Rico R.’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Aug 26th, 2019 @ 4:06pm


    Sure, make an American company liable for allowing non-Americans to sell books that are not infringing in their region... That’s exactly the best way to respect the wishes of a dead author who wrote a dystopian novel about the dangers of Big Brother, state control, and censorship!

  • Aug 26th, 2019 @ 4:01pm

    1984, anyone?

    Can someone tell me how copyright is NOT Orwellian based on this story?

    In regions where the book is in the Public Domain, creators are free to do whatever they please with the work. Yet, Amazon is on the hook for not policing copyright law the way the news reporter sees fit? If we’re going off of US public domain standards, we have to wait until 2044 (95 years after publication, in the case of 1984), while nearly everyone else will get a chance to adapt it at the beginning of next year (2020 marks 70 years since the author’s death)!

    So does that mean that new versions of the work can’t be sold on an American site, effectively controlling and censoring new works? Sounds an awful lot like a 1984-type future to me!

  • Aug 22nd, 2019 @ 6:53pm

    A thought experiment I had about fair use and sporting events...

    I kid you not, I thought of this in the shower earlier today. Suppose for a second that instead of re-using actual footage from TV (which is copyrighted to MLB), they used their own footage they captured in the stands. Regardless of whether everything else was the same (providing transformative commentary on various parts of the game) or not, then MLB could NOT raise any successful copyright infringement complaints. I still think they would try, but I think such an action could lose in court.

    Legally speaking, even though using TV footage under the right circumstances would still be fair use, if they tried to claim copyright infringement on footage the uploader had shot from the game, the uploader could counter-claim for copyright misuse. Recording gameplay on the camera in your phone means you own the copyright to that footage, and the underlying gameplay is not copyrightable the same way as, say, a recording of a concert or a Broadway musical. This same theory could also be tested with NFL and NBA games. (And that's not to mention that their "account of the game" statement in their copyright disclaimers can't legally hold water under the fair use doctrine!)

  • Aug 9th, 2019 @ 10:58am

    I couldn't resist a parody here...

    So you wanna play with copyright law?
    Boy, you should know what you're falling for.
    RIAA, do you dare to do this?
    Flame's coming at you like a Dark Horse.
    Are you ready for, ready for...
    Infringement suits galore, suits galore.
    'Cause once all IP's mine, IP's mine...
    There's no going back!
    (Cue the "Infringing" Ostinato)

  • Aug 4th, 2019 @ 2:33pm

    (untitled comment)

    How the heck did I miss the article about Hawley’s new bill?

    But clearly he has his priorities straight to the real problem with technology. Net neutrality? Not an issue. Neither is all the false copyright claims online (which, according to the WIPO, no longer has any rights to due process). The monopoly on Telecoms and ISPs? Forget about it! The biggest problems facing the Internet is the fact CDA 230 protects politically biased sites and that endless scrolling and auto playing videos (that aren’t ads) are creating social media addictions. “I’m Josh Hawley, and I’ve been elected to Congress to fix problems with the Internet that you don’t care about!”

  • Aug 2nd, 2019 @ 6:07pm

    Re: It's not just Literature.

    Honestly, I think The IT Crowd did it better!

  • Aug 1st, 2019 @ 12:27pm

    The open internet is dead, just so that you can make more bread!

    That subject is from a line in an original song I wrote about copyright. I wrote it in anger right after the EU voted to approve Article 13/17 in their copyright directive. Unfortunately, this article only proves that this is sadly going to become a reality.

    Forget copyright for a second. Let's call the situation for what it is: A new invention that enables all of humanity to communicate with each other at the click of a finger. This invention allows you to say whatever you want to whoever will listen, all without the need of someone else in some high-up company to approve of what you're going to say. But those same higher-ups hate this new invention. They want to control everything and hold a monopoly on enabling people to speak. So they throw a tantrum over not being able to keep making profits like they used to, and for whatever reason, the government listens to them, sides with them, and passes and enforces laws that enable them to hold a monopoly.

    The above statement can apply to the Internet, but it also can easily apply to the printing press. Sadly, history is repeating itself. Copyright was never about trying to protect creators or stop people from ripping off artists. It wasn't even about making sure authors and artists are paid for their work. It's all about making sure the gatekeepers stay in control and keep making huge profits like they used to.

    No. They know what they're doing.

    Yes, someone knows that they're ripping off artists and making a quick buck off of their hard work. But if you think that the "pirates" are the ones doing so, I think you better look in the mirror. The gatekeepers are the ones who "know what they're doing", and unfortunately the government is handing them tools to allow censorship in hopes that they can start making legitimate profits. What's going to happen when the Internet is gone, every legitimate site is blacklisted, and you STILL aren't making the profits you want to make? Stop making a scapegoat out of piracy and evolve with the times. The internet has allowed a massive increase in creativity; don't let greed destroy it by turning copyright into a tool to censor the creativity it is supposed to help foster.

  • Jul 25th, 2019 @ 2:53pm

    My Pearson eBook experience

    Let me tell you, my experience with Pearson's eBooks is anything but positive.

    When I was in college, I had a psychology gen-ed requirement. There were two possible classes I could use to fulfill that requirement: Intro to Psychology and Psychology of Human Relations. Based on the class description, I thought Intro to Psychology would be a better fit for me. That class utilized a Pearson eBook (though I had a binder's worth of physical papers as well). Well, I got the class syllabus a week before classes, and it looked hard. Typing in the code for the eBook confirmed that it was going to be too hard for me. I talked to a counselor at my school, and I was able to drop out of Intro to Psychology and enroll in Psychology of Human Relations. That counselor also advised me I could potentially sell my Intro to Psychology book back, so I went to the school's book store.

    However, I was completely shocked to hear they wouldn't buy back my binder's worth of papers. Why? Because they would only buy back that if I could sell them back the code for the eBook as well. The problem? That code is only good for one use. So all that paper in my binder was useless for the book store. Not only was I out of money for buying the eBook and binder, but I also had to buy a new book for the Psychology of Human Relations course! So, for the price of two college textbooks, I got 1 and a bunch of paper to set on fire!!

    "Pearson's moving into the 21st century..." If the 21st century is the century where students pay for books twice out of convenience for the publisher, plus eliminating any right to resell books by making them 100% digital, then our future students are going to be screwed over even more. I may have already graduated, but I still think about future college students. One thing's for sure: while it sounds good on paper, THIS MOVE by Pearson sure won't help anyone!

  • Jul 12th, 2019 @ 2:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    In my mind, the first amendment claims against whether or not the DMCA section 1201 is unconstitutional was a strong, but perhaps not the strongest argument. Consider this initial text from the statute itself:

    No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    Now compare that to the copyright clause of the US Constitution:

    (The Congress shall have power) To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

    The very purpose of copyright, according to the US Constitution, is to promote the progress of Science (which means knowledge in this old context), and by extension, promote creativity. Riddle me this: How does a law that stops people from bypassing technological measures that prevent access to copyrighted works further the cause of promoting progress?

    Not only does it sound like it doesn't on its face, but it as it has been applied since its enaction, there is ample evidence that it, in fact, hinders the progress and creativity that copyright law is supposed to foster. Apple has used it to stop people from tinkering with iPhones (Jailbreaking, unlocking, etc.) and used the law to sue Psystar into oblivion. It stops press publications from publishing code that can be used to bypass CSS on commercial DVDs. (Never mind the fact that CSS is extremely insecure by today's cryptography standards, but the law says that we shouldn't even know that!)

    In private homes, it makes it illegal for people to space-shift physical media, or to build a Hackintosh. And it even causes DRM to be installed in contexts that have nothing to do with copyright protection, and therefore, it makes you a criminal from doing seemingly innocent, non-infringing activities (a security update preventing you from installing a competitor's ink cartridge in a printer, car manufacturers preventing you from repairing the computerized components in your own cars, etc.)

    All it does it make non-infringing activities illegal while doing nothing to stop actual piracy. Almost every broken up piracy ring I've heard about was taken down for criminal copyright infringement and NOT for circumventing TPMs, even though said infringement couldn't have happened without circumventing TPMs. Furthermore, all case law stemming from DMCA section 1201 has nothing to do with actual piracy of that nature.

    I even asked Cory Doctorow about this in a Reddit AMA about the lawsuit, and he pretty much said that while he wasn't a lawyer, he speculated it had something to do with the decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft and how subsequent developments made them decide NOT to raise constitutional objections to the law in that regard.

    My own opinion though is that those cases were looking at the part regarding "securing limited times to authors... to have the exclusive right", but here, the case is turning on the part regarding the promotion of "the progress of science". Furthermore, had these plaintiffs raised this objection AS WELL AS the first amendment objection, we might be looking at a different story here. I just hope that if a future plaintiff comes along and decides to raise similar objections in this case with more proof of harm, they also turn to this question. Worst case scenario, the Court holds that it's again too similar to Eldred v. Ashcroft and dismisses the claim. We can only wait and hope at this point!

  • Jul 11th, 2019 @ 8:01pm

    One step forward, two steps back...

    YouTube just took a good step forward by changing its policy on manual Content ID claims. Now, they seem to want to screw with its userbase even more by disabling access to streaming sites? Just like Lawrence said above me, I frequently use youtube-dl, so it's not a huge issue for me, but still! Many YouTube to MP3 sites blocks downloading videos that have music in, with less-than-staggering results.

    As an experiment a while ago, I took one of my own YouTube videos on attempting to run a problematic Hackintosh kext (which had no music in), changed the category temporarily to music, and tried downloading it from a site known to block downloads of videos containing music. It threw an error saying something to the effect of "Music cannot be downloaded with our tool." So at least one site isn't resulting in the proliferating of people ripping music (or the audio from one of my own videos) from YouTube!

  • Jun 26th, 2019 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: What's the incentive to create if everyone can take your

    Actually, Apple's iOS, macOS, watchOS, iPadOS, and pretty much every Apple OS is NOT based on Linux. Their underlying OS base is Darwin, an open-source OS based on Unix. Linux is also based on Unix, but they don't share the same codebase. I'm not entirely familiar with Android's codebase, but I'm fairly certain the only Linux component is the Linux kernel. While both are definitely Unix-based, I think it's a far cry to say they're based on Linux.

  • Jun 26th, 2019 @ 11:27am

    Re: What's the incentive to create if everyone can take your wor

    First off, let's talk about your "chosen" username. If Linux is as feeble and unreliable as you say it is, then why is it true that practically everybody uses Linux for most of their servers, cloud computing, and other internet services? I guarantee you that you can't find one company (Microsoft and Apple included) that doesn't rely on Linux in some way. Just because there are few people using it as their main operating system doesn't mean that its crap. Try again.

    What's the incentive to create if everyone can take your work?

    Tyler Joseph writes music for Twenty One Pilots as a means of self-expression and sharing his insecurities, as well as helping him get through tough times. Britt Allcroft creates TV shows and movies for children for no other purpose than to enchant and entertain them. Adam Young started making music to help him escape the dread of working a dead-end job. And even after he found success in Owl City, he sees it as a privilege to continue doing what he loves to do as opposed to working that dead-end job. He's not set on creating another #1 hit and has rock-solid integrity, wanting to continue making music for the rest of his life simply because he enjoys it.

    Notice that out of the people I mentioned above, NONE of them said copyright is why they create content. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find even one creative person who creates because of copyright.

    You want creators to pour money and energies into making good products so that you can STEAL more value, and then you enjoy their struggles too.

    Okay, let's imagine for a second that copyright is abolished effective tomorrow. Not much would change. Unlike the dystopian scenario that this "film" predicts, artists can still thrive. Why? Well, legally speaking, selling bootlegs would be perfectly legal. However, because people tend to pay for items as a way to support creators they like, they will go out of their way to make sure that their money is going to support the artists. Follow supply and demand, and you'll realize that piracy that DOES earn money will NOT be a long-term profitable endeavor. People will demand chains of sales that benefit the artists MORE, not LESS. Copyright is not necessary to ensure that artists get paid.

    Also, like the tweet mentioned in a comment above, I too thought about writing a story about a similar dystopian world that was caused by overly strict IP laws that made real innovation and creativity nearly impossible by anyone other than a rich person approved by a gatekeeper. That's a more accurate IP dystopia than a world where there are no IP laws. In fact, given that barriers to sampling would be broken down permanently, I'd imagine more creative works being produced that CAN'T be produced without a cost-prohibitive license and permission granted because of copyright.

    You are not harmed by someone else having copyright. -- STATE SPECIFICS. -- Other than that you can't legally wallow in entertainments for free.

    I can think of several examples of how copyright has created harm:

    1. Corporations can shut down nonprofit fan projects as copyright infringement, even if the corporation hasn't touched the original title in decades. Browse Techdirt and I'm sure you'll find lots of specific examples of this.
    2. TV Eyes, a transformative service that allows people to search through various cable channels for content that previously aired, was forced to no longer offer the same service to the often-criticized Fox News after they sued them for copyright infringement.
    3. Aereo was deemed by the Supreme Court as a cable service, but because it isn't a "traditional" cable service, they can't use the same statutory licensing that Comcast and others enjoy, therefore forcing it to shut down altogether because their operation was deemed as copyright infringement.
    4. Anti-circumvention laws (such as DMCA section 1201) render many otherwise non-infringing activities illegal, all in the name of copyright enforcement. Some strike at the heart of copyright law (whether or not you can strip DRM from movies for space or format-shifting purposes, or for the purpose of creating a fair use), others have questionable connections (whether it's legal to jailbreak or unlock mobile devices, whether it's legal to build a Hackintosh, etc.), and many have next to nothing to do with copyright (such as whether or not you can install a competitor's ink in your printer or repair your car's computerized components yourself).
    5. Imagine you're creating a derivative work and you want to get permission to create said derivative work. There's only one problem: You can't track down the copyright holder. You pay hundreds of dollars for the copyright office to do more research. They can't track down the copyright holder. Or maybe they find an address for you to write a letter to, and in a few weeks, it's returned to sender unopened. You've just discovered that the work you want to use is an orphan work. The orphan work problem is widely cited by copyright experts all the time.
    6. Even after the author is long dead, their estates are overly litigious over anything that remotely touches the author's work, often in cases that are strong fair use cases. Examples include ABC's Michael Jackson documentary, which brought Disney to say that copyright shouldn't be used by overzealous estates demanding payment for every single use (despite Disney being that very same thing most of the time), and ComicMix's Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go, which was sued by Dr. Seuss's Enterprises only for the judge to rule that of course its a transformative fair use!

    These are 6 ways that copyright harms the public outside of legally being able to get stuff for free, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    So, sorry, you lose. Copyright is largely not needed and creates more headaches and hassles than necessary. Enjoy your comment being flagged for free!

  • Jun 10th, 2019 @ 7:17pm


    Are you kidding me? If a work truly sucks, then it has more copyright protection... I mean, look at all the 100% valid DMCA takedowns against negative reviews of films and music! /s

  • May 28th, 2019 @ 8:31am

    (untitled comment)

    As an independent musician, I've always held the belief that unless I was signed to the big guys (which I wouldn't want to pursue anyway, for obvious reason), it would be costly and/or near impossible for me to clear a sample for a copyrighted work. This article opened my eyes that even the big guys not only don't get that right, but they screw over artists in the process.

    I first heard Bittersweet Symphony on Pandora years ago, and I only learned there was a sample when I looked it up on Wikipedia. I did not know that the iconic violin melody was NOT the sampled portion until I read this article. If it is designed to flow from the sample to the actual song, then CONGRATULATIONS! This a**hole just claimed copyright infringement on a common chord progression played by an orchestra. Mind you, this song was released 8 years PRIOR to the disastrous Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films case with this gem in the ruling:

    Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.

    If copyright maximalists claim copyright's first purpose is to help artists get paid for their creative efforts (which it isn't), then this situation actually SHOWS the dangers of copyright protection. They got a proper license to use the orchestral recording of a common chord progression, but because the chord progression was lifted from a copyrighted composition where the lyrics are protected but the melody (which is what was sampled) are public domain, the owner of the lyrics decides that he can control everything related to the song and get 100% of the profits. In what sane copyright maximalist position is this even morally right?

    I guess the moral of the story is: If I sample in the future, I'll just stick to sampling LibriVox recordings of public domain Christmas hymns!

  • May 10th, 2019 @ 11:40am

    Serving copyright infringement lawsuits be like...

    Knock knock.
    Who's there?
    I copied.
    I copied who?
    You know who you copied... See you in court!

  • May 9th, 2019 @ 9:17pm

    Confusingly dissimilar...?

    To me, the ApfelRoute logo looks closer to the Intel logo than the Apple logo... Not confusingly similar, of course! But if Apple, Inc. doesn't understand that trademarks aren't like other kinds of "IP" (at least here in the states), it'll only be a matter of time before they start going over actual apple companies, especially McIntosh. I know they likely named their Macintosh computer lines after that apple brand, but we now live in an age where dates don't matter for "IP" infringement... Just look at the earlier article about the Jimmy Fallon/ContentID blunder!!

  • Apr 19th, 2019 @ 10:53am

    This isn't rocket science!

    Taking the companies' names and industry out of it, can anyone tell me how it makes sense that a merger of two companies that are in the same exact industry and compete with each other would somehow miraculously spur competition in the same exact industry? Especially when there are only like 4 major companies in that industry? It doesn't pass the laugh test!!

  • Apr 16th, 2019 @ 12:02pm

    (untitled comment)

    I'm an independent musician, and this is the first time I'm hearing about this comment period on the Music Modernization Act, and it's almost over! I say this with the utmost respect, but if Techdirt, a non-major small-time news operation, is the first time I hear about a potentially troubling implementation of updated copyright law in a way that directly affects me, there's a major disconnect between legacy gatekeepers and actual creators. I have to wonder if legacy players are hoping that smaller independent artists (like myself) just don't do anything so they can make money off of works they don't own or represent. And they say that copyright law is designed to protect small creators like me? Yeah, right!!

  • Mar 22nd, 2019 @ 8:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...constantly accusing others of their own faults...
    ...they're nothing but a habitual liar and troll.

    Did you just also describe the President of the United States?

  • Mar 19th, 2019 @ 4:36pm

    Crying wolf, much?

    Movie studios whine about the existence of piracy when piracy is mostly caused by themselves. This isn't the first time this happened; remember Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube? They uploaded videos to YouTube themselves, claimed said uploads infringed on their copyrights, and then sued Google over it. I know this isn't quite the same as this case here, but I have to wonder how much longer people will keep believing "Piracy is harming the industry" when this isn't necessarily what appears to be happening? The industry continually breaks box office records but claim piracy must be stopped at all costs. But when you're the one causing piracy, it definitely doesn't look good!

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