Jeroen Hellingman’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Aug 27th, 2019 @ 12:39am


    The racism is in the assumption that somebody with an Asian appearance cannot speak English.

  • Aug 27th, 2019 @ 12:38am

    (untitled comment)

    Not just Amazon, but all book-selling platforms are plagued by rip-offs. What is offered for sale is no more than a simple print-on-demand copy of a PDF downloaded from Google Books or The Internet Archive. Now there may be reasons you want to have such a thing printed, but the problem is that such copies are not marked as such, and, but when you want to buy real antiquarian books, locating them becomes very hard. Some sites have options to exclude print-on-demand and new books, but book sellers appear to intentionally mislabel their offers. Now selling them is legal (for out-of-copyright books), but this strongly undermines the value of the platform. I've totally stopped buying via Amazon since 2013 (for other reasons, and won't be back), and also try to avoid other platforms, contacting booksellers via other channels after I've confirmed they offer genuine antiquarian books, or just going to physical shops to buy books, mostly to digitize them for Project Gutenberg, which is by the way another source of many books being sold on Amazon.

    Hint: always check and before buying any old book, if all you need is a reading copy.

  • Aug 22nd, 2019 @ 2:12am

    Re: Costs vs Benefits in a Social World

    Interesting how "long term" is defined as "next year". From a sustainability point of view, for policy making, I would rather define long term as looking forward seven generations (yes, that is over two centuries, and yes, this is a radical break with the current thinking that causes so many environmental and social problems). From the position of an individual, long term in my opinion means life-planning. Investing in education, then building up a resource-pool for retirement, part of which would be investing in public corporations. In this model, going for corporations with long-term vision makes perfect sense.

    Medium term investments (less than 10 years) can be fine for intermediate saving targets. "Investing" for short time (less than a few years) is pure speculation -- unfortunately, current investment practices encourage it, even when dealing with long term (retirement) savings. Lots of people are in investment funds with extremely high turnover rates (often above 100%), which is nice for the bottom line of traders, but makes little sense otherwise.

  • Jul 19th, 2019 @ 1:08am

    (untitled comment)

    At Project Gutenberg, we've spend like 30 years to digitize almost 60.000 books. You will need about 100GB to download them all. Even in the unlikely case you can read one book a day, you'll still need two life-times to read them all.

    Now start looking at the millions of books on, or although illicit, Library Genesis.

  • Jul 17th, 2019 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Nefarious Plan

    As a general rule, yes; however, in an environment where centralized and consolidated service becomes a single point of failure, and sufficient demand or need exists for a non-failing system, decentralized systems will be able to sustain themselves, although at a higher cost and with less functionality. What the EU basically is doing, is trying to give the decentralized systems a fighting chance. Whether it will succeed, give it ten years. If we're all exchanging SD-cards by then, as what was once the internet has become as crappy as the EU sponsored news channels, they will have succeeded (and probably be talking about liability for SD-card producers for content that can be stored on those cards....) I phantom EU digital innovation will be in the same state then as the Galileo GPS system is at the time of writing... (

  • May 15th, 2019 @ 6:51am

    No problem in Europe

    Never received a robocall in Europe ever... evidence that something effective can be done about it fairly easily.

  • May 9th, 2019 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Identity theft is a misnomer invented by banks to shift the blame to innocent victims of what used to be called fraud.

  • May 9th, 2019 @ 3:50am

    Works as designed

    Although the GDPR has a couple of issues in relation with freedom of press, this case shows that the rules are working as intended. Credit rating agencies are of a fairly dubious nature, and their business practices often harm people with very little legal recourse. To a large extend, the GDPR can help to reign in those dubious practices, as most of the grounds under the GDPR that allows a company to process personal information are lacking. Since they have no direct relationship with the individuals they collect information about, they cannot justify it with 'needed to fulfil contract'; they most certainly lack 'freely given permission'; and with most agencies, there is also no 'legal obligation' to keep the information. I also don't think 'required to protect own significant interest' applies here. The only problem with the GDPR in this respect is that regulators in several countries are rather slow to act...

  • Mar 12th, 2019 @ 8:07am

    Re: Protect Public Interest? Yeah right.

    The role of the court only comes into sight when somebody has a proper case to be made, for example, when an beginning artist is repeatedly blocked on various platforms due to legally mandated filters (or filters that can be considered legally mandated under the doctrine of "measures having equivalent effect")

    If the EU parliament approves article 13, we will first have to wait for national implementations that have this effect, and then see this traverse through one of the national court system. So we will only know in about four or five years.

  • Mar 12th, 2019 @ 7:56am

    Would you support author's rights?

    It is a bit of cross-posting, but again: If I were to argue for author's rights, to replace copyright, but mostly in the same vein, only that such an author's right would be non-transferable (except by succession to heirs) and with a strict 5-year limit on exclusive licenses, all with the purpose of strengthening the position of authors against those of publishers, would you support me? If not, then please don't pretend to speak for authors (which I do not name creators, BTW).

  • Mar 12th, 2019 @ 7:50am

    Would you support Author's rights

    If I were to argue for author's rights, to replace copyright, but mostly in the same vein, only that such an author's right would be non-transferable (except by succession to heirs) and with a strict 5-year limit on exclusive licenses, all with the purpose of strengthening the position of authors against those of publishers, would you support me? If not, then please don't pretend to speak for authors.

  • Mar 6th, 2019 @ 11:37am

    Re: Irrelevant...

    In the United States, approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year... but that is not the subject today.

  • Feb 7th, 2019 @ 8:33am


    Talked to one populist MEP about this. His reasoning for voting against was different from both. Much of the favorite music of his followers is actually not made by the large labels, but by smaller bands (using national languages), who also suffer from the current take-down regime on the large platforms; similarly, a lot of the news sources favored by his followers already suffer from restrictions and thus are harder to find in the news groups -- which he (rightly) considered a form of censorship.

  • Feb 7th, 2019 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Populist parties who actually keep faith with the people

    The populists in France, unfortunately, support article 13 and 11; the populists in The Netherlands are against it. I didn't check the remainder, but lobbying focus should also go to these MEP's.

  • Jan 18th, 2019 @ 1:00am

    (untitled comment)

    It would make more sense to attack the GDPR on this horrible legal outcome: Google must remove sanctioned docter from search engine -- hereby undermining the safety of medicine. (in Dutch)

  • Jan 18th, 2019 @ 12:49am

    Another instance of companies abusing the GDPR name

    If anything, the GDPR would require the opposite: since there is no legitimation for sharing the information of the return with the original purchaser, it would be illegal to inform him under the GDPR. This is just a misguided tactic of some traders who do not want to take back goods sold.

  • Jan 17th, 2019 @ 4:13am

    A Blessing in Disguise...

    Wasn't the old mantra that the internet sees censorship as a system failure and will try to route around it?

    Article 11 and 13 provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the decentralized nature of the Internet that has been lost with the raise of the internet giants as Google and Facebook, and my message to traditional publishers in this regard will be "be careful what you wish for"

    Article 11 will be relatively easy to work around. Publishing parties that wish to have their snippets displayed with search results simply set up a "snippet server"; the search engine will only return pointers to those snippets, and the end-user's browser will retrieve them, directly from the server under control of the publisher. A few safeguards may be needed to stop rogue publishers from gaming the system, by using cryptographic hashes of the content, but after that, those publisher who want snippets in search results can have them, pulled directly from own their service. Search engines only need to provide the address of the server and the hash, the browser will retrieve the rest, and compose a view indistinguishable from the current search results. Search engines can provide a further service of summarizing articles and uploading snippets to those servers, and even provide completely configured servers as docker images or something similar. Publishers who do not want this can simply not participate and become irrelevant.

    Working around article 13 may take a little more time. Here the idea is that we do not need the giants to build a social network. Already we see a rapidly growing market for NAS devices. Such devices are actually much more than just a NAS. They can also run web services. It is fairly easy to envision running software on these that provide functionality the likes of LinkedIn or Facebook provide today, but then without much of the privacy concerns or advertising overload. I envision within a few years, small NAS devices will emerge with a "Facebook-in-a-box" application configured ready-to-go. Key features will be privacy and ease-of-use. Owners can add friends and control their access, software can pull together "walls" from the servers of all friends they have access to, and friend-of-friend items can be copied (if so configured) to create the same experience without a central server. Legally, owners of such NAS boxes/servers will of course remain fully liable for copyright infringement (as they are today when they post on social networks), but since there is no intermediary (except of course the ISP's, who cannot see the data, as everything will be end-to-end encrypted), intermediary liability is not an issue. Sharing memes, holiday pictures and funny cat movies will remain possible without any filter, and a thing going viral will now not just involve sharing a link, but the physical copying of files between connected people. As NAS with several terabytes can be had for a couple of hundred dollars or euros, and such as NAS boxes have many great features beyond sharing holiday pictures, I give them a great future.

    Of course, such a fully decentralized social network will quickly be found to be perfectly tailored to also share copyrighted materials between friends. Given six degrees of separation, popular stuff will continue to spread fairly rapidly and many authors will be happy with it. but the stream of revenue publishers now get from Facebook and YouTube will dry up.

    So maybe we should thank the EP for this...

  • Jan 15th, 2019 @ 6:14am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Can you please preserve this page as evidence for future legal proceedings. This is a document to help courts establish the intention of the EP with this directive: NO NEW OBLIGATIONS; all the words apparently to the contrary in article 13 and 11 are just meaningless blah blah blah to be ignored.

  • Jan 8th, 2019 @ 1:00am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    LV is already infamous for its abuse of shady legal procedures, for example this ugly case: (which was later overturned, after some legal wrangling involving a judge being assigned to handle his own appeal, which of course also is unacceptable.)

    I guess, the attack here is the best defence.

  • Dec 12th, 2018 @ 1:40am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Looking at this incredible mess with utter disgust. Sometimes I think some parties are deliberately steering this towards an article that will be so bad, the European Court of Justice will have scrap it -- in fact that is my last straw of hope at this time, to see them scrap Article 11 and 13 as in violation of multple Human Rights as guarantied by the ECHR -- as they did with equally idiotic compulasory retention policies two years ago.

    One of the problems here is that both articles grossly reduce the value of copyrights held by smaller authors, and utterly distort the playing-field in favour of current publishing cartel. In that respect, they are extremely anti-copyright and anti-creativity.

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