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.

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