Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

We’ve got a double winner on the insightful side this week, with PaulT taking both the first and second places spots. In first place is his response to our thoughts on why Netflix was unconcerned about the hacker trying to extort them by threatening a leak:

“That, in turn, is largely because Netflix’s flat-rate, relatively-inexpensive pricing model provides enough value that users don’t find piracy to be the superior alternative (read: they successfully compete with piracy).”

I’d expand on this in several ways:

1. Part of the reason why they compete with piracy is that it’s simply easier. The gap has lessened somewhat, but one way I found to introduce people to using Netflix instead of piracy was to demonstrate it. Find a torrent site, find a rip of the required quality, wait for it to download, see if your player supported the codec… or click a button, wait a few seconds and it starts playing.

True, this advantage has become somewhat eroded where streams rather than torrents have become a popular avenue, but as long as a title is on Netflix, it’s hard to say that piracy has any advantages if you’re already a subscriber. The pricing, wide device compatibility, international availability of its own content and other factors play a part, but the ease of use is the part that keeps people with them, I think.

2. The Netflix model doesn’t care if someone watches a pirated version of the show, so long as they continue subscribing. In order for them to lose money as a direct result of the leak, someone would have to either a) watch the pirated version and cancel their subscription as a direct result or b) watch the pirated version and decide not to subscribe when they were going to previously. For the 5th season of an established show, both of these scenarios are unlikely.

3. Even if it were likely, the Netflix model doesn’t depend on a single title. They have successfully leveraged a wide range of content that appeals to a wide range of people, so while a single title may attract them in the first place, it’s unlikely to be the thing that keeps them there. People cancelling the service simply because they caught up on OITNB a little earlier than expected is extremely unlikely, as is a large number of people only subscribing for the new season every year. Most people will stick around for reasons unrelated to this show.

It’s nice to see this. While other companies throw fits the moment it seems that someone may see their stuff without paying directly, Netflix has built the fact into their model. For all the false claims that the community here are pirates, that’s all we’ve really been saying. You cannot eradicate piracy, it has always been an issue, so accept it and build your model around reality.

I can only imagine how annoyed the guy must have been when Netflix basically told him “upload it we don’t care”!

“Its ambitions quashed by Netflix’s apathy, the hacking group is apparently moving on, and says it plans to now target other companies (ABC, Fox, National Geographic and IFC) whose content was also found on the compromised server”

“it doesn’t seem likely that any of the group’s efforts will amount to much of anything”

Let’s hope so. But, I’m betting that the reaction of at least one of those companies will act as a marked contrast to what we’re seeing here.

In second place, it’s his response to an angry commenter who questioned why we were covering the almost-immediate abuse of Australia’s data retention laws:

I know you’re a trolling moron, but a story about “the police openly broke the law the moment they had the tools handy to do so, just as predicated” is surely noteworthy even in your deranged obsessed mind?

“the AFP self-reported to the Commonwealth Ombudsman that we had breached the Telecommunications Interception Act.”

…although I think the real story here is that the police in Australia still had enough moral fibre to admit to the mistake the moment they realised, and still have a regulation body that has enough teeth to ensure they do this. Both of these things should be lauded, even if you personally think the breach was minor.

Let me guess, you’re one of the people who regularly rails against oversight and regulation here?

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment from that post, this time from Roger Strong responding to a question about why journalists get more “rights and privileges” than others:

Not rights and privileges. We accept that they have more protections than everyone else.

We accept that police have a few legal and physical protections that ordinary citizens do not. This is necessary to protect them from the criminals they are tasked to combat. Elected officials often get extra legal and physical protections too.

To prevent abuse and corruption there are checks and balances. We accept that journalists are one of the big ones.

We accept that journalists can keep their sources secret, because those sources are often whistleblowers telling of abuse and corruption. We accept that because journalists speak truth to power, they and their sources need protection from that power.

Yes, the age of blogs casual journalism has blurred the definition of journalist. But that’s only made the need to protect journalists more important:

Consider the movie Spotlight, about the Boston Globe’s investigation of systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. It’s been said that if the story happened today, it wouldn’t have been reported. The newspaper, with a much smaller subscription base and ability to absorb legal expenses, would have backed down in the face of Church opposition.

Next, we head to our post about Comcast unsurprisingly trying to hide rate increases in bogus fees, where jupiterkansas noted that the much-feared competition manages not to do this kind of thing:

Google Fiber doesn’t seem to have a problem advertising $70/month and charging exactly $70/month.

Over on the funny side, first place comes as another response to the Netflix extortion story, this time from Michael in the form of a dramatic interpretation:

Hacker: “Pay me $60,000 or I am going to advertise for you!!!!”

Netflix: “…”

Hacker: “That’s it! I’m starting my advertising campaign!”

Netflix: “…umm…ok.”

In second place for funny, we’ve got another comment from Roger Strong responding to the same comment as PaulT’s second place winner on the insightful side. That comment began “Again, I fail to see what the problem is here…” and Roger felt it could be truncated:

“Again, I fail”

Should’ve just stopped there.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about Verizon’s recent blatantly false video about net neutrality, where one commenter wondered just who these videos are made for and DannyB suggested one possibility:

Maybe the videos are for lobbyists to use to soothe the conscience of congress critters. The videos aren’t lying. They’re merely “optimizing” the truth. Just like they optimize your network traffic.

Finally, we’ve got a response from Ed to the news that Chris Dodd is leaving the MPAA:

I hear there’s a job opening at the Copyright Office…

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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