Techdirt’s Masnick reveals own irrelevance.

Mike Masnick, editor and founder of Techdirt often writes like a smug frat boy, substituting scorn for ideas, and is frequently careless about fact-checking. This may be be why his mantra sounds sillier every day, as he bangs on about all that is wrong with just about anyone who believes copyright still plays a role in the digital age.  Seriously, other than die-hard myrmidons, is anyone still listening to what he’s saying?  Because he’s in danger of becoming the poster child for everything that is wrong with the very things he purports to defend.

Most recently, Masnick revealed his capacity for carelessness when he wrote this blog post about an event he did not attend, focusing on two words taken way out of context, and then making no effort to confirm the basis of his tantrum.  The subject was a recent conference hosted by the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, which included panelist Sandra Aistars, CEO of Copyright Alliance. (I have worked with both organizations.) Masnick claims in his post that Aistars was “insisting that the efforts for copyright reform are really coming ‘from criminal elements’ and that no one in ‘any sort of innovative sector’ is actually on board with copyright reform.”  Had Mike bothered to wait for the video of that meeting, he might have heard  the following, in which Aistars adds to her recap of 40 years worth of debate and discussion on copyrights thus:

And an element that goes a little bit further than what we’ve heard before and almost seeks the entire elimination of intellectual property protection, and that element I think is coming in its most aggressive form not from any sort of innovative sector in any business, but is coming more from the, I’ll call them “criminal elements,” cyberlockers, entities like that who support and benefit from cyberlockers, and they are not interested intellectual property in any way, and I think those of us who rely on intellectual property in our business lives are just collateral damage. 

So, in case any Techdirt readers (or editors) need that simplified, Aistars is making a very clear distinction between real innovators — whose voices she welcomes and has always welcomed to any discussion — and actual criminals who really don’t deserve a seat at the table.

And speaking of not deserving a seat at the table, people who are incapable of presenting ideas that challenge the imagination beyond cheap sarcasm and false reporting have clearly lost contact with the nuanced evolution of this ongoing debate.  In other words, when you just start making shit up as an excuse to keep calling everyone who supports copyright a “maximalist” (whatever the hell that means), it might be a sign you’ve run out of things to say.  By coincidence, I happen to be on my way to attend a similar event hosted by CPIP as I write this, and all of the topics for discussion are written humbly in the inquisitive and not in the conspiratorial imperative that guys like Masnick like to imply.  Experienced adults are trying to solve problems and come up with new ideas; and all the sniping from the kids’ table doesn’t speak well  for the cause of the Internet as a medium for enlightened discourse.

UPDATE:  It looks like while I was writing the above, Mike updated his own post in order to both reveal the full quote in context and then stand by his bizarre assertion.  All I can say is that perhaps what Aistars ought to have said is that the copyright debate is being skewed by a criminal element and also some really stupid people.

© 2014, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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18 comments

  • Masnick was outed for being on google’s paid shill list uncovered in disclosure by a judge.
    Now what he does is deplorable and unforgivable, but at least I can understand needing a paying gig to put food on the table…
    .. The real puppet masters behind Masnick’s rantings on the other hand…google… these people are seriously pathetic. Think about it for a moment: supposedly one of the worlds richest and most powerful companies yet they still have to fucking steal from starving artists? There isn’t a pit deep enough in hell for these sort of folk…

  • Think about it for a moment: supposedly one of the worlds richest and most powerful companies yet they still have to fucking steal

    Or to paraphrase Matthew Paris writing about King John: Foul as it is, Hell itself is defiled by the fouler presence of Google Execs.

  • Say what now? Google is in no way perfect but how are they “stealing” from starving artists?

  • AnArmsLengthInterestedParty

    Masnick has always been his own worst enemy, in love with his reflection and the sound of his own, often erroneous voice.

    It’s been almost 15 years in the making since Napster launched in 1999, but infringement really has gathered the voices it has earned and richly deserves.

    Lennart Renkema aka Ernesto on TorrentFreak inadvertently but routinely exposes how proudly uninformed his commenters are. Doofuses all.

    Rick “call me Hawkwing” Falkvinge continues to barf his whiskey-fueled hallucinations of digital utopia to anyone lonely enough to actually listen, while his Pirate “Party” shrinks to a rounding error.

    And Mike Masnick talks out his self-aggrandizing ass. Daily.

    The clown princes of copyright infringement.

  • Is she not saying that only criminals are against copyright?

    Not that I’m surprised and all. Honestly I’m not expecting someone who runs an organization called “Copyright Alliance” to have a completely balanced view of those opposed to copyright. It’s like asking Hamas what they think about Israel.

    • M, I’m sorry but your highly biased world view is clouding your judgement in this case. Neither a rudimentary knowledge of English nor common sense would allow for that interpretation of Aistars’s statement. Your Hamas simile is also preposterous, as though you could understand the mission, mindset, or process of any organization based on its name alone. Feel free to crawl the CA website and find an article that isn’t fact-based. I know you’ve decided copyright is no longer workable, but maybe some humility is in order when arguing with people who’ve been working directly with the issues for 20+ years. And on a personal note, Aistars is the daughter of immigrant artists, who cares a hell of a lot more about civil liberties like free speech than candy-ass Mike Masnick. And so do I. And that’s part of what’s so offensive about Mike; he’s a poser who doesn’t care nearly as much about the values he professes to defend as many of the people he attacks.

      • He’s [Masnick] no different than a Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

        Sandra Aistar is one of the kindest hearted and fair-minded people in the entire debate, she goes out of her way to find common ground and take the opposing viewpoint/concern into consideration. Using facts and reality (unlike Fixed News Masnick and co.) and genuine concern as her guide to make compromise offers that are reasonable for everyone involved.

        (Thanks Sandra, keep up the great work!)

        Me, on the other hand … I’m soo pissed and jaded that ive lost any shred of compassion for the ‘other side’s shenanigans and stall tactics many years ago. I don’t know how she keeps her head around some of the very people responsible for the situation- that she regularly sits and talks with… I’m usually laid back in person, but I’d pop my top!

      • I’m not convinced Sandra understands why copyright has become controversial. She still describes copyright as a business concern, when in reality copyright is a regulation on the personal dealings of every individual. That’s what has changed in the last 20-30 years she’s been involved with copyright.

      • There was not a single person willing to question copyright on that panel either. Wow a panel with IP lobbyist groups and think tanks, and known patent troll. Qualcomm is perhaps the only legitimate actor in that panel, and that’s even borderline. Who are they looking for “common ground” with? What a joke.

        A panel with Copyright Alliance and EFF… that would be interesting.

      • First, AudioNomics is exactly right. Second, his point is exemplary of the larger issue and why I’ll rebuke clowns like Masnick without reservation. Debate or discussion can be productive when competing interests or ideas are seeking common solutions. But the bottom line is that the Internet industry is transparently opposed to any and all regulatory regimes, including copyright, that are obstacles to its unfettered business practices. Are you simply skipping the reading material from people like Krugman now calling these guys new Robber Barons? Or the mounting criticisms of Amazon’s monopsony? Those stories reveal industry strategy that goes way beyond thrashing copyright, and to treat many of their PR talking points as progressive “ideas” worthy of discussion is naive at best. You’ve stated your position on copyright multiple times, so we know where you’re coming from; but I think you’re utterly blind to the corporate interests counting on you to stand by those ideas until it’s too late to see how miserably they fail.

      • M- ” A panel with Copyright Alliance and EFF… that would be interesting.”

        Uhh… that describes almost every panel she’s ever done (except this one of course).
        The panel goes nowhere with google and their eff lapdog when they are present. Google rep gets huffy, crosses his arms and the eff lady harps on endlessly about false takedowns. We’ve seen that ad-nauseam.

      • Can you link to any panel/debate between EFF and Copyright Alliance?

      • David,

        But Masnick has been blogging before blogging was a thing. Techdirt has been around something between 15-20 years, and criticism of copyright enforcement was always a theme of his blog. If he’s getting paid by Le Google(tm), it’s because they are sponsoring what he’s always done, not because he’s speaking for them.

      • At what point did you see me discuss Masnick’s relationship with Google? I wouldn’t even say that discounts his views necessarily. What I think discounts his views is that, whether they align with Google or not, they’re generally kinda dumb.

      • On that thread. Interesting video of the movie industry’s mouthpiece:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYROoj2fh2s

        Maybe Dodd will join the EFF after MPAA? He’ll have to take a pay cut of course, but it might be worth it to hang out with a fine group of lawyers. 🙂

  • Qualcomm is actually an interesting case. I’m trying to understand their motive here though, since they seem to be the principal opponent of patent reform in DC. This is a company you’ve probably given hundreds of dollars of money to without ever knowing anything about them.

    This is a company that invented CDMA, which is a clever mathematical trick for slightly improving multiplexed throughput over a carrier bandwidth. It’s clever, useful invention. For this invention they’ve managed to extract perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars over the course of the last decade or so through clever insertion of their patented ideas into obligate international cellular standards, and charging very high license fees to implementers. Your cell phone, your cell phone bill – large portions of what you paid over the years went to Qualcomm. The principal innovation of Qualcomm not CDMA, but the business methodologies to extract epic amounts of money from a patent portfolio.

    They are facing a dilemma called 4G/LTE though, which doesn’t really use much Qualcomm patented technology. I’m wondering what that has to do with their complete hatred of patent reform, but I can’t figure it out. I’m sure they are planning something involving patents and 4G/LTE though.

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