This Week In Techdirt History: April 15th – 21st
from the it-happened dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2013, as the fallout for Prenda Law continued, we shifted our focus to the cybersecurity bill CISPA. While the White House was threatening to veto it if the privacy issues were not addressed, the House was rejecting all the amendments that might actually do so and its sponsors were ignoring the fact that it would render online privacy agreements meaningless. Sponsor Mike Rogers (whose wife, surprise surprise, stood to benefit hugely from the bill) made his infamous comment about the only opposition being 14-year-olds in their basement, prompting rapid and widespread backlash. We knew from history how the bill would be abused, and the only amendment that was being truly considered was pretty toothless. Then, of course, the bill was passed by the House, with 288 supporters.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2008, the threat to privacy was the DHS’s domestic spy satellites — but more was happening on the copyright front, such as J. K. Rowling trying to use emotional appeals to block a Harry Potter guidebook and push silly legal theories like the idea that spoilers are copyright infringement. And Warner Bros. was threatening the filmmaker behind the movie Troll, which he was seeking to remake, because it happened to have a character named Harry Potter ten years before Rowling’s books were written. Hollywood was starting to turn its attention to 3D movies as a way to revive cinemas, the recording industry was seeking more money because it deigned to let people transfer media between devices, and we took a look at how everyone overvalues content and undervalues services.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2003, it was the ten-year anniversary of the release of Mosaic, the first “major” web browser. The entertainment industry was succeeding in its crusade against piracy within various organizations, with CIO Magazine telling corporations to worry about the legal issues of employee downloading, and a bunch of Naval Academy students being disciplined for sharing music. Copyright fears were holding back books about hacking and internet security research and — in an early precursor to the sort of sharing that would be formalized by CISPA a decade later — the government was asking corporations to hand over details on their infrastructure and just trust the agencies to keep it safe.