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Posted on Techdirt - 15 December 2020 @ 1:30pm

Gaming Like It's 1925: Get Ready For The Next Public Domain Game Jam

from the it's-jam-time dept

Sign up for the Public Domain Game Jam on itch.io »

In a couple weeks, the public domain in the US will expand for the third year in a row, as works published in 1925 finally run out of copyright protection — and just like we have for the past two years, we're celebrating and showing off the benefits of a robust public domain with a game jam: Gaming Like It's 1925.

We're inviting everyone to try their hand at using newly public domain material from 1925 to create a digital or analog game this January. Whether you're an experienced game designer or just someone trying their hand at it, the public domain is an excellent source of all kinds of game material from story inspiration to art and music assets, so sign up for the jam at itch.io. The jam page has full details on the rules, links to some lists of material entering the public domain, and information on easy game-building tools that can help newbies and veterans alike with the challenge of creating a game in a month.

As usual, we'll be awarding prizes in six categories (the winners of the last jam are linked below, and you can read our judges' thoughts on them here):

We've also got another great panel of new and returning judges this year:

Gaming Like It's 1925 officially kicks off on January 1st, the same day that the new material enters the public domain, and runs until the end of the month — but you can sign up now and start making plans. Both of the past jams have resulted in some really cool, creative games that demonstrate why a growing public domain is so valuable, and we're all excited to see what our participants come up with this time around!

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Posted on Techdirt - 13 December 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-word-is dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is an anonymous comment on our post about Florida State Police raiding the home of COVID whistleblower Rebekah Jones:

Huh. Interesting that this comes right after a major Florida newspaper published a scathing report, using numerous insider sources, on how Desantis covered up a lot of COVID information.

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/coronavirus/fl-ne-coronavirus-florida-desantis-spin-ss-prem-20201203-t yjmgkos6bd7vo7vnripqliany-htmlstory.html

I wonder if this is him trying to track down who talked to the paper.

In second place, it's another comment on that post, this time from our own Karl Bode adding an important point to a thread of pushback against an idiot downplaying the virus based on its mortality rate:

also, for whatever reason, people really like to fixate exclusively on deaths, and ignore the fact that this disease is going to cause disability (perhaps permanent) for millions of people.


For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of responses to the dangerous ideas about Section 230 reform being touted by Joe Biden's top tech advisor. First, it's That One Guy aptly summing up one way to spot a bad argument about 230:

... we'll just leave that part out

The best part of using Facebook of all platforms as the Big Bad here is that Facebook is on their side. Facebook has made clear that it's fine with gutting 230 because it understands that unlike the vast majority of other sites that allow user submitted content it will be able to survive that.

Bringing up Cox and Wyden adds an extra dash of 'I really hope no-one fact-checks us on this' as well, since unlike what that cherry-picked quote would seem to suggest they have made clear that 230 is working as intended.

I get at this point that anyone attacking 230 has to lie to make their arguments, since there's no honest arguments to be made, but even knowing that this argument is laughably bad and banking really hard on ignorance and emotional manipulation, which tells you all you need to know about the one making it, none of it good.

Next, it's Blake C. Stacey coining a slogan for the damage bad Section 230 reform would do:

Free slogan: "You say you want to kill Facebook, but you're going to miss and kill Wikipedia."

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is again an anonymous comment, this time on our post about Trump promising to pull military funding over the lack of a Section 230 repeal:

PETA has really dropped the ball. Please, for the love of what little sanity remains in this country, spay and neuter your Republicans!

In second place, it's You're a Gazelle! responding to the Supreme Court allowing Muslims to sue the FBI for placing them on the no-fly list when they refused to become informants:

Could Be a Slippery Slope

If this continues blackmail might become illegal!

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter offering up another all-purpose response to many people who insist they are being censored:

I love seeing posts stating "this post is being blocked!"

Finally, it's one more anonymous commenter, responding to our case study about the time Facebook blocked a photo of some onions for nudity (with a typo corrected):

Well, there is a lot of skin to skin contact in the photo.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 12 December 2020 @ 12:05pm

This Week In Techdirt History: December 6th - 12th

from the times-past dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the confluence of the Paris attack, the San Bernardino attack, and the rise of ISIS created a perfect storm for the anti-encryption, pro-surveillance crowd. President Obama was hinting at asking Silicon Valley to magically block terrorists from using tech products, while Hillary Clinton was doubling down on her attacks on the tech industry and mocking free speech online in the exact same way Donald Trump was — while Mitch McConnell was promising to offer up whatever bill the president wanted to ban encryption, Dianne Feinstein was bringing back a bill that would force internet providers to report on "suspicious" behavior by customers and teaming up with James Comey to mislead people about encryption, and Michael McCaul was proposing a commission to "force" encryption backdoors. Even a former FCC commissioner was getting in the game, idiotically claiming that net neutrality helps ISIS. In France, law enforcement released a "wish list" of draconian measures including banning open WiFi, which got at least a tiny bit of pushback from the Prime Minister — while Spain brought in a new law allowing widespread surveillance, and Kazakhstan was breaking the internet with an all-out war on encryption.

Ten Years Ago

Today there's a lot of controversy around Visa and MasterCard blocking Pornhub, but this same week in 2010 the exact same conversation was going on around Wikileaks. The week kicked off with PayPal cutting off payments, a Swiss bank found a technicality that allowed it to freeze the site's bank account, then Mastercard blocked any payment systems that work with Wikileaks, and were soon joined by Visa (I wonder if that had anything to do with its most recent leak). But attempts to kill Wikileaks were just contributing to its spread, and the government was contradicting itself in its panicked attempts to internally block the site, or just doing really dumb things like blocking any site with Wikileaks in the title, and making extremely silly requests like the State Department asking Wikileaks to "return" the leaked cables (ironically around the same time it was hosting World Press Freedom Day).

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, big telcos were doing their usual thing and freaking out about competition, even going so far as to punish New Orleans for offering free wifi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, or just completely contradicting themselves on fiber optic broadband, which they hate when municipalities try to offer it but which they are happy to sell themselves. Sony's DRM woes were far from over, with yet another security vulnerability found in one of their products, as well as a vulnerability in the patch the company issued to fix it. The recording industry was showing it would never be happy no matter what Kazaa did, and really going hard on its new obsession — unauthorized song lyrics — by attacking an app that displays them and even calling for people who host them to be thrown in jail.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 8 December 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 265: The Future Of US Broadband

from the needed-now-more-than-ever dept

The pandemic and associated lockdowns have underlined the incredible importance of broadband, and the many problems with it in America. This week, we're joined by Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic — Mike's ISP, and one with a reputation for treating its customers well and speaking out against bad broadband policy and regulation — for an insider perspective on what's happening with US broadband in 2020, and where it might be going next.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 6 December 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the some-speech dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Thad with a sentiment I think we all share:

A time will come -- not right away, not all at once, but hopefully within the next year -- when each of us manages to go a full day without thinking about Donald Trump.

That's a happy thought to hold onto.

In second place, it's Uriel-238 responding to the very late statement by a lawmaker that, when it comes to Trump's nonsense, "Republicans are sick of this shit":

The rest of us were sick of it in 2017.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous comment about Trump's renewed calls for repealing Section 230:

Twitter could hold a lottery with 1st prize the honour of pressing the ban key on @realdonaldtrump
They could make enough money from that to cover the loss of Trump associated advertising!

Next, it's JMT with an all-purpose response for people moaning about free speech on social media:

Start your own damn website and say whatever the hell you want. That's "Free Speech" on The Internet. Just don't think you can do that on my website, Mike's website, or Twitter's website.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is David chiming in on a thread about the Tennessee state representative who wants congress to ignore the Supreme Court ruling on flag burning, and specifically in regard to the suggestion that, given his past attempt to amend the Constitution to cite the will of "Almighty God", he probably thinks he's doing God's bidding:

No upright fundamental Christian would admit to letting himself get bossed around by a Jew.

In second place, it's Thad again, this time passing along a link regarding that same rep's constitutional nonsense:

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Pixelation responding to our post about 5G paranoia getting dumber:

That's because 5G causes brain damage!*

*I suppose I should add.../s

Finally, it's David with a complaint on last week's comment post:

Know what's worst about the "funniest, most insightful" weekly?

I clearly see that some people voted for me. And at the end of the race, their votes don't count. But nobody even bothers to ask me whether I'll be conceding gracefully and leave my keyboard at the end of the week.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 5 December 2020 @ 12:45pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 29th - December 5th

from the take-and-give dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, details were continuing to emerge that showed the Paris attackers made very little effort to hide themselves while the French government was using the state of emergency as an excuse to round up climate change activists, and some in the US were using the San Bernadino shooting to push for more domestic surveillance. New problems were being discovered with the UK's snooper's charter, while documents were showing that the country's intelligence agencies were hacking computers with minimal oversight. And there was a fresh attack on encryption from a different direction, as a patent troll started suing all kinds of encrypted websites.

Also this week in 2015, Homeland Security finally returned two domains they had seized for bogus reasons five years earlier, but we'll talk more about that in our next section...

Ten Years Ago

Yes, it was the very same week in 2010 that we first reported on ICE seizing a bunch of domain names supposedly for intellectual property violations. It immediately looked like a censorship campaign that was stretching the law to its breaking point, and inspection of the targeted websites revealed that many appeared legitimate and some were even embraced by big-name music artists — until Homeland Security eventually admitted that it was taking cues straight from the entertainment industry, further undermining any ability of the US to take a stance against internet censorship worldwide.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we learned more about how the Sony rootkit came to be, and weren't that surprised to discover that other Sony copy protection tech also had big issues — plus, the rootkit had caught the attention of Eliot Spitzer, and new information revealed that Sony knew about it before it went public. The FCC suddenly changed its tune on a la carte cable programming, with plenty of people weighing in from televangelists (opposed) and Cablevision and AT&T in favor. Meanwhile, ratings giant Nielsen was finally acknowledging the existence of DVRs and introducing its now ubiquitous live-plus-x-days ratings for TV shows.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 1 December 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 264: A More Competitive Web, With Cory Doctorow & Daphne Keller

from the different-framings dept

This week, we're having another conversation about how more decentralized, interoperable, and competitive systems could help restore the original promise of the open web — and this time around we've got a pair of guests with perspectives that are related to, but distinct from, the protocols, not platforms idea that we talk about so much. Author Cory Doctorow has been discussing adversarial interoperability or competitive compatibility, while Stanford's Daphne Keller has been proposing magic APIs, and both join this week's episode to discuss what all these things are, how they differ and relate, and how they could save the web.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 30 November 2020 @ 12:35pm

Get 25% Off CIA: Collect It All, The Real CIA Training Game Recreated By Techdirt

from the sale-time dept

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All
with the code HOLIDAY2020 »

In 2018, we launched a Kickstarter to fund CIA: Collect It All, our recreation of a real declassified card game that the CIA used to train analysts. Today, we're running our second annual holiday sale, offering you 25% off boxed copies of the game with the coupon code HOLIDAY2020.

CIA: Collect It All is a tactical card game with over 170 cards representing global crises, intelligence gathering techniques, and unexpected obstacles to an analyst's job. It includes a set of rules for playing the game the way it was played for CIA training, and a new set of alternate rules that turn it into an improvisational storytelling game. In addition to the boxed game, you can also get the print-and-play PDFs for free or any price you name, and make your own copy!

Get 25% off your copy of CIA: Collect It All
with the code HOLIDAY2020 »

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Posted on Techdirt - 29 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the takesgiving dept

This week, That One Guy took both top spots on the insightful side, winning first place with a response to Sherwin-Williams very stupidly firing the employee who made paint mixing cool on TikTok:

'... Wait, where did that sales spike go?'

'This man is making videos of our products and driving a ton of positive attention to them, what should we do?'

'Fire him, how dare he think of stealing our product for his personal gain!'

'He's not only paying for all of what he's using he's donating it to charity afterwards, providing double the PR gain for us.'

'Did you just suggest that I was wrong about something?

'Nope, I'll get right on firing him for his impertinence.'

In second place, it's his response to the court denying immunity to cops who beat and tased an unresisting man to death:

The rule stands: 'Only call the cops if you want someone dead'

That this even needed to be said shows how utterly corrupt and horrifying the US legal system is. There is video evidence of half a dozen thugs with badges either beating, tasing and ultimately murdering someone suffering a psychotic break or sitting back and watching while that went on and it had to be explicitly ruled that no, that does not fall under acceptable police behavior which means that yes, they can be tried and potentially face consequences for their actions.

Good on the judge for not falling for the legal abomination that is qualified immunity, but the fact that a case this damning even needed a circuit judge to rule on it shows just how utterly vile the law has become and how insanely privileged and protected police are from even the chance of consequences for their actions. With a corpse to point to, testimony of the store owner and video evidence of what took place this should have been the shortest murder trial in history, rather than something that higher courts needed to weigh in on and that still needs to go to court.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got two more comments from that first post, including a followup from That One Guy. But first, commenter jonr arrived with an important update:

Yay for Florida Paints

And there's an update: In a video just posted to his account, Anthony says he has now been hired by the company Florida Paints and will be moving to Florida to help make their paint cool. So there's at least one paint company that gets it.

...Which prompted this rejoinder from our dominant insightful winner of the week:

'First our sales tank, now theirs is spiking, what's going on?'

Oh that is just too good, not only did Sherwin-Williams fire someone who was providing great PR for their brand but they ended up driving him directly into a competitor's arms in the process, leaving nothing but bad PR for them as the new employer gets all of the good.

Whatever exec made the decision to fire him really needs to be shown the door post-haste, as while it may be too late to recover from this fumble with 'leadership' like that they're going to 'lead' the company straight into bankruptcy.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Beefcake with another comment on that same post, summing up the situation thusly:


Paint saint complaint restraint attaint.

Update: Aquaint

In second place, it's an anonymous comment about Parler that may have been intended as a joke but was more likely just so-stupid-you-have-to-laugh — garnering it plenty of reports and a whole lot of funny votes:

Parler is a free speech capitalist platform providing a good safe space using moderation, based off the FCC and the SCOTUS
Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are Marxist platforms, providing bad safe space using communist censorship.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of other comments on that post. First up, it's a observer with a direct response to that winning comment, pointing out one of the most obvious ways that it's very dumb:

Yes, the multi-billion dollar private corporations are /checks notes/ Marxists. Do you even look up the words you use before typing them?

Next, it's TheResidentSkeptic with a response to one particular piece of phrasing in our post, in which we suggested Parler is learning the same lessons that Twitter has learned:

Wanna Bet?

"... Parler is learning ..."

Methinks you give them too much credit...

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 28 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 22nd - 28th

from the timelines dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the attacks on encryption continued, with David Cameron's former speechwriter publishing an incredibly dumb article in the Telegraph and Dianne Feinstein contradicting her month-old fearmongering about cybersecurity with demands for encryption backdoors — while a supposed ISIS encryption manual that people had been freaking out about turned out to be a guide for journalists. Meanwhile, we learned about widespread illegal wiretaps by police in California, and that reports of the end of NSA domestic email collection were incorrect — and, long before he was the Supreme Court's most prominent alleged rapist, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was offering up a strident defense of the NSA's bulk metadata collection.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the TSA was on everyone's minds thanks to its still-new naked scanners, which suddenly had the support of the president after he traveled with the CEO of a company that makes them. Some were trying to find out if the TSA had ever actually caught a terrorist, and being told it's a state secret, while the stories of incredibly invasive and demeaning searches for people who don't get scanned continued to flood in. One airport tried to claim that recording the TSA's gropings was an arrestable offense, and the agency's attempt to demonstrate to congress that the searches are fine completely backfired — and Homeland Security investigators were discovering that TSA agents weren't even good at spotting prohibited items in the scans.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we continued to watch the fallout from the Sony rootkit fiasco, with anti-virus firms trying to explain why their products couldn't catch it and the state of Texas filing a lawsuit against Sony, all while the label's sales plummeted and got it in hot water with many of its artists. TiVo was trying to thread the needle with a new offering that included copy protection but it unsurprisingly wasn't enough to stop TV executives from threatening to sue. And finally, for anyone who is currently trying to get their hands on a next-gen console, enjoy this fifteen-year-old post about people paying thousands for Xbox 360 consoles on eBay.

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Posted on Techdirt - 22 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the whatcha-sayin? dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That One Guy with a response to the UK politician who launched the "Infotagion" fact-checking service and called for social media companies to start blocking disinformation with his help:

No no no you wannabe dictator it's called The Ministry of Truth, you can at least get the gorram name right if you're going to rip off the rest of the book.

In second place, it's an anonymous comment summing up the general frustration a lot of us feel regarding the Senate's attitude about Section 230:

It frustrates me to no end that these people:

A. Scapegoat 230 to hide the fact they have a problem with free speech.

B. Are using said section to try and distract from their utter failure to provide their constituents ANY sort of relief aid or help of any kind.

It's amazing that in a time where there's a pandemic, record unemployment, high body counts due to said pandemic, a housing crisis just to name a few, they're focused on carving up Section 230.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous response to someone asking what the harm is in Disney's abuse of copyright:

Announce that you are going to create an animated movie based on the works of Rudyard Kipling, and watch how fast you get a threatening letter from Disney's lawyers

Next, it's Thad reacting to GitHub and the EFF pushing back against the youtube-dl takedown with a note for another platform:

See, Twitch? This is how you do it.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Bloof with a response to someone who insisted their opinion will "not be swayed" when it comes to Trump firing Chris Krebs after the latter debunked claims of election fraud:

'My feelings don't care about your facts!'

In second place, it's Thad with a good ol' Simpsons reference in response to the aforementioned UK politician's impossible content moderation demands:

Agnes Skinner: I want everything in one bag.
Squeaky-Voiced Teen: Yes, ma'am.
Agnes: But I don't want the bag to be heavy.
SVT: I don't think that's possible.
Agnes: What are you, the Possible Police?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with Dave and another comment about the youtube-dl pushback:

It was at this moment the RIAA knew…

…it EFF-ed up.

Finally, it's an anonymous comment carefully reacting to the Trump campaign's ridiculous SLAPP suit against CNN:

In my opinion...

Disclaimer: The following statement is my opinion and my opinion alone. It is not a statement of fact.

I, being the person writing this statement of opinion, that being a statement not of fact, would like to say, as a matter of opinion, that it is the non-factual opinionated perspective of myself that this lawsuit is, in my opinion, but not factually, bullshit.

The preceding statements have been my opinion only and not statements of fact. The preceding sentence declaring that the preceding statements were an opinion is factually true, that is, it's a fact that the preceding statement were an opinion, in my opinion.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 21 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 15th - 21st

from the on-the-record dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the world was reeling from the Paris attacks that killed 130 people. Unfortunately, many were also treating it as an opportunity: haters of encryption quickly started somehow blaming Edward Snowden, and defenders of the surveillance state began using the attacks to justify mass surveillance and push to expand it (which France had already done twice in the past year. Senators were moving to legislate backdoors to encryption and extend NSA programs, and Manhattan's DA got in on the act with a white paper seeking an encryption ban... and then it turned out that the Paris attackers had coordinated via unencrypted text messages. The whole thing was a failure of the intelligence community that had long been fighting for surveillance despite little evidence that it works. But this didn't stop anyone from treating encryption as a bogeyman, and by the end of the week France had rushed through an internet censorship law and Hillary Clinton had vocally joined the anti-encryption brigade.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, in keeping with its strategy of pretending the government can save it, the entertainment industry was ramping up its astroturf campaigns and generally lying about stuff in order to supportthe COICA online censorship bill that was back up for another vote later in the week. As was expected, the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with COICA, and Ron Wyden was one of the few senators speaking out vocally against the bill and saying he planned to block it. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown were seeking more information on the legality of certain provisions in ACTA (the latest text of which still had plenty of issues) only to be stonewalled by the USPTO, while many defenders continued to insist that ACTA didn't need Senate approval anyway because it was somehow not a treaty.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, things just kept getting worse for Sony in the wake of the rootkit fiasco. First, it turned out that the copy protection rootkit included copyright-infringing code. Then, security researchers discovered that the web-based uninstaller Sony was offering opened up a new and serious security hole on users' machines that would let any other website easily hijack them. The rootkit was looking like it might be the most widespread malware of the month and finally, after dragging its feet for over a week, the company announced that it would pull all CDs with the rootkit from stores, and offer swaps to people who bought them, but it really felt like too little, too late. By the end of the week, Sony started offering unprotected MP3 downloads in exchange for the CDs in a final attempt to make good, which seemed like a fittingly ironic end for a misadventure that began with music DRM.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 18 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 263: Is The Techlash Over?

from the and-what-exactly-is-it dept

This week, we've got another panel discussion for you, with Mike joining Georgetown Law fellow Gigi Sohn and panel moderator Zach Graves of the Lincoln Network (both also former podcast guests) at the Reboot 2020 conference to discuss the "techlash" — the public opinion backlash against big tech — and try to figure out what exactly it is, and where it's going in the future.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Posted on Techdirt - 18 November 2020 @ 11:42am

New Gear On Threadless: Fire In A Crowded Theatre

from the you-can-indeed dept

Get your Fire In A Crowded Theatre gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

You've heard it said, usually in defense of some sort of restriction on free speech, and often by people who really should know better: "You can't yell fire in a crowded theatre!" There are a whole lot of reasons that it's a terrible phrase that should have died a long time ago (see Popehat's thorough explanation) but they won't all fit on a t-shirt, so our gear offers a simple rebuttal. It's an old favorite design that we're relaunching today in our Threadless store: You Can Yell Fire In A Crowded Theatre.

As always, the design is available on t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and other apparel — plus various cool accessories and home items including buttons, phone cases (for many iPhone and Galaxy models), mugs, tote bags, notebooks, and of course face masks.

Check out this and our other gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

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Posted on Techdirt - 15 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the speak-now dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Bruce C. with some thoughts on whether inaccurate polls are a kind of misinformation:

Some meta-discussion...

Interesting that the polling error(s) may be worse on this election than in 2016, but Biden's popular vote was big enough that the pollsters still picked the right winner...

If we define misinformation as simply false information regardless of motivation or cause, this means we need a deeper classification of types of misinformation.

Some possible examples:
1) 20/20 hindsight: Best knowledge available that later turns out to be false. Erroneous polls partly fall into this category, but may fall into others. Another example is changes in scientific theory over a longer time period like Newtonian gravity vs. Relativity.
2) Errors in modeling. This is where one of your underlying assumptions is incorrect in your theoretical model and your information is based on the model. This is the charitable explanation for the initial CDC recommendation that masks were not a good method to prevent spread of COVID19.
3) errors in data collection - Garbage in, garbage out. But there can be different reasons for bad data: for example collecting survey data from the wrong distribution of respondents can be caused by poor understanding of the voting population, or by not being able to poll certain sections of the population due to lack of response.
4) Glass half-full/half-empty - letting your preconceptions color your interpretation of the results.
5) Sensationalism: A constant problem in the media where they emphasize the most extreme/unexpected information even if that's only a small portion of the whole story.
6) Out of context - often related to sensationalism. Technically true, but only under limited circumstances.
7) You should have known better. Publishing something as fact with insufficient research. Negligent disregard for the facts.
8) Lies, damn lies and statistics. - straight disinformation. Willful disregard for the facts.

In second place, it's an anonymous comment about a classic PC game that can't be sold today due to IP uncertainty:

I think the important takeaway is this: These companies MIGHT own the rights but won't look because it's too much effort BUT will find out who does so they can sue them.

Is it any wonder people don't respect copyright?

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with another nod to Stephen T. Stone for sharing another third-party joke:

2020: look guys this is a time for unity not finger-pointing


Next, it's That One Guy summing up the nonsense around the photo of a certain gun-toting couple:

'That thing we're super proud of is damaging our reputation!'

They felt so proud of pointing guns at a bunch of protesters that they printed the picture on christmas cards, and now they want to complain that the knowledge that they were threatening to kill a bunch of people has been harmful to their reputation?

Just a tip you self-centered psychopaths, if you're going to claim harm from something it helps if you aren't boasting about it, as that kinda undercuts the whole claim.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Stephen T. Stone passing along a new twist on a famous phrase, based on Donald Trump's event location snafu, and the neighbors they ended up with:

Or as I saw it said elsewhere: “Between a cock and a charred place.”

In second place, it's Stan responding to a supposition we made about Devin Nunes voting against anti-SLAPP:

What about his cow?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got a pair of comments about why the Trump team seems to have forgotten all about TikTok. First, it's an anonymous suggestion:

They did not forget, they have much more important things to deal with. Right now they are working 24/7 on stopping the caravan.

Next, it's Bloof with a reply to that comment:

They're working 25/8 on building the wall too!

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 14 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 8th - 14th

from the hindsight dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we looked at early warnings of the EU's all-out attack on hyperlinks, while the silly Monkey Selfie lawsuit was winding forward, and a new surprise player entered the copyright fight over Happy Birthday. The MPAA's attempt to sneak SOPA in the back door was rejected, but the agency was getting cozy with the House Judiciary Committee. And we looked at the unsurprising trio of industries that most loved the TPP agreement.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the USPTO was going in the wrong direction when it came to standards for patents, while we were sad to see the MIT Tech Review come out in favor of patent trolls. We saw some examples of overly draconian punishment with a sentence of 30 months in prison and over $50,000 in fines for a DDoS attack, an arrest in Japan for a leak of a new Pokemon character, and a university promising to report file sharing to police and warning students about five-year prison terms — so it was a good week to also take a look at just how insane statutory damages for file sharing are.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, Sony was not-really-dealing with the fallout from the previous week's rootkit fiasco. As a class-action lawsuit was being prepared, the company was flubbing its media response and claiming rootkits aren't a problem because most people don't know what they are — never mind the fact that virus writers were already taking advantage of Sony's technology to hide their tracks. This prompted some to take a deeper dive into Sony's EULA, and find some ridiculous provisions like requiring you to delete all your music if you go bankrupt. Finally, at the end of the week, the company was browbeaten into "temporarily" stopping production of the rootkits, though apologies or admissions of wrongdoing were not forthcoming.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 11 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 262: An Open Protocol For Web Monetization

from the evolving-business-models dept

Recently, Techdirt began a new monetization experiment with Coil. It's a system for making payments on the web, but it's not just another micropayment service layered on top of existing technology — it's part of a broader effort to create an open standard for web monetization based on the Interledger network protocol. This week, we're joined by Coil founder and Interledger co-creator Stefan Thomas to explain how an open protocol for payments could change business models on the web.

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Posted on Techdirt - 8 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the so-sayeth dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is wshuff with a response to the complaint that Sci-Hub has no incentive to ensure accuracy or ethical standards of research papers:

Oh, you mean like that time Elsevier published fake journals?


In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with a simple response to our post about how a lot of people who think they have problems with Section 230 actually have problems with the first amendment:

I have but one response to this article:

A-fuckin’-men! 🙏

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with another simple comment on that article, this time from an anonymous commenter responding to someone who brought up the supposed free speech implications of "being denied access to a large audience":

The 1st amendment says nothing about being granted an audience!

Next, it's PaulT responding to a comment about the lack of unbiased "mass media" (labelled as "Fact #1"):

Fact #2: there in not any source of truly neutral, unbiased information anywhere. If you think that your favourite non-mass media source is completely unbiased, I'd check your wallet because you've been conned.

The trick is to understand the inherent biases in the sources you visit and temper them with sources with different biases, not to pretend you don't have the bias problem.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Thad with a response to our post about the interesting and valid question raised by Shiva Ayyadurai's lawsuit against a Massachusetts official, and specifically to the development that he is proceeding pro se:

Well, you know the old saying: anyone who represents Shiva Ayyadurai has a fool for a client.

In second place, it's an anonymous response to some fearmongering about all the bad that will happen under Biden/Harris:

Sure, Jan.

Just like Obama took all your guns, Hillary was locked up, Mexico paid for the wall, and you repealed and replaced Obamacare with my sooper dooper Trumpcare.

At some point, when you're that wrong, people start thinking you're full of shit.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous comment offering the only reasonable explanation for modern copyright law:

I think copyright is to encourage the author to continue creating new works even many years after their death.

Finally, we've got Khym Chanur in a thread started by a certain commenter who believes that anyone with a gap in their comment record is some sort of fake bot or sockpuppet — this time with someone who responded noting that "I don't comment often, although I read this site most everyday and normally find comments I would have made already made":

Pfft, real people don't let "I have nothing new to add to the discussion" stop them from cluttering up the conversation.

That's all for this week, folks!

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Posted on Techdirt - 7 November 2020 @ 12:00pm

This Week In Techdirt History: November 1st - 7th

from the from-the-archives dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the UK government released its "Snooper's Charter" surveillance bill after pretending it had backed down on the worst provisions — when in fact the bill mandated backdoors to encryption and aimed to legalize over a decade of illegal mass surveillance. In the US, documents from the DOJ confirmed the extensive powers of Stingray devices, while legislators were moving to turn the agency's "guidance" on the devices into law. The think-tank behind SOPA was now pushing for the US to encourage other countries to block the Pirate Bay, while attacks on Section 230 were still mainly the realm of some law professors. And then the biggest release of the week came on Friday: the full, very bad text of the TPP.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, we were surprised to see the DOJ weigh in against gene patents, and the USPTO was not happy about it. The Jammie Thomas trial got its third jury verdict with another huge award of damages that highlighted how the framing of the jury instructions changes everything in such a case. A YouTube star was being threatened by music publishers claiming parody isn't fair use, a reality show was sued for copying an idea, and a pizza shop sued a former employee for "stealing" their recipe — while librarians in Brazil were forcefully speaking out against copyright, calling it a fear-based reaction to open access to knowledge. Also, this is the week that the proposal of a Right To Be Forgotten started making the rounds in Europe.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the FCC okayed the big telco mergers of SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI, while SBC was making demands of Google, and Sprint was launching its mobile broadband network. The movie industry was trying to plug the "analog hole" and Congress appeared to be going through the motions to appease them without much enthusiasm. But the most memorable development of the week was the discovery that Sony's new copy protection on CDs was a dangerous rootkit, and that other malware could piggyback on it, and that the same DRM was on CDs from other companies... all of which forced Sony to scramble to release a "patch" which didn't really fix the problem, and which itself turned out to come with a bunch of highly questionable baggage.

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Posted on Techdirt Podcast - 3 November 2020 @ 1:30pm

Techdirt Podcast Episode 261: How Would You Regulate The Internet?

from the no-easy-answers dept

There are countless debates raging over every aspect of internet regulation — questions of social media moderation, net neutrality, antitrust, copyright, privacy, and plenty more — and the election happening right now is going to have a huge impact on those debates. This week, we're joined by international policy expert and former European Parliament member Marietje Schaake for a long conversation that starts out focused on criticisms of Facebook and quickly expands into a far-reaching look at what the next generation of internet regulation might look like.

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