This Week In Techdirt History: March 20th – 26th

from the 133-years-of-patents dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, the New York Times had just launched its new paywall experiment. The newspaper expressed various mixtures of fantasy and denial, suggesting that people felt guilty about reading for free and that only college students and the unemployed would game the system. Of course, they were also trying to shut down those who took perfectly fair advantage of the holes they intentionally built in, and we even wondered if bypassing the paywall might have DMCA implications. Meanwhile, star columnist Paul Krugman was helping his readers figure out how to do it.

Techdirt had its first encounter with Barry Eisler when he turned down a half-million dollar publishing contract to self-publish his book instead, and noticed an interesting path-crossing in Amanda Hocking, a self-published author being courted by big publishers with contracts worth millions.

This was also the week that we got a very important ruling out of a big loss for Righthaven: a judge declared that even reposting an entire article can be fair use.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, the RIAA got slapped down in its attempts to dig through people’s computers for evidence of infringement. Meanwhile, one of its own studies was showing that file sharing was no big deal. Another study, from the Cato Institute, looked at how the DMCA has changed the nature of competition. Over in France, the parliament approved a law banning the sale of DRM’d content in stores like iTunes — garnering some serious kickback from Apple, which seemed rather contradictory in light of Steve Jobs’ thoughts on DRM a few years earlier.

This was also the week when the web scored one of its most pointless but iconic victories, convincing the producers of Snakes On A Plane to go back and shoot a new scene heavily requested by fans online.

Fifteen Years Ago

There seemed to be a lot of buzz about email this week in 2001. President Bush announced that he would no longer use it, thanks to fear of open records requests; one professor was amping up its importance, putting it alongside speaking and writing as the third revolutionary step in communications, while another was spinning a story about how email isolates us and is broadly terrible. I suspect both might have been going just a tad too far. Meanwhile, the real fight was in the world of instant messaging.

One-Hundred And Thirty-Three Years Ago

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was one of the first international treaties regarding intellectual property, and it still stands today as one of the widely-accepted treaties in the world. Mostly it has to do with allowing companies to get patents in other countries and be eligible for that country’s local protections — and it was signed on March 20th, 1883.

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