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Lack of Net Neutrality Can't Stop the FCC's 'Harlem Shake' Video, But Copyright Law Might!

Onerous IP laws threaten a free and open internet in a way deregulation never can.

Daily Caller/FCCDaily Caller/FCCAs part of his campaign to roll back the net neutrality rules imposed in 2015, Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai released a short parody video listing some things you'll still be able to do online after the vote. (The quick version: pretty much everything.) Toward the end of the video, Pai does the Harlem Shake, a dance that became a meme back in 2013.

Pai has attracted the ire of many an ill-informed opponent of the rollback. One of them, apparently, is Baauer, the producer behind the Harlem Shake. Baauer has announced he's taking legal action against the video.

Opponents of the rollback claim it threatens a "free and open" internet, but onerous intellectual property laws pose a far greater threat to a free and open internet than Pai's mild deregulation. It is copyright, after all, that Baauer is using to suppress a video whose message he doesn't like.

The Federal Communications Commission appears to have pulled the video off its YouTube channel (although it still appears on the Daily Caller website). That's unfortunate but not unsurprising. Baauer doesn't have a case: The use of the song pretty clearly falls under fair use as a parody (it appears in a portion of the video about driving memes to the ground). But copyright laws make bullying like this easy, and they've had an undeniable chilling effect on free expression online. Most content creators don't have the resources to fight even a specious takedown order, and so they often back down when facing a legal threat instead of trying to fight for their rights.

If you supporting Baauer's tactic, you don't actually support a free and open internet. Or at the very least, you don't have a good grasp of what a free and open internet entails.

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  • esteve7||

    The real threat to a free and open internet is government, and patent trolls. Not Comcast charging you for the bandwidth you use....

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Pai shoulda done the Stanky Leg instead.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I use my facebook less and less lately, but went on yesterday. Wow, lots of veiled death threats towards Pai on there yesterday.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I checked mine the other day for the first time in about two years, and then deactivated it. A great weight was immediately lifted.

  • esteve7||

    probably from the same goons that bitch about harassment online, toward "women and people of color", ex GamerGate.

    Showing the leftists are all about projection. Everytime they accuse someone of doing something bad, it's actually them that are doing it.

    Like how the most racist person I know is a radical leftist who says everyone else is racist.

  • KevinP||

    The most racist person I know is a black leftist woman who hates white people and white men. Ironically, she's simultaneously married to a white man. The world is wierd.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "It's so i can keep an eye on 'em."

  • Haha, charade you are||

    The bomb threat called in to the FCC the day of the vote was pretty much ignored by the media. With all these malicious attacks and threats, they have the gall to call opponents of NN the bullies and oppressors.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    When you think irony is just strange coincidence it makes it impossible to recognize actual irony.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Same thing happened with Matt Furie and Pepe. Tried to control it via patent trolling long after the character had already fallen into what everyone would assume was the realm of fair use.

  • Greg F||

    A bit OT. A good read on "Net Neutrality". Involves some math so will probably be over Tony's head.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Though he admits to a serious monopoly problem with last mile service. I don't know if that's really true, but according to many NN people posting if this monopoly does exist it necessitates the implementation of a largely unrelated set of regulations.

  • Brandybuck||

    The presence of a natural monopoly demands that government step in and mandate that monopoly. Really, people believe that. It's why it was against the law for decades to compete with AT&T.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It seems to me that most "natural" monopolies, at least in built-up areas, are actually more like aesthetic monopolies. You can't have competing power companies or water utilities because if they were all running their own lines you'd end up with India.

  • Tony||

    Efficiency is another word for it.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.15.17 @ 3:57PM|#
    "Efficiency is another word for it."

    Stupidity is another name for Tony.

  • Greg F||

    You can't have competing power companies or water utilities because if they were all running their own lines you'd end up with India.

    Funny picture but not really representative of reality if you're talking maybe 2 more providers. Again, depends on where you live.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Did you know that London in the mid 1800s had competing private water companies? Independent water lines crossing all over each other. If they could manage that, back then, we sure as hell could manage it today.

    Some with currencies. Colonial America was forbidden to use Brit coinage, so they relied on French, Spanish, and other currencies, wampum, tobacco, script, private currencies, all sorts of shit. If they coudl manage that then, without computers, with news taking a month to go from one end of the colonies to the other and 3-3 months to get news from/to Britain, we sure as shit could manage it today, with computers, internet, and smart phones.

    Statists continually underestimate what humans can do for themselves. It would be easy to call it wilful. I think it more likely that they are simply scared to death of even attempting to find out.

  • Greg F||

    The monopoly problem depends on where you live. Where I live I have cable, DSL, and 4G as possible choices (and I am rural). The 3 are not really comparable. DSL is slow and 4G although not bad speed wise could be quite costly depending on you data usage. It is more like a fuzzy monopoly. Anyway, NN did nothing to address the fuzzy monopoly as evidenced by the fact that the fuzzy monopoly's still exist.

    The problem is the people screaming for NN either have no clue how networking works or have an incentive to push their costs onto users that are not using their services to keep their customer costs artificially low.

  • ||

    The monopoly problem depends on where you live. Where I live I have cable, DSL, and 4G as possible choices (and I am rural). The 3 are not really comparable.

    I don't think the last sentence means what you think it means. Not only are you likely ignoring satellite. I'm pretty sure Netflix and Redbox will deliver DVDs to your door with relatively high bandwidth. The latency may be a bitch but still able to be compared. Of course, you *could* pay Big Oil to help *you* overcome the last (couple) mile(s) to your local library where the bandwidth is likely higher.

    I mean, in pretty much every case, we're talking content delivery and/or network access. Hollywood will tell you straight up that at-home streaming is cutting into their in-theater business. So it's not like we're comparing oranges to steam locomotives.

  • Greg F||

    I don't think the last sentence means what you think it means. Not only are you likely ignoring satellite.

    I could have included satellite but for the fact I often do remote assistance and the latency makes it all but useless.

    I'm pretty sure Netflix and Redbox will deliver DVDs to your door with relatively high bandwidth.

    Redbox is a couple of minutes away which the wife and I sometimes use. If only there were more than 2 movies a year we actually wanted to watch. We also have Netflix which can go months unused (mostly in the summer).

    Of course, you *could* pay Big Oil to help *you* overcome the last (couple) mile(s) to your local library where the bandwidth is likely higher.

    The library is more than a couple of miles away and you obviously have never been to it. The good part is they have DVD's you can check out for a dollar but keep for a week. They are surely giving Red Box a run for their money!

    Continued below due to Reason's stupid character limit.

  • Greg F||

    Now I also forgot the ma and pa local telco that got a ton of government money to put up fiber to under served parts of the county. I would just have to pay for a couple of miles of fiber. As far as network management goes they make the local cable company look rather stellar. Their DNS servers appear to be lacking some records. Not to mention they are in arrears on their land taxes and have been laying off people left and right since the government grants dried up.

    To make matters worse a couple of weeks ago one of my customers that is on their network was having some issues. Just for shits and giggles I scanned the entire subnet and was able to see every active IP address as well as determine the brand of router for each connection. Not exactly an ISP I would feel comfortable with.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Did you expect them to block ports? Seems odd.

  • Greg F||

    Did you expect them to block ports?

    Most peoples routers are stealth as they don't respond to requests originating from the Internet. It is not blocking ports, the ports are simply not open. Request sent to any port not opened is simply dropped. Unless the user has specifically opened a port(s) the IP address should look like there is nothing there. In this case the ISP in question was generous enough to let me know which addresses were live and the MAC address to boot.

  • Eidde||

    I don't know what a Harlem Shake is, but if I were *very* thirsty I might try to find out.

  • Bacon-Magic glib reasonoid||

    Racist.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's pure vanilla.

  • Tony||

    That person next to the cringe-inducing toothy doofus who's destroying the internet on behalf of Verizon is a known Pizzagater.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.15.17 @ 3:56PM|#
    "That person next to the cringe-inducing toothy doofus who's destroying the internet on behalf of Verizon is a known Pizzagater."

    The asshole posting this is known as Stupidity.

  • Tony||

    Just rolling out of yesterday's drunken stupor?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The SJW crowd is apparently planning to start applying pressure to ISPs to block access to sites like Brietbart, Infowars, etc.

    *gets popcorn*

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Are they doing it to prove a point or are they unaware of themselves?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Both.

  • Kivlor||

    Honestly, this was going to happen either way. If NN continued it was a matter of time until they started demanding the FCC ban Infowars, Brietbart, FoxNews etc. They'd have just used the government to do it.

    Now they have to openly clamor for their declared enemies--the ISPs--to do their dirty work. And if they ISPs have any cognition at all, they will ignore the screams of the progs.

  • ||

    And if they ISPs have any cognition at all, they will ignore the screams of the progs.

    Depending on what the progs are screaming for, ISPs actually have every inclination to do the opposite.

    You hate Infowars and think fewer people should read it? What's your account number again? *clickety clack, clickety clack* OK, the website Infowars.com has been throttled on your network so that no more than one user, using no more than 1% of your bandwidth can access it. That'll be $5. For an additional $5 we can block it entirely from any user on your network. Do you accept?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Man, for only 10$ a month I could finally take down Something Awful. The dream is real.

  • GILMORE™||

    . Baauer has announced he's taking legal action against the video.

    yeah, i like watching artists who were themselves sampled for sample-use violations trying to defend their own very-narrow-notions of IP rights

  • GILMORE™||

    (sigh)

    "themselves sued"

    i pwned myself

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Yeah no. Google could do a much better job of detecting genuine copyright violations but it's not in Google's interest to do so. Another case of conflating libertine desires with only superficially related issues.

  • Jickerson||

    No? Our awful copyright laws are pretty much entirely why Google has such an abysmal copyright system to begin with. It's a "voluntary" response to copyright thugs.

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