Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the ghost of copyright past dept

Christmas is almost here, and we’ll be off for a couple of days—but hopefully this week’s excellent comments will be enough to tide you over until we return! Way out in the lead on the insightful side, we’ve got The Infamous Joe on our post about the RIAA’s attempt to rewrite the history of copyright. Joe stepped into the seemingly-neverending debate over just what kind of right copyright is, asserting the simple reality that copyright maximalists persistently dance around:

Maybe I’m confused. How can it be a natural right if it requires a government for it to exist?

Perhaps I don’t understand what a natural right is, but I thought it was a right that needed no government to give it.

Nope, you understand it perfectly. Of course, while copyright is clearly not a natural right, the UN chose to include creators’ moral rights as a human right—a questionable decision in and of itself, but that’s a whole other debate. Not to mention the other other debate about whether human rights are the same thing as natural rights. It’s kind of a mess.

The first place comment was inspired by the RIAA, and the second place comment was inspired by the MPAA—specifically their claim that the insane volume of DMCA takedowns they send to Google is proof that the search engine isn’t pulling its anti-piracy weight (or pushing its weight, since it’s a Sysyphian endeavour). Fogbugzd suggested that the MPAA try out the scientific method for once:

Here is an experiment that the MPAA could try. Go on a 6-month hiatus. Stop sending out DCMA notices (or paying other people to do it for you). Leave other things the same, such as DVD prices and your deals with streaming services. See if movie revenue jumps from things like DVD sales and streaming. If you are right then piracy should blossom in the absence of notices and your profits will spike. Then you might have a case against Google. What do you have to loose? Obviously your current strategy is not working. A plus is that you would save the money that it costs to send all of those DCMA notices. You might even find Google and other potential partners a bit more willing to make a deal with you.

And then here is an experiment for the next six months. Stop playing with release dates and geographic restrictions for six months. Give windowing a 6-month vacation. While you are at it, provide Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other streaming services some decent programming for the period. See if profits climb or piracy rates plummet. A bonus here is that during this six months you can save all the money it takes to manage, implement, and finance the windowing and regional restrictions.

Unfortunately, the industry has entangled itself in such a messy web of antiquated contracts and overbearing laws that such an experiment is probably impossible.

For Editor’s Choice, we’ll start with another comment from the same post, because it brings up an important aspect to the Google DMCA issue that people are starting to forget. Since all the talk lately has been about the volume of requests, there’s been less mention of the even-more-important fact that Scote brings up: it’s not at all clear why indexed links to infringing content should need to be removed in the first place:

Links are not infringing
I suspect that millions of the take downs are for *links* to websites that have infringing content as opposed to infringing content hosting by Google itself. Google shouldn’t have to take down links as they accurately reflect what is on the web. Should Google maps have to remove the street number of an alleged crack house? No. The street numbers aren’t a violation. Nor should Google be removing links.

Maybe instead of complaining that Google isn’t magically making piracy disappear, the MPAA should be happy that it’s not fighting back against their questionable campaign to target the algorithmic middleman.

For the second Editor’s Choice, we go back to Monday’s post about El-P’s Twitter rant on the state of radio. Faux Real gave his own perspective on why things haven’t changed:

The problem is the ever loving quest for dollars vs. artistic innovation.

It’s hard for monolithic corporations to react to today’s faster moving trends. They’re too entrenched in demographics and their tried and true methods of market manipulation. Not to mention that for the moment it’s still working for them.

Despite all the great new music out there they still choose to flex their power over the media industries. Music is a powerful medium and when coupled with visuals they still have a huge stick to beat people with. Look at all these music reality TV shows, or the integration of pop music into network television soundtracks. They don’t have to listen to the underground… yet.

They still have the powers of money, market saturation and fame. There will always be artists, DJs and celebrity endorsers willing to compromise themselves for a piece (for some there was never a goal of self expression but to cash in). It all works well with manipulating herd mentality and envy.

When the underground finally bubbles up to the surface with something that’s so intriguing and exciting that the mainstream has to pay attention they can cherry pick what they want, package it and sell it to the masses. (I find great irony in the way marketers can take the DIY nature of punk and hip hop then turn it into slogans like “Be original, drink Sprite.”)

A recent ridiculous example is DJ Shadow getting booted off the decks at The Mansion nightclub in Miami. This high profile club booked him on his broad reaching fame. Then kicked him off 20 minutes into his set to appease their bottle service crowd. They feasted on his street cred and make a few bucks off his fans. This is the 2nd high profile DJ they did this to this year and the word is now out. I’m not sure if their loss of underground attendees and DJs boycotting them will hurt much. But it’s a start.

But all is not lost, their greed is their downfall. If they keep ignoring the creative class, they will continue to become incrementally irrelevant. They can’t stop the march of progress, they can’t stifle innovation. Technology is leveling the playing field in terms of distribution and publicity.

I urge everyone to go out and support your favorite musician/producer/DJ by going to their shows and seeing them in person whenever you can. Seeing actual smiles and hearing praise in person can do a lot to keep them motivated. Not to mention keep them fed. Keep spreading the word and welcome new people into your scene because everyone has to start somewhere.

That comment gets extra points for the hilarious mental image of a Miami bottle service crowd’s confused reaction to DJ Shadow—which serves as a rather good segue into the funny side of things, where both top comments take us on long trips down sarcastic rabbit holes.

In first place, we’ve got Robert on our list of successes that didn’t rely on copyright. Robert took a shot at contributing to the copyright propaganda mill, while partially channeling one of our more notorious trolls:

The generality is quite simple, piracy has devastated the music business and the 2.1 million people it employs in the USA alone (95% are lawyers). It’s gotten so bad that Aimee Mann has taken to cleaning houses, it is true, I saw it on TV.

The movie industry, despite losing $17 billion per month since the 1970’s when the VCR strangled women at home, has lost 3.7 million jobs each year! Catering companies and florists, for example, can’t find any other company to have as customers. They only service the movie industry. No one else. They are also laying people off (in addition to the 3.7 million per year) and closing up shop.

It’s all Google’s fault because they won’t limit searches to just the legitimate content, and after its windowed release of 96 days because the longer people wait, the more they want it. They don’t have other sources of entertainment. Seriously, videogames were a temporary fad, only supported by comic book collectors like that guy on the Simpsons.

There are no real success stories or those in the list would have brought back all those jobs and billions in revenue.

We all know Pirate Mike and his TechDirt minions are the real people behind Google’s power and takeover of the Internet for the sole purpose of stealing intellectual property.

It’s all part of the Streisand Effect, as outlined in Wikipedia.

There is no quality of art outside of the corporations and all you pirates want to do is destroy what’s left so there’s nothing but cigarbox music about the long lost days when artists were swimming in money thanks to our now broken system. It’s all your fault you evil pirates! We’ve bent over backwards to see straight and you still steal us blind.


Not far behind in the voting, Mesonoxian Eve took second place with a clever re-interpretation of the perennial “let’s blame videogames” political philosophy:

We can definitely start blaming games for the state of the country.

First, there’s Monopoly, as played by Apple, RIAA, MPAA, Monsanto, and any other company which feels competition isn’t the American dream.

Second, there’s Mouse Trap, as played by the FBI, NSA, and ICE, who either builds their own traps to catch the mouse, or is lead through the game by others, oblivious of what’s in store.

Third, there’s So You Think You’re Smarter Than A 5th Grader, which many in our Congress constantly play, but fail.

And Finally, there’s Life, which the rest of us play. Except we don’t get the same results of the actual game. There’s a hidden wheel, under the main one, which inflicts a heavy toll on the wheel we get to see. For example, you’ll roll and draw “Company does well. Get $50,000 bonus.” and the hidden wheel says, “Health Care Reform Act, higher taxes, erosion of Middle Class reduces bonus into the negative, forcing player to owe.”

Yeah. Let’s blame games for everything. /sarcasm

For Editor’s Choice, we’ll start with an earlier post on the same topic, where an anonymous commenter highlighted the absurdity of the argument with the help of yet another popular game:

Remember when all the kids were determined to become farmers during the Farmville boom?

(Though I wouldn’t be surprised if some grew up to become Skinnerian psychologists.)

Finally, we move to our post about US IP Attaches complaining that not everyone buys into their views on IP. I’ve always been a fan of the quote (I don’t know who said it) “diplomacy is the art of letting other people have your way”—but Baldur Regis provided an excellent alternative courtesy of an immortal entertainer:

Diplomacy is the art of saying nice doggy until you can find a rock.

– Will Rogers

And with that, we’re out! We’ll be returning with regularly scheduled posts on Wednesday as we get ready to release our big year-end round-up post.

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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It’s hilarious how here on Techdirt, the laws of economics seem to apply to everything but copyrighted content.

If the war on piracy means inflicting a less enjoyable experience pirating (scarcity of illegal content due to enforcement, dealing with sketchy sites, popups, malware, etc.), there will be more sales, as many of the people that pirate are doing it because of sheer greed; they actually have the money and opportunity to purchase, but rip it off instead. But as these people absolutely want the content, they will pay.

The ugly reality for the zealots here is that enforcement does result in more sales. And that’s why no one except the willfully blind are surprised when content owners pursue enforcement. It works.



Someone has never heard of scanlations and other such things, that fill a market niche that is underserved. Economics only works if everyone is a “rational” actor. There are those who will infringe regardless: however, a good number of those who infringe do so because the options available are either:

a) inconvenient;
b) unreasonably priced: or
c) have no legal supply.


Re: Re: Re:

Translation: “Everyone who doesn’t just hand money over to IP maximalists is a dirty greedy pirate millionaire who has the money to buy their content but is just cheap and regardless of what evidence you bring, my livelihood still depends on me being able to blindly support the IP maximalist line despite the absurdity of my own arguments.”

Yes, grouping everyone who can’t afford all the content they download and/or can’t easily obtain all the content they download legally in with greedy pirates will convince them to get better jobs and move to other countries just so that they can give your corporate overlords more money.

Robert Doylesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I like your thinking, James. But you are missing the point they are always trying to make – when you bought those things you were entering into a contract with them that only you could watch/listen to those discs (notice I didn’t say “enjoy” because they take no responsibility if they create tripe and you are a sucker who buys it based on a well-made trailer or sound-clip). You would be stealing from them if you denied them the right to make more money off of me. You must be a pirate.


Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d like to add that it should be DRM free, so I can download it and read/listen/watch it any way and anywhere I like. And preferably downloadable in different high quality formats.

Reasonably priced is one thing, but if I can’t be sure what I’m buying will still be mine in the future I’m not buying it either.


Re: Re: Re:


The point is that economics only works if everyone plays by the rules of economics. Monopolist and mercantilist behaviours are expected, but aren’t really necessary for a successful content industry.

Treating everyone like a criminal is not a positive behaviour and only accentuates the problem with certain elements of the current media industries.


Re: Re: Re:

No need to convince anyone, after all sales of music only got up after the labels started giving away music for free everywhere ­čÖé

Also you should read how small content creators get screwed by systems created to cater to only the big players.

Even when you create something and allow others to use it, the corrupt big media companies comes in and take all the pennies from hard honest working people, now that is a shame.



By the way, I should really say that yes of course: copyright is going to give the rights holders a lot of profits indeed (which could just be the corporations, not necessarily the artists… gatekeepers can have artists signing away their rights so easily like that). But what you must understand is that just because copyright can give people profits does not make it morally right. It also does not mean that copyright is the ONLY way in which artists (and indeed, corporations) can obtain profits, let alone the BEST way.

Allow me to turn your attention to something called ticket-based admission. This is a form of creativity that has no reliance on “intellectual property” for profit whatsoever since people are paying to go see something that by definition they will only see once. In other words, it is a market that treats creativity as services, not goods.

Apply this principle to the internet, where each computer is a seat in a theatre and crowdfunding websites form the stage, and you get a system where even corporate shrills like Justin Bieber can potentially obtain millions independently of his promoters simply by Tweeting what he is doing. “I have an album finished and ready for broadcast! If you all put in a fair share, I’ll put it on YouTube and in the public domain if you wish! You can all hear it and do what you want with it! Here’s a single from the album to give you an idea! Oh, by the way, tickets to my shows are now ONLY going to be for people who place a big enough bid here…” And numerous, numerous kids will flock to place a bid for a “virtual ticket” each. Not to mention certain radio companies placing bigger bids if it means they can play the songs without permission… let alone other numerous companies. The advertising potential here is also huge.

And as with all tickets… if the album isn’t “put out there” for some reason (act of God, etc), everyone gets their money back.

So, no. Copyright is not the magic wand that you think it is. It is an oppressive tool of power that has no just place in the creative world. We can do just fine without it.



Less enjoyable experience? What are you talking about? If I download a film via The Pirate Bay, I don’t have to tolerate 15 minutes of trailers, a unskippable propaganda film telling me how I’m probably a criminal (even though I bought the DVD I’m watching), being forced to watch it wherever there’s a suitable DVD player (I would like to watch the film I bought in a different country. And on the plane there. And on my mobile while waiting for it. It’s a really good movie, ok?), being forced to wait months after I leave the cinema having watched it and enjoyed it (seriously here – why wait months? If I want it enough to buy it in a few months, I want it enough to buy it now)..

I’d go so far as to say pirating a film is way more enjoyable than buying it.

Enforcement has never worked. From the Prohibition to the recent closure of the UKPP proxy, enforcement hasn’t done a damn thing with regards to availability of the item in question and there’s nothingto suggest that more enforcement will, so we can lose that argument. Sketchy sites? Well, TPB is pretty trustworthy. Loads of stuff there, too. Really low levels of malware (which is identified as such on the comments), AdBlock sorts out any unsavoury popups..

Yes, I have the money to buy it, but if I’m buying it, I want something that is better than what I can get when pirating. I’ve already outlined the problems with films above, so with regards to music, Amazon gives you 256 mp3s, requires you to install their own downloader and then it automatically adds the music to Windows Media Player, which I don’t have. On the other hand, I can go to Pirate Bay and have FLACs playing in VLC in minutes.

I’m not much of a gamer so I can’t comment on the newer games, but older PC games are just download, install crack and off you go. Pretty comparable to buying the physical disc and installing it yourself, except you don’t have to wait for it to arrive.

Last but not least:

enforcement does result in more sales

Citation needed.


Re: Re:

Copyright by its very definition is a restriction on the free market, and I find it rather pathetic that believers in Copyright call others Communists when Copyright is far more Communistic with its government-subsidised monopolies and subsequent destruction of markets. That is why file-sharers discover so much more than copyright-based models ever can.

I am a Leftist, I would say. But I know that the free-market perspective has to be the right one to take here (pun not intended..). The government does have just cause to be involved with a lot of things, such as a degree of redistribution, but I know an unjust government intervention when I see it. Copyright is an undue burden that never had any evidence to support its claims: “BEST way for incentives!”… sometimes “ONLY way for incentives!”

Extraordinary claims require… well, we damn well know what they require.


Re: Re: Re:

Even if that were true, I am willing to bet anything that “greedy pirates” give more money to artists than those who believe in Copyright law do.

It is possible for me to buy a CD from ebay, play it on my stereo whenever I want, get all the experience out of listening to it, then sell it again to get my money back and repeat as necessary… without breaking a single copyright law. This is no doubt a secret hypocritical fetish that copyright believers will probably have.

And on the other hand you have tons of scientific evidence that suggest both a) that the internet has dramatically increased the sales of media and b) that those who file-share are likely to give more money to artists than those who do not.

Don’t claim a moral high horse that you cannot mount.



It’s hilarious how here on Techdirt, the laws of economics seem to apply to everything but copyrighted content.

No, what is really hilarious is that we believe that the laws of economics should apply to content and you don’t.

You believe that the laws of economics should be subverted in an attempt to guarantee an income for a priviledged group.



IP laws are an attempt by the worthless middlemen to be the only content distributors in town. If they do that they get to profit from all the work of others. That’s partly why they’ve been using it as a pretext to shut down megaupload among other perfectly reasonable services that help both content creators and the public. It’s not merely an attempt to prevent people from making copies of existing content that they (would like to) control, it’s also being used as an attempt to prevent the creation and distribution of competing content.

In the same way that the middlemen have coerced our government into passing one sided IP laws and have used them to prevent restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers without paying a worthless third party middlemen an extortion fee, in the same way they have abused these one sided IP laws to prevent bakeries from allowing children to draw custom pictures on their birthday cakes because they may draw an infringing image of Spongebob (the horrors), in the same way that they have wrongfully gained government established control over both cableco infrastructure and broadcasting spectra, IP laws and other anti-competitive laws have wrongfully been used as a means to control both content and its distribution.

The end result is less content at higher prices. Artists lose and the public loses.

“And that’s why no one except the willfully blind are surprised when content owners pursue enforcement.”

IP laws should not be about serving IP holders (or content ‘owners’), and they should not be about serving content creators, they should only be about serving the public interest. and this last point is a good reason why they should be abolished, because they have been turned into something intended to serve IP holders and people other than the public interest. These laws are not being used to serve the public, they are mostly being used to funnel money away from content creators and towards middlemen who do nothing to earn it.



And your ilk have somehow managed to turn the war on piracy into something that regularly makes the legitimate process such a painful experience that people either pirate or go without. DRM, blank media levies, advertisements and laws that assume everybody is a pirate. Yes, even those who buy the products legitimately.

You’ve managed to turn what was meant to be a “war on piracy” into a “war on consumers”. Few can achieve that level of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot sort of fail. Congratulations.


Re: Re:

lol. Every one of those is there for one reason and one reason only: the behavior of pirates.

And pirates are also to blame for any net/IP legislation that infringes upon the behavior of law abiding netizens.

It’s no different than gun-control: law abiding citizens having rights contained because of bad actors.


Re: Re: Re:

“Every one of those is there for one reason and one reason only: the behavior of pirates.”

Yes, it’s very reasonable to punish everyone for the actions of some people. That always goes over well.

You know who punishes whole groups for the actions of some members? Elementary school teachers and totalitarian dictators. So the copyright holders either think of their customers and potential customers as children and/or a subjugated population.

“And pirates are also to blame for any net/IP legislation that infringes upon the behavior of law abiding netizens.”

You don’t get to corrupt the democratic process to pass laws that infringe on human and constitutional rights just because the non-feelings of your non-human corporation got hurt and then blame “pirates” for the legislation. That’s an inherently patronizing perspective of the population.

You basically admitted that you have no respect for the representation of citizens in our government. You are actively supporting the disenfranchisement of citizens… all because your corporate overlords can’t get their business models into the 21st century.

“It’s no different than gun-control: law abiding citizens having rights contained because of bad actors.”

Um… Violating already immoral copyright laws is nothing close to killing innocent people. You severely need to examine your moral compass if you think that the two issues are even close.


Re: Re: Re:

Funny, then, that those initiatives which were supposedly put in to target pirates have absolutely no effect on them. Pirates don’t have to bother with DRM or whining about how the industry is dying. (Wait, aren’t you the one claiming that recorded music sales are up?)

What you’re advocating is shooting civilians because you failed to find someone who committed littering. Any person with some sanity, rationale and reason can see that’s incredibly stupid, doesn’t solve the problem and makes you look like an ass.



“It’s hilarious how here on Techdirt, the laws of economics seem to apply to everything but copyrighted content.”

No, what’s hilarious is that you can’t see that piracy is the direct result of the laws of economics applying to copyrighted content. It would take an extraordinary lack of understanding of economics to claim otherwise.

“If the war on piracy means inflicting a less enjoyable experience pirating (scarcity of illegal content due to enforcement, dealing with sketchy sites, popups, malware, etc.), there will be more sales, as many of the people that pirate are doing it because of sheer greed; they actually have the money and opportunity to purchase, but rip it off instead. But as these people absolutely want the content, they will pay.”

What amazing hubris. Your mistake is thinking that this stuff is more important to people than it really is. You’re right that people may have the money, but they may also choose to prioritize what they do with that money. They may choose to spend it on things like mortgage/rent, food, healthcare, their or their children’s education. Y’know, important stuff. What’s left over might get spent on entertainment, if there is enough left over of course. Or it might get spent on something from an industry that offers better value for money. The entertainment industry (not artists generally) massively overvalue themselves and their content.

“The ugly reality for the zealots here is that enforcement does result in more sales. And that’s why no one except the willfully blind are surprised when content owners pursue enforcement. It works.”

Willfully blind or spectacularly ignorant? There is no evidence whatsoever that enforcement works to increase sales. I < \/>might sometimes reduce piracy (usually temporarily though) but it will never increase sales. You cannot force people to buy stuff. If I decide I don’t value something enough to pay the asking price for it, threatening me with punishment if I pirate it will not make me decide to buy it. I’ll happily do without thanks, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of other options.


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

Did you read that article?


Why scour around on shady Russian MP3 sites for the Cloud Nothings album, when you can easily find it on Spotify or listen to most of the tracks on YouTube for free?

Basically is saying that after labels were forced to capitulate to the pirates and give them free music without DRM sales pick up again LoL



The ugly reality for the zealots here is that enforcement does result in more sales. And that’s why no one except the willfully blind are surprised when content owners pursue enforcement. It works.

This ignores the deleterious effect upon sales that enforcement causes amongst those who have no interest in pirating, but likewise have no interest in supporting an industry that attacks its very customers.

While a grocery may be able to dramatically reduce shoplifting by executing random strip searches of its customers, any shop owner who hopes to remain in business recognizes the obvious folly of such an approach.

Re: Insane Troll Logic

It’s amazing. One post on a topic (the first) and nearly ever sentence is incorrect.

the laws of economics seem to apply to everything but copyrighted content.

Techdirt has always said that the laws of economics apply to everying, especially copyrighted content. Copyright is a government-granted monopoly on what is naturally a public good, which means it is not free market capitalism. See: Fixing Copyright: Is Copyright A Part Of Free Market Capitalism?

If the war on piracy means inflicting a less enjoyable experience pirating (scarcity of illegal content due to enforcement, dealing with sketchy sites, popups, malware, etc.), there will be more sales

There has never been any evidence that this is true. It may result in less piracy, but less piracy does not equal more sales.

many of the people that pirate are doing it because of sheer greed

Except for the fact that every independent study has shown that pirates legally purchase more content than non-pirates. The people pirating “because of sheer greed” are in fact the content industries’ best customers. See e.g. Dear RIAA: Pirates Buy More. Full Stop. Deal With It.

Also: How do you describe consumers acting in their own rational self-interest “sheer greed,” yet claim that we don’t think economics applies to copyrighted content? The fact that both consumers and producers act in their own economic self-interest, is the founding principle of free-market capitalism. It’s not “greed,” it’s the “invisible hand.” It’s no more immoral than media companies charging for culture in the first place.

The ugly reality for the zealots here is that enforcement does result in more sales.

There is not a single shred of evidence that says this is true. Especially if that “enforcement” results in a worse experience for legitimate customers. DRM and such may stop a small amount of piracy, but it is much more likely to alienate paying customers, resulting in fewer sales. If the DRM is particularly intrusive, it will actually drive people to pirated versions, which don’t have DRM. (I remember exactly this from 2002 or so, when Waves had DRM that could blue-screen your computer. Recording studios had a mantra of “buy the software, use the crack;” how do you think that affected people who weren’t professional recording studios, and had less of a risk with using pirated software?)

More enforcement doesn’t work. And that’s just stuff like DRM. If the costs of “enforcement” are intrusions into our civil liberties, then fuck your sales. Human rights, civil liberties, and an open Internet are more important than higher sales ever could be. If securing them means an increase in piracy, then tough shit for you.

John Fendersonsays:


It’s hilarious how many of the copyright maximalists ignore the fundamental objection to copyright maximalism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not it’s possible to pirate. It has everything to do with collateral damage.

You say “it works,” but to my mind, whether or not it works is only a tangential point. The main point is that the enforcement actions being taken are causing real harm, both in terms of money and liberty, to innocent people whether or not they are even exposed to or desire the content at all.


Re: Re:

It actually teaches a lesson about the social evils of property. The concept of owning property grants people the right to exclude others from the resources that property encompasses. If that property contains essential resources that provide for human needs, it gives the owner the power to indenture others to their service for access to those resources, specifically when all means of production are held by a minority and the general populace has no other means to satisfy their human needs. The more property they own, the more people they can indenture. You become a slave to the people that control the food, energy, shelter, and health care. You must work for them and make their lives lavish in order to gain access to these resources or you starve. What’s worse, the harder you work, the less you get, and the more lavish their lives become.

Quite literally, property is a mechanism that enslaves people.


Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s beginning to not be the case though. We are moving towards greater automation. Eventually, the entirety of our infrastructure (e.g. food, energy, shelter, etc.) will be provided for us by autonomous machines that require very little human oversight. We will no longer have to work in order to live. It’s not really that immensely necessary today, but our capitalistic economy forces us to do so.

That leaves the human race free to pursue technology, science, biotech, philosophy, engineering, art, and so on at a greater rate that will continue to accelerate as we spend less time and labor on the processes that sustain us. We waste a lot of human potential on the mere laboring for the means to sustain ourselves when a fully educated and engaged society, free of the need to labor for its own existence, would be able to levels of productivity beyond what a simple laborer can do.

I can understand if anyone might have a reactionary response to the idea that property is the cause of many of our problems, we have had an attachment to the idea of owning things pounded into us all of our lives. Having the idea of property ingrained as a deep personal belief and considered a basic human right makes it hard to see how irrational it is. Everyone should be very skeptical of the concept of property and it should have to prove its merit to exist in our society compared to other alternative social models.


Maybe I’m confused. How can it be a natural right if it requires a government for it to exist?

Perhaps I don’t understand what a natural right is, but I thought it was a right that needed no government to give it.

I think that is an interesting point, but also it’s easily falsified. However, I agree with the underlying point.

Slavery was abolished by governments. I think we can agree that before and after that event, the same relevant natural rights existed (albeit ignored beforehand).

Indeed, in many parts of the world sexual slavery still exists in the form of human trafficking.

The fact is that in many cases natural rights are not magically observed in the absence of government protection, but that doesn’t mean those rights don’t exist.

Again I agree with the underlying point but the explanation simply does not stand to scrutiny.



Natural rights sometimes require the formation of a government in order to protect that right because in a state of anarchy, anyone with might can violate the natural rights of those who are weaker than them.

In a state of nature, one caveman can see another caveman’s cave drawing and go home and draw his own version and do whatever he likes with it. It’s only when a government monopoly is set up to restrict such “copying” that copyright comes into existence.


Re: Re: Re:

I remember reading about “Lota??o” which is old vans serving as mini-buses, it was illegal to compete against the big companies operating in the cities at the time, but people needed to make money and so they started doing it against the law, defying law enforcement in the process, eventually Brazil legalized it and tries to regulate it.

Kombi ? Between the Taxi and the Bus
Wikipedia: Share Taxi
Welfare Analysis of Informal Transit Services in Brazil (PDF)

There was a natural need for people to work, regulation was forbidding that by granting exclusive rights to some and not others.

That was contested by a large number of people inside society and the end result was that the government could not coupe with it and found it easier to just let go and try to regulate it instead since it could not stop it.

The strong always reaffirm their needs.
For humans the strongest are the ones that have more numbers.

There are certain needs that all people have.

Freedom and liberty.

Exclusionary laws goes against both, no matter how much spin-doctoring is done to the contrary.

So for better or for worse the only natural law relevant here is the needs of the many, which will be the ones contesting the laws of the few and are the ones capable of actually enforcing their own laws in a scale that no government ever could.


“The ugly reality for the zealots here is that enforcement does result in more sales. And that’s why no one except the willfully blind are surprised when content owners pursue enforcement. It works.”

Maybe in your world it works but not in mine. When sue-em all started, it so turned me off to the music majors, I ceased then to buy all music and never returned to buying. It so disgusted me that I want not one penny going to them of my money. That is a ‘it works’ that is repeated quite often as I run into them on the net.

Understand, I don’t want to waste the bandwidth on downloading music in case somehow the above was over your head. What I really want is to see the major labels go bankrupt. As in no longer exist.

Now that works.


Funny things at X-mas time

I walked in to Radio Shack to get a couple stocking stuffers for my 7 year old nephews. They were having a buy one get the other half off sale. So as the cute little blonde cashier was ringing me up I was looking around and didn’t notice if the second toy came up half off. So i proceeded to ask her if the second toy was 50% off. She rolled her eyes and said, “Sir… the promotion is half off the second toy, and yes it came off.”

It is Christmas time and it took all I had in me just to smile, say thank you and have a merry Christmas.

So to Blue, AJ, and boB, [Smile] Merry Christmas.

And to the rest of you have a wonderful Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza, and a happy new year.


Maybe I’m confused. How can it be a natural right if it requires a government for it to exist?

yes, if you say “Maybe I’m confused”.. then clearly you ARE CONFUSED.

Copyright existed a LONG TIME BEFORE you Government existed !!!!!..

so it DOES NOT REQUIRE A GOVERNMENT for it to exist !!!

is that why your confused ?



and I not you are focusing on the “natural’ part and not the RIGHT part..

whether it is natural, Statutory, regulatory, contractual, common-law, or cultural or by the legal rights held by others..

what is still is, is a RIGHT..

it is also a natural right as it does not require a Government to exist for it to exist, all it requires is for someone to write something down (original) and declare that they wrote it, they have a NATURAL right to say what I wrote, in my own words, I OWN !!!!..

you have that right, Government or not.

So I have to conclude the same as you have, maybe you’re confused

Maybe your right..


Re: Re:

That is the only right you actually should have, not the right to extort money from others that copy it and create markets for it, not to stop others from using it, not to create laws that erode others property rights.

You are entitled to the fruits of your own work not the work of others if they copy it and do so with their own resources you should not be entitled to any fruits of that labor since you done none, you are however entitled to be acknowledge as the first to write it, not anything else.


Re: Re:


whether it is natural, Statutory, regulatory, contractual, common-law, or cultural or by the legal rights held by others..

what is still is, is a RIGHT..

That is only true if it applies equally to everyone, since most people actually lose their rights I doubt that will be a “right” for much longer, if the dumb people start to make a fuzz about it.


Re: Re:

On the subject of attribution, copyright law today is an disincentive towards that.

Nobody in their right mind should ever say they got inspiration or derived anything from nobody with the current laws or face the prospect of being sued by some crazy people with entitlement issues that believe nobody should earn a living by creating derivatives from something else.


Copyright existed a LONG TIME BEFORE you Government existed !!!!!..

Um, what?

Copyright did not exist until after the Statute of Anne was passed in 1710. Governments existed long, long before that. As did authorship and publishing.

If you’re talking about the U.S. specifically, copyright generally did not exist in the colonies (the Statute of Anne didn’t apply to colonial law). The first general copyright statute to be enacted by any State was the one in Connecticut, enacted in 1783. Many states did not enact copyright statutes until after the signing of the Constitution.

So, no, copyright did not exist a long time before our government existed. And if you’re talking about a post-publication monopoly on printing specific works, then the Supreme Court repeatedly and explicitly said that there is no common-law copyright, and it is not a natural right. It is a “creature of statute,” and can be granted or taken away at will by Congress.

So, yes, copyright does require a government to exist. Without government statutes, neither publishers nor authors would have (or ever had) the “exclusive right” to publish and distribute specific works.


Re: Re:

so your saying that copyright is a NATURAL RIGHT, and throughout history Government have recognised that FACT.

no one is arguing that Governments recognise copyright and a RIGHT, but it existed before governments, and Governments recognise that FACT they making copyright valid within their government structure, and ensure those rights are upheld.

Copyright has always existed, making it a true natural right, Governments can ratify that right into law, and uphold that natural right, but because they do does not change the fact that it IS a NATURAL RIGHT..

Not that ANY of that matters, the most important thing that was show is that whatever it IS, it is a RIGHT

You have a RIGHT TO LIFE, do you think that is a natural right or a Government mandated right ?

After all, Governments have laws against the taking of life, so does that mean your RIGHT TO LIFE is not a NATURAL RIGHT ???

But nice try .. better luck next time.

Re: Re: Re:

so your saying that copyright is a NATURAL RIGHT, and throughout history Government have recognised that FACT.

Uh, no, that’s the opposite of what I said.

Copyright is not a natural right. If it were, it would exist in the absence of legal statutes. It does not, and never did.

Copyright has always existed

No, it has not. The “exclusive rights” of authors did not exist before 1710 in England, did not exist before 1783 in the U.S., and did not exist until much later in Europe. It is not, and never was, a natural right.

You have a RIGHT TO LIFE, do you think that is a natural right or a Government mandated right?

That would be an example of a natural right. Human beings were alive long before governments existed.

If a government denies the right of human beings to be alive – that is, if it determines it can take lives at will – then the government is acting against the natural rights of mankind. The same can’t be said about copyright. A government might never grant a post-publication monopoly on creation and distribution, and nobody’s natural rights would be infringed upon.


Re: Re: Re: Re:

The “exclusive rights” of authors did not exist before 1710 in England

While an exclusive copyright vesting in authors did not exist in Anglo-American law before the Statute of 8 Anne, that’s not what you wrote in your earlier comment. In your preceding comment, you wrote:

Copyright did not exist until after the Statute of Anne was passed in 1710.

There’s a subtle difference between these two contentions. And while I agree with one, I disagree with the other.

In English law or custom, the Stationer’s copyright did exist before 1710. It just did not vest copyright in authors. Rather, the Stationers’ copyright accrued to publishers.

Craig Joyce and L. Ray Patterson explain this in, among other places, ?Copyright in 1791: An Essay Concerning the Founders’ View of the Copyright Power Granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution?:


A. The Stationers? Copyright

A convenient (if not strictly accurate) date to mark the beginning of Anglo-American copyright is 1556, the date that Philip and Mary granted a charter to the guild of London stationers to create the Stationers? Company.?.?.?.

?.?.?. for present purposes the main point is the unusual amount of power that the Charter gave the stationers. They were given the power, among others, to burn unlawful books and to destroy unlawful presses. These powers, combined with the usual authority of London companies to enact ordinances for their governance, gave the stationers the authority to maintain order within the company by rules providing who had the authority to print what, and thereby to create copyright as a private property of tradesmen.?.?.?.

In short, the hallmarks of the stationers? copyright were monopoly and censorship (in the hands of publishers as agents of the government) with no public ownership of, or access as of right to, any works?defining characteristics of that regime to which the entire subsequent history of English and American copyright law are but a reaction.

B. The Licensing Act and the Statute of Anne

The high water mark of public law support for the stationers? copyright was the Licensing Act of 1662?.?.?.?.

This Joyce and Patterson essay is perhaps not the best for a complete history: Both Patterson and Joyce have written elsewhere on copyright history, as have other authors. But I have the link handy, and the essay suffices.

Again, the point is that the Stationers’ copyright begins in the 16th century, and traces its history through Star Chamber decrees, and through the Licensing Act of 1662, as a right of publishers. After the final expiration of the Licensing Act in 1695, the statute of 8 Anne is remarkable in vesting copyright in authors.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s a subtle difference between these two contentions. And while I agree with one, I disagree with the other. […]

Again, the point is that the Stationers’ copyright begins in the 16th century, and traces its history through Star Chamber decrees, and through the Licensing Act of 1662, as a right of publishers.

Keep in mind the A.C.’s original topic of discussion: that copyright is a natural right of authors.

Yes, the Stationers’ Monopoly and the Star Chamber decrees certainly did influence modern copyright, and the Statute of Anne in particular. But this had absolutely nothing to do with “natural rights.” It certainly had nothing to do with the rights of authors, and it’s also inaccurate to say that it had anything to do with “a right of publishers.”

The only “rights” the Stationers’ Monopoly was securing, was the right of the Crown to censor speech. This is overtly stated in the Royal Charter of the Company of Stationers itself, right in the first sentence:

Know ye that we, considering and manifestly perceiving that certain seditious and heretical books rhymes and treatises are daily published and printed by divers scandalous malicious scismatical and heretical persons, not only moving our subjects and lieges to sedition and disobedience against us, our crown and dignity, but also to renew and move very great and detestable heresies against the faith and sound catholic doctrine of Holy Mother Church, and wishing to provide a suitable remedy in this behalf […]

I sincerely doubt that the original A.C., or yourself, think that the ability of the government to censor “certain seditious and heretical books” is anything approaching a natural right.

If you do consider copyright to be an offshoot of the Stationers’ Monopoly, then you must admit that copyright is an infringement on natural rights. The right to free expression is universally considered to be a natural right, and there’s no question that the Stationers’ Monopoly was a mechanism by which free expression was quashed.

Likewise, if you look at a history of the printing press in the Colonies, you’ll find that more often than not, individual Colonies had overt licensing schemes in order to censor and control the press. (In New York: “And for as much a great inconvenience may arise by the liberty of printing within our province of New York, you are to provide by all necessary orders that noe person keep any press for printing, nor that any book, pamphlet or other matters whatsoever bee printed without your special leave & license first obtained.”) Such licensing schemes originated in England, and they were one of the reasons that the Founders felt the need to pass the First Amendment.

It was under this type of scheme that John Usher gained the first individual “copyright” in 1672. In the explanatory preamble, not a single word was spoken about authors’ or publishers’ rights. Instead, the monopoly was granted as a subsidy for publishing copies of the state laws:

Mr. Joh Vshur hawing binn at the sole chardge of the impression of the booke of lawes, & presented the Gunor, magistrate, secretary, as also euery deputy, the clark of he deputjes on, & Capt Dauis one, the Court jedgeth it meete to order, that for at least this seven yeares, vnlesse he shall haue sold them all before that tjme, there shallbe no other or further impression made by any person thereof in this jurisdiction, vnder the poenalty this Court shall see cause to lay on any that shall adventure in that kind, besides making ffull sattisfaction to the sajd Mr. Jn. Vsher or his assignes for his charge & damage therein. [Old-timey spelling unchanged.]

Most of the other ad-hoc “copyrights” were granted for exactly the same reasons: Bladen’s Privilege, the North Carolina Printing Privilege to Commissioners, and the New York Law Printing Privileges were all set up explicitly as a government subsidy to specific printers in exchange for publishing the state’s laws. (The New York privileges, in fact, did not grant the “exclusive right” to publish, but instead subsidized specific printers directly.)

Copyright is, and always was, a government-granted monopoly privilege, enacted primarily for utilitarian reasons. It is not now, and never was, any kind of “natural right” of authors.


Re: Re: Re: Re:

The “exclusive rights” of authors… did not exist before 1783 in the U.S.

It is indeed fairly-well agreed that the earliest general copyright statute in the U.S. was Connecticut’s ?An Act for the Encouragement of Literature and Genius? of 1783.

But that is not the earliest copyright act in the American colonies. Though the Parliamentary statute of 8 Anne did not apply in the colonies, the American colonies did have their own capable legislatures. And as William Patry points out, the Massachusetts General Court enacted a private copyright bill, for the benefit of one printer alone, as early as 1672.

In 1672, the Massachusetts General Court, the colony?s legislative body, perhaps to save expenses, turned to a private printer, John Usher. In order to protect himself against piracy, Usher petitioned the General Court to give him a monopoly for his work, The Book of General Lawes and Liberties. The General Court responded positively on May 15, 1672, by granting him the following printing patent:

Enacted, That no Printer shall print any more Coppies than are agreed and paid for by the owner of the Coppie or Coppies, nor shall he nor any other reprint or make Sale of any of the same without the said Owner?s consent upon the forfeiture and penalty of treble the whole charges of Printing and paper of the quantity paid for by the owner of the Coppie, to the said owner or his Assigns.

Usher is said to have been unsatisfied with the 1672 law, and to have petitioned the General Court for more specific legislation. The next year he reputedly was granted such protection for a period of seven years.

So, you see, the history is a little more complicated than just a simple statement that there was no copyright in America before 1783. That’s not, of course, the exact statement you wrote, but an unenlightened reader could fairly read your statement that way.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh, and fwiw, Oren Bracha’s commentary on ?John Usher’s Printing Privilege by the Massachusetts General Court 1672? seems in rough agreement with Patry on this point.

Bracha writes:

John Usher’s grant ? is sometimes referred to as the first American copyright

That is not quite a definitive, scholary statement that Usher’s grant was the first copyright in the American colonies, but rather a more cautious statement that omits mention of whom it is who refers to Usher’s grant as ?the first American copyright?.

Mesonoxian Evesays:

Re: Re:

“Copyright did not exist until after the Statute of Anne was passed in 1710. Governments existed long, long before that. As did authorship and publishing.”

But the one thing everyone overlooks regarding this fact, is the distributors of the era were manipulating the government just as the MPAA/RIAA (et al around the globe) are doing today.

One of these days, these governments will wake up and realize two things: they work for the people and businesses are not people.



yes, if you say “Maybe I’m confused”.. then clearly you ARE CONFUSED.

Copyright existed a LONG TIME BEFORE you Government existed !!!!!..

so it DOES NOT REQUIRE A GOVERNMENT for it to exist !!!

is that why your confused ?

I am confused now – what is confusing me is trying to work out exactly which universe you are from – since none of what you say is even vaguely correct in this one!


Re: Re: Re:

it’s the only way your going to win an argument !!!!

In your head maybe – but then your head seems to inhabit a different universe.

For reference:

When you begin an argument with a statement that is blatantly and demonstrably false then you have lost the argument before it even started.

I suggest you go read the contents of this site:

before you make any more ridiculous comments about copyright somehow existing without government sanction.




see the last word rights
rights are granted by something or someone…in this case we in society empower govt to give a limited time monopoly to artists to create

a labelled corporation hell bent on domination of the known universe all in the quest of every damn penny it can squeeze form little johnny and its family for generations.

NOT for an artist to make one thing and then sit for the rest of his or her life forever and do jack nothing.
YOU choose that life then work at it all your life till dare i say like the rest of us till 67

the real issue is nixon style bribes are now legal and the normal all one does is bribe both candidates in an election and your golden no matter whom wins, then you have corrupted not only democracy but the results.

the democrats and republicans should all be hung for treason on the american people..
we might even find out what the heck is going on at groom lake ….


In the mass media, Hollywood celebrities show what they think about people.

People are folder to get some laughs.

Those are the people who want respect?

The same people who call everybody a thieves apparently have no problem allowing it to happen inside their own house.

Mike Masnicksays:


In the mass media, Hollywood celebrities show what they think about people.

People are folder to get some laughs.

Those are the people who want respect?

FWIW, that story seems totally blown out of proportion. Some friend made a stupid video and that’s it. Now Gloria Allred, who is famous as a publicity seeking lawyer is turning it into a “thing.”

I’d imagine if you looked around at your own friends, they likely have made one or two stupid things in their time.


Re: Re:


2. My friends are good people. This was clearly a lapse in judgment which I’m sure no one who is reading this is exempt from. But, I don’t believe it was made to be insensitive. More so, I think it was made as a joke on me not having that many friends attending my own wedding (which IS kind of funny if you think about it).


What I see there is someone who doesn’t care.

When we do care we are not that polite.

I wonder what Matt Damon would do to a friend making a mock video of dysentery dying people in Haiti.

Even here we have the copyright trolls demonstrating how passionate they are about things when it is in their interests, they do care about copyright and the benefits it brings them and so they get all emotional about it.

Doesn’t matter that Gloria Allred is a bottom feeder either.

Using desperate people for laughs is just horrible.

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