This Week In Techdirt History: October 22nd – 28th

from the back-to-the-future dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012, we noted that the US was remaining steadfast in its opposition to a treaty promoting access to creative works for the disabled, and it was beginning to become clear that negotiators were holding it hostage in order to demand a new ACTA or SOPA-like regime. Meanwhile, the Librarian of Copyright announced the new anti-circumvention exceptions… and denied DVD ripping rights, and knocked phone unlocking off the list. Aereo was pointing out that it was being accused of infringement specifically because it closely followed the law, while the infamous John Steele was giving extremely stupid justifications for his copyright trolling activities. Also, this was the week that some Italian scientists were (shockingly and unbelievably) convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, the UK made the highly questionable move of arresting the operator of TVLinks for “facilitating infringement”, right as the IFPI was celebrating its whac-a-mole success of shutting down the OiNK torrent tracker — and, seemingly high off these “victories”, the UK parliament started mulling over the idea of forcing ISPs to block file sharing. (Sadly all this anti-filesharing sentiment seemed to be succeeding in making everyone forget that P2P is a powerful concept with all sorts of applications).

Fifteen Years Ago

Speaking of P2P, this week in 2002 it appeared that the pushback against the horrible “Hollywood Hacking” bill was having at least some impact, even as movie studios and the RIAA were going around trying to warn everyone they could about the dangers of file sharing — though they apparently were successfully confusing everyone, what with some writers thinking that any act of burning a CD must be music piracy and eBay blocking a musician from selling his own music under the assumption it was infringing. The copyright fight was so annoying it was even slowing down broadband growth, so amidst all this it was nice to see at least one person fighting the good fight, with Lawrence Lessig doing everything possible to spread a better understanding of intellectual property.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: October 22nd – 28th”

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David says:

Feature, not a bug

(Sadly all this anti-filesharing sentiment seemed to be succeeding in making everyone forget that P2P is a powerful concept with all sorts of applications)

Peer-to-peer by its nature gets around the necessity for a central controlling arbiter and thus is hard to control by a central agency like the government.

For the same reason, several governments have decided to stop issuing large currency bills: their principal use are business transactions that happen to occur without a government-accessible record.

Skype has stopped its original reliance on a server-less end-to-end protocol for the actual connection in order to route every communication through its servers.

That makes law enforcement happy and offers opening additional venues for interspersing advertising material.

And so on. Decentralization is often more efficient but offers less control.

As a technical example, Firewire recording devices (cameras, expensive soundcards) at one time were able to access a disk on the same Firewire network without even passing the data through the central computer initiating the transactions.

Securitywise, a nightmare. But as long as you had not to worry about bad players, very efficient and reliable.

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