Rico R.’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 16th, 2021 @ 1:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    Don't forget that Netflix is also now a part of the MPAA. Maybe that could have something to do with this crackdown? After all, many other members are against password sharing. And that's not to mention that they want everyone to never pirate and pay for every movie they want to own and every single streaming service that has something they want to watch. And pay for their Internet connection to watch said streaming sites. And their phone bill. And their electricity. And their water bill. And their rent. And groceries. And anything else they need to support a family. And probably more. And put some money in savings. And have an in case of an immediate emergency fund. And pay for gifts and other things they might want to buy. All while working a minimum wage job.

    Tell me: Who has the ability to pay for all that under those circumstances? That's why piracy exists. Not because they're too lazy to go to the store. Not because they don't want to support the filmmakers/artists/creators of the content they consume. And not because they just want to get content for free. It's because if there was no piracy, they wouldn't consume the content at all. Period. So maybe ask them if they would rather have those who share passwords move over to a torrent site instead, and see how quickly they change their views.

  • Mar 10th, 2021 @ 8:56pm


  • Mar 10th, 2021 @ 5:19pm

    This case isn't just another bad fair use ruling...

    (Apologies for this super-long comment... I thought Techdirt wouldn't be publishing an article about this case anymore, and I've been thinking about this case a lot since the ruling first came down.)

    This case is proof that copyright lasts too long and is too restrictive. Mind you, under the original copyright term in the US, Oh, The Places You'll Go would be in the public domain right now. And so would a lot of the culture we grew up with and then some. But thanks to the lobbying of copyright maximalists, all this culture is locked away until well beyond our lifetime. And with the right to prepare derivative works encompassing nearly anything that is based on an existing copyrighted work, the only resemblance we have for reasonable copyright law is the fair use doctrine.

    But the problem with that is that fair use was never meant to carry such a heavy burden. Imagine if culture from the early 2000s back were public domain right now. We could build upon works in ways that aren't currently possible without permission. But because it's going to be protected for years to come, if we are going to build on existing culture still copyrighted, it has to be permitted under fair use. And under the 9th circuit's narrow view of the fair use doctrine (which is now sadly precedential), it's hard to imagine what could be allowed under fair use if it isn't something listed in the preamble or a parody. This is significantly affecting what kinds of new works can be created.

    And this ruling is already having a chilling effect on me... I'm a vidder, and while I'm convinced any of my fanvid's visual elements would likely be fine under fair use, under the 9th circuit's logic, the use of the song would be infringing. For that reason, I'm not sure I'll be creating or posting any more fanvids anytime soon. I've often described vidding as a sort of mutual transformation under the law in terms of copyright and fair use. By that, I mean the visuals transform the audio, and vice versa. The 9th circuit's ruling suggests to me that the visuals could be seen as transformative by the song used, but the use of the song would be infringing without permission. Good luck finding a publisher willing to license synchronization rights to you when the visuals aren't cleared. And not to mention the price range is likely out of reach for the average vidder.

    I suppose that you could always write an original song specifically for a fanvid. But 1, no one would likely watch it, 2, not every vidder is a musician, and 3, I doubt many musicians would want to write a song simply for a fanvid of other copyrighted material. Not necessarily because it's infringing, but because it could tarnish any sense of "professionalism" and "seriousness" in their craft as musicians. At least that's why I, also as a musician, don't like pairing up my original music on a fanvid.

    Before some copyright maximalist says, "So what? Copyright is meant to be incentivizing ORIGINAL creativity. Your use of existing works isn't original enough." Answer me this: What constitutes "original enough"? Cue the usual "sOmEtHiNg NoT bAsEd oN eXiStInG cOpYrIgHtEd MaTeRiAl." Okay, name 1 work created in the past 10 years that is 100% original. Go ahead, I'll wait...

    Spoiler alert: It's not possible. Every existing copyrighted work is at least partially based on another earlier work. And I'm not talking about Di$ney turning "The Ice Queen" into Frozen. I'm talking about how things like The Blair Witch Project inspired the film genre of found footage. Or how musicians are inspired by those that came before them. The laws of physics don't cease when it comes to creativity and storytelling; you can't make something out of nothing. (See the first law of thermodynamics)

    And that's what makes this ruling so problematic. Copyright is now censoring more works than it is incentivizing creativity, and perhaps that's by design. If fair use is going to remain the last stand many creators have against creativity that would otherwise be considered copyright infringement, this ruling must not be allowed to stand. I'm sincerely hoping they'll appeal to an en banc court and/or the Supreme Court. If they don't and/or fail at doing so, then the last hope is either an act of Congress (unlikely given the current ideas of copyright reform) or another copyright ruling the other way in a different circuit, which then must be upheld by the SCOTUS when resolving the circuit split. But until then, this is the end of fair use as we know it.

  • Feb 26th, 2021 @ 9:24am

    (untitled comment)

    SCOTUS this past week: Hey, 5th circuit... You messed up a lot of Qualified Immunity cases. We expect better from you.
    5th Circuit, looking at this case: **Fingers in ears** LA-LA-LA, I can't hear anything!

  • Feb 22nd, 2021 @ 10:49am

    Re: It's all fun and games until copyright maximalism goes too f

    I doubt that this would happen, but given how vague the language of the law is, it wouldn't be off-limits.

  • Feb 22nd, 2021 @ 10:47am

    It's all fun and games until copyright maximalism goes too far!

    Twitch better be careful... Under the new copyright law passed last year, the feds could charge commercial entity Twitch with felony copyright infringement, on behalf of Metallica, for allowing Metallica to play Metallica's music, without permission from Metallica. Would Metallica members then realize how backward it has been for them to push for draconian copyright enforcement online?

  • Feb 10th, 2021 @ 2:34pm

    I can't be the only one...

    Me, a TracFone customer: I know the major telecom players like AT&T and Verizon are notorious for simply being bad to their own customers, but I have TracFone. I'm glad I don't have to deal with those issues directly. (Takes a sip of water)

    Techdirt: Let's report on several state's concerns they shared with the FCC over the proposed merger between Verizon and TracFone.

    Me, spitting out water: Verizon's doing what now? How did I not know about this? I really should have seen this coming!

  • Jan 8th, 2021 @ 4:42pm


    Yes, SoundCloud is up on the top of the home page. Their podcast is hosted through SoundCloud. Whether or not they support them outside of paying for more storage space is beyond me.

  • Jan 6th, 2021 @ 11:24am

    What are you talking about?

    I've heard a rumor that this pub in question has been playing a song in a loop ever since they closed their doors: John Cage's 4'33". PRS must be wanting to collect fees from that!

  • Dec 29th, 2020 @ 4:18pm

    Tweets are more subjective than oral speech...

    The issue here is that no, Section 230 is nothing like the government "handing out immunity like a hunting license,"--

    When I read the senator's tweet in context, I don't interpret it as him saying that's what section 230 is today. Rather, I think it's a rebuke to certain "reform" efforts to section 230 like the dangerous EARN IT Act, which would give the government discretion on who does and does not get section 230 protections, and on what grounds. In the case of EARN IT, it would be like "a government panel handing out immunity like a hunting license". Just like there are certain conditions and safety training that goes into hunting licenses, the conditions under an EARN IT regime would be whether or not they handle CSAM in the correct way determined by a panel like the FTC. In other words, if you allow end-to-end encryption, you don't get section 230 protections. I read his tweet as rebuking such ideas, saying that section 230 shouldn't become dependant on the judgment of some government panel.

    Now, I make no claims about his actual section 230 bill. I haven't read anything about it or seen the text of the bill itself. But I will say that section 230 doesn't really need reform. As you explain in your article, section 230 critics seem to have a problem with the first amendment instead of section 230. Section 230 reform also isn't a vehicle for "reining in big tech". But I agree with the senator when he says that most senators (or even representatives in the house) don't actually understand section 230. And if section 230 is to be reformed (which it shouldn't be), such reform efforts must be handled with care.

  • Dec 18th, 2020 @ 5:07pm

    Re: What's the point of publishing the password?

    First, the password is so laughably guessable that it would be impossible to convey how laughably guessable the password was without actually saying the password. Second, simply publishing a password with nothing more is not inviting people to attempt to hack Trump's account. It would be different if Techdirt used language more inducing or inciting people to hack Trump's Twitter account instead of simply saying, "His password was MAGA2020!" And it should go without saying, but I'd imagine that Techdirt assumes no responsibility for others who try to hack Trump's account. They shouldn't have to implicitly say that for them to be in the clear. Indeed, if someone did hack something of Trump's, or worse, a secure area of the United States, I doubt that "Techdirt gave me the password" would be an excusable defense in court.

  • Dec 2nd, 2020 @ 1:57pm

    Re: But do you know WHAT was declared "un-Constitutional"?

    The part of the Communications Decency Act that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court was about censoring pornographic and other "indecent" content on the internet. That was struck down because it violated the first amendment. But the doctrine of severability saved section 230, as it should. The fact that part of the law was declared unconstitutional is not a reason that section 230 should be struck down. And as far as your other complaints, I think you're very wrong. Thankfully, I came across an article on this very topic that I think would prove helpful. It's on this technology and legal news site that's a bit small, so you might not have heard of it: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre- wrong-about-section-230-communications-decency-act.shtml

  • Dec 2nd, 2020 @ 10:44am

    (untitled comment)

    Oh, and then there's the claim about "election integrity" and... what? What the fuck does election integrity have to do with Section 230? The answer is absolutely nothing. He's just spewing words.

    Consider things from Trump’s perspective for a minute. Trump thinks “election integrity” as it relates to the 2020 election is about all the “voter fraud” and “election rigging” to “give” the election to Joe Biden. It’s this BS logic and not election security in the general sense of the word that Trump is likely referring to. Translation: Trump wants section 230 repealed not just because people are mocking him on Twitter to the point #DiaperDon is trending, but also because Twitter calls out his BS election conspiracy theories and false victory claims as just that: BS.

    In other words, no matter how you look at it, Trump’s problem is NOT with section 230, but with the first amendment. You know, the amendment to the Constitution he swore an oath to protect and defend? And he’s willing to defund the military unless he gets his way? No matter how unconstitutional his true wish is? January 20th can’t come soon enough! And I just hope Congress gets its act in gear, not succumb to the President’s temper tantrum, and can secure enough votes to override the impending veto.

  • Nov 30th, 2020 @ 11:58am

    Trump's child-like logic:

    "I am the President of the United States, who won re-election by a lot, and seeing that #DiaperDon is trending on Twitter is making me feel insecure. Therefore, Twitter is a threat to our national security! And if Twitter makes me feel insecure, I'll remove their security blanket, too. Bye-bye, Section 230. It's only fair!"

  • Nov 19th, 2020 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re: Another possible reason, and it affects the left as well

    ...do you have examples of anyone at any of those networks cutting off somebody's mic for talking about copyright and/or the DMCA?

    Specific examples, no. I was more or less being dramatic. My point was more so how big media TAKES ADVANTAGE of using copyright as a tool for censorship. There isn't one cable news network that isn't owned by a giant corporation with special interests in copyright maximalism.

    ...the vast majority of incumbents get reelected. But I'm sure they like the campaign contributions from the RIAA and MPAA.

    I probably shouldn't have used the word "needed". A better phrase would have been "politicians like positive news coverage so they can reach more potential voters and improve their chance of getting re-elected." And even in this case, sometimes negative news coverage is better than no news coverage. It takes guts for a politician to stand up to big media. But good point on campaign contributions from the MPAA and RIAA.

  • Nov 18th, 2020 @ 2:17pm

    Another possible reason, and it affects the left as well...

    Five: Big Media LOVES Copyright
    Suppose for a second that a major cable news network, regardless of political leaning or bias, invites on a politician who wants to talk about online censorship and how much of it is causing a problem. If that politician brings up section 230, they can stay on. Section 230 doesn't affect the MSNBC's, CNN's, and Fox News's of the world. Change that to copyright and/or the DMCA, they'll cut off the mic. Media conglomerates love copyright just as much as the MPAA and RIAA. That should be no secret.

    Furthermore, they see the rise of the Internet as creating a bunch of new competition for these networks. Section 230 helps the free and open internet. Stronger copyright enforcement hurts it. And as I stated before on Techdirt, politicians need positive news coverage so they can get re-elected. Talking about copyright hurts that prospect.

  • Nov 14th, 2020 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The article isn't accurate in statements abo

    Well, he's being charged as an adult, so obviously had the right to make contracts.

    Do you know what other crime took place in my home state of Wisconsin? The Slender Man stabbing case. The perpetrators of this violent act were tried as adults. In Wisconsin, certain crimes, including murder (called "intentional homicide" in the statute), require the defendant to be tried as adults. That does NOT mean that these pre-teen girls or Rittenhouse were of legal age to sign a contract at the time of the crime.

    By the way, anyone reasonable should note that NONE of the fanboys links to even Wikipedia: they don't care about the truth, just want Rittenhouse jailed without trial.

    Well, for starters, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. I hate to be "one of those people", and I do rely on Wikipedia quite a bit. It may be right 95% of the time, but it shouldn't be treated as Gospel truth. Any claim without a cited source should be considered suspect. And if you don't provide evidence of your claims, no one here will take you seriously.

    And as I've stated in several Techdirt comments elsewhere, I'm politically liberal. I also think that Rittenhouse's actions are abhorrent and that he's guilty of what he's been accused of. But I also believe that Rittenhouse should be given due process. It would be unjust of me to say otherwise.

  • Nov 13th, 2020 @ 3:55pm

    (untitled comment)

    ...the killing of Jacob Blake by police officers...

    This is incorrect. Jacob Blake is paralyzed from the shooting, but he is still alive. (Source)

  • Nov 11th, 2020 @ 1:16am

    Re: Haven't seen it, but assuming arguendo that it's problematic

    A problematic movie doesn't justify a problematic DMCA takedown of someone criticizing that movie; two wrongs don't make a right...

  • Nov 7th, 2020 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: DRM, anti-cheat software, drone flight restrictions enfo

    Well, it's certainly true that a non-zero number of students can't be trusted to not cheat, and the stakes involved with failing an exam are certainly higher than whether or not you listen to a song you didn't buy.

    I certainly agree with that statement. My problem with this software is that it operates under the assumption that you are going to cheat. Software alone isn't going to tell you whether or not a student was cheating, and I've seen some people on Twitter complain that their instructors are putting all their faith blindly in this software. It looks not only at what tabs you have open when taking an exam; it looks to see where your eyes are moving. I could easily see myself being accused of cheating by this software simply for looking away and slouching long enough while I try to think of the right answer. I'm no longer a student, though, and in some ways, I'm glad I've graduated already because then I won't have to deal with BS like this!

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