This Week In Techdirt History: January 16th – 22nd

from the it-went-down dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2017, outgoing FCC boss Tom Wheeler warned about the perils of killing net neutrality, while leaked details of Trump’s FCC transition plan revealed his plans to gut all the agency’s consumer protection powers — then, on Friday, it was confirmed that Ajit Pai would become the new FCC boss. Meanwhile, we marked the five year anniversary of the SOPA protests (and be sure to check out our much bigger celebration for the ten year anniversary) by reminding lawmakers of what happened and discussing what it could teach them about tech.

Also, in surprising but welcome news, this was the week that President Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence.

Ten Years Ago

This is it: the week of the 2012 SOPA/PIPA blackout protest. First, it was announced that Wikipedia was officially on board. Then Google promised to do something big, and the Internet Archive announced plans, as did Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The day before the protest, Lamar Smith and the MPAA brushed it all off as a publicity stunt and Smith announced that markup on SOPA would resume in February.

Then, on Wednesday, it began. Many sites went dark, Google blacked out their logo, and here at Techdirt we focused on covering the events as they unfolded. Although the MPAA was in denial, and being condescending (and one-upped by the RIAA the next day), the effects were clear: Rep. Lee Terry was the first co-sponsor to remove his name from SOPA, then Senator Marco Rubio ditched PIPA followed by several other senators — and when the dust settled, we couldn’t help but notice that most of them were Republicans, since Democrats seemed to be dropping the ball. Ultimately, the internet won, and the bills were officially, indefinitely delayed.

But, of course, the week couldn’t be all good news. At the very same time as this was all going down, the DOJ unilaterally shut down Megaupload and arrested many of the principles with the help of New Zealand law enforcement. The details of the case raised massive concerns, and the internet was quick to strike back: Anonymous managed to take down the DOJ, RIAA and MPAA websites. The war for internet freedom was far from over…

Fifteen Years Ago

That was a lot of detail on 2012, and this week in 2007 was nowhere near as exciting — but there were two developments that were small and interesting at the time, but in hindsight were pretty big deals. First, DVD rental company Netflix started rolling out a new feature allowing some users to stream a limited selection of movies. Second, we covered the announcement of a curious experiment that aimed to support dissident government employees in oppressive regimes: “a new site called Wikileaks”.

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