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  • May 20th, 2016 @ 11:19am

    Re: Schoolyard Courtroom

    Okay, I went and read the document to find out what the complaint actually was. It is 4 parts, but essentially I think it's:

    Google publicly states that it removes sites for certain shady things. It removed our site, so people will assume we have done those shady things even though there's no proof. That's uncompetitive, since we make money by breaking Google's algorithm without breaking their rules.

    That's alleged to be Defamation (by inference), violate the Lanham Act (false statements in commerce), Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (deceptive statements), and to be Tortious Interference (I think because customers can't manually type a url?).

    So in this instance Google's first amendment right to remove sites isn't being denied (though that defense was rejected), it's whether removing a site makes an implied statement about that site because of their help documentation. They need to revise those documents (I suggest something like "screw you all") and then they can continue to delist spammers that aren't quite using known methods to game the system.

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 8:55am


    I find those "exceeding authorization" laws problematic in many cases. But isn't this different from your example of breaking someone else's policy since it's breaking your own policy? Am I legally bound not to feed the trolls if I substantially claim that I don't?

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 7:50am

    Schoolyard Courtroom

    "plaintiff is alleging that as a result of its pages being removed from Google’s search results, Google falsely stated that e-ventures’ websites failed to comply with Google’s policies.... Google is in fact defending on the basis that e-ventures’ websites were removed due to e-ventures’ failure to comply with Google’s policies.... The Court finds that this speech is capable of being proven true or false"
    So the court is essentially weighing the matter of "you're a liar" vs "nuh-uh"? Even if they didn't abide by their own policy, how is that a legal issue? Surely it can't be illegal to make a statement that turns out to be false. It might be a poor PR move to behave contrary to stated policy but unless I don't understand it at all, that policy is not a binding contract between Google and everyone it does and does not index.

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 7:16am

    Re: includes forced subscribers too

    Yes, that was my experience on Comcast as well. They PAY YOU to remain a tv subscriber. Where's that breakout in their numbers?

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 7:13am

    Redefine away!

    There are so many anachronistic terms in industry analysis that they really do need to redefine a lot of them; they've just failed to do so usefully. Calling all moving picture entertainment in the home "television" doesn't fix their problem - people paying them less and competitors more. It makes investors less nervous if they don't see through the BS, but is not a solution.

    Old term = New Term
    Broadcast TV = OTA Broadcast
    Cable TV = Proprietary Broadcast
    IP TV (FIOS) = Proprietary Broadcast
    On Demand Video (from Broadcast company) = Walled Garden
    Streaming Video = User Chosen Content Content
    Cord Cutting = Broadcast Cutting

    Most people aren't cutting cords in the sense the no longer watch anything, they're opting for choice over broadcast. The concept that you have to tune in at a certain time or remember what channel a show is on, that's what's going to go away. That's what "Television" used to mean -"broadcast entertainment" as a mass transmitted one-way media consumption platform. Now television means whatever you choose to put on the big screen in your house, and broadcast companies are still bleeding subscribers and lashing out.

    So what is their solution? Offering the same broadcast content delivered by a different protocol on your computer or phone? Increase the number of broadcast channels, hoping one may match a user's interests? Offering crappy "VOD" titles packaged with the same broadcast subscription people don't want? Making their broadcast subscription integral to the Infrastructure they hold a monopoly on, or charging more to deliver competitor's content? Sure. Those will all work for a while. But they're not sustainable, it's like fighting the tide. If they're serious about competing on content, they need to compete on content and accept that they will be a part (a small part) of a customer's entertainment choices. The age of Studio/Broadcaster/Cable control is ending. The time of consumer choice has come.

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Oh my stars!

    Bullying seems to be quite a lot like pornography these days. Certain people think it's better restricted by the government than parents, is somehow worse when online, and they have a hell of a time describing what does or doesn't constitute it. But they still "know it when they see it" and are more than willing to try fixing a problem they don't understand.

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 4:37am

    Re: Good.

    Pff... good luck with that. As soon as my patent on a printer that DOESN'T check for authorization is approved you're going to be between a rock and hard place.

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 4:33am

    Re: It parses the content for potential copyrighted material?

    That sounds like a printer that won't print.
    I think have two printers with this exact technology in my office right now!!!

  • May 19th, 2016 @ 4:28am


    Yeah, they've already established that they don't have to show the court or defense how they broke into a system. "Just trust us, we got in. *wink*" Wave a folder in the air, shake your fist menacingly, and no one will ever know it's empty.

  • May 18th, 2016 @ 10:45am

    (untitled comment)

    I kinda hope he asks the court to identify the passages to which it objects so they have to respond by entering them into the record.

  • May 18th, 2016 @ 10:34am


    "surely it can build a technology that can determine what is and what is not fair use."
    Sure, I mean given enough time and resources, I'm positive that crack squads of elite nerds will create a super intelligent AI who will become self aware, enslave us all, and declare that there is no fair use because copyright is fucking stupid and hereby abolished. All in due time.

  • May 18th, 2016 @ 9:55am

    Re: Illusion of 'Free'

    1) Have you heard of books? I've seen a lot of cord cutters claim to either reduce or eliminate their amount of screen time consumed.
    2) Cord cutters can still find the transition worth while because they can choose the terms of their entertainment (what, where, when) even if it isn't less expensive.

    The issue isn't just that it's getting more expensive, it's more expensive for something they don't want. That's a problem with broadcast entertainment. Paying for 500 channels is crazy. I only need one channel if it's always showing exactly what I want.

  • May 18th, 2016 @ 9:33am

    Partial Credit.

    I use the Tragedy of the Commons frequently to explain lots of different situations (maybe too many). The commonality is in entities overindulging in a shared limited resource because they assume others would do so if they didn't. The old "I got mine" mentality.

    The only way I can conform that to this situation is if we, the paying cable customers, are the limited resource. He's upset because competitors are overgrazing their sheep and killing the grass... aka jacking up the rates too fast and driving customers away from broadcast tv.

    This interpretation pisses me off. First it lays blame on exploitative grazing and not on the fact that the grass realized it had better shit to do than wait around and get chomped. He thinks if only they weren't quite so abusive their captive market would be safe and we'd be consuming like we did in the 70's; they had a system to bleed us slow dammit, what was wrong with that?

    And second it casts consumers as a passive resource with no choice but to be overgrazed upon. In reality a competitive market would see consumers being overcharged and respond with competition not equal price hikes across the board. But the content companies thought they had the market locked down, that the grass had nowhere to go, so they grazed and charged and shot themselves in the foot.

    So I'll agree they've got a tragedy on their hands, but I don't think it's of the commons. If anything this seems more like a King Lear or Oedipus Rex style tragedy in the "went crazy and ruined your empire/ killed your family and blinded yourself" sense.

  • May 13th, 2016 @ 10:41am

    Microphones everywhere.

    Wasn't there a more concrete report of the government remotely activating smartphones to listen in on whatever they'd like? Did the newfangled smartphone industry overcome that hurdle, or did we just forget?

    I think the larger issue than "insert new technology here" can be hacked is that there are malicious hackers exempt from laws meant to protect us from intrusion; and they are the government.

  • May 11th, 2016 @ 10:01am

    (untitled comment)

    Ain't no hypocrisy like Washington DC hypocrisy
    I am sick and tired of the continual slander of the hard working population in our nation's capitol. We may perpetually host the asshole Olympics, but every single contestant is, by definition, from somewhere else. Don't blame your assholes on us!

  • May 11th, 2016 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (Let me start with a preface that 14 years is wildly more rollback than I can even dream of seeing effected in my lifetime.)

    What about "modern terms" makes 14 years shorter than ever? People experience and consume more, travel and communicate further and faster, records are more permanent and accessible, job/career turnover is more frequent and prevalent, and there are more efficient methods for devising and expressing creative output than ever before in human history. Everything happens more immediately in "Modern Times". This means that 1) things can be brought to market and monetized in less time and 2) popular entertainment holds our attention for less time before the endless swirling cycle replaces today's hot new thing; relegating it to a brief stint with syndicated tv on its way to sadly fading from existence at Foster's Home for Orphaned Works.

    The only way that 14 years seems shorter is if you're an immortal being seeking to pump out franchised sequels for 100 years without coming up with anything new. Which in my view should be a separate debate. Should Groening have lost the monopoly rights to the concept of the characters he created? Eh, they're still doing things with them so let's just assume for now that he's allowed to prevent knockoff competitors (and nevermind that there essentially have been, just with different characters) and focus on the literal fixed expressions.

    The Episodes. 26 years later, what real value does Groening derive in preventing school children from seeing the very first Simpsons episode? Is it greater than the benefit of permanently preserving the phenomenon? Is that episode really the same packaged entertainment drawn to drive ad impressions, or is it now historical context, part of our collective conscience and modern culture? I bet you can guess my answers, but to quote the illustrious Dr Jones "it belongs in a museum!"

  • May 10th, 2016 @ 8:13am


    I'd be interested to know what you consider "an extremely short period of time." Certainly not 100 years. 75? 50? How much time is needed to properly monetize a work and incentivize its creation? Sure seems like with modern production and distribution methods, that number should be going down. Not inexorably up.

  • May 10th, 2016 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Can't imagine where the confusion comes from.

    Yes, that's an excellent distinction to explain. If Netflix preloaded video they could still send a downsampled version for less total throughput (MB) even though it might take only a few seconds (MB/s) to transfer 30 mins of tv. Further, "throttling" is a general concept in computing, every reference in this "controversy" has been using it when they mean "broadband throtting." We're not talking about process throttling or CPU throttling (which are fine and useful techniques) because the general public has learned that "throttling bad" because broadband throttling has been an unseen form of abuse perpetrated by ISPs and we're finally catching on that it is usually warrant-less and bad.

    It's the difference between swapping 100W bulbs for 20W LEDs so your total electric bill is less every month vs the power company limiting your lamps to only 20W and dimming the lights.

  • May 10th, 2016 @ 4:06am

    (untitled comment)

    "things he couldn't talk about and things he didn't know. At times, it was difficult to distinguish between the two."
    I'm pretty well convinced that things are "secret" more times than not because of how stupid and embarassing they are; not because they are vital elements of some greater good. Comey, and his non-statements, seems to fall squarely in the former.

  • May 9th, 2016 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    I think private companies should be able to draft up whatever secret trade deals they want. And they should be given no more weight by elected officials than the "trade deals" I cook up alone in my basement. But if they're expecting fast track favoritism it's no longer a private draft. Show us what you've got or just take it home and shred it.

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