Today in Landfill Capitalism: bringing a scooter to a knife fight.

Bird Scooter tried to censor a Boing Boing post. So that's going well:

Last month, I published a post discussing the mountains of abandoned Bird Scooters piling up in city impound lots, and the rise of $30 Chinese conversion kits that let you buy a scooter at auction, swap out the motherboard, and turn it into a personal scooter, untethered from the Bird company.

In response, Bird sent us a legal threat of such absurdity that we are publishing it in full, along with a scorching response from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as a kind of celebration of truly world-class legal foolishness.

In Bird's legal threat, they imply that by linking to a forum in which the existence of conversion kits was under discussion, I had violated the anti-trafficking clauses of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the 1998 law that limits the dissemination of "circumvention tools" that bypass access controls for copyrighted works -- for example, tools that let you extract the video from an encrypted DVD.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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19 Responses:

  1. MattyJ says:

    So nobody at Bird bothered to google "Cory Doctorow" to maybe find out if that's perhaps the second to last guy on Earth you'd want to pick that kind of fight with?

    • Different Jamie says:

      The below-average half of the lawyers have to go somewhere.

      • apm74 says:

        The White House just hired 17 lawyers recently, so apparently it's a good time to a below average lawyer.

      • MrWonderful says:

        You probably mean "below median", since well over half of anything may be above or below 'average' in an uneven distribution.
        Edge-case example: consider 99 attorneys rated at '100' and one attorney rated at 0. The average would be 99 and therefore 99 out of 100 attorneys would be 'above average.'

    • Mike says:

      Who is the last, Genghis Khan?

    • Lloyd says:

      Second to last guy?

      Who is the last guy? Someone with a degree? Someone who qualified as a lawyer?

      Someone with a law degree?

      Didn't people at Bird have people with law degrees?

      Anway, they have a position to advance and defend; that dictates their approach.

  2. Derpatron9000 says:

    I long for the day these when fools get their comeuppance.

  3. o.o says:

    Nobody noticed that Bird's corporate counsel is named Linda Kwak?

  4. robert_ says:

    In the future it will be illegal to point out that a company's business model is either doomed or inherently harmful to wider society.

  5. Jeff Allen says:

    Normally, the rule is "never read the comments", but if you're into puns, reading the comment thread on that BoingBoing post would be well worth your time.

  6. Jon says:

    FYI: "Lime halts scooter service in Switzerland after possible software glitch throws users off mid-ride"
    https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/12/lime-scooters-switzerland-bumps/

  7. Chas. Owens says:

    Normally I defend Bird, but this is indefensible. The company put out a statement throwing the attorney under the bus:

    In the quest for curbing illegal activities related to our vehicles, our legal team overstretched and sent a takedown request related to the issue to a member of the media. This was our mistake and we apologize to Cory Doctorow.

    • jwz says:

      Hey, be fair, I'm sure that like literally every other aspect of their business, their lawyer was a lowest-bid contractor that they found on Fiver.

      • Kyle Huff says:

        Fiver! Thank you. I was trying to look up a hilarious comedy bit about Fiver the other day but couldn't remember the name.
        In this case, I was wondering if you procure fake legal services through mturk.com.

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