This week, after we talked about a worrying DMCA ruling for Zazzle, one commenter suggested that selling merchandise eliminates safe harbors, and compared it to an anime fan site. An anonymous reply won most insightful comment of the week by laying out the problems with that comparison:
Your comparison is a little silly, Zazzle isn’t a “fan site” where the material has an obvious source.
A user uploads an image to Zazzle, claims to have the right to use that image, and requests that Zazzle prints that image on a mug, all through an automated process.
You then expect Zazzle to be liable down the road if it turns out that the user did not, in fact, have the proper rights?
That’s an untenable position.
Of course, the original commenter there was clearly trying to be thoughtful and polite. Not so with a response to our post about ICE’s order to remove all undocumented immigrants, where a commenter whined about us “lefties” saying “to hell with the law” — leading Roger Strong to win second place with what I believe qualifies as an “epic smackdown”:
In 1990 President George H.W. Bush’s “Family Fairness” policy gave deferrals to 1.5 million spouses and children of immigrants given amnesty by Reagan in 1986.
In 2003/2004 it was Bush II’s turn to push for immigration amnesty. Almost half the Republicans in the US Senate were public supporters of AgJobs bill.
The Republican platform committee independently made immigration amnesty part of the Republican platform in 2004. (PDF link to the platform. Refer to the “Supporting Humane and Legal Immigration” section, where they say “We don’t support amnesty” while describing their amnesty.)
Bush II tried again in 2007. (“Republican former President George W. Bush’s effort to create a path to legal status for immigrants in the United States unlawfully failed in 2007”)
In the 2008 election it was McCain that wanted immigration amnesty.
In July 2010 it was Sarah Palin’s turn on the Bill O’Reilly show. Her plan was to make all illegal immigrants register. Those that don’t would be found and deported. Those that DO register would be allowed to continue to work in the US.
Rick Perry wrote an op-ed in the newspaper saying that he was open to Amnesty. He’s given speeches supporting an open border. “We must say to every Texas child learning in a Texas classroom, ‘we don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get there.’ And that vision must include the children of undocumented workers.” […] “President Fox’s vision for an open border is a vision I embrace, as long as we demonstrate the will to address the obstacles to it.”
In 2012 New Gingrich favored an amnesty for illegal immigrants who “may have earned the right to become legal.”
In 2013 Ted Cruz fought for legalization (work permits and green cards but not citizenship) for 11 million illegal immigrants.
Oh, those gosh-darned lefties.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got a response to the Australian prime minister’s word salad on the subject of encryption backdoors and our own not-quite-right thoughts on it, with an anonymous commenter drawing a critical distinction:
Definition of backdoor
“A back door is typically a flaw in a software program that perhaps the — you know, the developer of the software program is not aware of and that somebody who knows about it can exploit” […] That bit of word salad suggests that at least a tiny smidgen of actual knowledge made it into his brain. A backdoor is an exploit.
That’s not true. “Backdoor” normally refers to something that was known to the developer, and intentionally coded. What he’s describing is a bug (and an “exploit” would be a program that takes advantage of that bug). One could say that’s a de-facto backdoor but it would be at least a little unusual.
Clueless/lying politicians demand that cryptographers perform magic and defeat mathematical laws by creating mischief-proof crypto back doors, meanwhile they claim that it’s impossible to perform standard, run-of-the-mill zombie hunting that’s been standard practice as far back as at least the old BBS days.
Well, nerd harder yourselves.
Over on the funny side, our first place comment comes in response to Rob Reid’s new book being half-released for free on Medium. One anonymous commenter felt this kind of strategy might be too much of a good thing:
No, absolutely not. I refuse.
My to-be-read list contains more than 500 books right now, and hasn’t actually gotten any shorter since high school when I was reading close to a book per day. Do you have any idea what will happen if I have access to a large number of convenient, but not finished books? I’ll go insane and never finish anything ever again…
Thanks internet. Thanks a lot.
In second place, we’ve got a brief anecdote from Carrie underlining just how much the norms of television are changing:
True Story. My friend’s 5-year-old, raised on iPads with Netflix, said this yesterday:
“You know how Grandma’s TV has something called…channels? Yeah, I think it’s called channels. And there are breaks where they play commercials?”
That comment came in response to our post about NBC intentionally misspelling the names of shows in order to hide bad ratings from Nielsen, which is where we’ll remain for our editor’s choice on the funny side — a one–two punch from a pair of anonymous commenters, starting with:
Are you saying
that NBC has been caught with “fake views”?
That’s all for this week, folks!