This Week In Techdirt History: July 31st – August 6th

from the the-more-things-change dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, we saw the surprising ruling that MegaUpload could be guilty of direct infringement in a lawsuit brought by Perfect 10. Another court shut down online movie rental site Zediva, establishing the bizarre fact that the length of the cable apparently makes a difference when it comes to infringement. On the flipside, in another Perfect 10 case, we got the excellent and important ruling that copyright infringement doesn’t automatically mean irreparable harm.

In the UK, the copyright world was in flux following the Hargreaves Report, with the UK Business Secretary stepping up to back many of its recommendations and even go beyond them. Soon, the UK announced surprisingly good copyright plans based on the report — though it didn’t address ridiculous copyright term lengths. At the same time, BPI was using a ruling against Newzbin2 to push for much broader copyright censorship powers, while the UK’s pioneering copyright trolls were facing sanctions.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, inspired by the success of YouTube, the big media companies were racing to crowd the market for video sharing platforms with their own official offerings, creating a huge mess. MSN was actually a leader in the online video space, but it wasn’t clear if that really mattered. DVRs were sort of changing how much TV people watch, and digital filming was changing how actors act.

Also this week in 2006: Norway was considering banning iTunes, Germany was trying to stop software resale, and a Minnesota ban on selling video games to minors was declared unconstitutional; the music industry was ironically starting to see CDs as a threat while also trying to sell people music on DVDs for some reason; and, following a semi-victory in the Grokster decision, the RIAA officially commenced its legal action against Limewire.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, the music labels were excited about their new digital music plans even though it was easy to predict that they wouldn’t work out that well. Of course, popular piracy alternatives had big problems too, such as KaZaa installing browser-hijacking adware as a business model and leading to an awareness of the plague of “parasite-ware”. DVRs were already changing people’s viewing habits back in 2001, and one company was already working on a 3D television — except it turned out to be a complete hoax.

Three-Hundred And Thirteen Years Ago

We often talk about free speech and satire around here at Techdirt, so this week let’s look back at an iconic moment in the history of those concepts. It was on July 31st, 1703 that novelist and pamphleteer Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame) was arrested and put in the pillory for distributing a satirical pamphlet, on charges of seditious libel. Legend has it the people pelted him not with fruits but with flowers — but the truth of this is shaky at best.

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