MrTroy’s Techdirt Profile


About MrTroy

MrTroy’s Comments comment rss

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The mention of fair use is in passing, and certainly not central to the story - which is would be if the guy was suing content from NBC.

    Really, the story should be "photographer doesn't understand Fair Use, unwisely sics lawyers on big media". Instead, it's pretty much a lame attempt to slam NBC (and support torrentfreak's biased coverage).

    The mention of fair use isn't central to the story, because fair use doesn't really have any bearing on the story.

    If NBC had attributed the photos correctly, and/or if they had mentioned their fair use claim when contacted by the photographer, rather than falsely claiming that they had obtained permission for use, then this might be a story about fair use.

    "NBC and friends repeatedly claim that not only is piracy bad, but apparently piracy is easy to identify and easy to avoid by just doing the right thing... except oops."

    NBC cannot stop someone from filing a lawsuit that may turn out to be frivolous. Fair use is the fine stripe of grey between the black and white of copyright, and journalism (especially big media journalism) is one of the clearer examples. It's an equally funny thing then that the lawyer claims to be well versed in copyright. You would think that he would have advised his client that he might not have a leg to stand on.

    Emphasis mine... because you've almost hit on the point of the article here. Sure, NBC did the wrong thing by misattributing the photo and not responding when the photographer tried to contact them, but does this really justify a lawsuit? Remember that this is the normal that the likes of NBC are trying to promote, if not extend.

    My feeling is with the tabled turned the other way, the story would read about the horrible copyright bully trying to stop some guy from tweeting images.

    And I have a feeling that you'd be here telling us that there's no problem, that the guy will be able to defend his fair use claims in court, and if his use was really fair then no foul, right?

    I stick with my point too, the guy would likely have gotten way more action with a DMCA notice to Twitter...

    So the guy tries to contact the company directly to talk about the use of his photos, but you think that the thing he did wrong was going to the courts rather than taking down the Today Show? He didn't want the photos down, he just wants to be paid for their use.

    Protip: When an article is talking about how broken the system is, it doesn't necessarily help to bring up another broken part of the system.

  • Feb 4th, 2016 @ 6:06pm


    " But, almost without fail, we find examples of copyright maximalists being accused of infringement themselves."

    Of course you do, because they are actually out there producing tons of new content every day and sometimes mistakes happen or misunderstandings occur. What is objectionable here isn't that someone clearly didn't understand what they were doing, but the lack of response by NBC on the subject.

    NBC's actions in response to the accusation aren't really the point of the article. The point is that "Copyright maximalists like to assume that infringement is a black or white issue, that it's obvious and that it's obviously "bad." But, almost without fail, we find examples of copyright maximalists being accused of infringement themselves."

    NBC and friends repeatedly claim that not only is piracy bad, but apparently piracy is easy to identify and easy to avoid by just doing the right thing... except oops. Rather than tightening up all of the rules that nobody but a copyright lawyer can follow anyway, or increasing the punishments that are already so far beyond reasonable that they are a joke... perhaps everybody would benefit from unwinding this knot a bit?

    How much? I don't know. But it would be nice if it was even an option to discuss, rather than the non-stop ratcheting of stronger IP protections and damages. I mean, if "producing tons of new content every day" means that "sometimes mistakes happen or misunderstandings occur" then shouldn't the law take that into account?

    It seems to skip over the concept of fair use in Journalism (you know, the fair use you guys trot out all the time for everyone else, but apparently NBC doesn't get any!).

    You mean the bit that says "To be clear, NBC may have a reasonable fair use defense here, but that's not what it claimed when originally approached at all (though it likely will in the lawsuit)."?

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re:

    In my comment I meant "building on the open results" as publishing research using the open results as a basis. I guess it could also mean developing a product or mechanism using the research and using it internally, but I guess I figured that such use would by definition be allowed by open science, so I wasn't commenting on that specifically.

    Rephrasing, open science sounds more like a BSD license than a GPL license to me.

    Somebody has a not too well hidden agenda?

    I don't try to hide my agenda :-) I don't like GPL. I tolerate its existence, much as I tolerate the existence of evangelical Christianity, radical Islam and telemarketers - their prevalence makes me sad, but other than offering my own point of view I'm not going to do anything about them.

    Go ahead and try to defend proprietary.

    I'm not a huge fan of proprietary either, though it doesn't make me sad like GPL does. Nobody tries to pretend that proprietary is anything but selfish.

    For myself, BSD/MIT is my preferred license, but even better would be for copyright to not apply to code at all. I recognise the creative aspects of programming, but trying to apply copyright to code really doesn't seem to solve any problem that treating the code as a trade secret doesn't solve better. That may sound like being pro-propietary, but I think the quantity of code that would benefit from being a secret more than by being shared is infinitesimal.

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I guess you missed Linus' tirade about Nvidia. He was bending over backwards to tolerate their crap for years just to try to co-exist, but damn, sooner or later enough becomes enough!

    I'm aware there was a weird situation with nvidia drivers in linux for quite a while, involving the drivers only being released under a proprietary license or something... but never delved much into the details.

    I wonder how it would have worked out if the GPL never existed, and the Linux kernel had always been under a BSD-style license. There wouldn't have been any basis for a flare-up over a driver, but would we be in a better or a worse situation over it?

    Put another way, have more companies embraced open source because of restrictive licenses such as GPL, or permissive licenses such as BSD/Apache/Mozilla/Eclipse? Curious thought exercise, I suspect that each person's first answer will swing towards their license of preference.

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm really not a Stallman or GPL "fanboi", though I do strongly sympathize with his point of view.

    I find his point of view far too extreme to sympathise with. Some of his ideals are good, as are some of his goals, but his methods and opinions are anathaema to me.
    I actually prefer the BSD license. I want this stuff to get out there to everyone who can benefit from it, and if that allows a few greedy jerks to lock stuff up by creating a proprietary version of it, so what? We don't have to use it. We haven't been robbed of anything.

    This is almost exactly my point of view, as well.

    It also reminds me of a common misconception of the GPL - it's a share-alike license, not a share-back license. The originator of the GPL code is not promised anything back by anyone taking, modifying and redistributing their code; the license merely promises the source code to be available to anyone who receives binaries built from that code (oversimplified). You can still lock up modifications to GPL code by never releasing the derived product externally.
    Way back when, I had no problem with MySQL being both free and proprietary at the same time depending on what the user wanted to do with it. Companies like to have a commercial operation behind the tools they use. They get a place to submit bug reports to. I didn't need that. I'm grateful they didn't force onto me features I neither wanted nor needed. The combination created better software in the end, for everybody.

    Dual licensing is good, but not particularly relevant to the discussion - you still have to choose a particular license and abide by the rules of that license. The fact that an alternative license is available doesn't make the GPL license any better.

    It may even be possible that the GPL is actually the best non-commercial license option in this specific case, although it technically does allow for commercial use as long as the source is provided as well.
    With the GPL library, you're SOL.

    Are you not aware that they have another license specifically for libraries, just to get around this "viral" stuff?

    Sure, the LGPL may allow you to distribute in the same way as any other decent proprietary license, but you're still SOL with the GPL library.

  • Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re:

    I like how you consider that to be a "solution", let alone easy.

    I also like how you consider the alternative to the GPL to be proprietary. At the risk of being stalkerish, and assuming these are the same Mason Wheelers, he seems to prefer the MPL:

    Obviously, if there was a proprietary library to perform the required function and it didn't offer a suitable license, then the problem would be exactly the same. However, if the library was offered under a permissive open source license then everybody wins - the program gets the feature it's after, users get the feature quicker and likely with fewer bugs, and the library maintainer is more likely to receive feedback and bug fixes because the library is being used.

    To me, the GPL is just another form of proprietary license... Except it has even worse licensing terms that most other proprietary licenses, if you're in favour of permissive open source licensing - at least with commercial proprietary licenses, you can pay for a suitable license and ship it with your open software in binary form. With the GPL library, you're SOL.

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 4:52pm

    (untitled comment)

    Back to the article, it's great to see this kind of public announcement, I hope they can stick to it and deliver good results.

    As for insisting that collaborators "also have to follow open-science principles for that project", that doesn't seem particularly viral to me. It's just the university saying that they are committing to open science, and they won't compromise even in projects requiring collaboration. It doesn't sound like they are pushing anyone else to follow open science, except in projects where they want to work with MNI.

    Unlike GPL, anyone can build on the open results without requiring those derivative results to be open, though no doubt MNI would prefer openness.

    Maybe that's some kind of infectious openness, but it seems to require constant close contact to maintain the "infection".

  • Feb 2nd, 2016 @ 4:46pm


    I tend to agree with you on all your points except this one:

    "If only they hadn't gone with what's basically the worst possible way to implement their ideas, the world would probably be a noticeably better place today for it."

    What-if can be a fun game to play... I'd suggest that the extreme views of the FSF and some of the debates it got into publicly helped to raise awareness of "open source" in general amongst developers. Without the extra noise, I suspect that open source would have seen slower growth.

    Would we have a better result now though? While I personally would prefer for the FSF to see that the time for its zealotry* has passed and to start actually sharing nicely with the rest of the development community, it doesn't much harm me to either avoid all GPL projects, or treat anything I build with GPL links as purely personal projects that I'll never release.

    I'm happy to offer patches and such to a GPL project, but darned if I'll release any of my work in a license not of my choice.

    As for tools I use but don't look at the code, I don't care in the slightest what license they were developed under. In that sense, BSD and Linux are peas in a pod to me. Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera... whatever works best is best for me.

    * - IMO "zealous" is a better term than "evangelical"

  • Jan 27th, 2016 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re:

    I'm sorry, but a non-smart small tv hooked up to a computer isn't an alternative to a non-smart big tv. In fact, it kind of fails both requirements.

    "way bigger than existed in the 80s or were common in the 90s"

    You know that resolutions and picture quality have gone through the roof since then too? Don't presume that everyone has the same requirements or circumstances as you, and will be happy with the same compromise.

    @Ninja, I'm sure you'll have already had advice, but for non-smart and big you could consider a projector. Quality, resolution, running costs have all improved over the last decade. I definitely feel your pain about near-complete lack of high quality large tvs without "smart" features.

  • Jan 26th, 2016 @ 10:36pm

    Re: This WAS Going To Be Avoided In Australia.....

    See NBN (National Broadband Network)

    The network of yesterday... tomorrow!

  • Jan 19th, 2016 @ 5:49pm

    (untitled comment)

    Just had a thought while reading an article here about the MPAA... Hollywood seems to have a voice in the whitehouse, why not get them to help in the "war on encryption"?

    Forget about insecure banking, nobody really understands that stuff anyway, or what the ramifications really mean. Way too vague. Try telling Hollywood that it's going to become illegal to use encryption to stop people from copying movies and TV shows, and we'll see how quickly the politicians get educated!

  • Jan 13th, 2016 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Some helpful (if not hugely recent) primers on foreign domestic film markets: racy-as-studios-keep-setting-new-records-box-office.shtml 04193712380/how-piracy-helped-establish-dominance-nigerian-films.shtml les/20100406/1506438902.shtml

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Real creators get angry at those who pirate their works

    It's not entirely clear whether he's upset about the pirating, or the rating...

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 6:16pm


    I wonder how many days it actually took to be cracked, vs how many days nobody was even trying.

    I think the best form of "uncrackable" DRM is to release something unannounced that nobody is interested in. I bet I could get a longer "uncracked" streak than just 424 days ;-)

  • Jan 11th, 2016 @ 6:15pm

    Re: time...

    iirc Denuvo isn't really a DRM but more of a package around the DRM that blocks debugging and stuff like that. Like a reversed sandbox, it stops you from getting in instead of out. So the DRM itself still dies in a day or two but getting there is the problem.

    Sounds to me like Denuvo is DRM by definition. There may be more layers of DRM inside, but what is DRM other than "it stops you from getting in"?

  • Jan 10th, 2016 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: I'm sure they are just using the scrooge mcduck counting method

    You missed the joke...

    1 for me... I hand me 1, now I have 1
    1 for you... I hand you 1, now you have 1
    2 for me... I hand me 2, now I have 3
    2 for you... I hand you 1, now you have 2
    3 for me... I hand me 3, now I have 6
    3 for you... I hand you 1, now you have 3
    4 for me... I hand me 4, now I have 10
    ... etc

  • Jan 7th, 2016 @ 4:50am

    Re: Eh

    You're right, but guess what? Techdirt has a right to report on this as a story, and everyone else has a right to their own opinion.

    Get over it.

  • Jan 6th, 2016 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: From the Government

    Britain, Britain... oh yeah, that's the state just east of New York, right?

  • Jan 6th, 2016 @ 4:31pm


    Yeah, kind of this.

    I'm no big fan of ads, though auto-play videos of any kind do tend to cross my threshold. The trigger that pushed me to ad blocking is security - I'll be happy to remove my ad blocker once I can be sure that there's no way to inject malicious code via ads.

  • Jan 5th, 2016 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Re:

    "If you see copyright as primarily an incentive to monetize your work"

    I don't. You are missing the point entirely. Copyright defines ownership.

    Actually, I think you're missing the point.

    Copyright is primarily an incentive to produce copyrightable works in the absence of any other motivation.

    If copyright didn't exist, of course we would still have new music, and paintings, and photography, and books - we had all of those (except photography) long before we had copyright. The apparent goal of copyright is to encourage the creation of more works, in an exchange that allows those works to eventually be used by anyone - there's not much difference to the people who were creating before copyright (and would create now without copyright), so it's only those others who are only creating because of copyright that see copyright as primarily an incentive to monetize their work. Everyone else sees copyright as primarily an incentive for more works to be available to the public.

    Ownership of physical property is no different.

    And yet it's nearly trivial to prevent you from relieving me of ownership of my physical property, and nearly impossible to prevent you from relieving me of ownership of my intangible property.

    A book is physical property and can be limited to single ownership. A story is intangible, and there is no way to limit its ownership - once someone knows the story, it cannot voluntarily be forgotten. Digital goods make things tricky because you want to treat it like a physical object in the days when copying that object were hard...

    Now we can share a book or a song as easily as a joke, and models based on the physical(-only) world just don't fit. Trying to make them fit regardless leads to the situation today - where people infringe on copyright as easily as they share a joke, and think as little of it. They maybe read about massive lawsuits against random people for something to do with copyright, but what does that have to do with them?

    And an aside...
    When someone can be owned...
    I know this was a typo, but I found it a pretty funny one.

More comments from MrTroy >>