Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

Normally, there are a few comments each week that really are way apart from all the rest when the voting is done — the “clear winners.” This week, however, on the insightful side, looking through the top 10 list, they were actually all pretty closely clumped together. Winning by just a tiny margin was a comment from an Anonymous Coward, responding to the story of how ASCAP only pays out venue performance royalties to the top 200 acts, even though it’s collected from all acts:


Ok if you are only going to pay the top 200 you should only be allowed to collect for the top 200. That’s simple and fair.

Of course, there’s a question of why the money is being taken out in the first place. Why not just leave it with the artists?

Coming in second was a comment from jupiterkansas responding to the post about how content creators have to recognize that they lose control of their work the second it is out in the world, and why that’s a good thing:


There’s a word for someone giving me new ideas. It’s called learning. We’re taught to copy from birth. It’s how we are raised. It’s in our genetic code.

Then at some point we’re supposed to turn that off. Don’t do what that other person is doing. That’s stealing their ideas. Copying is bad. Anything you do must be wholly original and unlike anything that has ever existed before.

Why? Because someone is trying to make money doing that thing they just taught you how to do, and they’re scared you’ll do it better.

For editor’s choice, we’ve got an Anonymous Poster, responding to someone on my post about the jailing of a guy in the UK for saying some obnoxious, racist crap on Twitter. The commenter insisted that this was fine because freedom of speech doesn’t cover “abusive” speech. This anonymous poster felt otherwise, and made some good points. Speech can be offensive, but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal:


Freedom of speech absolutely gives you the right to be abusive towards another person, you cocksucking gutterslut.

See what I did there? I abused you with words! Quick, call the UK cops and have me arrested! Somebody must think of your poor feelings before they’re hurt!

In case you’re not getting the point: free speech is not short for “consequence-free speech”, but the consequences here far outweigh what was said. Racist speech may be offensive, but people do not deserve to be jailed over calling someone a “nigger” or a “spic”. The only speech deserving of legal consequences are calls for violence or harm to another person and libel/slander.

As Mike pointed out, societal consequences already exist for “offensive” speech. Liam openly marked himself as a racist and a callous individual with his tweets; slapping him in cuffs and tossing him into a jail cell for two months for “offensive” speech isn’t going to change him into a tolerant and loving person.

The right to free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech (including racist slurs); popular speech, by definition, doesn’t require protection.

I think this is tough for people to get, because they don’t recognize that there is punishment outside of the legal system for offensive speech. If you say something so offensive, there are significant social costs, as there should be. Piling jailtime on top of that doesn’t help anyone, and certainly doesn’t stop offensive thoughts or speech.

Finally, we have a comment from DannyB responding to someone whining about how we write too much about issues having to do with intellectual property, rather than “tech.” DannyB did a nice job explaining how this site is really about the nature of disruption:


Um, hello? Welcome to the 21st century. Techdirt is all about how them darn intartubes are disrupting entitled business everywhere.

Shame on the common people thinking they can get together and use them intartubes to share information useful to them but harmful to the entrenched players. Real estate and car dealers hate it. Movie ratings boards hate it. Content gatekeepers hate it. Monopolies hate it. Dictators hate it. Censors hate it. Ticket scalpers hate it. Crooked politicians hate it, but I’m being redundant.

But who loves it? The people. The consumers. Artists who want to make good art, and hope they also make money. Creators who want to get their work out there — not hold it back with “release windows”. Anyone who wants to share the most obscure stuff of their life on YouTube like their opinions about how to knit sweaters.

On that last point, I refer to any small group that is not geographically concentrated but shares an obscure interest. You think the biggest weapons count — just ask the Minbari who won.

Okay. Insightful is so the top half of this post. Now we’re down to the funny section. While the insightful comments were all bunched up together, on the funny list one comment stood out far far far beyond all the rest (though the next nine were pretty closely lumped together). Amusingly, that winning comment, by Chosen Reject is actually responding to the same comment that DannyB was responding to directly above, except CR decided to respond satirically to the guy complaining that what we post about isn’t what he’s interested in:


I hear you on that one. I’m interested in geotechnical engineering, especially soil mechanics. When’s the last time Mike Masnick discussed the problems of erosion or compaction? Never. Man this site is a joke. Change your domain to mikessatanicpirateworshipforgreatjustice.com.

techDIRT? I don’t think so bub. Who are you kidding?

Also, I agree with you about movies. They should never be used for learning. I tried doing a course on udacity.com. B-O-R-I-N-G! Not a single good joke, character development took way too long, and there was no suspense whatsoever. Stupid voice over kept telling me what was coming up next.

Nicely done. Second place was a really really close vote, but edging out the silver medal was an Anonymous Coward explaining what the record labels want from Spotify:


They just want 120% of the revenue that Spotify makes from streaming their music. Now, that may sound like a lot, but anything under 100% would mean that Spotify is making money on content they don’t own, and that’s not fair to the artists. So a mere 20% on top of the money they already deserve isn’t too much to ask, is it?

For editor’s choice, I have to get a second shout out this week to Chosen Reject, who was responding to an anonymous critic on our recent post about Jonathon Coulton. This critic mocked the idea of the “free and open internet” because he insists no one has answered who is going to pay for it, and then went on a rant about how people won’t really support musicians. This comment, of course, is especially funny given Coulton’s success in answering exactly that question and getting tremendous support from his fans. CR, once again, went for satire in the response:


That is the question indeed. I mean, who is really paying Jonathan Coulton (if that’s his real name) this half million dollars? The proloteriat? I think not! Those freetards only want free things. Is it the bourgeoisie? Heaven forbid! They might be patrons of the arts, but only for serious art, and Jonathan Coulton is certainly not in league with those gentlemen.

Serious artists are not for freedoms on the Internet. Did you ever hear Beethoven praise the Internet? Did Bach throw the recording industry under the proverbial Internet bus? In all of Shakespeare’s writings did he ever mention the Internet? Indeed not. Shakespeare would have been a poor unknown had it not been for his staunch support for copyright laws. Bach and Beethoven would have never have been heard if it hadn’t been for the recording contracts from the RIAA, which worked tirelessly to keep their songs from the Internet, and they were successful too.

I think Pliny the Elder said it best:

In comparing various authors with one another, I have discovered that some of the gravest and latest writers have transcribed, word for word, from former works, without making acknowledgment. And it’s all this counfounded Internet’s fault. (emphasis in original)

There is no long term sustainability in free. The Sun gives it’s energy for free, and it’s going to come crashing down in a mere 5 billion years. The earth was sustainably charging for oxygen way back in the day. Then the freetard prokaryotes started releasing free oxygen into the atmosphere. Now Earth is half way to total annihilation after only a few billion years.

Free is unsustainable. No one has ever given anything away for free and lived through the centuries to tell the tale.

And, finally, we’ve got Prisoner 201 correcting my error in posting about how the UK jailed some guy for being a jerk.


Guys, calm down.

He obviously was not put in jail for being a jerk. That would be ridiculous. The mere thought boggles the mind.

He was put in jail for being a jerk on the internet.

It all makes so much more sense now.

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