This Week In Techdirt History: September 5th – 11th
from the past-to-present dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2016, AT&T was tapdancing around its DirecTV merger obligations and tiptoeing past a sleepy FCC’s net neutrality rules — perhaps because the FCC was busy weakening its cable box reform plans in response to industry lobbying, although this didn’t stop Comcast from still finding things to whine about, nor the MPAA from freaking out about the new plan. Warner Bros. managed to issue DMCA takedowns for its own website, Take Two won its publicity rights lawsuits against Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano, and Google screwed over a bunch of media websites. We took a closer look at why the Copyright Office acts as Hollywood’s lobbying arm, while a terrible ruling in the EU said that mere links can be direct infringement.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2011, the MPAA was so thrilled with the Zediva ruling that it was offering to help the court spread it around, and was also busy pushing bogus piracy numbers that suggested pirates would buy 200 more DVDs per year if they couldn’t download stuff. France was placing copyright above human rights, Sweden was dismantling its online civil rights at the behest of US content industries, a Russian bureaucrat was calling for Google and Youtube to be shut down for facilitating infringement, a Canadian politician turned out to have secretly asked the US to ramp up diplomatic pressure for more draconian copyright laws, and Europe was adopting a copyright strategy that would see Europeans send as much money as possible to US companies — while also seizing the public domain by retroactively extending copyright. EMI was getting desperate with legal theories about pre-1972 songs, the RIAA was sending DMCA takedowns over free music being distributed directly from the Universal Music website, and Puerto 80 was continuing its fight over the DOJ’s domain seizures.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2006, a patent dispute had the bizarre effect of forcing SanDisk to only show photos of a new MP3 player at a trade show, though the company managed to get the injunction overturned when it was too late. Clear Channel was fighting for relaxed rules so it could buy up even more radio stations, newspapers were still really struggling to understand the internet, and magazines were fumbling around trying to cash in on the online video craze. EMI was freaking out and demanding IP addresses over a popular new Beatles/Beach Boys mashup, while a settlement with Bertlesmann over its Napster investment was poised to make things complicated for investors. And we also had another of our early posts talking about Section 230 back when it was a relatively obscure law to most people, rather than a well-known political football (not that broad understanding of how it works has actually improved much since then).