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  • Aug 19th, 2017 @ 3:32am

    (untitled comment)

    I think that part of what makes this so difficult to pin down is that even in the most captive of businesses, there is still a remarkable number of rules and regulations that make sense.

    Rules for hotels are things that have been built up over a very long time. From safety regulations and insurance requirements to zoning, it's not things that happened all in one shot, but rather came about as a result of the public's desire for regulation and safety.

    Quite often, those rules stack up and become a wall that keeps those inside 'in' and those outside 'out'. New entries can't get in because the rules are too hard to match or the permit requirements are excessive for a startup.

    Uber and AirBnB are both attempts to end run the rules, mostly by shifting liability to others. They enable and empower the average Joe and Jill to break the law at a level that was never before considered. It has worked to some extent, but it's also created it's own set of problems. The result? More regulation to specifically reign in the cowboy behavior.

    See, the risk is that when you let one group (like AirBnB) skip the rules of hotels or short term rentals, you create a regulation gap that fuels the price difference.

    People are happy (short term) because they (a) get to rent places on trips cheaper or (b) make money with their spare rooms and mother in law suites. Longer term, however, is the implication for the hotel industry as a whole, the rental market (as major landlords get into high price short term rentals instead of providing for local residence), and of course the implication of plenty of comings and goings of strangers who are only around for a day or two.

    In essence, AirBnB is actually very unproductive for the overall economy. They cut the amount people are paying for accomidations, which hurts the hotel industry. That industry perhaps pays it's workers less or shrinks it's staff, creating a group of people who can no longer go on vacation - and are perhaps forced to rent a spare room to strangers to try to make ends meet. The economy as a whole appears to be smaller, at least in that area.

    There is more, but I will let this one go for now.

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, the posts that are hidden are hidden because enough "account holders" push the flag button, and not much else.

    If your post is held for moderation, it never makes it here and never gets marked as flagged. It's two different things.

    I know, two things. Hard for you to imagine, right?

    " This is just the community warning each other that some comments aren't worth the time to read."

    No, it's a very small part of the overall readership deciding what the rest of the people should read. That's the basis of censorship, when the few tell the majority what to read.

    I actually think at this point that the threshold is so low that it takes only a handful of "flags" to get thing shut down. As a result, one or two people likely have enough sock puppet accounts to log on and flag anything they like into hidden status. Ad one or two people like you (who clearly flags everything he disagrees with) and boom, thing get hidden.

    It's not the same as the dreaded "held for moderation". You never get to flag those, because you never see them.

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 5:14am

    (untitled comment)

    Am I the only one chuckling because a post about an EFF award (for free speech) includes about 25% of the posts being flagged and as a result censored from the normal view?

    The cognitive dissonance runs deep around here!

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re: Great Story

    "Streaming can do it. And better. Just start your browser/app, select the game you want to watch and it will show. No need to look for the channel. And you can watch again anytime, anywhere."

    Provided you can find the stream legally. If you have to depend on pirate sites, you aren't really comparing apples to apples, are you? Right now very few live sports are actively streamed legally.

    "I have had connections that would handle at least 2 simultaneous Full HD streams for at least 10 years now "

    You might have (which suggests better than 10Mbs continuous) but most people have not. The real turning point in streaming has only happened since Netflix really got into it. That was at the point where it could actually be done for a reasonable cost and return.

    "ESPN is a loser and will actually suffer more than the cable companies."

    I think you have it backwards. Cable companies are not in the position to charge that much more for the bandwidth. So no matter how much more they can move, if they aren't getting paid for it, they lose. ESPN won't have to ask or pay the cable company a percentage for carriage, they just go direct to the consumer. The cable company sells connection as an ISP, not content as a cable company at that point. Since most people already have internet, it's not like it's a market that will double overnight to make up for lost cable subscribers.

    "People will stream from unauthorized sources."

    What is the unauthorized source? Hint, it's often ESPN or similar networks. If they drop, what are people streaming? NOTHING. In the end, cable supported sports channels are the golden goose. If you aren't careful, you will have a lovely Goose dinner one night and nothing in the cupboard in the morning.

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, Google has a big problem with this. They don't require any proof that a DMCA is coming from the actual rights holder, they act on anything given to them no matter the providence.

    It's not unusual in porn to see a thing called "model regret". That is where a girl (or guy) who appeared nude or did porn regrets their choice later in life. They want to make those pictures and videos go away - or at least make it so that people cannot search Google for it.

    The best result is to DMCA everything you see to Google, claim to the copyright holder, and watch them mow things down for you. Since Google seemingly makes no effort to assure that DMCA notices are valid and from the legal source, it's a pretty good way to get rid of things you don't like. If the site(s) in question aren't fast to answer Google, then the content gets removed from search and image search and "boom", you win.

    Fake DMCA notices are a real problem, but do seem to represent a small percentage of the overall stream of things. It's not nice, but it's hard to avoid.

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 6:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    Congrats on the award. I do think it's an odd year to give it to you, considering how much more Chelsea / Bradley put on the line in their lives. But I guess 3 is better than 1, right?

    I also think it closes the circle. You have spent years as an effective recruiter for EFF, and now they reward you for it. The circle is complete.

    Congrats, keep up the good work (and please, ask Karl to change topics from time to time, his droning on is getting dull!)

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re:

    "The problem is, it took them 15 years after the fact to realise this and wasted a lot of money and goodwill on counterproductive solutions that would never work."

    I don't think so.

    If nobody had stood up, where would we be?

    Can you imagine a world of just Napster, no itunes, no spotify, no nothing? Somepared to where it all started, the moral message has certainly had a profound effect (both positive and negative) on the concept of downloading pirated material.

    Where do you think we would be without them taking a stand? What do you think would have happened if the MPAA and artists just bent over and took it?

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 3:01am

    Re: Re: Great Story

    "Did you deliberately ignore the part where 56% of subscribers said they would happily not pay to save money,"

    Nope. I look at it as a glass half full (rather than your glass almost empty). 44% of people are willing to pay for sports, and at this point, we still don't know how much. We do know (by definition) that it's at least as much as the cable companies were charging.

    You also have to remember that the cable company was making a (healthy) profit on every customer - and have been paying for their distribution network. For ESPN, taking $10 a month direct (9.99 to be practical) might be way more profitable than selling to a cable company that pays them only 70% of that. It would also allow them to much more directly market to the consumers and push their own brand, and even to add "pay per view" and other streaming events to add to their income.

    Net, $10 per customer over $7 per customer allows for a pretty healthy drop. 1000 customers = $10,000 so you need over 1400 customers at $7 to have the same income. That pretty much covers the "drop" you talk about right there.


  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 1:18am

    Great Story

    Yet, it appears to be pretty much the same story over and over again.

    ESPN (and many other cable network channels) were built for an eco-system that is somewhat faded but not yet dead. n part because you forget what they are, which is content aggregating channels.

    Sports is often a very linear experience. The game starts at a certain time, and goes in a linear fashion until the final whistle, horn, or flag. This is the time when sports has it's biggest value, when it's happening. The result is that the delivery of live sports, via cable, steaming, or tweets for that matter is way more valuable to consumers than playback.

    EPSN's value generally is aggregating the most live sports possible. It is valuable enough that cable companies have paid over the top for ESPN because they know that for a significant part of their subscribers, live sports is important.

    The move to streaming at this point isn't surprising. The infrastructure is in place for most consumers to be able to receive a decent enough stream, and the costs related to streaming are such that it has become a valid business model. This has all happened only in the last 2 years or so. ESPN isn't the first, but honestly they are very early in the game all considered.

    The funny part here is that the losers aren't ESPN, rather it's the cable company. ESPN was the sale point for cable for many people. Offer it in another way (streaming), and those who were staying may cut the cord.

    ESPN is going to be around for a long time. Their future may be more aggregating live sports from all over the world rather than specifically broadcasting it, but the song remains the same. People will pay for sports.

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 12:19am

    Re: Re:

    He says the discussion has moved. It does not mean that they have given up a moral stand as well. Torrent Freak says they "lost", but there is no indication of that. It's just the discussion has moved to other areas that are perhaps a little more pressing and real to end users.

    If you cannot convince them with a moral angle, perhaps one that highlights the risks in downloading / streaming from random places might work on some. That doesn't mean the moral angle isn't there, just that it's reached a certain point where it's no longer moving forward.

    I saw recently on Twitter someone posting about how millenials and hipsters have pretty much buggered everything cool up. Downloading appears to be another one of them.

  • Aug 16th, 2017 @ 9:17pm

    (untitled comment)

    Quoting Torrent Freak will always get you the same sort of angles on a story.

    I don't think the MPAA has "lost" a moral war. Rather, I think they realize that they have reached a stalemate position on it, where certain groups will always think piracy is acceptable and they won't change their minds. Also, with personal piracy (aka, torrents) on the wain, the question has shifted to streaming, streaming boxes, and streaming sites.

    Torrent Freak will always say that anything other than 100% anti-piracy means they gave up. It's just not supported by reality.

  • Aug 16th, 2017 @ 9:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    In a true free market, the end result is almost always a monopoly. One (insanely large) player can do it cheaper for longer than anyone else, and generally ends up buying out any competition. When it gets close to the end (two big players remaining) a merger is usually the best result for the shareholders.

    Competition isn't actually a natural state in a totally free marketplace. When a new competitor comes in, the market dominating player generally does enough to squash them, but not much more - or buys them out. Then thing return to normal.

    We have been lucky in the ISP world because we generally have three different top delivery methods - telcos, cable companies, and wireless. But as each of these industries tries to "converge" by offering what everyone else does, you in fact set up the situation for mergers and monopoly player results. My feeling is that the US ISP market is reaching that magic point, where consolidation and mergers are the best bottom line play for each company and it's shareholders.

    Unless the basics change, the whole situation will get no better. We have had our railway mania moment, it pretty much died when Google pulled the plug on Fiber, and now we are solidly into the consolidation stage. Small ISPs get bought out by bigger ones, bigger ones merge with other bigger ones, and so on.

    To change the basics, you have to change the way that people get connected. Our ISP model right now is "to the house". Should the to the house part be a muni service? Should taxpayers be paying to wiire up every home and then inviting ISPs to fight it out beyond the last mile?

  • Aug 16th, 2017 @ 5:32am

    (untitled comment)

    Rare situation where both a Techdirt writer and Popehat end up sort of on the wrong side of something.

    Let's replace the term "nazi" with "gay" or "transsexual" or "jewish". Under other circumstances and other times, outing people in any of these categories (which different societies have decided are wrong) would be the kiss of death - or at least would screw their life up solid. Heck, to this day, it's almost impossible for a NFL player to admit he's gay - and outing a player might be enough to drive him from the league.

    Let's be clear here. These neo-nazi f--ktards are the space between the barrel and the ground. They are lower than the low, stuck on a concept and situation that most of us have grown past. However, as I said, replace "black" with "gay" or "transsexual" and a whole bunch more people would be in the bottom of the barrel bitching about things.

    Outing them is dangerous. Mistakenly outing someone who is not in fact involved would be more than dangerous, it could be both life changing and perhaps fatal. The act of falsely outing them would almost certainly be actionable. Nobody needs to go there.

    So while perhaps in some happy way we appreciate the idea of the outing them, reality says it's a very, very, bad idea - and it really is playing the game on their level. It's their home field and they usually win there.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re:

    You are correct. However, judges tend to give plaintiffs a very hard time when they are chasing "does" through a third party. From what I have seen and read here and on other places (such as Popehat) it seems that the judges tend to want more than "that nasty anonymous person said something bad'. The end effect is that Yahoo's section 230 protections end up as a legal wall between the plaintiff and any possible defendant.

    I think the plaintiff's lawyer is right here, but that the overbroad and one sided nature of section 230 creates a legal moat that protects everything inside of it. There is no simple provision to get around it or deal with it short of a full on court order, which is hard to get when dealing with does.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: American History

    Cool, more personal attacks. Hope you get flagged!

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: American History

    A collection of people are apparently all screwing with you. I am laughing.

    Next you are going to suggest that I am every anonymous person on here.

    I merely answered a standard, rhetorical question from you generally aimed at me. Nice to see you have the same high standard of discourse with others. Gotta wonder why you aren't banned.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So, like I said "free as in beer". If I get a free beer, the beer is never free, either someone else has gifted to me or someone's making money on the back end. But, it doesn't matter how much you whine about those other things, it's still free for me to drink. The AC is whining that nothing useful has been provided to him for free, but he clearly uses such things to make his comment. Your nitpicking doesn't change that."

    Sure does.

    Every time you use Chrome, you are "paying" for it. Like it or not, you are being tracked, noted, and packages for resale. Like a cow in the pasture, you seem to think the lunch is free - until you are slaughters and sold for weight.

    "You also forget the "free as in speech" part, where people literally give things away in order for others to reuse. Idiot boy above was whining that open source doesn't allow this without a profit motive, which is clearly untrue."

    There are always those who give things away for free. That is their choice. Those who choose to put effort into truly open source stuff are special people.

    "I'd look into the business models of those companies too, and the costs of hosting them. If you're going to claim that browsers aren't really free because some of the people providing them dare to recoup their costs, why are you pretending that the Apache Foundation and Oracle don't make money and hosting providers/websites don't have costs of their own when they provide things for free? Seems deliberately dishonest to me, as usual."

    I think you are trying to intentionally misunderstand. Apache and MySQL are both absolutely free without hindrance or hidden costs. You don't receive a diminished product, it is not ad supported. It's free. You can fire up your home compute, put *nix, apache, mysql, and serve webpages to your hearts content without any cost (aside from the computer, which you already have, clearly).

    Apache Foundation runs entirely on grants and donations. There is no hidden "costs" being pulled back by hosting companies after the fact.

    Oracle is a big company, but mysql is free and without charge. Is it a marketing choice? Perhaps. But it is absolutely free without charge, cost, or "future considerations" - the perfect example of your free beer.

    Hosting companies are a profit model business. They are not paying for mysql or apache (or most of the OS options they generally have).

    "So, you pretend you're right but as ever you're either just rewording the facts I've already referred to or twisting in a vain attempt to pretend you're somehow better than everyone else - and failing miserably, as usual."

    Hey, I didn't spend 20 minutes trying to twist someone's valid points into a pretzel because I can't allow them to be right. Back to your village!

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: American History

    I don't have to justify anything to you, sir.

    Please return to your village, they miss you.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 2:14am

    Re: Re: Re: State versus non-state actions

    Do you whine about everything?

    What you listed was the magic of me expressing my opinion.

    I didn't name-call anyone. North Korea is a hermit kingdom by definition, they keep everyone out, it's a single family in power for it's entire current existence, and it doesn't deal with others. It's a kingdom, and it's a hermit.

    How you can try to call that name calling is jaw dropping.

    As for the rest, it's my opinion. It is no more and no less valid that yours. Clicking report just to shut me up won't work. Haven't you figured that out? Just like Google firing the guy who wrote the memo, every time you click report you have basically proven my point for me.

    "Then why do you insist on returning and repeating the same mistakes over and over?"

    No mistake. Techdirt discusses issues I find important. I find it incredibly interesting to see at what level the staff (and the comment writers) will go to twist things to come to their desired conclusion. It's entertaining, it's enlightening, and it is certainly a solid indication of why there is such a gulf between groups in the western world.

    Even you make it fun, because every village needs an idiot, and you are so freaking good at it!

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 1:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You would be correct Paul, if it wasn't for some slight misunderstandings.

    The browser? Not free. It's "without payment up front" but it's never free. If you use IE or the Apple equivalent on a PC, you paid for it when you bought the OS. If you use Chrome or Firefox, they don't charge you but they profit from you in other ways. Firefox profits off your searches (they get paid per search) and Chrome, well, let's just say Google never does anything for free that doesn't contribute in the long run to their data mining and ad click business models.

    The only things truly "free" is on the server side, where things like Apache and mysql are pretty much actually free (and without hooks).

    Protocols? Well, every time you buy a device you pay a little for the time it took to create and maintain them. Most protocols are created by industry groups, and they never work for free - just without apparent cost. When you buy a device, a little bit of that cost is written into it.

    So yeah, free. Sort of.

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