John Roddy’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Aug 15th, 2018 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Yes, but may I cry "movie!" in a crowded firehall? (n/t)

    No. That one will get you arrested.

  • Aug 13th, 2018 @ 7:35am


    Please stop blaming Section 230 for failing to do things that it was never intended to do. It's just a liability shield that helps ensure the proper parties are targeted in the event of litigation. If a website is actively falsifying its advertising or breaking federal laws, they are not immune, and never were.

  • Jul 31st, 2018 @ 8:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    There is a pun in here somewhere involving "laundry" and "legally questionable tactics" for obtaining "money."

  • Jul 18th, 2018 @ 1:38pm

    (untitled comment)

    I don't even know where to start explaining how wrong this is, so let's just start from the top.

    Section 230 allows weaponization of the internet in a way only allowed in America.

    No, that's all courtesy of the first amendment. Section 230 just makes sure the Internet doesn't accidentally cripple it.

    Those who support Section 230 are saying that the rights of internet companies trump the right of an individual to a good reputation.

    a) Section 230 doesn't assign any "rights" to internet companies at all.

    b) And since when did "an individual" ever have the right to a "good reputation?" This is the first I've heard of it.

    The cost to the taxpayers is staggering for each life ruined: disability benefits, subsidized housing, emergency medical care, and of course crime by vigilante mobs used as pawns.

    Don't forget all terrorism in the world ever. Twitter was 100% responsible for 9/11, after all.

    "Sue the original poster" means nothing if someone powerful uses the judgment-proof or anonymous to do their dirtywork. If someone does so via an anonymous remailer, and then it's archived, the target of the defamation has literally no remedy. Even in other cases there is no practical remedy.

    And this is the fault of the internet platform…how? Are you seriously suggesting that they be liable just because they're the easiest to find? That's almost the entire problem that Section 230 was written to prevent in the first place.

    Lawyers know this and of course they support a law that leads to all these defamation suits. Even better is that instigators can set up defamatory websites then link to them, claiming Section 230 immunity, knowing if they link to someone who already dislikes the litigious target, that they will repeat the lies, be sued by the target, and....cui bono?

    Please reference one case where anything even remotely similar to this happened. There are twenty years of case law on this, so if it's really that simple, there should be plenty of examples.

    If you think an internet company's rights are more important than someone's right to life, or reputation, I would disagree. Neither of those things are actual rights. Please be more specific.

    Also if a website cannot be sued for defamation by its users, then it also can't be sued for false advertising by its sponsors.

    What? Those are two entirely separate things. How on earth does one influence the other?

    It is free to censor dissent, but I am free to wonder if that includes anything negative about its sponsors.

    Yes, you are indeed free to wonder that. However, Section 230 doesn't extend as far as you think. This is what discovered once courts started finding out just how far their "moderation" efforts go. It's a strong shield against liability, but it isn't bulletproof.

    Just to be safe, don't buy anything advertised online,

    That is called fearmongering. Advertisers have an alarming amount of power and influence, sure, but they are not the secret world government.

    or boycott the advertisers for supporting websites which hide behind Section 230.

    This is almost identical to criticizing someone for "hiding behind the first amendment." And really, at that point, it's a matter of what is considered "unprotected speech" by constitutional standards. That is a first amendment issue, not Section 230.

  • Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Links

    I get it, but don't you think that's exactly the type of claim "shall not extend to acts of hyperlinking" was meant to help us with?

    Perhaps, but why is that an exception? The problem at its core is that the link tax applies by default, which is a complete change to how it is now. It shouldn't need to be something protected by a measly exception, especially when--as the article points out--everything else in the section goes to great lengths to undermine it.

    It's quite a tortured reading to suggest the tax does extend to hyperlinking if the hyperlink happens to have some text embedded

    It's quite a tortured law in the first place. There's a lot of ambiguity, and the powers behind it have done nothing to suggest they're acting in good faith. There's no reason to believe this simple little exception is going to actually fix anything.

    (especially if it needs to be there to work—technically, Techdirt links are valid if the text is removed).

    I actually did not know that about Techdirt articles. But it actually doesn't matter, since the practice of putting the title in the URL text itself is already commonplace. It might be easy to work around here, but that doesn't apply to every site. And also, the reason it's done is to make the URL easier to read. Why do we need to even start worrying about having to change that just to comply with one stupid arbitrary law?

  • Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 1:30pm


    Billionaires? You mean, like, recording industries? The ones who stand to benefit the most from this kind of deal?

    I know you love to hate on Google, but are you really OK with the idea of transferring all of Google's power to record labels for abuse? I thought you were against corporations. Why are you trying to give them so much more power?

  • Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 9:52am

    Re: Links

    Look at the address bar for this article. See the part that says "latest-text-eu-copyright-directive-shows-even-worse-than-expected-must-be-stopped"? That's the article title, which this text implies is a "snippet."

  • Jun 30th, 2018 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Standing

    United States v. Stevens is actually one of the single most important first amendment cases ever. It was specifically about a law being used to find "depictions of animal cruelty" are illegal, but SCOTUS shot down that argument on the basis that the law itself was way too broad. They went even further and spelled out exactly how narrow a law would need to be before SCOTUS would recognize an exception to the first amendment.

    The Government thus proposes that a claim of categorical exclusion should be considered under a simple balancing test: “Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”

    This is how the government interpreted the limitations of the first amendment, and suggested it be applied to determine if a law was constitutionally OK. SCOTUS didn't just not agree, they outright said that it was scary.

    As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that sentence is startling and dangerous. The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it. The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.”

    That is why I cite this case as a clear example of what the Government is not allowed to do when it comes to laws that attempt to carve an exception into the first amendment.

    As for the surveillance stuff, I think I know what you're referring to, and it's not relevant here. The concern with NSA's surveillance was that it could possibly allow private conversations covered by attorney-client privilege to be swept up in bulk data collection, but still allowable as evidence in a case brought by the government. That's an issue that pertains to what evidence the government is allowed to present in an existing case, not what speech the government is allowed to control or threaten before a case is even launched.

  • Jun 29th, 2018 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Standing

    The "harm they have suffered" is a result of the badly-written law, not "their own actions." You're gonna have to go into more detail on how it could possibly be their own fault, because that's a logical stretch I can't see. Look up the case United States v. Stevens if you'd like the very clear decision by SCOTUS of exactly how the government isn't allowed to pull crap like this.

    Also, "secret surveillance laws" is a bit of an overstatement, and has absolutely nothing to do with anything here. A lot of vague law like that is justified under the excuse of "national security," which isn't even mentioned here.

  • Jun 29th, 2018 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re:

    a) No, it actually took effect retroactively. It was valid from the moment it was signed into law, and could be applied to anything even if it existed beforehand. That's actually one of the reasons it's being argued as unconstitutional.

    b) EFF knows better than to rush things. A case as important as this needs to be handled very carefully, and that takes time.

  • Jun 28th, 2018 @ 12:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    Not too long ago, I listened to some old Greg Proops stand-up where he casually referred to them as the "9th Circus Court." That name seems to get more and more appropriate over time.

  • Jun 9th, 2018 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Security Hole.

    Oh, all of those true. Valve has been collecting user data and selling it to prison phone companies for over a decade. And the RIAA has been openly paying to use Steam's screenshot uploader application to scan for pirated content. You are mistaken in stating that it's done for the government though. That would be dumb.

  • Jun 4th, 2018 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Corporatists try to twist CDA into control of OUR PUBLISHING!

    Funded by GOOGLE? It's ALWAYS funded by "Google," isn't it? What about Microsoft? They have a search engine too, and they're particularly bad about violating the natural common persons law thing you keep referencing (I think). You really need to broaden your views and realize that Google does actually have competition. Slag off Yahoo! every now and then or something.

    And what about Ask Jeeves? That one has been kinda off the radar for a while. In fact, they would be quite angry at Google specifically, wouldn't they? And their inferior search engine would lead to less useful results to reference when trying to call out Google's corporate practices…

    Are…are you that butler? That would explain A LOT.

  • May 31st, 2018 @ 11:16am

    Re: coming out of the woodwork

    To my understanding, they WERE going to cite Masnick, but then they noticed a brave commenter on all of his "anti-copyright articles" that was calling them out with very consistent, well reasoned arguments. They opted not to call it out, and urged said commenter to keep up the good work.

  • May 30th, 2018 @ 3:31pm

    Re: So, you're trying to gin up a flame war with Techcrunch?

    Write more clearerly and with more focusization.

    You first.

  • May 25th, 2018 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Re: Anyone new: Misnack's shtick is disaster of Biblical proportions

    "Misnacks" sounds like a German breakfast cereal of some sort.

  • May 25th, 2018 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Anyone new: Misnack's shtick is disaster of Biblical proportions

    Can we get a list of all 934 of the predictions in question? That's a weirdly specific number.

  • May 23rd, 2018 @ 1:22pm

    (untitled comment)

    To be "fair", the vast majority of the emails I've received so far weren't because of GDPR. It was just the companies feeling that privacy protections are good for everyone, so they wanted to extend that to everyone, not just EU residents. It's just an overabundance of kindness! The fact that roughly 100% of all of them say it the exact same way and conveniently happen to be right before the enactment of those rules is just a coincidence.

  • May 21st, 2018 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    This might be the single most creative thing you've ever done. Do another, do another! How about one for Masnick?

  • May 21st, 2018 @ 10:16am

    (untitled comment)

    You know, if the industry would just put the exact same amount of effort into reworking their distribution model that they put into coming up with these hideously forced acronym bill titles, the entire problem would probably start to fix itself.

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