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Psychiatrist Drops His Lawsuit Against Critic Who Left Wordless One-Star Review

It looks like the psychiatrist who sued a pseudonymous reviewer over a wordless one-star review has finally decided to stop digging this particular hole. Since news broke of psychiatrist Mark Beale's defamation suit against "Richard Hill," Beale has amassed a great many one-star reviews by non-patients . There's no telling if Beale will be seeking to file an en masse lawsuit against these Does (taking a page out of copyright trolls' handboo...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place comment on the insightful side came in response to our post about the fact that copyright maximalists appear to have thrown in the towel on fighting for more copyright extensions. John Snape offered a simple and popular sentiment : If you can't make a profit after 28 years exploiting a copyright, you're a failure. In second place, we have an anonymous comment that also racked up quite a few funny votes, responding...
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This Week In Techdirt History: January 7th - 13th

Five Years Ago This week in 2013, we watched as new players tried to get into the copyright trolling game but were rebuffed by a court system getting wise to their antics — even if, at the same time, established copyright trolls were upping their insane demands . We got some great examples of copyright nonsense as Lionsgate issued a takedown on a video that the Copyright Office itself had featured as an example of fair use , and Sony releas...
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Colorado Cities Keep Voting To Build Their Own Broadband Networks

So we've long mentioned how incumbent ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally buying shitty, protectionist laws in more than twenty states. These laws either ban or heavily hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It's a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too; they often refuse to upgrade their networ...
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Intelligence Oversight Tries Again With Zero-Reform Section 702 Bill, Criticizes Reform Efforts As Threats To Security

The Congressional showdown on Section 702 reforms/renewal continues to generate little actual debate or reform -- but plenty of bad proposals. Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have decided there should be a renewal -- preferably an extended one -- with zero actual reform . Members of the House offered up some tepid reforms in the USA Liberty Act, only to find this offering blocked by the House Permanent Select Committee on ...
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Techdirt Podcast Episode 149: Barbies v. Bratz

If you've been reading Techdirt for more than five years, you probably remember the conclusion of Mattel v. MGA — and if you've been reading for more than thirteen years, you might even remember when it started . This epic legal battle over intellectual property went through nearly a decade of rulings and reversals, and the resulting story is a fascinating one that ties in a lot of the topics we discuss here at Techdirt. It's also the subje...
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233 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is a simple comment from Mason Wheeler making a straightforward proposal regarding copyright terms on America's (hopefully last) empty Public Domain Day : I find 14 years, optionally renewable once to be perfectly reasonable. In second place, we've got a comment from Tanner Andrews about the journalist who was arrested for publishing confidential information a police officer gave to h...
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226 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: December 31st - January 6th

Five Years Ago This week in 2003, we kicked off the year by witnessing things start to go seriously wrong for a little law firm by the name of Prenda . Well, that and noting how, as usual, nothing at all was entering the public domain (a situation that looked like it could be extended thanks to the supreme court ). The Megaupload case was mired in the courts and some companies were getting impatient . And we saw some pretty stunning DMCA no...
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It Begins: Some Comic Conventions Refusing To Fold After San Diego Comic-Con Gets Its Trademark Win

After following the saga of what seemed like a truly misguided lawsuit brought by the San Diego Comic-Con against the company putting on the Salt Lake ComiCon, the whole thing culminated in the SDCC getting a win in the courtroom. One of the reasons this verdict threw many, including this writer, for a loop is that the defendant in the case made the argument that the SDCC had allowed the term "comic con" to become generic, an argument buttr...
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Techdirt 2017: The Stats.

Another yearly tradition is, after the new year, we try to take a look at some of the stats on traffic and commenters and such. I know many sites do this before the end of the year, but we're sort of a stickler for actually including the full year's data, so ours comes out sometime after the new year actually starts (and once I have time to really go through the data). For reference, you can see these stories from the past seven years as we...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2017 At Techdirt

It's that time again! In lieu of the top comments of the week, we're using this last Sunday of the year to look at the comments that racked up the most funny and insightful votes in all of 2017. We'll be highlighting the top three comments in each category, and noting where they ranked in terms of combined votes as well. (For those of you who are still interested in this week's winners, here's first and second place for insightful, and firs...
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230 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: December 24th - 30th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, we were a bit surprised and confused to see pirated movies being shared from Hollywood IP addresses — and, it soon turned out, from all major record labels, and several government agencies including the DOJ . Whether this was just amateur honeypotting was unclear, but whatever the case, Hollywood still broke records at the box office that year . Meanwhile, the Senate was debating the extension of FISA — whi...
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236 Hits

New Year's Message: Keep On Believing

Since 2008, my final post of the year is one where I try to reflect on the year coming to a close -- with a general focus on optimism. That is, the usual goal of these posts is to take a step back from the day to day grind and look at the larger picture to see what good things have happened, that often get missed in the daily struggle. Techdirt has now reached its 20th birthday , and we've now been doing these posts for nine years. The firs...
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New York State Eyes Its Own Net Neutrality Law

Numerous states say they'll be crafting their own net neutrality protections in the wake of the FCC's recent vote to dismantle the rules . ISPs of course predicted this, which is why Comcast and Verizon successfully lobbied the FCC to include provisions in its "Restoring Internet Freedom" order that bans states from protecting consumers from privacy and net neutrality violations, or other bad behavior by incumbent ISPs. In ISP lobbying land...
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Facebook Transparency Report: Lots Of Government Surveillance, Bad Copyright Takedown Requests

Facebook, which was a bit late to the party, recently released its latest transparency report . In a break from earlier versions of the report, the social media giant has finally moved beyond only detailing requests for information by the government and its alphabet agencies and is now including intellectual property requests and statistics as well. There is a decent amount of information in both sections of the report, but on matters of bo...
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247 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we wrote (as we have many times) about the huge challenge of moderating online content and how it's unrealistic to expect social media companies to be magically perfect at it. One commenter insisted we were wrong, making the strange comparison to a bouncer at a bar, and an anonymous response won first place for insightful : You have absolutely no idea of the scale difference between a bar where a few dozen people, or even a few h...
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245 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: December 17th - 23rd

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, the MPAA was claiming that millions of DMCA takedowns are proof that Google needs to magically stop piracy , while the RIAA was trying to rewrite the history of copyright , and the BPI was threatening to personally sue the leaders of the UK pirate party . But the intellectual property diplomats at the US State Department were moaning about how they can't export strict copyright laws as easily as they'd like...
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Canadian Government Looking To Step Up Domestic Surveillance, Scale Back Intelligence Oversight

Canada has its own PATRIOT Act -- one that was supposed to be fixed by its new heartthrob PM, Justin Trudeau. As Cory Doctorow points out at Boing Boing, Trudeau promised to fix it in post , but that's not what's happening. Back in 2015, Canada's failing, doomed Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, a far-reaching mass surveillance bill that read like PATRIOT Act fanfic; Justin Trudeau, leader of what was then a minority opposition ...
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250 Hits

Homeland Security Adviser Pins Wannacry Attack On North Korea In Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

With politically-expeditious timing, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert has pinned the Wannacry attacks on North Korea. The delivery method for the news was odd as well: a "commentary" piece in the Wall Street Journal's op-ed pages . Cybersecurity isn’t easy, but simple principles still apply. Accountability is one, cooperation another. They are the cornerstones of security and resilience in any society. In furtherance of both, and after...
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248 Hits

Five Below, Trendy Retailer, Sues 10 Below, Ice Cream Seller, For Trademark Infringement

When it comes to frivolous trademark lawsuits, you think you've seen it all, but then one comes along that makes you throw up your hands. Here at Techdirt, we understand that the average individual might not know some of the broader nuances of trademark law, such as the focus on customer confusion, or the requirement, in most cases, that the parties reside within the same industry or market. But that understanding goes out the window when w...
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241 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: December 10th - 16th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, more and more people were coming out against the efforts of the ITU's WCIT, including both Tim Berners-Lee joining the already-active Vint Cerf and Mozilla expressing its concerns . Though the White House denied that it was prepared to dump the ITU , it was firm in refusing to support a bad treaty . The ITU itself was doing a really bad job of pretending to respond to people's complaints , and even though a...
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New Documents And Testimony Shows Officers Lied About Their Role In An Arrested Teen's Death

Earlier this year, we covered the horrific story of the death of a 5'4" 110-lb. 18-year-old at the hands of the Mesquite (TX) police department. The teen, suffering from a bad acid trip, was tased multiple times, threatened with death by an officer, and left to die in a jail cell with little more than a cursory nod towards his health and wellbeing. Graham Dyer's parents were unable to obtain any details about their son's death from the Mesq...
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237 Hits

Why Must The FCC Insult Everyone's Intelligence By Misrepresenting Broadband Investment?

Last month, I wrote a post detailing Ajit Pai's big lie , concerning his totally false claim that the order the FCC voted on today simply brings the internet back to where it was in 2015. As we explained that's not even remotely close to accurate. That same post also mentioned a second, but still important, lie that Pai and Pai's supporters have been telling repeatedly: that the 2015 rules harmed broadband investment. There are two very imp...
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231 Hits

Hospitality Industry Group Pushes Back On Portland's Attempt To Trademark Bully A Local Brewery

Just a quick update from Portland, Oregon, folks. After the city engaged in some truly impish behavior by trying to bully aside a local brewery that has a trademark on Portland's iconic jumping-deer sign, there have been no further negotiations on a resolution between the two sides. See, the city of Portland really wants to license the trademark for the image of the sign to national and international macrobrewers, whereas Old Town Brewing j...
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257 Hits

FBI Director Complains About Encryption, Offers To Sacrifice Public Safety In The Interest Of Public Safety

FBI Director Christopher Wray offered testimony to the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing entitled "Oversight of Federal Bureau of Investigation." Not much in terms of oversight was discussed. Instead, Wray took time to ask for a reauthorization of Section 702 before using several paragraphs of his prepared comments to discuss the "going dark" problem. It picks up where Wray left off in October: offering up meaningless statistics about ...
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293 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: December 3rd - 9th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, the ITU was holding its World Conference on International Telecommunications to try to, more or less, "fix the internet" (not that it was broken). Their ideas about speeding up infrastructure built-out were more likely to slow it down , and it was unclear who many of the new proposed rules actually covered . They rushed to approve a deep packet inspection standard in secret, then turned out to be really bad...
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245 Hits

India Embraces Full Net Neutrality As The U.S. Turns Its Back On The Concept

While the United States is busy giving the world a crash course on what telecom regulatory capture looks like, India is taking a decidedly different tack with net neutrality. Last year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) began laying the groundwork for some real, tough net neutrality rules aimed at protecting their internet markets and consumers from anti-competitive ISP behavior. Here in the States, our soon-to-be-discarded r...
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247 Hits

Another Reason To Distinguish Alcohol Markets In Trademarks: Actual Infringement Defended By Use Across Alcohol Products

A brief review of all of the articles I've written in these here pages about sweet, delicious alcohol mostly have to do with trademark spats between drink-makers, including many in which I've made the point that it's high time for the USPTO to get a little more subtle when it comes to its alcohol marketplace designations. Beer isn't wine, and wine isn't liquor, and the public looking to buy one of those is quite unlikely to confuse one prod...
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295 Hits

AT&T, Whose Ex-CEO Promised To Wreck Net Neutrality, Insists It Won't Do Anything To Net Neutrality

AT&T is the latest big broadband player to try to suggest that everyone just calm down a little about this whole thing where the FCC destroys net neutrality. And, sure, some of the reports out there and some of the predictions being made about the impending death of net neutrality are fairly exaggerated. But, there are serious concerns, and AT&T's decision to set up some strawmen to knock over ignores the importance of the issue. Also, whil...
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260 Hits

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side came in response to the common refrain of anti-net-neutrality advocates that it's all about letting the government "take over" the internet. One anonymous commenter racked up the votes by explaining the reality : Net Neutrality is not about the government taking over the Internet, because it has nothing to do with content on the Internet, It is about preventing the ISP's from taking o...
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253 Hits