This Week In Techdirt History: August 11th – 17th

from the if-i-remember-correctly dept

Five Years Ago

The fight for government transparency continued this week in 2014, with a judge giving the DOJ until the end of the month to submit a declassified FISA court opinion explaining the justifications for Section 215, the exposure of regular fraud and abuse by patent examiners that the USPTO tried to hide from the Inspector General, and new revelations from Ed Snowden including the fact that Syria’s 2012 internet outage was the result of an NSA hack gone wrong, and that the agency abused its internet metadata program just like every other program. But the biggest battle was for the CIA torture report, which the intelligence community began warning would “inflame anti-US passions” in the Middle East if it was released.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, there was an earlier story of USPTO misbehavior in the form of bilking people out of money. The Encyclopedia Britannica yet again lost in an attempt to abuse a patent that it claimed covered basic GPS functionality, one judge blocked sales of Microsoft Word over patent infringement (in a ruling that had no hope of sticking) while another banned Real from selling RealDVD (sadly not so simple), and yet another overturned the ruling that allowed DVD jukeboxes. While the DOJ was defending the $80,000/song award in the Jammie Thomas lawsuit, a poet who tried to sue Oprah Winfrey for the even-more-insane sum of a trillion dollars saw his lawsuit thrown out — while another author was trying a similar approach to cash in on the success of Twilight.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, the number one culprit on the EFF’s list of bogus patents was being wielded against universities and just about everyone else who streamed any kind of content online, while Microsoft was keeping the wheel turning with a newly granted patent on storing then automatically uploading data, and we talked about how innovation and IP hoarding don’t mix. Meanwhile, Google was ramping up for its IPO (after giving some stock to Yahoo to settle outstanding legal disputes) and worrying its emails might be filtered as spam, while smaller investors tried to figure out if they could get in on the action and other companies quietly delayed their own IPOs to avoid getting lost in the Google hype.

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