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Leigh Beadon

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Toronto, Canada

Posted on Techdirt - 3 July 2022 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is MathFox with a comment about the troubles at Truth Social:

What ‘Truth Social’ shows is how easy it is easy to create an Internet platform. It also shows how hard it is to make an Internet platform successful.

In second place, it’s Thad with a comment about Clarence Thomas gunning to overturn NY Times v. Sullivan:

I wonder why Clarence Thomas would want to make it easier to sue people who say damaging things about public figures.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous comment on our post about Facebook moderating posts that mention abortion pills:

Well the comments on this are definitely going to be… interesting. So let’s just head off a few of the strawmen right now.

1. This article did not in any way say that Facebook is not allowed to do this or that they should face criminal or civil penalties for doing so.

2. At no point were Trump supporters posts auto-removed simply for posting the words “Trump” or “Conservative”

3. It is not hypocritical to disagree with a particular moderation decision while still supporting their right to moderate

OK, carry on.

Next, it’s That One Guy with a comment about the ongoing attacks on digital ownership and the library model:

‘If libraries were not already a well established part of society they never would have been allowed to be formed.’

Modern publishers: ‘Challenge accepted.’

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Beefcake with a comment about the USPTO granting Ohio State a trademark on the word “the”:

This article illustrates that nothing is as definite as it used to be.

In second place, it’s Naughty Autie responding to a post about Nintendo’s IP bullying that mentioned “using Nintendo as something of a virtual punching bag”:

Careful, Tim. That’s Nintendo’s too. 😉

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we’ve got two more comments from That One Guy. First, it’s a response to Google giving in to GOP political spammers and launching a pilot program to whitelist them out of spam filters:

‘Oh no no no, you opted out of messages from giveusyourmoneyandvoteforus(at)politicalparty1, this message is from giveusyourmoneandvoteforusy(at)politicalparty2, totally different so the original opt-out choice doesn’t apply. If you want to opt out of this sender’s emails that’ll require marking this sender’s messages as undesirable, and this opt-out will of course not apply to tomorrow’s messages which will come from a totally different group that just so happens to have a very similar email address as ours.’

Finally, it’s a bit of sarcasm about objections to the idea that long copyright terms are necessary to motivate creators:

I don’t know what you’re talking about really, I mean I can’t imagine that I’m alone in having been utterly bereft of any interest in creating anything until I learned that my great grandchildren would be able to act as gatekeepers for it.

Indeed it was only after I learned that anything I created, built upon what had come before, would be locked up and kept out of reach of others that might want to continue the cycle of creativity that I had any interest in creating works at all, so I can safely say that setting copyright to last decades after I was turned into a pile of ashes was the real spark that fueled my creativity in the first place.

That’s all for this week, folks!

Posted on Techdirt - 2 July 2022 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: June 26th – July 2nd

Five Years Ago

This week in 2017, Zillow got very angry about the McMansion Hell blog and sent a ridiculous legal threat, then followed up with a second equally wrong letter, then finally kinda-sorta backed down a little bit after the EFF got involved. The copyright office was recognizing that the DMCA is a problem for security research, and also somewhat inadvertently admitted that the law is more about giving Hollywood control than stopping infringement. We also saw one of the worst approaches to patent reform imaginable in Senator Coons’s STRONGER Patent Act.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2012, Miami Heat owner Ranaan Katz sued Google and a blogger claiming copyright infringement over an unflattering photo, then doubled down and threatened to sue the lawyer defending the blogger. The EU Commissioner revealed he planned to simply ignore any rejection of ACTA by the European Parliament, and Parliamentarian Marielle Gallo called ACTA dissent “a soft form of terrorism”, while Australia’s parliament committee issued its recommendation to reject the deal. Meanwhile, the USTR was giving the MPAA full access to the TPP text while still refusing to share it with Senate staffers and denying Rep. Issa’s request to observe negotiations, while still ridiculously claiming it was being transparent.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2007, Senator Feinstein was seeking some sort of return of the Fairness Doctrine, and was soon joined by Senator Durbin. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was still focused on throwing people in jail for attempted piracy, the MPAA was suing sites for linking to infringing content, a new case against the RIAA asked questions about the legality of its investigation techniques, and we saw what happens without safe harbor protections as an Australian ISP deleted all user multimedia files.

Posted on Techdirt - 26 June 2022 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous response to some bargain-basement transphobic bigotry:

I could point you at a trans discussing what its like to be a trans, but you are so aggressive towards trans people that i will not set an rabid dog on their case. Suffice to say that they have has enough problems in their life that gives lie to the idea that being a woman is a simple choice. Rather remaining in the closet would have been an even worse choice.

Your absolutism about trans people is a far worse ideology then the live and let live ideology that you label as woke.

In second place, it’s That One Guy with a comment about the Indian government’s claim that facial recognition tech only affects criminals:

‘Of course they’re guilty, we said they were!’

‘The only people caught by the system are criminals.’

‘How do you know they’re a criminal?’

‘They got caught by the system.’

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from Toom1275 that applies to most complaints about Section 230:

Notice how in every instance, you can swap “Section 230” with “The First Amendment and the foundation of freedom of speech” without changing the meaning.

Next, it’s an anonymous reply to a defense of copyright in the face of its abuse by the powerful:

If you don’t want the good name of your tool to be so easily besmirched, maybe you should find better representatives that don’t make the news for all the wrong reasons.

The fact remains that many of the issues with copyright enforcement were baked into copyright law, such as the maximum penalty of $150,000 per infringement used to scare grandmothers and children into compliance. The same goes for the lack of requirement for plaintiffs to allow for fair use. Copyright law is intentionally stacked in favor of plaintiffs, regardless of the legitimacy of their claims.

Again, if you’re angry that people think poorly of your reputation, it’s on you to get better representatives.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Flakbait with a response to the Federalist article about antitrust bills and the admission that, if they are changed to protect content moderation, Republicans like Hawley, Cruz, and Gaetz will “flee”:

If only they would, but in a more literal sense.

In second place, it’s an anonymous rejoinder in a long debate that broke out on last week’s comments post:

Pretty bold to declare a victory when the only thing you’ve cited in favor is nothing more than your fervent belief. Have you considered declaring yourself to be the inventor of EMAIL?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from Thad about the broken release of KOTOR 2 for the Nintendo Switch:

You have to admit that 17 years of releasing the same game in an unfinished state is pretty impressive.

Finally, it’s jojo_36 with a comment about the White House’s latest task force aiming to curb online abuse:

Whenever someone from the government says that they’re going to tackle online bullying and harassment, the first thing that comes to mind is the main theme song from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

That’s all for this week, folks!

Posted on Techdirt - 25 June 2022 @ 01:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: July 19th – 25th

Five Years Ago

Although there’s no joy in thinking about the Supreme Court right now, it offered a mixed bag of decisions this week in 2017 that should be highlighted: it reminded the government that hate speech is 1A protected, it declined to hear the Dancing Baby copyright case despite the government’s admission of “serious legal error”, it made it even more difficult to sue federal officials for rights violations, and it ruled that you can’t just ban people from the internet entirely (which presented a problem for Hollywood’s plans). Meanwhile, this was also the week that coal CEO Bob Murray threatened John Oliver with a lawsuit, then quickly made good on his threat with a filing that was even sillier than we expected.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2012, we saw a renewed final push for ACTA, a TPP proposal leak exposing America’s plans to give multinational corporations tremendous power, and yet another UK copyright extension proposal. But the most memorable incident was the continued saga of Charles Carreon and The Oatmeal: Carreon’s full legal filing revealed all sorts of nuttiness, and then he doubled down in an insane way by promising to subpoena Twitter and Ars Technica to track down a parody account mocking him.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2007, NBC was trying to get the FCC to force ISPs to police their networks for copyright infringement, we wondered why the entertainment industry gets to decide whether DVD copying is legal, and a terrible Australian defamation ruling was a big hit to restaurant reviewers. We got another look at the scammy practices of printer and ink sellers, and watched the rise in popularity of webcam-based anti-cheating systems for students taking tests online. Meanwhile, lest you forget and think this is a new issue, broadband providers were fighting against the push for FCC to collect better broadband availability data.

Posted on Techdirt - 22 June 2022 @ 01:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 324: Revisiting The Question Of Proprietary Platforms For Media Companies

We’ve got some great new discussions for the Techdirt Podcast… coming in a few weeks. But at the moment, amidst a very busy schedule on a variety of fronts, we’re taking a short break to look back on a very old conversation: our 14th episode ever, from 2015, about media companies rolling out proprietary content management systems. Since we recently completed our own migration to WordPress (the popular platform that was also a major component of that seven-year-old discussion) we thought it might be fun to revisit the question. So on this week’s episode, Mike and I open with a bit of a retrospective followed by a replay of the original conversation in full.

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

Posted on Techdirt - 19 June 2022 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous comment about the Republican attempt to legislate against spam filtering of political emails:

Nothing new

See: The exemption that gave themselves around Texting unsolicited political spam.

In second place, it’s another anonymous comment in response to a certain prolific commenter:

Hyman has the same respect for free speech as the Taliban does…

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more anonymous comment about the spam filtering law:

Not only is this an onerous waste of time and resources, it’s another domain for the consulting industry to exploit for profit and getting around filters by complaining or gaming.

Next, it’s That One Guy responding to a question about how Michigan dismantling its forfeiture reforms interacts with Constitutional rights:

On paper those rights mean laws like this could be challenged in court, potentially overturning them so the state and law enforcement once more have to at least pretend to respect the public’s rights for a time.

In practice… it’s a bit more complex and difficult, as criminals tend to react poorly when someone threatens their source of ill-gotten wealth and that applies all the more so when they’re official criminals and believe they have a right to take whatever they want.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous response to a comment about Republicans on Twitter:

Aren’t they all living in the freeze peach paradise that is Truth Social?

You want some cheese with your whine?

In second place, it’s Not Koby responding to… well, you can guess who:

Needs more buzzwords

You have to add in “woke” and “libt*rd” if you really want to be taken seriously as a RWNJ.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous response to a comment asking someone to exit a conversation about Section 230 because “the adults are talking”:

That’s actually very unfair; children are capable of learning. 😜

Finally, it’s That One Guy responding to a complaint about one of our posts in the classic category of “what does this have to do with tech?”:

‘What do you mean FOX news isn’t all about foxes?!’

Yes indeed, what possible tech angle could there be from a state spending hundred of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending a blatantly unconstitutional law aimed at forcing online platforms to not engage in moderation…

To answer your question though the article is showcasing TD’s magic coding that forces people to read articles they aren’t interested in, though whether as a warning of their impending plans of world domination or merely as a a test to work out all the bugs is unknown at the moment.

That’s all for this week, folks!

Posted on Techdirt - 18 June 2022 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: June 12th – 18th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2017, while Diane Feinstein was calling for Section 702 reforms and the EFF was suing the FBI for withholding NSL guideline documents, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was trying to push forward with plans to kill encryption, she and French President Emmanuel Macron were both supporting internet censorship, and Australia’s Attorney General was saying people will be fine with encryption backdoors. And of course, James Clapper was saying that backdoors would be safe if the nerds just nerd harder.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2012, there was a petition asking the White House to stop illegally seizing and shutting down websites, while plenty of people were noticing how outrageous the US prosecution of Megaupload was. The UK published its infamous “snooper’s charter”, while Senators Wyden and Udall were blocking FISA amendments. But there was another story you might remember most: image aggregating site Funnyjunk threatened The Oatmeal and Matthew Inman with a defamation lawsuit, making lawyer Charles Carreon the internet’s main character practically overnight, leading to Carreon lashing out and doubling down. And as you probably know, the saga wasn’t over yet.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2007, Google was pressing a new antitrust case against Microsoft, while also engaged in an ongoing fight with eBay. Special interest groups were doing everything in their power to shut down moves towards patent reform, while Congress was really exposing its lack of interest in the citizens it’s supposed to represent. Meanwhile, AT&T decided to throw money away on an attempt to filter copyrighted content, the MPAA and RIAA followed up the creation of the Copyright Alliance by building yet another lobbying group, and we wondered why many in the press still considered it newsworthy that a movie was available on P2P networks.

Posted on Techdirt - 12 June 2022 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Toom1275 with a comment about the USPS seizing “defund the police” facemasks:

Oh look, an actual rights violation by an actual common carrier.

In second place, it’s a comment from Naughty Autie (that also won second place for Funny), responding to another commenter’s thoughts on Truth Social banning people over January 6 comments:

Wow, you’ve sure changed your tune! Before (just yesterday), you were absolutely convinced that it was only ‘woke idealogue’ social media websites like Twitter that engaged in viewpoint-based ‘censorship’. Now you know what moderation based purely on viewpoint actually looks like, and we, the sensible folk on Techdirt, are all laughing at your dismayed reaction.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from That One Guy about the Copyright Small Claims Court:

‘Copyright extortion for cheap? Where do we sign up?!’

I expect it will be used and the overwhelming number of people/companies using it will be exactly the sort that shows up so often in TD articles about weaponizing the legal system for fun and profits.

Next, it’s a comment from Upstream about the disconnect between what people care about, and what cops enforce:

Mutual Exclusivity

Many years ago, when the state college I attended was first required to make an annual report of campus police activity (the campus police were technically state police, the same as the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Investigation, etc), the categories of crimes reported and crimes for which arrests were made were mutually exclusive. That is, for all of the categories that crimes were reported (i.e. rape, assault, robbery, theft, etc) no arrests were made, and for all of the categories for crimes where arrests were made (i.e. drug crimes, DUI, vandalism, etc), no crimes were reported.

This mutual exclusivity of crimes reported versus arrests made continued for at least the next two years.

As I have said before, if it is not fun or profitable, cops don’t want to be involved. And if it might be dangerous, cops really don’t want to be involved.

Over on the funny side, Naughty Autie took both of the top spots. We already saw the second place comment above (where it also won second place for Insightful), but in first place it’s a comment about blaming video games for mass shootings:

They’ve got a point.

To this day I still play Fable II and Fable III on the Xbox 360, and it’s caused me to regularly run up to random people, do a gymnastic flip and land on my knees on their shoulders, and then grip their heads between my thighs before fatally breaking their necks with a sharp twist of my hips. The only reason I haven’t yet been caught is that I’m very, very good at hiding the bodies. 😏

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from Eric about wireless prices creeping upwards following mergers:

The price of the grill cheese sandwich has not gone up, just the price of the milk for the cheese has increased, thus causing cheese prices to go up, and in turn you will now see an additional line item “cheese recovery cost fee” representing these additional costs. But the cost for the grill cheese is still the same, just your final bill will be higher.

Finally, it’s one more comment from That One Guy, this time in response to the rather inherently flawed assertion that “to claim that Twitter or Facebook has any true competitors is obnoxiously stupid”:

Did… you know what, I’ll give you a few minutes to see it.

That’s all for this week, folks!

Posted on Techdirt - 11 June 2022 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: June 5th – 11th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2017, the Sixth Circuit was the latest court to say real-time cellphone location tracking is not a Fourth Amendment issue, and the Supreme Court finally decided to take up the question. Tom Cotton introduced a bill to renew Section 702 surveillance forever, just as Congress was getting pretty mad at the intelligence community for failing to reveal how many Americans are being spied on. In the UK, Theresa May was blaming the internet for the London Bridge attack and introducing a regulatory plan that wouldn’t stop terrorism and might make things worse, especially since the attackers were well known to the authorities and strong encryption was not the problem. Also, amazingly, the Monkey Selfie case continued to get more and more weird.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2012, the White House offered up a weak response to a petition against ACTA, while Hollywood was holding meetings where it still failed to understand how broad the category of “copyright stakeholders” is. It was also around this time that the trend of Hollywood bending over backwards to appease China was gaining steam. Meanwhile, China increased the fines for copyright infringement, the Obama administration defended the insane penalties in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case, Germany ramped up its copyright levees on solid state media, and Eric Holder was failing to explain why the DOJ censored a hip-hop blog.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2007, we took a look at the growing market for the sale of discovered security vulnerabilities. More people were noticing how “free trade” was often a mask for content industry protectionism, Canada got a new anti-camcording bill, and a court taught Carol Burnett a lesson about parody in her lawsuit against the producers of Family Guy. Also, courts were starting to realize that lifetime internet bans were unreasonable penalties.

Posted on Techdirt - 7 June 2022 @ 01:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 323: Why Patent Quality Matters

This week is Engine’s second annual Patent Quality Week, focused on the many ways that the patent system allows low-quality patents to get through, the problems this causes, and what can be done about it. On this week’s episode, we’re joined by Abby Rives and Charles Duan for a discussion all about why patent quality matters.

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

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