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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

We’ve got a double winner on the insightful side this week, with That One Guy taking on a pair of bad excuses from law enforcement. In first place, it’s his response to the Kansas Supreme Court ruling that officers can search houses without a warrant if they say they smelled marijuana:

“I love the smell of warrantless searching in the morning.”

Why do I suddenly suspect that claimed weed use is about to skyrocket in the state of kansas, as suddenly cops are going to be smelling it everywhere they feel like searching?

And all of this over a substance that multiple states have been sane enough to decide should be legal. Lovely.

In second place, it’s a response to the New York police union objecting to having to document their use of stop-and-frisk:

Telling objections

If simply documenting what they are doing accurately is considered a hindrance to the point that it would interfere with (what they imagine are) their jobs then that seems a pretty blatant admission that what they are doing wouldn’t stand up under any scrutiny, and as such they almost certainly shouldn’t be doing it.

Someone for whom a gun is standard gear had damn well better be mentally competent enough to document what they do on the clock, and if the incredibly low bar of recording their own actions is too much then clearly the job they are in is far beyond their ability. Any ‘cop’ who finds something that pathetically simple too difficult to manage deserves to lose their job and/or be fired for gross incompetence.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a long comment from cpt. kangarooski responding to another comment full of false claims about copyright:

[The US Constitution] recognizes the Right of Authors and Inventors to EXCLUSIVELY control their works. Period.

No it doesn’t.

The Constitution doesn’t grant copyrights and doesn’t mandate that Congress enact copyright law. It merely empowers Congress to do so, should it wish. That authority is then sharply limited in several respects. Here’s what it says:

The Congress shall have Power … to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

You’re misreading the “exclusive right” sub-clause. It doesn’t mean that they can “exclusively control” their works as though no one else can. An exclusive right is literally a right of exclusion. That is, the copyright holder (who may not be the author) can exclude other people from engaging in certain, limited, types of behavior with regard to the pertinent copyrighted works. It doesn’t mean that the copyright holder has control. It’s the difference between a shield and sword.

This is most clearly seen in the example of blocking patents. (In short, inventor 1 invents and patents an invention. Inventor 2 later invents and patents an improvement to the invention. Inventor 1 cannot use invention 2, and Inventor 2 cannot use Invention 1. Each one excludes the other unless they come to an agreement — or patent 1 ceases to exist, which frees up Inventor 2 to do as he likes.)

Another example would be a libelous book — the copyright holder can use the copyright to prevent other people from printing copies, and his copyright is never diminished in the least during the term, but he cannot himself print the book because it’s libelous.

There can be no quarter given to those with [the view that copyright is artificial in nature and, at the very least, so-called common law copyrights do not survive publication].

Well, that’s basically all copyright scholars then. The Supreme Court too, which rejected your ideas almost 200 years ago in Wheaton v. Peters, 33 US 591 (1834), which was, ironically, about copyrighting Supreme Court opinions — they said no, it cannot be done, and found in favor of the guy accused of piracy.

Since the creators have all of the moral basis which is on bedrock Constitutional law, pirates are not going to win.

There is no moral basis to copyright. It’s amoral, like an ordinance regulating what sort of fence your house can have.

The productive part of society has given pirates every opportunity to show restraint, but there can no longer be doubt: NO ONE WILL PAY IF DON’T HAVE TO.

Your grammatical error aside, there was never any doubt and there has never been any restraint. Publishers have always been nasty about piracy — often even when they themselves were pirates.

But there’s a far easier solution. If authors don’t think they’re getting a good deal, just stop creating and publishing works. Let’s see for once and for all of there are enough authors who care to have an effect or whether society can keep humming along without them.

Next, we’ve got John Roddy with a good summary of the state of copyright in the culture:

Overreaching copyright laws have bred an entire generation of consumers who see no reason to respect copyright anymore. It is used to shake down innocent people for settlements in literal criminal rackets (see: Prenda), retroactively take away content you paid for (Apple, Amazon, etc.), and lock down your own property because you aren’t allowed to own anything anymore.

Why on earth would you believe that making the laws even more draconian will improve anything?

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is Shufflepants who took our baby-and-bathwater analogy about the EU Copyright Directive and… ran with it:

It’s a nice and simple metaphor, but the real situation is even worse than that. It’d be more like, throw out any bathwater on request, and if you’ve already thrown out that bathwater, make sure to never let anyone else add that water back into the bath, but don’t supervise the tub, don’t throw out any babies, especially not babies that are made of water, except for some of the babies that are made of water, unless that baby was added to the water by its guardian, then it should stay in or if the baby’s guardian gave some one else permission to put the baby in the bath, so make sure you’ve monitored communications between all people everywhere so that you’ll know which is which, but don’t do that if it’s too much trouble or impossible, but if you don’t we’ll fine you a lot.

In second place, we’ve got an anonymous response to an incredibly bizarre and paranoid comment about Google’s leftwing bias being proven by difficulty in finding some arcane radio frequency data:

“I don’t know how to use web search terms effectively, it must be a conspiracy!”

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a response from Baron von Robber to Joe Arpaio’s defamation lawsuit that actually only earned an insightful badge, but nevertheless made me chuckle:

For a party that claims the others are snowflake, they sure melt easy.

Last but not least, we’ve got an anonymous response to the suggestion that the only way to effectively abide by the EU Copyright Directive would be to “hire God to do it”, noting that even this idea just puts us in theological paradox territory:

Sorry, the Supreme Being is still busy creating a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it.

Perhaps, after that minor task is done, He may be willing to create an upload filter that is not an upload filter.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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