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Techdirt is an internet blog that reports on technology's legal challenges and related business and economic policy issues, in context of the digital revolution. It focusses on intellectual property, patent, information privacy and copyright reform in particular. [2]

A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. Until 2009, blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject or topic. In the 2010s, "multi-author blogs" (MABs) emerged, featuring the writing of multiple authors and sometimes professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups, and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other "microblogging" systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into the news media. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Economic policy refers to the actions that governments take in the economic field

The economic policy of governments covers the systems for setting levels of taxation, government budgets, the money supply and interest rates as well as the labour market, national ownership, and many other areas of government interventions into the economy.

Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. Intellectual property encompasses two types of rights; industrial property rights and copyright. It was not until the 19th century that the term "intellectual property" began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.



The website was founded in 1997 by Mike Masnick. It was originally based on the weblog software Slash. Techdirt's content is based on reader submissions as well as the editorial staff's picks. The website makes use of MySQL, Apache, and PHP, and is hosted at ActionWeb. [3]

MySQL SQL database engine software

MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS). Its name is a combination of "My", the name of co-founder Michael Widenius's daughter, and "SQL", the abbreviation for Structured Query Language.

The Apache HTTP Server, colloquially called Apache, is free and open-source cross-platform web server software, released under the terms of Apache License 2.0. Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a general-purpose programming language originally designed for web development. It was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994; the PHP reference implementation is now produced by The PHP Group. PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

There is a guest editor section in Techdirt, called "Favorite Techdirt Posts of the Week", where several high-profile personalities of politics and culture contributed articles over the years; for instance Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament for the Netherlands, [4] Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon [5] or author Glyn Moody. [6]

Marietje Schaake Dutch politician for D66

Maria Renske “Marietje” Schaake is a Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands. She is a member of Democrats 66, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party.

Member of the European Parliament person who has been elected to the European Parliament

A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to serve as a popular representative in the European Parliament.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Including three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Reception and impact

Techdirt founder Mike Masnick in 2012 Mike Masnick (7997226136) (cropped).jpg
Techdirt founder Mike Masnick in 2012

On Techdirt in January 2005 the "Streisand effect" was coined by founder Mike Masnick. [7] [8]

Streisand effect social phenomenon

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.

In 2003 Forbes named Techdirt as one of the "Best Tech Blogs". [9] In 2006 Techdirt has been praised for its "sharp, pithy analysis of current tech issues" by Bloomberg Businessweek. [10] In 2007 techdirt was nominated for the Webby Award in the section "Web Blog - Business". [11] Techdirt has been named among the favorite blogs of PC Magazine in 2008. [12] In 2015 techdirt was positively mentioned for the bold step to allow readers to remove web ads. [13]

<i>Bloomberg Businessweek</i> magazine

Bloomberg Businessweek is an American weekly business magazine published since 2009 by Bloomberg L.P. Businessweek, founded in 1929, aimed to provide information and interpretation about events in the business world. The magazine is headquartered in New York City. Megan Murphy served as editor from November 2016; she stepped down from the role in January 2018 and Joel Weber was appointed in her place. The magazine is published 47 times a year.

Webby Award award

A Webby Award is an award for excellence on the Internet presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousand industry experts and technology innovators. Categories include websites; advertising and media; online film and video; mobile sites and apps; and social.

<i>PC Magazine</i> magazine

PC Magazine is an American computer magazine published by Ziff Davis. A print edition was published from 1982 to January 2009. Publication of online editions started in late 1994 and continues to this day.

In 2009, English singer Lily Allen created a blog critical of music piracy where she plagiarized an entire post from Techdirt. [14] Following an exchange with Techdirt, debating hypocrisy in the musician's handling of copyright infringement, Allen shut down her blog. [15]

Lily Allen English singer, songwriter, author, and television presenter

Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper, known professionally as Lily Allen, is an English singer and songwriter. She is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. Allen left school when she was 15 and concentrated on improving her performing and compositional skills. In 2005, she made some of her recordings public on Myspace and the publicity resulted in airplay on BBC Radio 1 and a contract with Regal Recordings.

Music piracy is the copying and distributing of recordings of a piece of music for which the rights owners did not give consent. In the contemporary legal environment, it is a form of copyright infringement, which may be either a civil wrong or a crime depending on jurisdiction. The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw much controversy over the ethics of redistributing media content, how much production and distribution companies in the media were losing, and the very scope of what ought to be considered piracy — and cases involving the piracy of music were among the most frequently discussed in the debate.

Copyright infringement

Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work's creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.

Marvin Ammori, a lawyer who advocates on network neutrality and Internet freedom issues, praised Techdirt in the 2011s Stop Online Piracy Act controversy with: "I’m not sure anyone did more to educate the public about SOPA than Techdirt." [16]

Shiva Ayyadurai lawsuit

In 2017, Shiva Ayyadurai filed suit against Techdirt for defamation in response to a series of articles critical of Ayyadurai's claims to have invented email. [17] Techdirt announced its intention to fight the suit, describing it as a "First Amendment fight for its life". [18] A federal judge dismissed the defamation claims on September 6, 2017. [19] In June 2018, attorneys for Ayyadurai appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. [20]

Related Research Articles

Glyn Moody Technology writer

Glyn Moody is a technology writer. He is best known for his book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution (2001). It describes the evolution and significance of the free software and open source movements with many interviews of all the notable hackers.

Annalee Newitz American journalist

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of both fiction and nonfiction. She has written for the periodicals Popular Science and Wired. From 1999 to 2008 she wrote a syndicated weekly column called Techsploitation, and from 2000 to 2004 she was the culture editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2004 she became a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. With C.J. Anders, she also co-founded Other magazine, a periodical that ran from 2002 to 2007. From 2008 to 2015 she was Editor-in-Chief of Gawker-owned media venture io9, and subsequently its direct descendent Gizmodo, Gawker's design and technology blog. As of 2016, she is Tech Culture Editor at the technology site Ars Technica.

Copyfraud notion

Copyfraud refers to false copyright claims by individuals or institutions with respect to content that is in the public domain. Such claims are wrongful, at least under U.S. and Australian copyright law, because material that is not copyrighted is free for all to use, modify and reproduce. Copyfraud also includes overreaching claims by publishers, museums and others, as where a legitimate copyright owner knowingly, or with constructive knowledge, claims rights beyond what the law allows.

Amazon Music Amazon.coms online music store

Amazon Music is a music streaming platform and online music store operated by Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007, in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels, as well as many independents. All tracks were originally sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM; however, some tracks are now watermarked. Licensing agreements with recording companies restrict which countries music can be sold.

Knol Google project

Knol was a Google project that aimed to include user-written articles on a range of topics. Lower-case, the term knol, which Google defined as a "unit of knowledge", referred to an article in the project.

Charles Carreon American lawyer

Charles Hernan Carreon is an American trial attorney best known for his involvement in a legal dispute between The Oatmeal webcomic and content aggregator FunnyJunk. He currently represents individuals and companies in matters pertaining to Internet law.

ReadWrite is a Web technology blog launched in 2003. RW covers Web 2.0 and Web technology in general, and provides industry news, reviews, and analysis. Founded by Richard MacManus, Technorati ranked ReadWriteWeb at number 12 in its list of top 100 blogs worldwide, as of October 9, 2010. MacManus is based in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, but the officers and writers of RW work from diverse locations, including Portland, Oregon. Around September or October 2008, The New York Times technology section began syndicating RW content online. RW also has many international channels such as France, Spain, Brazil, and China.

HBGary is a subsidiary company of ManTech International, focused on technology security. In the past, two distinct but affiliated firms had carried the HBGary name: HBGary Federal, which sold its products to the US Federal Government, and HBGary, Inc. Its other clients included information assurance companies, computer emergency response teams, and computer forensic investigators. On February 29, 2012, HBGary, Inc. announced it had been acquired by IT services firm ManTech International. At the same time, HBGary Federal was reported to be closed.

Shiva Ayyadurai inventor

V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai is an Indian-born Tamil American scientist and entrepreneur.

Choruss was a three-year experimental effort launched in 2008 by Warner Music Group and record-industry/Internet technology expert Jim Griffin to develop a licensed system for peer-to-peer music file sharing among college students. The idea was to establish a voluntary, blanket licensing system for users of college networks, experimenting with different licensing models and technology at different universities. Although the project was supported by many universities, the National Music Publishers Association, and three of the four major record labels at the time—Warner, Sony BMG, and EMI, with Universal being the only holdout—the service never launched, and the project was discontinued when its charter ended in late 2010.

Rumblefish Inc. is a music licensing company specializing in all forms of synchronization licensing with a focus on 'micro-licensing' and online network monetization such as with YouTube's Content ID. It covers over 1.8 million pieces of music and it licenses over 20,000 soundtracks on more than nine million social videos.

A legal dispute between webcomic The Oatmeal and content aggregator website FunnyJunk began in 2011. The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman alleged in 2011 that FunnyJunk users repeatedly infringed copyright of The Oatmeal's original content. In June 2012, FunnyJunk's lawyer, Charles Carreon, sent Inman a letter demanding US$20,000 in damages from him, alleging the claims he made were defamatory. Inman responded by publishing the letter on his site, along with a response and announcement that he would be organizing a charity fundraiser through Indiegogo, donating the amount demanded by Carreon to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

MuckRock is a United States-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act, then publishes the returned information on its website and encourages journalism around it.


Mailpile is a free and open-source email client with the main focus of privacy and usability. It is a webmail client, albeit one run from the user's computer, as a downloaded program launched as a local website.

Mark Marie Robert Karpelès, also sometimes known by his online alias MagicalTux, is the former CEO of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. He moved to Japan in 2009.

Thomas Goolnik is a person formerly associated with the company TLD Networks. He has achieved notoriety in a battle over the European "Right To Be Forgotten," in particular whether current articles written about the RTBF are also subject to RTBF.

Network Investigative Technique, or NIT, is a form of malware employed by the FBI since at least 2002. It is a drive-by download computer program designed to provide access to a computer.

<i>The Internet of Garbage</i> Book by Sarah Jeong

The Internet of Garbage is a 2015 non-fiction book by journalist and lawyer Sarah Jeong. It discusses online harassment as a threat to the useful functions of the internet, and argues for new approaches to managing the issue. The book was reissued in 2018 with a new preface by Jeong.


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  2. Matt Asay (18 Feb 2013). "John Lennon's lesson for public-domain innovation - IP protection hurting, not helping, US and UK". The Register. Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2017-01-02. TechDirt highlights research showing that extending copyrights increases prices and limits dissemination of knowledge, while also pointing out that people who believe patents cause innovation are simply confusing correlation with causation. If anything, patents inhibit innovation.
  3. "About Techdirt". Techdirt. Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  4. Schaake, Marietje. "European Parliament Member Marietje Schaake's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week". techdirt. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  5. Wyden, Ron. "Senator Ron Wyden's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week". techdirt. Archived from the original on 2013-05-01. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  6. Moody, Glyn. "Glyn Moody's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week". techdirt. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  7. "Is Leveraging the Streisand Effect Illegal?". July 13, 2006. Archived from the original on 2017-01-03. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  8. Robert Siegel (February 29, 2008). "The Streisand Effect' Snags Effort to Hide Documents". All Things Considered . National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2018-04-05. The episode is the latest example of a phenomenon known as the "Streisand Effect." Robert Siegel talks with Mike Masnick, CEO of Techdirt Inc., who coined the term.
  9. "Best Tech Blogs" Archived 2017-01-03 at the Wayback Machine on Forbes by Arik Hesseldahl (3/14/2003)
  10. Hof, Rob (October 11, 2006). "The Dirt on Techdirt's New Blogger Community". Bloomberg Businessweek . Archived from the original on 2011-04-16. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  11. techdirt Archived 2017-01-03 at the Wayback Machine on (2007)
  12. Heater, Brian; Griffith, Eric (December 29, 2008). "Our Favorite Blogs". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  13. Why fight it?': One tech publication is letting readers remove ads Archived 2017-01-03 at the Wayback Machine by Ricardo Bilton on digiday (October 2, 2015)
  14. Masnick, Mike (September 21, 2009). "Lily Allen: Copying Isn't Alright... Unless It's Done By Lily Allen". Techdirt. Archived from the original on 2011-12-09. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  15. Chivers, Tom (September 24, 2009). "Lily Allen drops fight against filesharing after Techdirt spat". The Telegraph . Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  16. How this blogger became one of the most influential voices in tech policy Archived 2017-01-03 at the Wayback Machine on by Simon Owens (Jan 21, 2016)
  17. Kravets, David (6 January 2017). "Man who says he invented e-mail sues Techdirt for disputing claim". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  18. Masnick, Mike (11 January 2017). "Techdirt's First Amendment fight for its life". Techdirt. Archived from the original on 2017-01-14. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  19. Farivar, Cyrus (6 September 2017). "Techdirt prevails in libel lawsuit over e-mail invention claims". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  20. Farivar, Cyrus (June 30, 2018). ""Inventor of email" appeals ruling that tossed his libel suit against Techdirt". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-16.