Hi Techdirt! I’m known to this and other tech blog communities as sophisticatedjanedoe (or SJD). I run an anti-shakedown, anti-copyright-troll opinion blog Fight Copyright Trolls, which, I’m sure, most of you know: Techdirt often links to my posts, especially recently, since we all have been watching an illustrious show of SS Prenda sinking slowly but steadily.
Some might expect that my favorite posts would be all about Prenda, but no — I have wider interests than fighting ethically handicapped lawyers. Still I’m quite happy that copyright trolling disease that has penetrated the legal system is finally gaining attention from the general public. Techdirt, together with ArsTechnica and TorrentFreak (and, recently, Popehat), have been pivotal in this respect.
The only Prenda-related post I want to specifically recommend is about the ISPs’ appeal over former RIAA lobbyist judge allowing Prenda to get info on over 1,000 John Does. This post features an amicus curiae brief filed by four respected advocate organizations: EFF, ACLU, Public Citizen and Public Knowledge. To date, this is one of the most comprehensive and beautiful briefs on the topic, a must read to anyone who follows the copyright trolling phenomenon.
For some reason, the story I remember the most is the one about the North Carolina politicians and car dealers trying to outlaw the direct sales of Tesla cars in their state. It makes me sad and angry when special interest groups, mostly incumbents, attempt to derail progress: not that it is unnatural or unexpected, but the BS smuggled as public concern is always unbearable to hear.
It is not much better when certain groups try to widen revenue streams quietly. The story about the Florida Department of Transportation doing it at the expense of public safety — by decreasing yellow traffic light intervals (to increase the number of red-light tickets) — is, unfortunately, also not unexpected.
Good news is that the most innovative area — the Internet — is largely immune to the tricks that authorities can forcefully impose on citizens. It is mind-boggling that certain power structures can’t grasp the futility of trying to put the cat back in the bag when it comes to the digital world. This week we watched how the government tried to suppress the dissemination of the first fully 3D-printed gun blueprint using some “export regulations.” “Export-import of digital goods” concept is irreversibly dead in the Internet age.
Meanwhile the incumbent entertainment gatekeepers continue their delusional fight against the Internet — pretending to fight piracy, while study after study (this time commissioned by the UK government) finds that top downloaders are top spenders. The following stories remind us one more time that the collateral damage in this war — the civil liberties — is truly an international concern. In the USA, the MPAA thinks that considering fair use before filing a DMCA takedowns is a crazy idea. In the UK, the country’s recording industry, dwelling on the success of the last year censorship, plans a new wave of blockades — over two dozen new victims (including a relatively good player Grooveshark) — all without trial and conviction. And the Germany’s GEMA does not want to yield its status of the worst collection society in the world.
Fortunately, the new generation does not sit idle. I was moved by the news of Peter Sunde, of The Pirate Bay & Flattr, planning a run for the EU parliament.
To finish on a lighter note, read about a pathetic and sloppy usage of Photoshop by the Church of Scientology: you’ll have a good chuckle.
See you next week in the comments!