This Week In Techdirt History: December 5th – 11th

from the past-prologue dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2016, we got a good example of how “just metadata” could still be dangerous, the FBI was smacked down for using outdated boilerplate on a National Security Letter, and a bunch of online platforms made a terrible agreement to block “terrorist content”. A shortsighted newspaper association was asking Trump to whittle down fair use, congress was beginning to consider a new round of terrible copyright reform, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn said ISPs have an “obligation” to block “fake news”. We also took a look at all the terrible trade deals floating around, and asked if there’s a better way to do them.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2011, we learned more about how much big media firms were donating to the sponsors of SOPA and PIPA, while the bills were leading to internal fights at various organizations: Kaspersky left the BSA over its initial support of SOPA, and the American Bar Association was warring with itself over its position. We wrote about other realms of collateral damage from the bills like people with disabilities and human rights groups, and about how the arguments from supporters made no sense. A more reasonable (though not perfect) alternative proposal was, as expected, totally hated by the SOPA brigade and continued trying desperately to buy “grassroots” support. And we were very much not shocked when two congressional staffers who helped write SOPA and PIPA became entertainment industry lobbyists.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2006, a judge ruled that it was legal for the FBI to spy on people using the microphones in their phones. Countries around the world began reacting to YouTube, with Japan’s entertainment industry demanding an end to unauthorized uploads while Iran decided to just block the entire site outright. Tracfone was freaking out about the DMCA anti-circumvention exception for unlocking mobile phones even though it was hardly a big deal. Meanwhile, in the UK, an impressively balanced report on intellectual property sparked the expected backlash, with a group of 4,000 musicians signing a petition calling for “fair play” that didn’t sound too fair — and then it turned out that the list of signatures included several from dead musicians.

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