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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our top comment on the insightful side comes in response to the latest story of a prison phone company recording privileged conversations and passing them o law enforcement. That One Guy was having none of their “technical error” excuse:

See this, I can actually buy. Tech can screw up in any number of ways, so it’s entirely feasible that an update would cause that sort of malfunction, and had they actually wanted to stop listening in, that should have been the end of it.

One quick phone call or email informing the company that the last update now has the service operating in violation of state law, a hurried patch, and a purge of any calls accidentally collected in the meanwhile and this would have been a non-story, nothing worth pointing out other than perhaps a sheriff’s department getting it right and acting honorably and legally.

That however, is not what happened.

You don’t excuse three years worth of illegally collected calls by dumping it on a ‘technical glitch’. They knew damn well what they were doing wasn’t legal, and they didn’t care so long as it allowed them to listen in to calls they had no business hearing.

The original ‘technical glitch’ was a mistake. Letting it stand for three years without bothering to try to get it fixed was absolutely not, and all those involved need the hammer brought down on them hard for such blatant indifference to violation of the law.

In second place, we’ve got John Roddy in response to the assertion that online platforms should be treated as the public square when “a rational committee of thought leaders and policy experts” says so:

That already happened. It was Congress when they debated whether or not to accept the proposed amendment to the Communications Decency Act that ultimately became section 230. And barely even a year later, the freaking SUPREME COURT upheld Section 230, despite striking down everything next to it.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, since he absolutely dominated the top ten leaderboard this week, we’ve got two more comments from That One Guy. First up, it’s a little retrospection following Paul Hansmeier’s guilty plea:

Ah sweet guilt-free schadenfreude…

With all the bad news coming from various courts these days it’s nice to see someone who does have it coming finding themselves in the legal cross-hairs for a well deserved hammering.

Looking over the details things look mighty unpleasant for good old Paul, with page 10 mentioning a possible eleven to fourteen years of prison(though the government apparently won’t ask for more than 150 months/12.5 years), and page 11 talking about making restitution for the entire scam they ran, not just what they’ve been convicted of, which is going to drain that bank account just a titch.

And that is the plea deal, the look on his face when he realized he wasn’t going to be able to talk his way out of this and had to agree to a plea deal to avoid things getting even worse must have been priceless.

The whole thing took entirely too long but better late then never, and always nice to start the week with a story for all to enjoy.

Next, it’s a comment from a conversation on that post after the subject of piracy as theft was raised:

The funny thing is I strongly suspect that if it came down to it a good number of the ‘copyright infringement is theft!’ crowd would not be happy if it was legally treated as theft, for two main reasons.

First, the standards of how the accusations differ are significant, and were infringement to use the theft standard mere accusation would not be enough, you’d have to demonstrate that you’ve in fact lost something.

Second, the fines would be vastly lower, mere pocket change in comparison. No more hundred or thousand dollar fines for a single song, instead even $100 would be in the upper range, with most fines being in the lower double-digits.

This in turn would impact the ‘losses’ certain groups like to trumpet about, cutting them to a fraction of their current amounts. No longer would a handful of songs cause tens of thousands in ‘damages’, rather you’d be looking at a few hundred at most, and trying to justify why you need even more laws passed in your favor with numbers like that would be a titch more difficult.

Over on the funny side, our first place comment is a bit of highly contextual satire, following a conversation in which Mike was accused of believing that “piracy is okay because you’re ripping off evil corporations”, and quoted this accusation in his reply along with a request to be shown where he’d ever said that. Michael was quick on the uptake:

You just did in that post – while at the same time copying someone else’s post. Now we have all seen it.

You are a crazy, inhuman, copy-loving machine.

Plus, you are a Google shill and I think you dislike cats.

In second place, we’ve got response from Nathan F to the judge who threatened to police a newspaper’s content day by day, line by line — which is a careful-what-you-wish-for situation:

The Sun should email Judge Scherer an advanced copy of the paper every night asking her to do her line edits and censoring before they send it to press.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start with a response from Thad to the bizarre suggestion that you can find out the truth about media bias by asking anyone who works for Jeff Bezos:

I asked my Amazon Restaurants delivery guy. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about and to please let him get back to work.

Finally, we’ve got Mononymous Tim raising the stakes on a classic trademark test in response to Heaven Hill Distillery’s lawsuit against Bob Dylan’s whiskey brand:

Not even a drunk moron in a hurry.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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