October 06, 2006

"Most blogs have precisely one reader - the blogger themself."

He said it, not me!:

But [Google chief executive Eric Schmidt ] won his biggest reaction from the audience when he made a joke about blogging: "Most blogs have precisely one reader - the blogger themself."

Update - Bonus links, casting "Pearls Before Swine":

Why A Z-lister Is Like A Baseball Player In A Slump

Why Z-list Blogs Should Be Careful Of Readership Statistics

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 08:44 PM | Comments (7)
November 27, 2003

Give me that old-fashioned Thanksgiving ...

"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighbourhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land."

-- Jon Stewart

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 08:11 PM | Followups
September 19, 2003

VeriSlime humor

[This was a (not accepted) comment I wrote to Dave Farber's list, in the midst of the discussions of how to react to Verisign's DNS actions. I was thinking there could be a "Top Ten" list]

On Wed, Sep 17, 2003 at 11:24:51AM -0400, Dave Farber wrote:
>For the life of me I cannot figure out what to say in a message to [Verisign ]. djf

Contest! Contest!

"It's hard to be worse than the Sobig virus - but you've done it."

"Never has an organization committed credibility-suicide so publicly."

"Many people suspected DNS was broken. Now they know."

But it should be obvious what is the #1 thing to say:


[That was a riff on the long North American Network Operators Group mailing-list thread: "What *are* they smoking?"]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:18 PM | Comments (2) | Followups
August 24, 2003

My quote describing recent censorware situations

This is how I was describing certain recent events:

"It's not like pushing on a string - it's like pushing on a porcupine quill."

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Followups
July 28, 2003

"Stages of truth" and "Stages of lawsuit?"

There's a famous quote

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

I was thinking today there's perhaps a corresponding three stages of free-speech lawsuit:

  1. First, I'll be told I won't get sued
  2. Second, when I'm sued, I'll be told I won't lose
  3. Third, finally, I'll be told that if I wasn't willing to be sued and lose, I shouldn't have done the work at all.

Update: A snappier way of saying the above three stages of truth:

1. Ridiculous, 2. Dangerous, 3. Obvious

And three stages of lawsuit:

1. Won't sue, 2. Won't lose, 3. All your fault

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:58 PM | Followups
May 10, 2003

"Google is good, but not God"

I'm quoted (accurately!) in an article in The Register:
"Google to fix blog noise problem"

Or as Seth Finkelstein reminds us,"Google is good, but not God."

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 12:00 AM | Followups
April 20, 2003

Laws and sausages

These quotes make for a deep juxtaposition:

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. -- Otto von Bismarck

Litigation: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage. -- Ambrose Bierce

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:58 PM | Followups
April 19, 2003

Noam Chomsky quote about the Internet, from 1996

With reference to Net political organizing, I was thinking today about a Noam Chomsky quote about the Internet, from 1996:

Right - and about just what's going to be in it, and who's going to have access to it. Remember, incidentally, that the Internet is an elite operation. Most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call, you know, so that's certainly not on the Internet. Nevertheless, it does have democratising potential, and there's a struggle going on right now as to whether that's going to be realised, or whether it'll turn into something like a home marketing service, and a way of marginalising people even further. That discussion went on in the 1920s (it was Radio) - that's interesting how it turned out - it went on over Television, it's now going on over the Internet. And, that's a matter of popular struggle. Look: We don't live the way we did 200 years ago, or even 30 years ago - there's been a lot of progress. It hasn't been gifts from above. It's been the result of people getting together, and refusing to accept the dictates of authoritarian institutions. And, there's no reason to think that that's over.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Followups
April 06, 2003

Judges and character / motives of defendants

I've been thinking much about this old quote today.

[Judge Kaplan, in the DeCSS case:]

Defendants, on the other hand, are adherents of a movement that believes that information should be available without charge to anyone clever enough to break into the computer systems or data storage media in which it is located.

[Mike Godwin, Thu, 17 Aug 2000, commenting: ]

This passage is actually quite instructive -- it tells us that Kaplan decided the case on his perception of the character and motives of the defendants.

[I agree utterly and completely with Mike's sentiments, even if there is a certain irony]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 06:01 PM | Followups
March 24, 2003

Free-speech vs. non-free lawyers

Great quote from a posting by Lawrence Lessig:

Publishers are among the most conservative "fair users" - not because they don't believe in free speech, but because they understand the burden of non-free lawyers.

Hmm ... to add a twist to an old statement:

free as in speech, free as in beer ... but non-free as in lawyer ...

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:58 PM | Followups
March 02, 2003

A DMCA chant

With apologies to 60's anti-war protests, I offer this little bit of doggerel for possible use:

Hey, hey, D-M-C-A
How many rights did you take away?

(older folks or students of 60's history will get the reference)

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:44 PM | Followups
December 30, 2002

OSCON speech quote, activism, and one's life

This quote from Lawrence Lessig's OSCON speech has been in my mind lately:

Because if you don't do something now, then in another two years, somebody else will say, OK, two years is enough; I got to go back to my life.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 06:35 PM
December 28, 2002

On Politics

"Political factions are the intellectual equivalent of street gangs"
- Seth Finkelstein

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 05:35 PM | Followups
December 21, 2002

Dmitry Sklyarov on chilling effect of DMCA

Chilling quote from Sklyarov reflects on DMCA travails :

Anxiety over the DMCA

Sklyarov said many information security developers have been skittish since learning of his case, fearful that they, too, could face jail time for their work. "Nobody knows. Probably you'll do your work, and after that somebody comes for you to arrest you or something like that because the DMCA is very (broadly) written and many things can be linked with DMCA," he said.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:58 PM
November 23, 2002

Lawrence Lessig quote on DMCA

This says it all:

"But we're in a world where disobedience is treated with felony convictions. The idea that you are going to get lots of civil disobedience against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is just crazy. You're going to get lots of prosecutions and people going away to jail."

-- Lawrence Lessig, Reason interview

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 05:25 PM | Followups
November 12, 2002

Copyright And Culture Forum Quotes

The audio for the recent MIT copyright and culture forum is now available

I transcribed a few of my favorite quotes (I was there)

Siva Vaidhyanathan:

"Even though dozens of young lawyers and law students were writing about rap sampling, most of them hadn't a clue about how the music actually works" (12:20)

"It seemed to me that this is the sort of use, the sort of transgressive use, without permission, often in a very critical way, that American culture supports, celebrates, rewards. But apparently American law had a big problem with it." (13:15)

Jonathan Zittrain:

"If you substitute the words "garbage heap" for public domain, you get the sense of what they're figuring when something loses it's copyright." (43:07)

(about the movie It's A Wonderful Life being rerun so many times since it's in the public domain)
"Which actually led Judge Posner to write an article saying that copyright is good, because it prevents us from getting sick of things by restricting their availability. I'm getting somewhat sick of Judge Posner, but that's OK." (44:18)

And I (Seth Finkelstein) can be heard asking a question from the audience:

"Given that we've talked about what the problem is, what do you think are the best ways to get to the result that we want to have?" (1:23:46)

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 03:59 AM | Followups
November 09, 2002

Issac Asimov quote about Libertarianism

I've been reading parts of Isaac Asimov's memoir I. Asimov, and this quote caught my eye (page 308):

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means ``I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve''. It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help.

Quite so. One reason why I say Libertarianism Makes You Stupid.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:48 PM
October 21, 2002

Classic Judge Learned Hand quote on lawsuits

This quote should be better known:

"I must say that, as a litigant, I should dread a lawsuit beyond almost anything short of sickness and death."

-- Judge Learned Hand, from "The Deficiencies of Trials to Reach the Heart of the Matter", in 3 "Lectures On Legal Topics" 89, 105 (1926), quoted in Fred R. Shapiro, "The Oxford Dictionary Of American Legal Quotations" 304 (1993).

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:51 PM