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Get woke, go broke, pay lawyers

by | Jul 15, 2020 | Uncategorized | 8 comments

Not much time for an extended post today, but it is worth taking a look through this video here, which concerns the current legal wranglings between Patreon and Owen Benjamin’s Bears:

The simple takeaway is that Patreon is attempting to have its cake and eat it too.

(I never did understand that phrase as a child, and to be honest, I still don’t quite get it. But then I tend to be a very literal person.)

Now, yours truly may or may not have a certain amount of fiduciary interest in this whole circus – I’m not letting on either way – but it is certainly highly amusing to watch. It is really clear that Patreon never thought that it would be in a position to de-platform people, and when they found themselves doing precisely what they thought at one point was bad for business, they then panicked and decided that they needed to change the rules ASAFP to stop the problem that they CREATED FOR THEMSELVES from biting them in the ass.

It very obviously has not worked.

We shall see what happens. I have no particular interest in much armchair lawyering – I’m not a lawyer, I don’t pretend to be, and I have no clue what will happen. But I do think that Big Tech has just been put on notice.

Companies that purport to be “platforms” like Patreon, or “payment processors” like PayPal, now have a keen interest in this case. If the Bears succeed – and I have good reason to think that they will – then Big Tech will no longer be able to run roughshod with impunity over content providers and their subscribers.

This is especially important because one of our own, Roosh V himself, just got deplatformed from YouTube, which cuts off one of his primary sources of income these days. Does this amount to tortious interference by YouTube between Roosh and his subscribers and patrons? I don’t know. I doubt it, but I don’t know. I’ll leave it to lawyers to figure that one out.

But Roosh was a relatively easy target because he lives in the USA. American law distinguishes between platforms and publishers and gives platforms significant legal protections – which His Most Illustrious, Noble, August, Benevolent, and Legendary Celestial Majesty, the God-Emperor of Mankind, Donaldus Triumphus Magnus Astra, the First of His Name, the Lion of Midnight, may the Lord bless him and preserve him, could remove from them pretty easily if he were so inclined.

And he should be so inclined. They are working night and day to destroy his campaign and to ensure that his influence is rendered null and void, as if they could put the nationalist genie back in its bottle now.

European law, on the other hand, is far less forgiving toward Big Tech, which is why a number of freethinkers who use YouTube services in Europe have not been deplatformed, not yet.

If this lawfare approach against Patreon succeeds – and, again, I believe that it will – then we are looking at a huge change in the balance of power between users and platforms. And that is very much to the good.

Let’s see where this goes. One thing is for sure – the fireworks are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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8 Comments

  1. lynch

    Man has cake. Man eats cake. Man no longer has cake, but instead has mush in his intestines. If you eat it, you no longer have it. You gotta do one or the other, you can't have it both ways.

    That's how I've always understood it.

    Reply
    • Kraemer

      Thanks for the explanation. I superficially understood it as a version of having something both ways but this makes more sense

      Reply
    • Didact

      That's how I understand it, but the phrase always seemed odd to me because of the way that it is set up. It's a curious idiom that somehow doesn't sit well in English. But anyway, that's just me being picky.

      Reply
    • Kapios

      Trump is probably very inclined to kick the tech industry in the nuts, but how much influence does he have when half the politicians in the U.S are bought and sold by tech giants. Also the Republicucks still remain dormant. The tech giants are a bit of a walking paradox though. They seem so disconnected from this world, but they have the democrats in their pockets at the same time. Plus they do well with online marketers, because let's face it, Goolag and Cuckbook have created more internet millionaires than every other platform out there.

      Maybe, I'm overestimating them or interpreting their actions wrongly. Either way, they got a good grip on America's balls it seems.

      Reply
    • Didact

      Well basically the power that Big Tech has comes entirely from Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. That section specifically states that platforms cannot be held liable for the content that is held on their sites and provides distinctions between them and publishers.

      The problem is that nobody has ever had the balls, or the will, to enforce that distinction until the God-Emperor came along. And even he hasn't done very much on the issue. So far we're seeing anti-trust probes and threats of enacting S230 measures, but very little action.

      The Patreon affair, on the other hand, will likely force Big Tech to wise up in a very big hurry. They are constrained by state and local laws in California that apply fairly stringent consumer protections, and they cannot draft EULAs that strip consumers of all protections completely. They could leave Commiefornia for other states, but those are far less friendly to Big Tech and do not have the built-in infrastructure of Silicon Valley to support companies. Only a handful could really afford it.

      We'll see how things play out, but I suspect that there are a lot of corporate suits sitting in Silicon Valley right now, shitting bricks over the precedents that could be established by this situation.

      Reply
    • Kapios

      Let me guess. If Patreon vs Benjamin Owen goes through and patreon loses the case, then a sea of lawyers will suddenly start calling all those who had their rights violated by big tech and circle around them like sharks. Did I summarize it correctly?

      Regardless of that, it would be interested to see how big tech investors like the CIA and others will react to this.

      Reply
    • Didact

      Let me guess. If Patreon vs Benjamin Owen goes through and patreon loses the case, then a sea of lawyers will suddenly start calling all those who had their rights violated by big tech and circle around them like sharks. Did I summarize it correctly?

      Not necessarily, though that is one possible outcome. The problem with that approach is that the EULA terms of service outlined in most "platforms" expressly prohibit the use of class action lawsuits and require users to submit to arbitration. There is a streamlined arbitration process through an entity called JAMS which many of these California tech companies use, that makes the whole thing a lot more straightforward.

      The problem for Big Tech lies in the fact that many of them will scramble to change their terms of service to avoid having to go to arbitration… but that will run face-first into California law that protects the rights of consumers by requiring the platforms to give them some means of recourse.

      So Big Tech will be between a rock and a hard place. They don't want to go through arbitration because of what Voxemort the Dreaded and the Legal Legion of Evil have managed to do to Indiegogo and Patreon, and perhaps eventually to Airbnb as well. But they can't afford to deal with class action lawsuits either.

      Note, this only applies to PLATFORMS, and then only to the smaller Big Tech companies. Google, Apple, Faceborg, and so on, will be fine. The reason for this is that arbitration in case of tortious interference ONLY applies when a platform kicks off a creator and severs the connection between that creator and those who pay him for his content.

      This is inapplicable in most cases such as Facebook and Twitter. There is no payment involved whatsoever.

      YouTube might be susceptible to it – MIGHT BE – but YouTube presents a vastly more difficult target than Patreon, because while YouTube loses like $1 billion a year, it's backed up by the vastness of Google and Alphabet, which have billions upon billions in cash to throw against any possible arbitration or lawsuit.

      Patreon and most other "Big" Tech companies are actually running on very thin profit margins and very limited cashflow. Most of them aren't even making any actual money at all.

      Like I said, interesting times ahead.

      Reply
  2. Blume

    So I think the best image to use in thinking about the cake metaphor is a wedding cake. They look amazing and the bride generally wants to preserve it for the memories but they are also delicious and she wants to eat the delicious thing she bought. And so do all her guests.

    Reply

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