This Week In Techdirt History: July 26th – August 1st

from the thinking-back dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, we saw a judge slam a sheriff for an attack on Backpage that raised serious first amendment questions, and a student succeed after an eight-year legal battle against a university over being expelled for speech. On the other side of the free speech coin, we saw the cops shut down a hologram concert because they didn’t like a rapper’s lyrics, James Woods sue a random Twitter user for $10-million, and of course Donald Trump continue his lawsuit against Univision (and that post contains our first mention of a certain lawyer, with the now-entertaining phrasing of “apparently, it’s some guy named Michael Cohen, who isn’t just out of his depth on stuff, but he appears to be actively making things worse.”)

We also saw a huge bombshell in the lawsuit over the copyright status of Happy Birthday, with new evidence showing the song is in the public domain that Warner Music quickly tried to muddy the waters around.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, we wondered why the press was still blindly believing entertainment industry “studies”, and how there were new copyrights being claimed on work by an artist who died 70 years ago. Copyright was interfering with technology both old-old and new-old, disrupting the preservation of decaying player piano rolls as well as obsolete video games. And the new round of DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions surprised everyone by including phone jailbreaking, though it left out plenty of good suggestions too.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the anti-open-WiFi brigade was stirring up FUD about cantennas and the press was taking the bait. ISP Telus learned all about the Streisand Effect by blocking its customers from reaching websites supporting its employees in their union battle against the company, while offering weak excuses, and we were not exactly shocked to learn that Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs doesn’t like muni-WiFi. Canada put the final nail in the idea of an iPod tax, one UK court showed it wasn’t fooled by ridiculous claims of losses to software piracy, and yet another study showed that file sharers are the music industry’s best customers.

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