A long time ago my good friend Dan Vickrey of the Counting Crows explained to me the concept of a Dumb Off. Essentially this is what you call an argument between two people that actually agree. Generally this is because one or both parties insists that the other person is saying something that they are not. In the music world these Dumb Offs usually occur in the van or on the bus after the show when people are really really drunk.
In the internet world they occur (with alarming frequency) on Techdirt.
Most of you are not be familiar with Techdirt.com. Allow me to explain. This is an obscure blog that is run by He-who-was-named-on-the-Google-Shill-List (Mike Masnick)and his Canadian sidekick Barnacle Boy – I mean Leigh Beadon. We at The Trichordist mostly know about this blog cause every time they write about us we get a barely perceptible extra dozen views. They generally write minitrues that benefit Google/Oceania when argued in the broader much more popular tech blogs. The reason you’ve never heard of Techdirt is cause this is the place where they try out these arguments before they turn them over to the thinner, better looking and more professional bloggers. Bloggers that likely went to Harvard or Yale, not Cornell.
Last week I heard Techdirt ran a story claiming I was wrong about my claim that Copyright is in Human Rights treaties. I was curious since they (once again) were rebutting something I never said so I decided maybe I should read this article. It took a while. I fell asleep three times and it was only after an injection of cheap Guatemalan adrenalin that I managed to finish it.
In yet another attempt to discredit us, Barnacle Boy- I mean the unsuccessful Canadian hip hop artist Leigh Beadon falsely and knowingly claims I say copyright is in human rights treaties. To bolster his case he links to an article that I didn’t write and says nothing of the kind. But these kind of real world facts have never stopped the Google policy id– oops I mean Techdirt from writing stuff like this before. What the linked article does say and what I often say is: Artists’ Rights (not copyright) are enshrined in Human Rights treaties. These rights are then expressed on the national level in copyright laws.
Whoops, your bad.
Looks like we are agreeing on this one point. Thus I declare this a Dumb Off. In my band you get a $250 dollar fine for participation in any Dumb Off. Pay it to the tour manager.
Now normally we’d ask for a correction but we’re not exactly sure who to ask? See we are not entirely sure that Masnick and Beadon actually exist. Reading Techdirt one might be forgiven for assuming Masnick and Beadon are simply mildly sophisticated AI from some half assed Google AI project tucked between Google’s space program boondoggle and the driverless car boondoggle. Certainly Masnick’s attempts at humor AND Leigh’s rhyming style fall into the unfortunate “Uncanny Valley” between human and robotic. Thus lending credence to our theory.
So we ask: Are they programmed to make corrections? Or do we just write the AI programmers and ask for the correction? This is uncharted territory for us.
So however much we have enjoyed seeing Techdirt bravely taking a stand against human rights treaties and morality itself, and however excited we are about using this against them later, we do have to correct the record. You just can’t make shit up. Even on the internet. Here is the main blog that The Trichordist published on Artists Rights and Human Rights. This was written by Chris Castle.
The Human Rights of Artists
…These rights resonate in a number of international and national documents, but a good international agreement to consider first is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966. It is important to remember that human rights are fundamental, inalienable and universal entitlements belonging to individuals, individual artists in our case. As a legal matter, human rights can be distinguished from intellectual property rights as intellectual property rights are arguably subordinate to human rights and actually implement at the national level the human rights recognized as transcending international and national intellectual property laws…
Ergo a “Dumb Off”. I think the judges will agree. $250.