Possible reactions when your friend buys a McMansion

One post at DC Urban Moms and Dads provides a list of possible reactions when your friend buys a $2 million McMansion:

1.) I am very happy for the person.
2.) I hope they invite me back again because I LOVED the swimming pool or the sauna or the gym or the movie theatre or the gourmet kitchen etc. etc. And now I can enjoy it for free!
3.) How in the world did they afford this place? Are they smuggling drugs? Are they internet hackers? Something is fishy!
4.) This person is going through a midlife crisis. Even if I could afford this, I would never buy this ridiculous McMansion…
5.) This person is out of my league. I don’t want to come back.
6.) I can’t invite this person to my house because my house looks stupid by comparison.
7.) Act as if nothing has changed. As if they had the same $700,000 house they had before.

If you get invited for dinner, do you bring nothing (the person is too rich anyways), do you bring the usual stuff (average bottle of wine), do you bring the luxury goods because this is going to be an amazing dinner in an amazing place. Do you say: No Thanks, because you no longer wish to associate with this person.

Perhaps this is a hypothetical question for a certain demographic. Yet, there are some intriguing underlying issues here. How much do people judge their friends and others for the house that they purchase? Like people tend to do for other purchases and lifestyle choices(clothing, music choices, etc.), I suspect there is a lot of judging here. Notice that only 2 out of the 7 listed above are positive and 1 is neutral.

I wonder how often such an event might happen. Put another way, how often are Americans close friends with people in significantly different socioeconomic situations? McMansion owners probably tend to live near other McMansion owners but how much mixing do they do with different income/social class levels? Even if they do have friends across class levels, they might still see their neighbors or close co-workers as their primary reference group.

See no evil

The Wall Street Journal is reporting a summary judgment ruling in the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright infringment case (link to the opinion here).

For those of you not familiar with the case, Viacom, which owns a host of media outlets, is suing on the theory that YouTube/Google is legally responsible for Viacom clips that YouTube users post.  As Judge Louis Stanton puts it, “the critical question” from a legal perspective is whether the law punishes an online service provider that has “a general awareness that there are infringements” taking place (i.e., the fact that everyone knows there are infringing videos up on YouTube) or whether YouTube is only responsible if it has “actual or constructive knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements of individual items.”  Closely reading the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [text] and its legislative history, Judge Stanton concludes that “[m]ere knowledge of prevalence of [infringing] activity is not enough….To let knowledge of a generalized practice of infringement in the industry, or of a proclivity of users to post infringing materials, impose responsibility on service providers to discover which of their users’ posting infringe a copyright would contravene the structure and operation of the DMCA.”

This one’s virtually certain to be appealed.  Stay tuned…

Chunga – 6/23/10 8:24 PM – The onus now seems to be on the content providers, like Viacom, to monitor which of their products are uploaded and then ask for their removal (which Google appears quite willing to do). If Viacom does not explicitly ask for a removal, YouTube/Google can keep all sorts of of copyrighted material online?

Sagescape – 6/23/10 9:34 PM – Generally speaking, that’s correct.  There’s a very helpful FAQ maintained by ChillingEffects.org that describes the DMCA’s “notice and takedown” process in some detail.