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Posted on Techdirt - 19 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the say-it-again dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That One Guy with a pretty excellent summary of the ongoing crusade by the monkey selfie photographer:

Some legacies are better than others

He could have been remembered as a nature photographer, but that was too dull.

He could have been remembered as the person who owned the camera the 'monkey selfie' was taken on, but fame like that would have faded from view far too quickly.

He could have been remembered as someone lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for a one-in-a-million shot to be taken using his gear, but dumb luck is just too tame.

No, instead he's going to be remembered as the guy who decided that threatening people for using a photo in the public domain was a good idea.

He'll be remembered as the guy sued by PETA, who claimed to be bringing the lawsuit against him on behalf of a monkey.

He'll be remembered as the guy who is apparently such an atrocious photographer that the copyright status of one picture is enough to make or break his entire career, to the point that he's willing to go on a multi-year crusade to 'protect' it from the vile 'public domain'.

He could have been remembered for any number of things, but given his obsessive fixation on the status of a single photograph I'm pretty sure he's just going to be remembered for behavior that would make even a drunk monkey look mature by comparison.

In second place, we've got a quick comment from Roger Strong in response to Dianne Feinstein's continuing push for encryption backdoors, making proper use of the language that shows up in such rhetoric:

"Responsible encryption" is encryption that is secure. They demand irresponsible encryption.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got two more comments about Feinstein and the encryption debate, starting with some thoughts from Ninja:

It doesn't matter if the struggles FBI had were the fruition of their own stupidity or if the device is just impenetrable for now. They are not entitled to every single bit of evidence out there. They can't have access to conversations in person, destroyed documents and other unrecoverable evidence and yet they can pursue other evidence from other sources to secure a conviction in the courts. If one bad guy goes free, well, though luck, it's a small price to pay for the hundreds of millions of people that will be secure and will have their privacy respected. It's a very small price to pay for the security of journalists, whistleblowers and generally (generally!) awesome people that rely on this privacy and security on a daily basis to do their jobs.

Besides, a criminal will not stop in a single crime and will eventually fail and leave breadcrumbs outside of encryption that can be used by competent law enforcement agents to build a decent case. Humans err. All the time. And again, if one exceptional criminal manages to stay under the radar once you weight this against the security and privacy of hundreds of millions the choice is obvious: preserve encryption as it is and if possible improve it.

Next, we've got a reply to that very comment from Toom1275, who summed it up with a nice little phrase:

It's called a search warrant, not a find warrant.

Over on the funny side, we start out by returning to the monkey selfie story, where our first place winner was an anonymous commenter:

Don't worry, Mike, the saga will end 70 years after the monkey has passed away. (Unless he has any relatives that will push for copyright extension.)

In second place, it's Roger Strong again with a creative response to the shady anti-spyware developer that lost its lawsuit against a competitor that flagged its software as malicious:

Dead Parrot Sketch, Enigma Software Edition

Bleeping Computer: I wish to make a complaint!

Enigma Software: We're closin' for lunch.

Bleeping Computer: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this anti-spyware software what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Enigma Software: Oh yes, uh, Spyhunter...What's, uh... What's wrong with it?

Bleeping Computer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's useless, that's what's wrong with it!

Enigma Software: No, no, that's uh,... that's defamation.

Bleeping Computer: Look, matey, a negative review is protected free speech, and this negative review is well earned.

Enigma Software: No no it's not free speech, it's defamation! Remarkable software, Spyhunter, idn'it, ay? Beautiful UI!

Bleeping Computer: The UI don't enter into it. It's stone useless.

Enigma Software: It's a legitimate product! That's just your opinion, and it's defamation!

Bleeping Computer: All right then, let's see what others think about it! (Runs Malwarebytes) (Malwarebyes declares it a threat and removes it.)

Owner: That's tortious interference, that is!

Bleeping Computer: No, it's an accurate assessment based on its uselessness, not to mention your other business practices!

Enigma Software: It's felony interference with a business model!

Bleeping Computer: It isn't. Your product is useless! Ineffectual! Pointless! Hopeless! Fruitless! Incapable! Incompetant! Inept! Inadequate! If you weren't charging people for automatic renewals in perpetuity, you'd go under! This product protects users like Ajit Pai protects consumers!

Enigma Software: I never wanted to do this in the first place. I wanted to be... a DRM provider!

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more nod to Roger Strong who, after we were called out on a typo rendering "apply" as "apple", went ahead and supplied a definition for our neologism:

Verb. Meaning "Take bold action which makes no sense."

The classic case: Apple buys Beats headphones for $3 billion. Then they immediately remove the headphone jack from the iPhone.

Usage: "Americans wanted to "drain the swamp" so they appled Trump and his Wall Street and oil industry friends into the White House."

And finally, we've got a nice and simple anonymous response to the idea that obscenity isn't protected speech:

Yes it fucking is.

That's all for this week, folks!

11 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 18 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 12th - 18th

from the forgotten-but-not-gone dept

Five Years Ago

We've been talking a lot about copyright in these history posts recently, but this week in 2012 there was more news on the patent front. While patent troll TQP Development was launching a new crusade against hundreds of companies, the patent-aggressive medical device company Medtronic was getting a taste of its own medicine, and HTC and Apple were putting a patent dispute to rest. IBM's patent lawyer was making some vague arguments in defense of the patent system, while an excellet Wired article was laying out said system's many problems, and a Harvard research scientist was declaring sharing discoveries to be more efficient and honorable than patenting them.

Ten Years Ago

There was plenty of patent news this week in 2007 too, with a random patent over computer databases rearing its head to extract some cash from Google, and an astounding new case over a text messaging patent targeting 131 defendants. Patent hoarder Acacia was launching some new attacks while losing at least one lawsuit, and Nathan Myhrvold was raising $1-billion to buy even more patents to troll people with. Garmin and TomTom settled a patent dispute to concentrate on acquisition fights, an analyst firm succeeded in escaping an aggressive patent lawsuit over data collection, and we took a closer look at the sovereign immunity laws that were letting State Universities sue over patents without ever getting sued back.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, Hollywood was launching its too-little-too-late VOD service Movielink, while music labels were struggling to catch up with digital distribution after dragging their heels for far too long (with EMI taking an extremely slight lead). While the legal battle over DVD copying software remained unresolved, the software was released anyway, right around the same time that Sony and Phillips teamed up to buy a DRM company.

But probably our most interesting headline in retrospect was US Plans Huge Computer System To Spy On The Public. This, in 2002, referred to the first reports on DARPA's new Information Awareness Office, which was so controversial that Congress would de-fund it the following year. It would be another ten years before the Snowden leaks revealed that its key surveillance programs had simply been renamed and moved to different agencies, and continued to receive funding under classified annexes.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 14 November 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 144: The Perils Of Internet Platform Regulation

from the not-so-easy dept

We've been talking about internet platform regulation for a long time, but in the past year these issues have gotten a huge amount of increased focus — for a bunch of fairly obvious reasons. But a lot of people who are fairly new to the issue tend to make a lot of questionable assumptions and jump to some problematic conclusions, so this week we're joined by someone who has been studying these questions for many years — Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho and Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford University Center for Internet and Society — to discuss the complicated consequences of various attempts to regulate online platforms.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-not-so-fun-police dept

This week, in response to our post about Playboy suing BoingBoing for linking to a collection of centerfold pictures, one commenter suggested they should have known they crossed a "proverbial line in the sand" that would draw legal attention, leading an anonymous responder to win first place on the insightful side by pointing out why that, in and of itself, is the problem:

You’ve just described the “chilling effect” you get a silver star. To go for the gold, describe in one paragraph why this is a bad thing.

In second place, we've got a short, sweet and perfect response from Rich Kulawiec to the latest example of a company bricking devices because it doesn't want to support them anymore:

One more time, for the slow learners

If your device depends on someone's cloud service, then it's not YOUR device.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of responses to bad cops. First, it's freedomfan responding to the deputy who shot a family's terrier and complained about the cost of the bullet:

Two things. First, someone sincerely claiming that he feared for his safety when "attacked" by a twelve-pound rat terrier isn't suited for police work. Full stop. Policing is a job where officers need to respond with restraint to serious threats. Responding with deadly force to a minuscule (in every since) threat like this shows a disqualifying inability to assess threats.

[Some would doubt that the tiny-dog-killing cop was sincere. Perhaps so. There are certainly people with an irrational fear of dogs. But, it's also true that cops are trained to put certain words in a police report when they have discharged a weapon. Either way (irrationally fearful of commonplace things or lying in a police report), they should be fired.]

Second, what attitude did this cop have when he did this? For certain, his attitude was not, "I work for these people and this is their pet." In other words, the "Serve" part of Protect and Serve was missing from his attitude.

This I'm-in-charge attitude is too commonplace at all levels of government, from law enforcement to politicians. They forget our fundamental civics: In America, we elect our servants, not our rulers. The same is true for non-elected public servants; we are paying these people to serve us, not to be our bosses. They think that the badge signifies that they are in charge in any situation and that everyone else is supposed to obey them, making with the yessirs and nosirs. Except in cases where a serious threat exists (which was not the case here), those servants have it reversed. Until people wake up and demand that their servants act the part, the dog-killings, the beatings, the forced cavity searches, the head stompings, etc. will continue.

Next, it's Anonymous Anonymous Coward with a response to the cop who lost immunity after shooting and headstomping an injured suspect:

Cop: I am allowed to do anything I wan't in order to get home for dinner.

District Court: OK

Appeals Court: No your not, and to boot this appeal has to be paid for by the public, maybe or maybe not sorry for that last.

Where in the hell was the District Courts head at? Where in the hell was the cop's head at? Why is this type of behavior continued to be allowed?

The answers come from where the supervisors and managers and therefore the trainers of the cops involved heads are at, as well as the District Court's thinking, as well as the rest of the organizations that comprise 'officialdom' of the police estate.

Their purpose is not to kill and/or stomp the heads of anyone they suspect, but to bring them to the halls of justice where by the US Constitution they are considered innocent until proven guilty. Full stop. Innocent until PROVEN guilty by a court (and usually with a jury of the defendants peers), and a court that does not take the police at their word but requires evidence, that at least in theory, requires more than the officers word.

Over on the funny side, our first place comment comes in response to the accusations against David Boies regarding a spy operation against Weinstein's accusers, which included an investigator under the alias "Diana Filip", with the story prompting Boies to claim "that is not who I am." Roger Strong wasn't really buying it:

Uh huh. And I'm sure that "Diana Filip" will claim "I'm a different person now."

In second place on the funny side, we have a comment from McGyver regarding the DOJ finally dropping its case against the protestor who laughed during Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing:

If laughter is the best medicine, then someone has to control it and overcharge for it... You can't just be laughing out loud for free...?

In this case look at the harm it did to poor Jeff Sessions...

He'll never be the same... I bet he wakes up at night in a cold sweat thinking of that laughter.

What we need is for the Republicans to set up a task force to understand this laugher crisis and how it is unsettling our wise and benevolent leaders...

They should first ask Hollywood or Disney to write the laws on this so we care be sure it's fair and doesn't disrupt their profit margins...

Then they should go after all unlicensed comics and and funny people that instigate wonton merriment and destructive humor.

We'll then need a well funded Bureau of Laughter, Humor and Levity to be immediately set up to control this problem. Think of the children.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous response to Taylor Swift's legal threats against a blogger:

Trying to silence a critic is one thing...

But demanding that she invents a time machine to retract her statements? That's going a bit too far, methinks.

And finally, we return to the story about the DOJ dropping its "laughter" case, where Capt ICE Enforcer was surprised by a key realization:

My child was right.

Wow, I guess there is a thing called the Fun Police...

That's all for this week, folks!

17 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 11 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 5th - 11th

from the always-with-the-DRM dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, while Twitter was improving its DMCA policy, YouTube copyright claims managed to take down a viral video of a 9-year-old football star and, of course, a video all about fair use and remix culture, just as noted asshole Craig Brittain was launching his DMCA abuse strategy with Popehat in the crosshairs. And the Harry Fox Agency somehow managed to claim copyright over 164-year-old Johann Strauss music, while shortsighted publishers managed to extract a hefty ruling against lyric websites.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, the huge Writers' Guild strike began, causing all kinds of ripple effects in Hollywood, though not interfering with the Senate's attempts to turn the DOJ into Hollywood's police force. The entertainment industry was really figuring out how to use DRM and the DMCA to stifle innovation by shutting down a DVD jukebox, even as Blu-Ray DRM was being rapidly cracked and other DRM was turning up security holes — not to mention MLB screwing over a bunch of fans who purchased content by changing their DRM scheme and making that content disappear.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002 was pretty much exactly the same on the DRM front, with BMG striving to copy-protect all CDs sold in Europe and EMI taking a similar attitude, while two of the biggest names in copy protection technology were merging to join forces in the futile fight, I suppose not listening to the computer scientists pointing out that CD copy protection is worthless But what else could the music industry do? Online CD sales were falling, and who could they possibly blame but pirates?

1 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 7 November 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 143: No Easy Answers: Facebook & The Election

from the it's-never-so-simple dept

I don't think I need to say much to introduce this week's topic — we're all well aware of the conversation about Facebook's role in the presidential election, including questions of filter bubbles, fake news, foreign influence, and so on and so on. As is always the case in situations like this, a lot of people seem to be looking for easy answers, and easy places to point fingers of blame, so in this week's episode we're discussing why it's just not that simple.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

7 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 5 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the saving-the-best-for-last dept

This week, our first place comment on the insightful side comes from Cdaragorn, offering some perspective on the field drug test that identified donut crumbs as methamphetamine:

How everyone looks at these tests really gets to me.

The test didn't fail. That's not the problem. It tested positive for exactly what it was supposed to test positive for: sugar.

That's the problem with these tests. They are being run by people who have no idea how chemical tests work based on lies from those who created them.

As someone who has studied chemistry, let me make this very clear: it is impossible to make any kind of chemical test that can positively identify a substance in only one test. A chemical lab is going to run the substance through several tests each meant to rule out other substances in order to firmly prove that there's only one possible substance it could be.

These tests need to be banned outright. At most they should only be used so the officer on the scene can tell if it's worth sending the substance in for a real lab test or not. Any arrest made based on any single test on the side of the road should be seen as obviously unconstitutional. There's no way that kind of test can give you enough information to establish probable cause.

In second place, we've got some thoughts from madasahatter on the default judgement against Equustek in the legal challenge to its crazy Canadian court order demanding Google delist sites worldwide:

Default judgments rarely lead to any substantive rulings as the winner wins by the other party not showing up. In fact that the court issued such a ruling is a bit unusual but given the origin of the case the judge probably felt it necessary to give a more thorough legal analysis of the issues. The judge is saying under any reasonable understanding of how searches work and US law the Canadian ruling is one idiotic for numerous reasons and two null and void in the US (and by extension worldwide by the same logic).

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from aerinai about BlackBerry's promise to break its encryption for the government, noting that analogies to the physical world can only take us so far:

I think that too many times people forget that digital is not the same as physical analogs.

If this data was held in a safe, and only the purchaser of the safe had the key, this would be the government asking Blackberry to break into another person's safe just because they want them to.

Blackberry has agreed to help them break into the safe. They hire a team of experts that could create a new key. The safe is opened, and everyone is happy.

...except this is a digital world instead. That 'experts' didn't just crack the one safe they were trying to get in; they literally cracked every safe Blackberry has ever made! With just a few kilobytes of data, this 'key creator' code can be stolen and used against any safe in existence.

In the world of computer science, this 'key creator' is quite literally an encryption vulnerability that now has been created and documented. It undermines the credibility of all encryption from Blackberry. So much for the 'more secure than Apple' statement after this occurs, because you are holding on to a vulnerability you refuse to patch.

Great job quite literally slitting your own throat, Blackberry. Because that is exactly what you signed up for.

Next, we've got a simple anonymous comment elegantly summing up and tossing out the excuse of having a "tough job" offered by the cop who threw a reporter to the ground:

Looks to me like the reporter got the tougher end of the job.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous commenter who had some thoughts about the anti-net-neutrality comments coming from... dead people:

I was thinking the comments by dead people against net neutrality were valid because the only people who would support killing net neutrality were brain dead and/or soulless....

In second place, we've got an anonymous comment that I'm not going to bother giving context too because it's just another response to one of our more tiresome critics:

"Why won't you be tolerant of my intolerance!"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of video game jokes. First up, it's Mononymous Tim with a response to Pat Robertson's assertion that video games are creating a nation of devilish mass-murderers:

Any chance of reversing that by killing demons in DOOM?

Finally, it's an anonymous commenter responding to Ubisoft's ongoing Denuvo crusade with one of the best comments about DRM I've seen:

DRM is just a puzzle game for a different audience.

That's all for this week, folks!

4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 4 November 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 29th - November 4th

from the as-it-ever-was dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, the UN's ITU was trying to butt in on patent issues despite nobody wanting that, while CNN was making the all-too-common mistake of equating patents with innovation. Both the MPAA and Megaupload were trying to get in on the fight over what would happen to users' files, while the DOJ was trying to make sure nobody took too close a look at its activities in the case. This was also the week that George Lucas surprised everyone by selling Star Wars and all of Lucasfilm's other properties to Disney.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, following the shutdown of OiNK, Trent Reznor stepped up to explain why the file sharing network had been cool, while TorrentFreak was keeping track of the many new sites popping up in its wake and demonstrating the pointlessness of the shutdown. Meanwhile, the EFF was pushing movie studios to start respecting fair use in their "guidelines" for fan creations, and publishing videos that demonstrated fair use but also underlined how hard it is to determine — though perhaps they would have been useful for Fox as it went after Republican presidential candidates for posting debate footage online.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, we took a look at how DRM for music CDs was just a plain ol' bad idea, and another at how developing nations should avoid strong copyright for (among other reasons) the sake of fair use. DVD burners had finally dropped enough in price that Hollywood was freaking out about them, while then RIAA-boss was flummoxed to lose an Oxford Debate about file sharing by being apparently surprised that file-sharers in the audience also bought more music.

4 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 29 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

There were a few posts that dominated the comments this week, with the attempts by Charter's CEO to blame Netflix for all its problems delivering all our comments on the insightful side. In first place, it's an extremely long and thorough anonymous comment discussing many things more deserving of the cable industry's focus:

"Cable providers could easily combat streaming video competition by lowering rates and offering more flexible channel bundles"

Agreed, and to add other things that they ought to do (but almost certainly won't):

  • Modernize the set-top-box mess. Currently, they fight very hard to ensure that your set-top-box is just barely adequate. Some of these are problems with the hardware they choose to use. Some are problems with the software they run. Some are problems with how the provider serves the cable box. All are irritating to the user, regardless of cause.
    • It's expensive for what you get.
    • It's power-hungry / runs hot for what you get.
    • It reboots very slowly. I've seen 10+ minutes from connecting wall power to when the box is ready to serve. Doubtless some of this is waiting to download something from the provider, rather than pure internal problems.
    • It hangs (requiring a reboot) in reaction to external events (rare, but still disruptive when they happen) such as provider maintenance temporarily interrupting service.
    • It hangs in a way that isn't obvious until you try to watch content through it. Glancing at the front-panel clock LED isn't enough to be sure it's in good order. Combine this with the pathetically slow reboots, and you need to pre-check its viability well before the start of anything you want to access with it.
    • Major functionality can only be driven through using the remote to navigate the on-screen overlay (so you can't configure a PVR to autonomously record a show through the "On Demand" offering).
    • The on-screen overlay is itself slow and cumbersome to use, even by hand.
    • Minor functionality, such as anti-idle, is also driven purely through on-screen overlays. It's unnecessarily complicated to have a PVR perform unattended recording of a long piece of content (usually movies, but sometimes a block of several back-to-back shows on the same channel). Partway through the content, the PVR will begin inserting an on-screen "Are you there? We want to shutdown now." prompt. The PVR faithfully records this prompt, but has no idea it's there, and doesn't answer yes. You lose the latter part of the recording. I understand the reason they want not to stream to an unattended device. I disagree with the implementation that makes it so inconvenient for a PVR to keep the set-top-box going.
    • For a really radical approach, revert to practice of a few years ago when set-top-boxes were not required to view live streams, but live streams could instead be tuned and viewed directly on a television or PVR.
  • Clean up the "On Demand" offering. Clearly document in an easy-to-find place, for every channel in your subscription package:
    • Whether content from the channel is ever published through On Demand
    • If it is published, what are its terms (some of these may vary per-show, depending on licensing; each show with unique terms would need its own block):
      • How many days delay between live airing and appearance in On Demand?
      • How many days is it available through On Demand before it is removed?
      • On what date the contract providing access to this content will expire, since the cable provider might be forced by contractual issues to change the above terms after that date.
  • Provide machine-readable scheduling data direct to the customer, updated on a best effort basis when special events interfere (breaking news, sports programs running long, etc.). This would require some collaboration with the networks, but the networks already sell this data to third-parties, so making it available to customers is just a distribution problem. Currently, this data has to be fetched through third-party Internet sites that, while surprisingly effective, usually don't handle well when the provider changes the schedule within a day of the program in question. Worse, this data is often only approximately accurate. Some channels are very bad about moving the first or last 30-90 seconds of a program across the half-hour/whole-hour boundary, so if you don't start recording early and end recording late, you lose part of the program you tried to record. Combine a network that runs late with another network that starts early and you get a scheduling conflict (assuming you know to adjust your times, rather than recording for the published times and discovering later that you lost the ending). Some of this is on the networks, not on the cable providers (in those increasingly rare cases where the cable provider doesn't own the network), but decisions by the cable providers make it unnecessarily difficult for customers to compensate for networks getting this wrong.

This list deliberately avoids anything that involves them actually investing in infrastructure that they should have upgraded a decade (or more) ago, because shots there are just too easy.

In second place, we've got aerinai with some oversimplified but still telling math:

Charter has 30 million customers. Dude made $98.6 million in a year... That is quite literally $3 dollars PER CUSTOMER just for this dude's salary! This is not the entire support staff keeping the internet working, the customer support staff, the salesmen... That is $3 for one guy... Charter, your next below-the-line-fee can be a $0.25 CEO tax... now THAT is transparecy!

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got another response from Jason, offering a key takeaway:

Leaving aside the argument about whether the reason you're losing customers matters, the part I found most interesting was this:

And because of password sharing and multiple-stream products … You have 35 million one-person households in the U.S. The multiscreen products sold to those households also [allows?] them to purchase one product and share it with multiple users.

Is the problem he's lamenting here that every single pair of eyes (adult, child, visiting friend, pet cat, etc.) watching video "products" isn't paying for their own subscription, and should have to be in order to watch? Because it sure sounds like it.

I'm sure the cable TV industry, along with many others, would love to boil things down to a permanent pay-per-view model. (Everyone pays each time they open a book, everyone pays each time they watch an old rerun, everyone pays each time they crank up a song...) But aside from a few specific situations (e.g., theater tickets) that kind of wishful thinking just doesn't reflect reality.

And next, a comment from Vidiot responding specifically to the idea that Netflix doesn't have "control over the content":

The providers' content is perfectly controlled, just the way they want it... 3, 4 or 5 streams per account. And it's working really well. Stop whining, and start innovating.

Over on the funny side, both our winning comments came in response to the DOJ's subpoena of Twitter about Popehat and others, over a smiley emoji tweet. Roger Strong was wry to say the least:

The obvious explanation for issuing that Twitter user data subpoena is that someone at the DOJ thinks that tweeting a smiley emoji at others indicates conspiracy or collaboration. I expect they'll invoke RICO.

That one of those users is Ken White is required by narrative convention.

In second place, it's an anonymous commenter with some thoughts on the situation:

It's a good thing it was only a smiling emoji, a winking face may have had him killed.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with another nod to Roger Strong for his other comment on the same post, responding to Faircom's rebranding of its 'Standard Encryption' as 'Data Camouflage':

Denuvo should rebrand its DRM as "Data Speedbump."

And since Roger was all over the funny leaderboards this week, he gets one final editor's choice for his comment on our post about Dennis Prager's lawsuit against YouTube, simply for coining (I think?) an excellent term for people with a particular unimpressive approach to their faith:

Prager's followers are EULA Christians. Folks for whom the Bible is like a software license. Not to be read or understood. Just assume that you know what it means, scroll down to the bottom, and click "I Agree."

That's all for this week, folks!

32 Comments | Leave a Comment..

Posted on Techdirt - 28 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 22nd - 28th

from the back-to-the-future dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, we noted that the US was remaining steadfast in its opposition to a treaty promoting access to creative works for the disabled, and it was beginning to become clear that negotiators were holding it hostage in order to demand a new ACTA or SOPA-like regime. Meanwhile, the Librarian of Copyright announced the new anti-circumvention exceptions... and denied DVD ripping rights, and knocked phone unlocking off the list. Aereo was pointing out that it was being accused of infringement specifically because it closely followed the law, while the infamous John Steele was giving extremely stupid justifications for his copyright trolling activities. Also, this was the week that some Italian scientists were (shockingly and unbelievably) convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, the UK made the highly questionable move of arresting the operator of TVLinks for "facilitating infringement", right as the IFPI was celebrating its whac-a-mole success of shutting down the OiNK torrent tracker — and, seemingly high off these "victories", the UK parliament started mulling over the idea of forcing ISPs to block file sharing. (Sadly all this anti-filesharing sentiment seemed to be succeeding in making everyone forget that P2P is a powerful concept with all sorts of applications).

Fifteen Years Ago

Speaking of P2P, this week in 2002 it appeared that the pushback against the horrible "Hollywood Hacking" bill was having at least some impact, even as movie studios and the RIAA were going around trying to warn everyone they could about the dangers of file sharing — though they apparently were successfully confusing everyone, what with some writers thinking that any act of burning a CD must be music piracy and eBay blocking a musician from selling his own music under the assumption it was infringing. The copyright fight was so annoying it was even slowing down broadband growth, so amidst all this it was nice to see at least one person fighting the good fight, with Lawrence Lessig doing everything possible to spread a better understanding of intellectual property.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 24 October 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 142: Who Still Needs A Personal Computer?

from the and-for-how-long? dept

As smartphones and other mobile devices have gotten smarter and smarter, they've taken over more and more of most people's general computing needs, and the importance of the classic personal computer has waned. And so for some time the question has been: will the PC ever go away entirely? That's our topic this week as we try to figure out who really needs a PC these days, and when and if that will change.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 22 October 2017 @ 4:16pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the better-late-than-never dept

Sorry for the late post, everyone! A glitch crept into our admin system and I was unable to access the leaderboards for most of the day. But now, without further delay, our top comments of the week...

First place on the insightful side is a simple, no-nonsense response from Mononymous Tim to a fired cop's complaints about public release of his body camera footage turning people against him:

It's called accountability. Deal with it!!

In second place, we've got a proposal from That One Guy for a way to fix the civil asset forfeiture system:

How to fix the problem in five minutes:

'Any seized property and/or money without proper, verifiable documentation tracking who it was taken from, when it was seized, and the legal justification for the seizure shall be considered to have been acquired illegally.

The property/funds shall be immediately transferred to a neutral third party, which shall hold on to it for a period of six months, during which members of the public may present evidence to demonstrate that they were the previous owners of a given pieces of property. Any property left unclaimed after this period has expired shall be liquidated, and the resulting funds shall be transferred in their entirety to the public defender's office, to be used to pay the legal fees of those that would otherwise be unable to do so.'

Wouldn't be perfect(those that couldn't provide proper documentation would still be screwed, but I'm really not sure how to get around that offhand), but it would remove the NYPD's main motivation for stealing anything they can get their hands on, and provide a good motivation not to do so at the same time.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a response from takitus to the sneaky choice by copyright trolls to start calling settlement offers "fines":

I’d imagine most people think of a “fine” as something they’re required (by a government or other authority) to pay as a form of punishment, whereas a settlement suggests a negotiated, voluntary agreement between parties. By replacing the latter term with the former, these letters suggest that the recipient has already been tried and found guilty.

I’m sure this choice of language was completely accidental...

Next, we've got a story from ShadowNinja suggesting that the main reason ISPs don't want to have to provide more accurate broadband maps is that they are just really bad at it:

Story time, I think part of why the ISP's don't like this is because they're so incompetent that their own internal maps are wrong.

Years ago the business I worked at wanted to upgrade to get Verizon FIOS. But we were told repeatedly that it wasn't available in our area. This was despite the fact that:

  • Our next door neighbor, a dental office, already had FIOS.
  • We could clearly see the FIOS boxes outside of our window on the cable lines.

After some arguing with them over the phone we finally got them to send a technician out, to verify that their maps were wrong and we could get FIOS.

But the best part? A few years later we got a knock on our door from a Verizon salesman, asking us if we wanted to upgrade to the FIOS we already had!

So yes, despite them having several years to fix their maps, and being told by us that FIOS was available in the area, and despite the fact that we were paying for it, Verizon was incompetent enough to send a salesman to our door offering to sell it to us.

Over on the funny side, both our winners came in response to the Canadian couple that is suing their neighbour for building a similarly designed house to their own. The first place winner is an anonymous commenter who was quickest to the comments with a healthy dose of eye-rolling sarcasm:

They copied other things too

Both homes have walls, roofs and floors clearly copying the first. They also have lawns, use outside air and have water and electrical incorporated right into the home itself.


Next thing you know, they will be installing a driveway, walkway and wait... They already copied those too. Those bastards are going to pay now.

Some people really need to just be barred from every using the court to demonstrate their insanity. Maybe they should be wearing a helmet and bite guard to prevent the online assaults that they deserve for bringing a lawsuit like this in the first place.

And the second place winner was a different anonymous commenter with an entirely different kind of joke:

It's an infringing day in the neighbourhood, an infringing day in the neighbourhood, and won't you be my plaintiff...

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got two more responses to the effort by ISPs to silence calls for more accurate broadband maps. Orbitalinsertion proposed a shortcut solution:

Maybe the FCC should just ask the NSA. Those ISPs have already handed over everything to them.

But I think this anonymous commenter had the most efficient suggestion:

A truly accurate map would just be the United States, shaded in all one color, with the key reading "Not Good Enough."

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 15th - 21st

from the more-copyright dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, we saw more copyright nonsense as South Park was sued over a character design and textbook publisher Pearson managed to take down 15-million student and teacher blogs with a single DMCA notice — but of course, being punished for a bad DMCA notice was and is almost impossible. As we approached the 30-year anniversary of the CD, we lamented the lack of music industry innovation, while the numbers continued to show that file sharers are also big media buyers. And Harvey Weinstein made an appearance on Techdirt — over an unhinged rant about piracy.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007 things weren't much different, though perhaps even sillier, with one law firm trying to use copyright to claim you can't look at its website's source code, a bunch of media companies claiming it's infringement to skip commercials, Congress pushing for anti-P2P laws with claims that P2P promotes identity theft, and the RIAA launching its lawsuit against Usenet.com. Amidst all this, YouTube made a major announcement and ContentID was born.

Fifteen Years Ago

And guess what? More of the same this week in 2002 — but it was a week when more people were noticing the problems. Some were (rightly) worrying about the future of expanding DRM, and talking about copyright law as the new prohibition and a tool that lets corporations destroy America's cultural heritage, and asking if we really want to put the dinosaurs in charge of evolution. Copyright defenders were hitting back weakly, with arguments amounting to "trust me" and "shut up, Gary Shapiro, we don't like you".

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 17 October 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 141: Donald Trump, Howard Stern... And Copyright

from the it-shows-up-everywhere dept

This episode was supposed to come two weeks ago when the news was a little fresher, so by now you almost certainly know all about the copyright claims on Donald Trump's appearances on the Howard Stern show. Though delayed by an outage at our cloud recording provider, the episode is still an interesting listen, with frequent Techdirt contributor Cathy Gellis joining the podcast to discuss the deeper question of whether copyright truly even exists on the interviews in the first place. Sorry for the delay, and we hope you enjoy it!

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 15 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our winning comment on the insightful side comes in response to the president's recent threats against NBC, with Geno0wl racking up the votes to take first place:

Could you even imagine

Trump's base brush this off as a flippant remark(like they do for everything he does from his bull pulpit).

But flip back a year and imagine the shit-fit the right would be throwing right now if Obama said this exact same thing about Fox News. It would be insanity. Hell imagine if Obama said literally half the things Trump says now. They would be foaming at the mouth.

In second place, we've got a comment from Baron von Robber in a thread on that same post, but it's a versatile one that works in many contexts:

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" - Hitchens's razor

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment from that post, in which crade brings some perspective to the problems that do exist with the news media:

Yes, there is something wrong, but there are also ways to correct it without government interfering. News organizations rely on their reputations. Simply outing them (you know, actually pointing out specific things that are fiction or lies, and proving so) would easily destroy their reputation for people who are seeking truth in news.

People who are seeking echo chambers or who are willfully ignorant are another story, but that's their right as free people correct?

The answer has to be in teaching the population critical thinking and why the objective truth is valuable, the consequence of echo chamber isolation / willful ignorance.

It's worse if there is deliberate systematic targeted misinformation.. (Like to manipulate the U.S. population to do whatever Russia wants for example)

Next, we have an excellent comment from aerinai that came in response to Twitter's blocking woes, but which taps into a larger and very important idea that we've discussed before — that the root of many of these problems is the ascendance of platforms over protocols:

Unfortunately, platforms are the sexy, new thing that everyone loves. Close down the hatches and let a single company create a 'platform'.

Email doesn't have this problem because it is a Protocol. Twitter has the problem because it is a platform. BitTorrent doesn't censor applications, because it is a protocol. The Apple App Store has a problem because it is a platform.

So the more we feed into Platform culture, the more you will see people putting arbitrary control over how people use it. Not necessarily good or bad; it is their right as the platform curator, but we just need to understand curators will censor at their whims because reasons.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes from Toom1275 in response to another commenter pointing out that, while it's great the Internet Archives found a way to liberate some works via a never-before-used piece of copyright law, it's just further evidence of how wholly broken the system is:

"You're giving him CPR for a bullet wound to the head?!"

In second place, we've got a response to a particular commenter, which I won't bother explaining because you'll know what it's about — and if you don't, it's really not worth learning:

"I tried to post the same comment 9 times and I'm so confused why my comments won't pass the filter!"

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of comments from regular fixture Roger Strong, starting with one more response to Trump's NBC comments:

This is so insane and stupid it's as if the US Patent and Trademark Office were put in charge of the executive branch.

And next, a wonderful summing-up of the latest attempt by science publishers to stop researchers from sharing their work:

"Dinosaurs Against Unauthorized Comets"

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 14 October 2017 @ 1:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 8th - 14th

from the see-changes dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, while Hollywood was wining and dining New Zealand politicians to help get their copyright demands into the TPP, the similarly bad provisions from the dead ACTA were unsurprisingly appearing in CETA. The RIAA was continuing to share bogus math, this time about the supposed decline in musicians, Microsoft was caught sending an especially amusing takedown to Google over a link to... Bing, and copyright maximalists were celebrating the settlement in the Google Books/Authors Guild lawsuit, even as another judge was ruling that book scanning is obviously fair use.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, there was a sea change as more and more artists began to realize that they could try different business models instead of relying on record labels, with bands rushing to embrace free distribution and even some high-profile artists like Madonna taking control of their own business. But for the most part, the recording industry was still trying the same old things, and making incredibly weak attempts to compete with folks like iTunes. Maybe basing your business on copy protection was not such a great idea.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002, as the future of webcasting was unclear at best, Silicon Valley was applauding the growing efforts to fight back against Hollywood, even as the copyright battle was heating up thanks to things like broadband fearmongering and a new lawsuit against Mp3.com from some big names in music — or, most importantly, the beginning of the Eldred vs. Ashcroft case before the Supreme Court (which would sadly go on to uphold the constitutionality of the 1998 copyright extension.)

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 10 October 2017 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 140: WTF With Tim O'Reilly

from the big-picture dept

The rapid forward march of technology has long bred two leading camps of onlookers: the techno-optimists and the techno-pessimists. Honest people on both sides, however, must admit that technological innovation has had both positive and negative effects. Internet legend Tim O'Reilly is one of the people who think a lot about these issues, and his new book WTF? What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us — which discusses in detail the world that we are building with technology — was released today, and we're pleased to have him join us on this week's episode to talk about the book and the future of innovation.

(Apologies for the lack of an episode last week — an ongoing outage at our cloud recording platform has left us unable to access the audio files. Though that episode is a bit out of date now, we're hoping we'll be able to get it out later this week.)

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 8 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from all the way back on last week's comment post, where an anonymous commenter took a moment to thank us for the openness of our comments:

tiny bit off topic, but since this article is about comments this still seems fitting:

I wanted to say thanks for having a site that makes it easy to post comments.

There have been several sites that I've felt inclined to comment on (or file software bug reports to :( ) that I simply gave up on due to insane requirements like having to create an account or give my email address. If the barrier to entry for "basic community participation" on a site is not trivial, then odds are it's not worth the time or energy.

I know it sounds kinda crazy but in person you don't have to present photo ID or give your street/mailing address just to talk to someone. Internet communities have no strong reason to be different (that can't be addressed in better ways).

(Thanks for the kind words! We have every intention of keeping it that way.)

In second place, we have a response to SCOTUS's decision not to review Kim Dotcom's civil asset forfeiture case, where one anonymous commenter responded in the form of a quotation:

It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.

But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

- John Adams

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more response to that post, this time from That One Guy offering a brief summation of events:

So the DoJ steals his stuff, tries to hold it over his head by requiring him to forgo his right to fight extradition if he wants to try to get it back, the courts buy the DoJ's argument in it's entirety, and the supreme court decides that it's not interested in even considering the case.

Goodbye right to fight extradition.

Next, we head to our post about the UK Home Secretary's patronizing and ignorant stance on encryption backdoors, where one commenter proposed that a safe system could be developed by using a separate individual encryption key for every message, prompting an anonymous commenter to put the scale of that suggestion into perspective:

Average number of iMessages sent per year: 63,000,000,000,000,000.

Current secure key storage size: 2048 bits (256 bytes)

That's 1,600,000,000,000,000 bytes of information per year.

Would you care to put up the cash for the 1.6 petabytes of storage that your suggestion would take (not counting the necessary metadata needed to tie the key to the message)?

Oh, and don't forget that you have just shifted the one thing you would need to decrypt all messages from "the master decryption key" to "access to the database of decryption keys." Unless you really trust Apple to keep those keys secure (as much as you'd trust, say, Yahoo!, Equifax, eBay, Target, Evernote, FriendFinder, SnapChat, the Turkish government...)

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes in response to the lawsuit against a King's College football coach over tweeting a page from a 1982 motivational book. Roger Strong was struck by the book's title:

You have to respect someone who writes a book called "Winning Isn't Normal", and 35 years later still endeavors to prove it by example.

In second place, we've got a response to Oracle's letter attempting to scare the White House away from open source software, where Toom1275 took advantage of the syntactically ambiguous punctuation in the letter's subheadings, which began with the label "False Narrative":

At least Oracle was nice enough to clearly label some of its false narratives as such for us.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more nod to Roger Strong, this time for a comment on the UK Home Secretary post making a good comparison about the futility of demanding the impossible:

Her government would also find it much easier to balance the budget, if only those mathematicians weren't so patronizing in their responses to requests to change the rules of mathematics.

Finally, we've got a comment from Vidiot about Oracle's letter, which went ahead and gave a key sentence a new ending to make it much more accurate:

"The USG’s enthusiasm for open source software is wholly inconsistent with..."

... Oracle's need to skim easy federal money from decades-old, proprietary installations.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 7 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: October 1st - 7th

from the stuff-that-happened dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, as copyright trolls continued their war on open wi-fi, rightsholders in the EU sought new storage media levies for the cloud and US ISPs were gearing up to enact their "six strikes" plan, we were trying to kill the myth that the constitution guarantees copyright. Some people at least seemed to get it, with a high-profile EU Parliament Committee proposing the ability to create non-copyrighted content, a DOJ lawyer exploring the fact that copyright needs to change in the internet age, and Psy mega-amplifying his Gangnam Style fame by allowing anyone to use the song and video for anything.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, it was expected and then confirmed that the RIAA would win its lawsuit against Jammie Thomas — even as we speculated that investors would soon force the RIAA to abandon its aggressive lawsuit strategy. In that trial, a Sony-BMG exec made some pretty absurd statements, around the same time that Viacom's CEO gave a speech demonstrating that the company is wrong about almost everything related to the internet and modern media, and the president of the ESA was calling for lots more DRM. But at least one group of creators was experimenting: Radiohead announced the pay-what-you-want plans for their album In Rainbows.

Fifteen Years Ago

Even back in 2001 this week, Hollywood already had its hooks in the government (and was working hard on getting them into colleges too). The music industry was heavily on the offensive and sending misguided musicians to complain to the government about downloading. As Napster creator Shawn Fanning was giving interviews about the service's demise (and even selling life story rights to MTV), the next generation of file sharing tools was starting to wonder if the "Betamax doctrine" would ever prove effective as a defense. Meanwhile, Congress was still considering an onerous and extreme DRM bill (which as we'll see in a few weeks was eventually killed, surprisingly, by.... Senator Patrick Leahy, who is more recently known for introducing a terrible copyright bill).

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Posted on Techdirt - 1 October 2017 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the we-comment-too! dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side was... me! But I prefer to highlight reader comments, so I'll just link off to that and move on to featuring the second and third place winners. First up, it's an anonymous response to Larry Lessig's new campaign for electoral reform, suggesting a different take on the problem:

The real problem isn't one of how we elect the president, or for that matter, any political figure. The real problem is getting competent figures into office. And that is a real bitch of a problem. Reason is quite simple. At this moment, the only thing that a political figure needs to be competent in is collecting votes. Period. End of discussion. The ability to actually understand the issues. The ability to actually act in the public good. Everything that would make a ruler a GOOD ruler doesn't even come in a close second behind the ability to actually attract votes. And unless some method is created to put competent capable people in charge, no method of electing them will work. Hell, look at the 2016 election. We had a choice of Hillary or Trump. Would anyone honestly claim that either of those two people would be capable and just ruler? I certainty hope not. We basically had to choose between two very bad choices that no rational person would desire.

Next, we've got a comment from Michael on a post about SESTA, responding to the assertion that "we don't allow physical sites to be KNOWN criminal bases":

Yes we do. Take, for instance, US highways. People are constantly breaking the law on those things by going faster than the speed limit. Are we holding the department of transportation responsible for the actions of those drivers?

Or let's try something much closer - what about a prison? If an inmate sexually assaults another inmate, is the prison administration found criminally liable?

Of course not. In the real world, we hold the criminals responsible. It baffles me why anyone making the argument for SESTA would not already be calling for laws that "prevent" criminals from using the phone system, highway system, and utilities by holding the phone company, DOT, and utility company responsible for not policing the use of their services. Or, well, I suppose it is possible that the SESTA supporters would want that as well.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a parallel response to my first place winning comment, which was in response to someone questioning an apparent contradiction in Techdirt's commentary on piracy. Orbitalinsertion had a different and equally compelling way of framing it:

It's not about "exactly the way Techdirt wants", Techdirt notices what people actually do.

It's almost as if you think this is ideological...

The point is, if you want subscribers, you don't drive them to ignore you, or [back]to piracy, by doing a crap job at your offering. People who could never afford it, or who are the stereotypical "i want everything for free, just because" sorts who the cranky types like to hold up as the only kind of pirates, are going to pirate or not either way.

Making content costly or annoying to consume will lose customers regardless if it is in the format of cable tv or streaming. It isn't about some sort of ideological "format war" in that regard, either. Comcast could do exactly what Netflix does, only they won't. Near the entire benefit of a newer technology delivery system in this case is psychological/cultural: they got providers to treat them differently because reasons, even though they would probably like to treat streaming just like cable. It's new! Maaaaagic. That's how stupid these industries are. And this is them being stupid again.

Next, we head to our post about Elsevier's new Wikipedia rival, where we were accused of yet another hypocrisy — condemning Elsevier's monopolistic practices, but supposedly not Google's. Though any company with the reach of Google bears keeping an eye on in that regard, an anonymous commenter clearly spelled out how the "Google monopoly!" crowd is exaggerating things:

Can you point out what is monopolistic about Google? I use Google because they makes a good product but I think in just about everything Google offers, I have at least 2 other alternatives to choose from. The only thing I see that is monopolistic is that everyone uses it, willingly. Windows doesn't even come with Chrome or Google Search as the default. It is Edge and Bing. Mac and Linux default to Google search but usually they are Safari and Firefox. Elsevier on the other hand is a company that I think shouldn't even exist in this day and age. Any research that is paid by the government/public should be freely available to everyone and not put behind the paywall of a private company.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes in response to an infamous copyright troll demanding someone hand over their hard drive for examination. Roger Strong suggested a unique defense:

Sovereign Immunity

I signed the rights to my hard drive data over to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. He can't touch it.

Our second place winner needs a little context, and so we're going to go out of order and slip in an editor's choice first to make that possible. The first comment that arrived in response to the Elsevier post didn't even earn a funny badge (quite possibly because the winning reply siphoned off votes) but is still deserving of a nod. It was TechDescartes latching on to Elsevier's description of its new service:

Department of Redundancy Dept.

"completely automated, algorithmically generated and machine-learning based"

This is repetitive, redundant, and repeats itself.

But it was Stephen T. Stone who won second place for funny with an addendum:

Just like Elsevier.

That just leaves us with one more editor's choice on the funny side, and this time it's Dan with a response to the silly copyright dispute between two makers of banana costumes for Halloween:

I'm glad my plantain costume is safe to wear.

That's all for this week, folks!

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