies me that Wall Street (and many other people) don't grasp this basic economic principle. It makes perfect sense when it's a financial investment (spend $1,000 now, get back $2,000 after 10 years) but investment into a company with the same mechanism somehow blows people's minds.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 6:35pm


    I don't think this would hold up in court. If the president of the company, speaking on the company's behalf, states that they will not sue for people using their patents, and then sued someone for using their patents, you can bet easy money that the defense will hold that quote up to the judge.

    It would be somewhat akin to a parking lot putting up a sign that says "free parking" and then towing people who don't pay for parking. Who wins the case would depend on the lawyers, but if they planned on suing, they just really hurt their case.

    Musk is a millionaire dreamer who invested nearly all his money into SpaceX because he wanted the human species to be able to survive an extinction event on Earth by colonizing other planets, and is a huge supporter of clean energy and has invested his money and energy into it. That kind of person does try and trap people into lawsuits (if for no other reason than the reputation loss).

    Love him, hate him, agree, disagree...the guy is passionate about his stuff and has repeatedly put his money where his mouth is. Who knows, it may end up blowing up in his face. Elon Musk may take extreme risks, and may be more in it for the tech than the money (which may end up hurting his business).

    But anyone who thinks Elon Musk is a patent troll has clearly never bothered to read a single thing about him.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 4:57pm

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

    Ah, so your opinions are valid, but other people's aren't?

    I’ll provide another “real world” example from the more recent case law: Morris Commc'ns Corp. v. PGA Tour, Inc., 235 F. Supp. 2d 1269 (M.D. Fla. 2002) aff'd, 364 F.3d 1288 (11th Cir. 2004)

    The plaintiff in INS v. AP had a proprietary interest in the news superior to the defendant because of its labor. The plaintiff in Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard had a proprietary interest in his performance superior to the defendant because of his labor. Each one of those is a “real world” example of labor begetting ownership. Why deny that?

    Haslem v. Lockwood, 37 Conn. 500 (1871). This is one of the first property law opinions that I’ve read. It discusses the two modes of acquisition I mentioned above: occupancy and accession. Here are the facts:
    (emphasis mine)

    So yeah, we should all take these at face value because they affirm your position, but because you kinda disagree with the conclusions on this one, it's probably wrong?

    Anyway, it's pointless to continue this argument, because the people you're arguing with aren't looking at it from your point of view. Not because you disagree about copyright, but because you're looking at copyright from a lawyer's perspective (I'm assuming you're an actual lawyer and not a hobbyist, it seems like you wouldn't have that much knowledge of case law and argue in that manner without law school and practical use).

    Lawyers don't look at things in terms of right and wrong, good and bad (and because you're probably a lawyer, I'll caveat this with "in general"). They look at things in terms of correct interpretation of the law and incorrect interpretation of the law. In other words, does this case meet the criteria of what the lawmakers intended? To a lawyer, the law is a checklist based on the conclusion others have come to in the past, and all factors other that how the law interacted with a specific case is irrelevant to how the law should be perceived.

    Most people don't view the law like that. When my wife got pulled over for going 45 MPH in a 35 zone, even though she was speeding up to the 45 MPH speed limit, driving safely, and going with the flow of traffic, the law doesn't care. She broke the rule, she pays the $157. The fact that this is basically robbery, since she was driving safely and the fine is purely to fund the state (the motorcycle cop was around a corner near an area where most motorists would naturally speed up), is irrelevant to the way a lawyer thinks. That's why you have insanity like the "asset forfeitures" where police are stealing from civilians and then charging their possessions with a crime. United States v. Article Consisting of 50,000 Cardboard Boxes More or Less, Each Containing One Pair of Clacker Balls comes to mind.

    I think that's one of the main resistances you're going to get here at Techdirt; most of the readers are upset with the law itself, and don't give a darn what the legal precedent is. Something can be legal and still be unjust. This is hard concept for lawyers to follow because from a legal perspective the law and justice are the same thing. The "stop and frisk" program was legal, the mass spying program was (sort of) legal, the "enhanced interrogation" was (again, sort of) legal, slavery was legal, the murder of Native Americans was get the idea.

    I like that you are willing to engage with the community, even if sometimes you do it in a condescending, insulting manner. I've even learned a couple of things, and done some good research based on what you've written. But your fundamental concept, that since copyright and patent law are legal, and have held up in case law, they must be good, is a difference in perspective I can't reconcile. To me, and many others, the fact that the law supports your perspective is completely irrelevant to the discussion, and makes the situation worse.

    That's my opinion. It won't hold up in court, but that doesn't make it any less valid than yours.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Meh, there's plenty of criminals that are heavily involved in corporations.

    I'd modify it to "a criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to hire a better lawyer."

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Attribution-ShareAlike

    Nothing altruistic about it; a larger market for electric vehicles can only help Tesla, even if they can't utilize other people's patents. Right now Tesla is really the only major competitor for a decent EV, and the Tesla is expensive. It's a great car, but you're looking at an MSRP of over $70,000 for the base Model S.

    For people to be willing to buy a luxury car it helps if there are cheaper alternatives that make the idea of buy and using an EV viable to people. Marketing to the rich first was a smart move; it let's them pack the Tesla cars with a ton of features and the rich are the only ones likely to be early adopters of something that doesn't come with easy infrastructure.

    In an ideal world the CC license would be unnecessary because you could use other people's ideas freely. Being able to copy someone else's stuff is greatly overestimated. If someone designs something, sure, I can copy that design. But they have the R&D department, and they understand that design. I don't. My copy will always be second best, and never have the "newest" thing. People will pay for stuff that's new, even if they can get it cheaper in a few months. And, as shown repeatedly at this site, people will pay for things that are free and easily copied, if they're convenient and open.

    Tesla gets this. Even if someone iterates on their design, they'll be a leader in the industry because they got there first and know what they're doing. Patents are only important because people who suck at actual innovation have found they can get free money using them. Real innovators know they'll keep the lead because they're already leading the show.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, Jacobsen v. Katzer. I don’t think that opinion makes much sense.

    This whole section made me laugh out loud. You, who frequently utilize court cases to point out how the courts have spoken and therefore the author's opinion must be wrong, are saying the courts made the wrong decision (or the right decision for the wrong reasons)?

    Huh, that's almost exactly what many of the articles you criticize here do. I hope someone remembers to quote this the next time you post a court case as gospel*.

    * Disclaimer: I'm not saying that you're wrong to question whether or not the courts made the right decision, I'm simply pointing out that someone who frequently derides others for doing it while doing it themselves is a giant hypocrite.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That said, nobody said he is abandoning the patents, not even the man himself. He will retain them and it's wise to have patents these days as defensive measures against trolls. Which reinforces the notion that patents are actually a dead weight that must be carried just in case.

    This really needs to be quoted again. Obviously an innovative company like Tesla would be a ripe target for patent trolls. If they didn't patent anything, some random troll would apply for the patents and then they'd spend all their time in court rather than designing cars.

    The "in good faith" was much more likely referring to this; patent trolls are not welcome to use their patents to sue people, but car companies and other innovators are free to utilize them to actually make stuff.

    Elon Musk is a long-term thinker. He invested practically his entire fortune after Paypal into SpaceX, a company many at the time considered a fool's errand. Now SpaceX is being paid by the U.S. government to bring supplies to the ISS and made enough money for him to create Tesla Motors. He is also a heavy investor and was the initial designer of SolarCity, a solar power and EV charging station company.

    He's taking on the entire energy industry, and is looking for long-term gains. Our financial system has broken itself because it encourages short-term profit hunting via stock value rather than investing in a company's future.

    This is one of the main reasons why the world economy collapsed in 2008. Prior to the bailout, GM made more money from their financial institution and investments than they did from making cars. If you can't see why a car company that's focused on financial investments instead of car creation is a problem, well, you're part of the problem.

    So of course Wall Street is freaking out. They have no idea how real-world economics works. Most of the traders are still living in their imaginary world where short-term gains in "profit" is more important than long-term company stability and production. It should be no surprise to anyone when you focus entirely on profit margin at the cost of infrastructure that at some point the infrastructure is going to collapse.

    We need more innovators that are looking towards long-term gains rather than short-term cash grabs.

  • Feb 10th, 2015 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

    Obviously you'd have to prove intent. That's the entire point. We already differentiate between a crime done by accident and one done on purpose.

    In the example above, the TSA supervisor was clearly lying and doing so in order to accuse someone of a crime. Note the intent can't lie if you're wrong and don't know it. There's no way he could have accidentally thought the guy pointed at him and threatened him. It's clearly a lie he created to justify his own actions.

    This wouldn't affect reporting at all because proving intent has a rather high standard. If a reasonable person could have made the mistake, like in your van theft example, there's no crime.

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 8:55am

    Re: Question:

    So I can still play video games (pinball) and watch porn (two circles with dots in paint)?

    Score. What else do I need?

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 8:44am


    but it has always worked quite well to extract informations.

    [Citation Needed]

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 7:49am


    Wow, you really are that ignorant. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    His actions had absolutely nothing to do with violent media. He was violent because he was trained from childhood to be a warrior and participated in ritual killings and cannibalism from the age of 11. His village probably didn't even have electricity, let alone access to video games.

    I don't even know how to describe how dumb your comment is in a polite way. So I didn't try. You're welcome.

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unless children are exposed to content that contradicts your claims at an extremely early age. That is why certain countries have generals going by the name of "General Butt Naked"...I shit you not!

    Congratulations, you completely validated my point. Joshua Blahyi was forced to commit actual murder (not virtual murder) at age 11 and was exposed to some of the most brutal and insane aspects of the human condition. You cannot rationally compare exposure to being forced to murder a child and eat her heart and exposure to violent media. That's like saying an ear flick is the same act of violence as rape. The effect on an individual are not even in the same realm.

    I'm really not sure what your point is, unless you didn't bother to actually look up who "General Butt Naked" was and thought the name was funny. An 11-year-old absolutely can tell the difference between reality and fiction (and is not an "extremely early age" by any stretch in that context) and would be deeply scarred by the act of cold-blooded, premeditated murder and cannibalism. You don't need a degree in psychology to figure that the human mind would use any method possible, including hallucination and extreme dogmatic thought, to protect itself from such a horror.

    Of all the examples to use, you chose one of the greatest examples of real violence's effect on the human mind. I can't tell if you did it on purpose to be ironic or, well, I don't even know.

  • Feb 8th, 2015 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Domino Theory Isn't Right

    So if I buy a gym membership, I buy it with the understanding that I will pay a fee per month, regardless of my use, and that I will be sharing the gym with others, and at peak hours I may not have access to the machines I want, which will slow down my workout. This is actually a pretty good analogy.

    Now, if the gym were an ISP, they'd also say I can only spend 20 hours per month in the gym, and this is fine, because the average member spends less than 20 hours per month. It's only those few powerlifters that spend longer, and they get charged $10 extra for every 5 hours they spend in the gym extra. Also, once they reach their limit they have to wear a lanyard that gives priority to all other gym members because they've already used their share.

    And that's the current situation. ISPs are proposing some "innovative" solutions. Now, Cybex Fitness Equipment can pay the gym a monthly fee and so any time you spend on their equipment doesn't count towards your monthly hour limit. Also, all equipment companies need to pay a monthly fee to the gym for their floor space, because they shouldn't get to use the gym's infrastructure for free. And since Precor paid some extra money, their equipment can be used as long as you want; everyone else has a one-minute maximum use time.

    But hey, there's plenty of competition for this gym. In fact, there are four other gyms in town! They all only have two treadmills and single weight bench, but hey, you have options for your workout needs! Some other big gyms are available in other cities, but due to contracts with those gyms, only one of the big gyms exist in your city. Coincidentally, those gyms give their customers the same service and pricing.

    When I'm paying for a possible maximum capacity with a monthly fee I'm sort of bothered by a bunch of random fees and restrictions that aren't actually caused by any technical restriction. The gym has a limit to its capacity, and during peak hours you'll probably have to wait to finish your workout. But that limit exists regardless if you spend all your hours in one energy-drink fueled 20-hour marathon or 20 days of one hour workouts. And the exercise equipment is the entire reason you want to buy a gym membership in the first place.

    I'm not saying that ISPs should be required to give me my advertised speed at all times. Nobody is (or should be) saying that. I just want my limit to be caused by the capacity of the network, NOT some arbitrary data limit that has little to no impact on my speed. And the whole reason I go online is to access websites, so I don't understand why the websites have to pay my ISP extra so I can access them. I'm already paying for that (and they're paying their own ISPs to be there).

    If they weren't making insane profits, I could sort of understand it as a method to make up the money they're losing because actually charging me for what they're selling isn't enough to cover their costs. But that's clearly not the case.

    Since competition doesn't exist, and because they're trying to charge me and everyone else for imaginary resources, I believe they are engaged in anti-consumer, monopolistic, behavior that is not required for the health of the network or for their own business requirements and therefore should be regulated. And unlike a gym membership, for the majority of Americans internet access is not optional. We use it for business, we use it for networking (the social kind), we use it for knowledge, and much more. Living without internet access in the modern age is almost akin to living without electricity; possible, but miserable, and suicidal from a business standpoint.

    We need the internet to stay accessible to all people, and to prevent the fact that access is necessary to allow monopolistic business to abuse their customers. It's sort of like banks in many ways, and I doubt many people would argue at this point that banks should be unregulated.

  • Feb 8th, 2015 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Common Carrier

    Apples and oranges. There's an actual, physical cost to shipping items, a cost difference between shipping quickly and at the standard speed (in opportunity cost and sometimes aircraft), and people pay per package sent. The pricing reflects the realities of the business.

    You can't compare the two situations. It doesn't make logical sense. It's sort of like saying that it's unfair an Ford Focus driver has to pay the same toll as a Ford F-150 driver because the F-150 driver has to spend more on gas. The revenue stream and situation for the gas stations are completely different from the toll road.

    We pay a toll to access the internet. And now ISPs are telling us we need to pay a gas fee, even though our gas mileage has little to no affect on their business situation. They also want our car company to pay our gas fee, because they should share the burden.

    And for those of us that understand this, we're left scratching our heads wondering why the heck we're paying a toll to go on the road if they're going to charge us for something unrelated to their business expenses. It doesn't make sense.

  • Feb 8th, 2015 @ 3:59pm


    Your rant is highly inaccurate. Studies have shown that children are able to discern the difference between reality and fiction as early as ages 2-3. But just because you can tell the difference between reality and fiction doesn't mean they can't have an effect on you.

    This is obvious; even as an adult, I can go to a movie and feel sad when my favorite character dies or scared when the monster stalks the main character. I know it's not real, and more importantly, the effect it has on me is significantly different than if the events onscreen were happening to me in real life.

    Likewise, people can be convinced of things than are not true, or at the very least not supported by evidence. For example, you believe there are "billions of people who kneel and kill in the name of their preferred imaginary father" which is a statement equally insane to the "lunatics who think Sandy Hook was a government psychyop" (whatever that means).

    If you actually studied anything about religion you'd realize that human activity is largely independent of religious influence; most "religious" conflicts, with even a small amount of historical analysis, are mainly conflicts between political groups, economy, and ideology. War is, and has always been, a political activity, and it wasn't until the last hundred years or so that religion and politics weren't equivalent (and really, are only somewhat separated in the U.S.; the majority of countries today still have a strong religious connection to politics and the U.S. is no exception).

    The point is that although fiction can affect us it doesn't drive our behavior. I may feel angry at Prince Joffrey in Game of Thrones, but I haven't gone out and attacked the actor who plays him. This is true of most human emotions; I get mad at my boss or the guy that cuts me off in traffic, but that emotion doesn't suddenly make me kill my boss (like in Horrible Bosses) or run a guy off the road. And in this case, these things are actually happening in real life.

    The point is that children can tell when something is real and when something isn't, and while they may be scared of something that isn't real, they aren't going to be affected the same was as if it IS real. Video games aren't real, and we can all tell. Unsurprisingly, people who play video games aren't going out in droves to act the way they do in games. Around 58% of all Americans play video games. About 0.4% of the population commit violent crimes, and (probably by coincidence) as the number of video game players has increased, the overall violent crime rate has decreased. This probably doesn't mean that video games decrease violence (they're probably unrelated entirely), but it certainly makes it a hard sell that there's a positive correlation.

  • Feb 8th, 2015 @ 3:27pm

    Re: The road to hell is paved with good nintendoes

    The iPhone 6+ is excellent for playing Pong. The screen is just the right size, and so far hasn't cracked when the ball hits it.

    This made me laugh out loud once I got it. Sometimes I'm a bit slow, haha.

  • Feb 8th, 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Only in one direction though. Mental health problems are not a predictor of violence.

    Absolutely, good point. To my knowledge this applies to all factors, however; just because someone was abused, or is from a low income family, or has mental health issues, etc. does not mean they'll become violent, even though individuals who are violent tend to have one or more of these factors. There are things that increase risk of violence but nothing that can accurately predict violent behavior.

    Also, my use of "mental health issues" was probably too vague, as there's a big difference between someone with depression versus someone with antisocial personality disorder. I probably should have said "certain mental health issues."

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