from the liability-for-all! dept
Five Years Ago
First, we saw some fun (read: stupid) IP fights this week in 2011. There was Lady Gaga taking on Baby Gaga, the already-infamous makers of human breast milk ice cream (a part of her larger IP strategy which was all about her image, not her music). There was Zynga trying to trademark the suffix “Ville”, Apple trying to trademark App Store on the groups that “App” stands for Apple, and Summit Entertainment trying to claim near-total ownership of the word “Twilight”. And we haven’t even gotten to the more traditional copyright issues yet…
On that front, we saw Rep. Lofgren continuing to defend the victims of ICE’s domain seizures (something which predictably displeased the RIAA), Fox News sending a very meta DMCA takedown, and the RIAA attempting to claim trillions in damages from Limewire. Surrounding all this was a globe-spanning question about copyright: can platforms and service providers be held liable for what they host or link to? Russia, freaked out by the Arab Spring, certainly thought so; Turkey had just finished banning all of Blogspot over a few infringing blogs; a French court held Google liable for not magically blocking infringing movies; and in the US, the feds seemed pretty jazzed about secondary liability too.
Ten Years Ago
Of course, the secondary liability question was hardly new. In fact, five years earlier in the same week of 2006, we noted that it was the next big legal debate online. This was the same week that France was flipping back and forth on the notion of legalizing file sharing. At the time, though, a bigger concern was security. The identities of 17-million porn customers were breached”, there was strange data leak speculation around Citibank, and there was a growing realization that stupidity, not hacking or malice, was the biggest cause of breaches.
Also this week in 2006: some people still just didn’t care about the internet while others were willing to go on hunger strikes to get it; iTunes delved deeper into the world of TV shows while radio stations fended off ongoing accusations of payola; and Google bought Writely, paving the way for Google Docs.
Fifteen Years Ago
The favorite pastime this week in 2001 was still dissecting the dotcom downturn, whether that meant painting a rosier picture of the situation, outright deeming it a good thing, or simply looking for someone or something to blame (maybe… the Microsoft Case?)
Meanwhile, we watched as Hollywood continued bullying its fans over IP and commented on how that was probably a bad plan. Even more notably, this week’s thread of online liability questions extends all the way to this week in 2001, when an early legal decision about suing anonymous posters started to set some precedents in that realm.
Three-Hundred And Fifty-One Years Ago
Today, there is a struggle to prevent scientific journals from locking up information and knowledge — but once, a long time ago, they were the first and only way to widely share that knowledge to begin with. One of the oldest and longest-running is the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the first issue of which was published on March 6th, 1665. And as is often the case with publications from that era, its full original title was extensive and glorious: Philosophical Transactions, Giving some Account of the present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours of the Ingenious in many considerable parts of the World.