Whatever’s Techdirt Profile


About Whatever

Whatever’s Comments comment rss

  • Jul 1st, 2016 @ 5:07am



    Let's see. Section 230. A "service provider" that profits from the stolen images and videos can claim to be an innocent host, and claim immunity for any legal action. So before you can get anything done, you have to overcome Wyden's legal speed bump.

    If you happen to get past that one (the recent rulings in California might help you) you are then in the position of trying to figure out who actually making the posting. So then you have a whole other court battle just to get the "service provider" to release the information, so that you can go to the ISP to get them to release the info, only to run headlong into the concept that "an IP isn't a person, and the subscriber isn't liable for what their connection is used for".

    So trying to enforce the existing laws under the existing structures is very hard, and trying to get TIMELY resolution is almost impossible.

  • Jun 30th, 2016 @ 7:45pm

    (untitled comment)

    Time is limited because, well, you have chosen to limit it. The "limited time offer" is entirely artificial. There is no shortage of t-shirts in the world, it's not like you have to stop selling them.

    Creating artificial shortages is just that: Artificial.

  • Jun 30th, 2016 @ 9:57am

    (untitled comment)

    Blame the people who fucked up, namely Digital Ocean.

    That said, I can't really blame them. DO is one of a number of very popular services that hackers love to use to launch attacks, spam campaigns, and various other nastiness. DO is probably so flooded with issues, that they cannot take the time to actually look at things properly.

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 11:50am

    Laughable concepts

    Mike, honestly, do you expect anything more from a politician who is trying to appeal to as many people as possible, while offending as few as possible?

    US IP policy as a whole is "Too Vague & Confusing". Why hang the shingle on Hillary's neck? trump got your tongue?

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hi Paul. Thanks for being your usual (insert term here) self. Other than that, just learn to read. If you do, perhaps you might actually be able to follow along like an adult.

    For Wendy Cockcroft:

    I am very keen on a free market - including the freedom to choose when and where to sell or market a product. Release windows and such are a free market business choice. If people don't like they choice, they don't have to enjoy the product. They could create their own and distribute them in any manner they see fit. That's the beauty of a free market.

    Just remember that the "release it everywhere on the same day or we will pirate the shit out of it" types really are just objecting to a free market. Perhaps you should ask one of them why they hate a free market.

  • Jun 29th, 2016 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Rare disagreement

    Your attempt at a comeback isn't working, because it misses the point. Here on Techdirt, the comments may (from time to time) border on the illegal or encourage illegal acts. The Techdirt business model is not to use those comments to blackmail you into paying them.

    The revenge porn guy set up a site that specifically collected enough information so that his blackmail site could turn around and solicit girls for payment to get their nakedness off the internet. The nature of the process is one that should never be protected in any form.

    Section 230 isn't a cover all. The guy here created a system specifically with the goal of extorting people. That should not be (and clearly is not) protected speech. Section 230 should never be used to cover or protect such illegal schemes.

  • Jun 27th, 2016 @ 5:25pm


    "They want the flexibility to produce in low cost regions, taking advantage of lower wages, but then want the government to enforce different pricing based on the local ability to pay."

    Actually, they don't want anyone to enforce it. The stepped release concept is in some part to release a film or whatever in the best paying market first, so that they can (like all good business should) extract as much profit as possible for their shareholders and owners. Releasing a product into lower dollar markets first would just support the natural flow from low cost to high cost centers, handing (diminished) profits to others.

    Further, you have to consider the costs and risks related to releasing a movie. In many cases, it's better to release it in some markets first, and use the audience reaction to help drive your next release process. Perhaps your "quirky love story" turns out to be "offbeat comedy" in it's initial release. In the next markets, you can use that as your last minute pitch.

    We also don't need to mention the costs related to making a film conform to the various laws and rules of each country and region, and how restrictive ownership and distribution rules in these areas make it much harder to release all at the same time anyway.

    But hey, carry on slamming the MPAA. Sometimes you are right, but for a site run by a guy with a business degree, you seem to really hate business.

  • Jun 27th, 2016 @ 4:17pm

    (untitled comment)

    Yet, the balance here is that Austin doesn't have a bunch of unlicensed taxis driven by unchecked drivers pushing 20% of their revenue out of state.

    A city with a drunk driving problem (or a problem with "zombie apocalypse of drunk people" problem perhaps needs to work more on public transit options and so on. It may also be an indication that the American car culture and the American "drink until you puke" culture don't mix very well.

  • Jun 26th, 2016 @ 4:09pm

    (untitled comment)

    As always, the best comments were lost due to prior restraint... you know, censorship! Yes, Techdirt delays posts from people they don't like to try to discourage free speech. It's absolutely insane the level of pettiness being exhibited.

    Yeah, I know. Someone will say "but you are being a troll". You are invited to go back and check out my comments for the last while. I don't troll. I do tell Paul to get bent, otherwise it's all my opinion and nothing more. Techdirt hates it when people express opinions that aren't in keeping with the party line, I guess.

    Anyway, the best comments of the week potentially were lost, free speech should be important to everyone here. Let Techdirt know how you feel!

  • Jun 25th, 2016 @ 12:42pm

    (untitled comment)

    Stupid? You want to talk stupid? Stupid is allowing people to buy AR-15 and similar assault weapons. Plain and simple, these are not for hunting animals, as they don't have the power to make a clean kill and thus are more likely to just wound an animal that would die later - or worse, mess up it's insides and poison the meat, rending the kill meaningless.

    They aren't good personal protection pieces either, you can't "conceal carry" the things, they are useless at close range (where most people would use a weapon if attacked), and their quick semi-auto action tends to lead to plenty of stray bullets when used.

    There are weapons designed to kill people, indiscriminately. They were built to allow a relatively under trained, third world country soldier to do some serious nasty against the opposition. Their only good use is for killing a whole lot of people in a very short period of time (or, understandably, to fill one person with a whole lot of bullets in a very short period of time).

    Standing up for the "right" to own one of these things is just plain stupid. You may think it makes you American to do so, but it just makes you short sighted, because the next big shooting will likely be made with one of these thing. It's just how it rolls.

    The 2nd Amendment should not be an absolute "anyone can have anything". It's turned into a free for all with the sad trickle down effect that it seems most inner city kids are more likely to have contact with guns than schoolbooks these days. These guns aren't appearing magically, they are the ones at some point purchased legally.

    The US people overwhelmingly want gun control (the polls are out there). Only the NRA and their big ticket contributors are keeping the Republican'ts at it.

    Repeal the 2nd amendment, make the US a better place.

  • Jun 25th, 2016 @ 9:42am

    Re: "Clamping down on guns works in other countries"

    Pointing to Russia is a pretty bad choice. That is a country where the vast majority (including the "dictator") ignore the laws or change them when they are not convenient.

    A better example would be Australia.


    Can you imagine the change in the US if homicides fell 59% in the next decade?

  • Jun 25th, 2016 @ 8:30am

    So the cops are using technology to improve things...

    and Techdirt is upset?

    If the police are able to predict crime hot spots, perhaps they can work to improve policing in the area, or work to change behaviors of the local such that crime drops. That would be true crime prevention.

    The deadpool style list is a little bit creepier, and a whole lot harder to turn into action. They can't add protection for every person who might be at risk. But knowing who might be killed might give them a better insight into what is going on in the darker circles of life.

    I guess you guys would prefer that the cops spend their time in school studying to be to flight civil rights lawyers. Seems to be a job requirement these days!

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, I respect them - but I also respect that police officers have a job to do, and they must meet some incredibly high standards. Those seem to (if you believe Mike) be on the level of a top civil rights lawyer, a SCOTUS judge, and a little bit of Kreskin. They must be perfectly versed not only in the law, but they must be able to read SCOTUS mind before they even render judgement.

    Basically, he wants cops to be a combination of Deep Blue and Marty McFly. It's pretty funny to read how he thinks police should work (don't arrest anyone until they are convicted!)

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 6:49am

    (untitled comment)

    What I guess you dance around here is that it does not make the original work copyright, only the picture taken of it.

    In the same manner as recording a Beethoven symphony. That recording is copyright. It doesn't mean you have a copyright on the original work, just the current recording.

    Now, for this case, you have a couple of things in play here: There are not very many pictures of the works in question, the museum has only apparently allowed on photographer to take the shots. This shot BY DEFINITION are copyright in and of themselves. The original work is still "public domain" but you cannot use the recently produced images without permission.

    Sort of sums up the Techdirt world. try very hard to make it sound very confusing when the reality is pretty clear anyway.

  • Jun 21st, 2016 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Ahh Mike, always a dick about things.

    Look, my point is only this: There was no search until the warrant was found. Only asking the guy coming out of a reported drug den to identify himself doesn't seem to be particularly abusive.

    Remember, you have (a) the tip, and (b) the observations of the officer that a large number of people were coming and going from the location, which is ALMOST enough for a warrant for the location. The officer engaged in a stop and identify situation, and did not search the guy until the warrant was discovered.

    So the question of "due process" is addressed. So the question of innocent until proven guilty is addressed as well. Had the guy not had an open warrant, he would have walked away unsearched. Oh snap, there goes your vapid little comeback!

    Techdirt hates it when law enforcement do their job and catch criminals.

  • Jun 20th, 2016 @ 5:31pm

    230 ain't a trump card (no pun intended)

    Besides the derision aimed at the legislation because someone dared to use capitals in the text, the main gist of the story is that "section 230 covers that". It's an easy answer, but one that is likely wrong.

    You have to start by differentiating the players. AirBNB and the like do have websites and they do have information on them. They also are the reseller, they collect the money and fees, and they pay the property owner. They are effectively business partners along with the property owner.

    So what appears on their website as information about a property may not be able to hide behind section 230 for the simple reason that it's not third party information, but in no small part first party data provided by the website owner. It's not a random posting, it's their business.

    Now, NY might have a harder time working against paid or free classified ads posted on sites like Craiglist. As the site has not a business partner (just a service provider) they might find that Section 230 covers those posts. However, they might be different if they intentionally create a section called "NY Daily rental properties", which might be something the state could move against, as it would show the site encouraging such activities. That is one of the grey areas of section 230.

    "It's amazing how often politicians seem to want to attack, rather than nurture innovation that's helping their constituents."

    It's not amazing. The hotel industry generates jobs and taxes in no small amount, as approximately 10% of the turnover of hotels and legal places of lodging end up in the state or local coffers. When you (a) dramatically lower the rates, (b) have a significant percentage of the transaction go to another state (tax free), and (c) potentially have a property owner not reporting the income then the state is a big loser. It's not about stopping innovation, it's about stopping the tax base from eroding.

    It's nice to try to frame it as "they hate innovation", but that's far from the case. They just hate losing money.

  • Jun 20th, 2016 @ 12:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    I sort of have a problem with the amount of legal rope given not to police, but to people who are breaking the law.

    For me, the "stop and identify" here wasn't out of line. The police had a tip that the location was a drug den, so it was pretty reasonable to me that someone coming from there might (a) have drugs, or (b) provide the police with information relative to who is in the house, etc. With a significant number of people coming and going from the property, the tip seems to be right on the money.

    That should be enough probably cause to do a "stop and ask". The officer was clearly not stopping random people fishing for a warrant, he just wanted some additional info to perhaps build a better case for a search warrant for the house.

    Now, seeing the courts don't feel that being one of many people coming out of a suspected drug den is enough for police to even ask, let's get to the meat of the issue:

    Did the officer operate in the old good faith with decent intent? Answer is clearly yes, he was tryingto build a case against law breakers. In other words, doing his job.

    In the end, it's the guys problem that he had an outstanding warrant. It's the guys problem that he was walking around with meth on his person. The warrant was valid, everything from that point on should be free of the proverbial poison tree.

  • Jun 18th, 2016 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re:

    "Fair use is a right, not a defense. "

    Nope. Fair use is "yes, I violated his copyright, but I have fair use because...". You start by admitting that you have violated copyright, but it's acceptable for a given reason.

    "Or rather assume they don't know the copyright status of anything and either take down when requested OR let it go to the courts to be decided. "

    If you don't know something, perhaps it's better to ask?

    "Thankfully. They can request removal and Vimeo can deny if they believe it is some sort of fair use. Then The holder can go to courts and force the removal and it's all right. At best they can go after the individual for damages and in that case IF the judge allows for such discovery then Vimeo would have to comply. Other than that they are in the right."

    That is a pretty delusional view of things. They can request removal (over and over again as the same work gets reposted every day), and if Vimeo decides (not anyone else) that it seems like fair use, then it's a court fight - yet Vimeo would be in the clear because they would claim DMCA safe harbor - yet they are the ones deciding if the work is fair use? Anyway, so the rights holder goes to court (every day, as the work is reposted daily!), and the judge says "who are you suing?" The rights holder says "some anonymous poster" and Vimeo trots out the section 230 defense. So they rights holder says "okay, then we are suing Vimeo", and they trot out the DMCA safe harbor. So the judge says "get lost rights holder, you have nobody to sue here".

    The laws butt up against each other in a manner that provides 100% protection to both the poster and the company, both of whom can profit from the infringement for as long as they like.

    "If it is fair use and I believe it is, then that's awesome!"

    Does it really sound fair that rights holders can't get any true legal action on this?

  • Jun 17th, 2016 @ 8:21am


    I always thought that voting machines would work better if they were really just there to help us mark the ballot. Have the machine show what you are voting for, and have it mark an actual ballot for the item. Then the voter takes the completed paper ballot, verifies it, and puts it in the ballot box - where it can be counted.

    The bonus... because the ballots are machine marked, you could use a second system to actually count them efficiently.

    The bonus bonus: when there is a recount required, you actually have paper ballots. The machines have nothing to do with it, you have the actual paper of record to prove it.

  • Jun 16th, 2016 @ 9:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    I think the judge may have erred here:

    "The mere fact that an employee of the service provider has viewed a video posted by a user (absent specific information regarding how much of the video the employee saw or the reason for which it was viewed), and that the video contains all or nearly all of a copyrighted song that is “recognizable,” would be insufficient for many reasons to make infringement obvious to an ordinary reasonable person, who is not an expert in music or the law of copyright."

    For me the judge is allowing way too much latitude here. If an employee recognizes a work as being less than 70 years old, then it's very likely that it is copyright to someone else other than the user posting it. It's one of the great benefits of a system where copyright is assigned automatically, there is little or no doubt that anything relatively recent if covered.

    Also, a title of a video (lipdub of Popular Song by Popular Artist) might also be a clue.

    Now some might say "what happens if it's been release with a CC license?". It's pretty simple: The user should just provide a link or information related to the license. It's not very complicated at all.

    So when you consider the the judge potentially made an error here by being way too generous is allowing willful blindness, then you can understand where the rest of the judgement that in no small part needs this point to work could fall down.

    Further, "Furthermore, employees of service providers cannot be assumed to have expertise in the laws of copyright. Even assuming awareness that a user posting contains copyrighted music, the service provider’s employee cannot be expected to know how to distinguish, for example, between infringements and parodies that may qualify as fair use. "

    The problem is that this logic butts up against section 230 to create an impenetrable legal wall. By this judgement, the employee is to assume that EVERYTHING is fair use (an affirmative defense) but at the same time the company allows for anonymous posting and generally will not be liable for the works being on their site. They also would likely NOT in any manner help in locating the user or provide any information that would help. It creates the perfect position for the company to encourage such videos and to profit from them while providing 100% perfect legal protection.

    My guess is that this decision will get appealed, and will get in part over turned.

More comments from Whatever >>