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  • Dec 7th, 2017 @ 4:42am

    (untitled comment)

    I'm going to ask for some help in understanding the overall issue, because I'm missing something.

    I don't have a problem with Amazon/Google blocking each others' services directly tied to devices, for example their personal assistants. Sure, it would be nice if choices were offered, but let's be real to say the purpose of selling some devices is to also promote the services behind them.

    In regard to Amazon Prime being used on other devices, this is controlled through software, not a device. For example, I can access both YouTube and Amazon Prime on my XBox console because apps, not hardware, gain access to the services.

    How is it Google has the right to block non-device specific platforms (notice I didn't say service) just because a retailer refuses to carry its products directly tied to Google services?

    Isn't this the black-and-white definition of anti-trust?

    Visiting the Google store, I see absolutely no offering of Amazon hardware tied to its services, either.

    I'm pretty sure retailers have the choice not to carry products it doesn't want to. Consumers may be upset, but it's not like they don't have a choice to go elsewhere to buy the product they want.

    This situation sets up a terrifying example of the limits of Net Neutrality.

    Sure, NN could help keep ISPs in line (once the FCC also abolishes Zero Rating), but none of this will make a damn bit of difference if corporations start blocking services *and* platforms over conditions consumers have zero control over.

    Buying a talking box and using company's service to run the box is one thing.

    Blocking unrelated platforms (aka apps, software, etc) requires the Dept of Justice to get involved since this is now anti-trust territory.

  • Nov 13th, 2017 @ 9:39am

    (untitled comment)

    Let's assume the FBI can get to the phone data.

    Then what?

    I don't believe the FBI has the power to travel back in time to prevent the shooting, so best case for the data is it's uploaded with petabytes of other useless data, for the sake of "profiling" which hasn't stopped a shooting yet.

  • Oct 4th, 2017 @ 12:03pm

    (untitled comment)

    PS: are you guys ever going to fix the format issue with this new markdown setup?

  • Oct 4th, 2017 @ 12:02pm

    (untitled comment)

    As one who has been watching the NN debate for a while now, I've a question to ask of Techdirt: Despite the reclassification, what truly has changed in the broadband world?

    We've got a reclassification of the definition of "broadband".

    That's it. The only true power the FCC has bestowed on the US market is redefining broadband speeds.

    The notion the FCC now has "authority" over broadband thanks to the reclassification was as effective as stating a dog now has bigger teeth.

    If the teeth aren't used, then the change is pointless.

    The entirety of Title II was destroyed thanks to zero rating.

    Since Title II's reclassification, we all still have: -No competition -High prices -Throttled connections (disguised as limit thresholds) -Spying ISPs who sell our data -Broadband caps

    Let Pai remove Title II. Things will still not change for the better.

    Title II wasn't a "consumer's best hope". It only modified the definition, and even then, the FCC had very little regulation over it.

    I understand the vocal opposition to removing the classification, but I also know false hope when I see it.

    Title II is false hope. Let it go.

    Instead, demand Congress fix broadband the right way and leave the FCC out out it completely.

  • Sep 22nd, 2017 @ 10:39am

    (untitled comment)

    PS: Web developers, please fix the "markdown" coding. We're losing our line breaks.


  • Sep 22nd, 2017 @ 10:38am

    (untitled comment)

    You know we're all in trouble when, typically, Techdirt would be trashing the Netflix request up and down for its obvious abuse of trademark protection.

    Instead, accolades are given?

    Netflix should have pulled out the copyright card (transformative and derivative qualifications here), not the trademark card.

    So put away the accolades and do your job, Techdirt.

    Netflix is in in the wrong here.

    PS: @AC for Fox "Duff Beer" reference: no, that's not how trademark law works.

    Fox would have a legal claim on copyright infringement if someone released a beer looking near/identical to the "brand" in the show, but trademarks do not cover the expression of ideas.


  • Aug 25th, 2017 @ 10:06am

    (untitled comment)

    Roger Strong: "The 24 hour requirement is the one mentioned in the story. If you didn't connect once every 24 hours, you wouldn't be able to play games offline."

    No. This isn't true. It was never true. It will never be true. No matter how much gamers want to believe it.

    The E3 PR was a nightmare. Microsoft's PR dept was stating one thing (which lead to the infamous "get over it" by an employee no longer with the company - what was his name again?) while the gaming division was stating another.

    Here's the official statement released: "It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet."

    So how did this go from "not always connected" to the infamous DRM bullshit?

    Gamers. That's who. People who heard what they wanted to hear, not what was actually said.

    The "24" came from one of the benefits Microsoft was working to deliver to XBox One owners: the ability to share FULL games with friends for a 24 hour period without an additional purchase. The only requirement was the friend had to be on the sender's list for at least 30 days.

    Of course, an internet connection was necessary for the friend to download the game.

    So what was this "phone home" issue about anyway? Let's get to the parts (intentionally?) left out of the article.

    The connection requirement was only for those who shared a game -OR- sold a digital game.

    Read that last part again: For the FIRST TIME EVER, Microsoft was going to allow people to sell back digital games.

    They even mentioned working with retailers and setting up kiosks to make this possible.

    Under no circumstance was it ever announced a lack of communication in 24 hours would block all games.


    This teeny, tiny bit of information was lost due to the "OMFG! DRM! DRM! NO! NO!" hyperbole following the E3 presentation.

    To be (marginally) fair to the audience, this fiasco was the result of Microsoft's poor information delivery, given its own staff had no clue what was going on.

    At launch, it wouldn't be possible to sell digital games, because the negotiations were still being worked out. At press, and this is confirmed, a connection was needed to start the console.

    This, of itself, was more of a "try to please the majority, than cater to the minority" and it's okay to have a negative opinion about the attempt.

    The online registration was to benefit those who had an XBox 360, making it much easier to port over the account information.

    Those who own(ed) an XBox 360 fondly remember all digital games used to be tied to the console, not the account. If the console had to be replaced, all the digital downloads were lost (and had to be repurchased).

    This was fixed with the largest update the XBox 360 ever received, which removed the console+game relationship and restored it to an account+game+entertainment relationship.

    The other proof the audience wigged out and didn't listen was when they accused Microsoft of charging a fee to install used games onto the console, which Microsoft stated they would receive no money from this fee.

    Now, can anyone here think of any particular publisher who'd demand a fee to install a used game? Shouldn't take hard to think of the company, given they've been very vocal about second hand sales of "their" games. I'll give the answer below to those truly stumped by this publisher.

    People also forgot how this fee was in addition to a purchase license one would have to acquire to install it, which did make its way into physical games, but briefly before the backlash forced the publisher to remove this ridiculous cash grab.

    I should also point out the XBox Live service has no relationship to the games outside of the purchase (an XBox Live account is required to purchase a digital game, hence the account+game relationship).

    Once purchased, all that's needed to perform patch/updates is an internet connection, provided Microsoft's patch servers weren't affected by the same issue affecting its Live service.

    Timothy's assertion that XBox Live going down would result in games being unplayable, but this isn't accurate at all.

    Microsoft doesn't require people to have an XBox Live subscription.

    It never has.

  • Jul 27th, 2017 @ 12:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    I've seen this conclusion several times, and I'm disappointed every avenue ignored the white elephant in the room: the phrase "as long as you continue to respect our brand".

    No. Unacceptable.

    A company has no (legal) right to demand how anyone should address their "brand".

    At least he's not going to court.

  • Jul 18th, 2017 @ 9:21am

    (untitled comment)

    Damn it, Wyden. Just run for president already.


    For the sake of this country.

  • Jul 17th, 2017 @ 1:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    "Wheeler was eventually convinced to go in a different direction."
    This isn't accurate and it's a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. Please give me confidence Techdirt isn't going the route of Fox News.

    Wheeler's premise has *ALWAYS* been to establish rules so all businesses have the same access to communications regardless of size.

    Verizon's success as the first reclassification gave Wheeler *NO CHOICE* but to try with Title II. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if this wasn't by design.

    Regardless of the final outcome, the white elephant still exists: Paid priority. Even Wheeler himself admitted this was a "wait and see" approach, and we all know how well this is turning out to be.

    What's the point of "fighting" for a reclassification if the white elephant isn't shot and dead? Small business are *STILL* screwed with the current Title II classification.

    It's extremely disappointing to see Techdirt admonish its reader base, basically calling us foolish for not wasting our time.

    So with that, allow me to explain why this letter writing campaign is futile.


    Title II isn't capable of supporting the technological advances of communication. It never has been. Title II only ensures the FCC has jurisdiction so that no one company can own all the communication platforms (even though AT&T did have a government sanctioned monopoly doing just that).

    The *ONLY* time Title II has ever been enforced was, ironically, due to AT&T's breakup, which the FCC reminded AT&T they had to share their lines whether they liked it or not.

    Title II was put together only to give the FCC regulatory control, not to actually prevent companies from charging what they wanted over those lines.

    Furthermore, to say these comments may be helpful for Congress begs the question: WHY THE HELL ARE YOU WASTING TIME WITH THE FCC INSTEAD OF SENDING THESE LETTERS TO THAT VERY CONGRESS?

    Imagine what an impact 16 million comments to *EVERY* Congressperson would have done three years ago, and what the additional 8 million (and growing) would do *NOW*.

    Instead, you rely on Pai, notoriously against reclassification three years ago, to change his mind?

    You'd have to be a damned fool to believe this.

    If anything, it's time to put Title II to rest and have Congress enact NEW LAWS which govern how our communications plaform exists TODAY, not what was around nearly a century ago.

    This means crafting laws making it illegal to throttle or price control (no paid access) any and all communication platforms today.

    This means adding price control and clear disclosure of the fees and prices set by ISPs (or OSPs, for that matter).

    This means getting the laws to represent 2017, not 1917.

    But go ahead and waste your time. It's your business.

    Just don't make the rest of us feel ashamed just because we know you're wasting your damn time on a pointless crusade.

    Are there windmills in California?

  • Jun 29th, 2017 @ 7:41am

    (untitled comment)

    Unfortunately, the report doesn't say what happened to this employee. Nothing from her employer, but now that the IRS is involved, it's Al Capone time.

    I wonder if she has a vault.

  • May 18th, 2017 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    The reason the ISPs are so bad is they have you over a barrel and there's nothing you can do about it other than complain to the FCC...


    You get people together and pick a day, say the day the FCC is set to make another vote, and declare this day that "If the FCC passes to dismantle Title II, we, the public, refuse to pay our ISP bills until the change is reverted."

    To get this to work, everyone needs to follow up with it.

    Businesses. People. The local Net Cafe. The Library.


    If ISPs are combining their resources to attack the public, fight fire with fire.

  • May 18th, 2017 @ 11:30am

    (untitled comment)

    *And while you might be inclined to think that your thoughts on this policy decision don't matter, these comments will come in handy in the inevitable looming legal fight to come.*

    No, they won't. Just as I said over two years ago, I'll say it again here: Votes won't matter because the fight isn't in the correct arena.

    While it was entertaining to see Title II pass, the only people upset by today's news are those who thought they had won.

    Here's a tip: instead of running to the government, isn't it about time to grow up and take the fight directly to the ISPs?

    Too bad it's a running joke now, the boycott.

    Alas, it's like watching people fight against DRM while giving the very entities responsible for it concurrent record-breaking years.

  • May 17th, 2017 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, it's not even going this far.

    When I hit the Netflix page, I can "log in". No problem. However, when I try to access anything listed, I get the message:
    "We've detected a proxy or VPN service in use. Please disable the service to access the show."

    None of the VPN addresses I use are outside the US.

  • May 16th, 2017 @ 12:27pm

    (untitled comment)

    I stopped paying for Netflix last year when they wouldn't allow me to access their website through a VPN.

    Their excuse was "we can't match the billing data with the account login".

    They treat me as if this is my problem for wanting to protect my online privacy.

    Thankfully, Amazon Prime doesn't have any issues with my VPN services that's on every device we use.

  • May 12th, 2017 @ 4:57am


    * Their lawyers are obviously looking in every crack and crevasse for every petty little thing to keep themselves busy(as in paid).*
    No. Bethesda's lawyers are complete idiots when it comes to both trademark and copyright law.

    This is the same company who tells its mod makers to wrongfully file DMCA notices against other modders if they're "stealing" their work.

    When I sent out notice to Bethesda their advice could get modders in trouble since they legally don't own the works nor the copyright, I was told "our lawyers stated using the DMCA in this manner is legal".

    What's worse is Bethesda's own ToS is so across the board, it's impossible to know who really owns the rights to mods (something Bethesda indicated they're working on to remove all confusion).

    It's extremely unlikely Bethesda lawyers know what they're doing, which is precisely why I will never create mods using their games.

    I am not putting myself into the crosshairs of this idiocy, as MxR found himself recently by another modder over the illegal use of the DMCA.

    Pete Hines is, sadly, a product of what happens when people twist the law to falsely represent what it's really doing.

    I can't blame Pete, but I sure as hell can his idiotic lawyers.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 6:02am

    (untitled comment)

    But that doesn't mean that whoever replaces him won't be even worse. We'll know almost immediately.

    If the candidate has an orange nose, brace for the worst.

  • Apr 19th, 2017 @ 7:55am

    (untitled comment)

    "It's Microsoft, so of course it would have to be more complicated than it should be, but this is still a good and important step."

    We could have had this three years ago, when Microsoft announced it at their E3 event.

    Granted, the event wasn't going to win Best In Show, but Microsoft stated:

    • We'd be able to get refunds on games
    • We'd be able to share a full game with any friend who has been on our friend list of 30+ days
    • We'd be able to sell our digital games back

    All ruined because gamers screamed "DRM" and ran to Sony due to the misconception of "always online".

    This news is about as "good and important" as is "better late than never".

  • Apr 17th, 2017 @ 1:26pm

    Matter of interpretation

    "Phi Sigma Sigma (PSS) secretly stands for Philanthropic Social Society."
    "Pretty Stupid Sorority" is more accurate for not using a Non-Disclosure Agreement rather than the DMCA.

  • Mar 28th, 2017 @ 8:00am

    Re: #FakeProgress

    "There is no way they have any research that says consumers will pay $30 to $50 to rent a movie at home."
    This is the same industry which also believed consumer would shell out $100+ for a movie when they launched on VHS, nearly 12 years after the Betamax loss.

    When they realize customers aren't going to pay this atrocious amount (falsely believing everyone still groups on the family couch to watch shows), they'll either whine to Congress we didn't "want" it or they'll reduce the price.

    Money does stupid things to people.

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