This Week In Techdirt History: May 12th - 18th

from the how-many-roads dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, we took a look at how the administration's terrible track record on transparency had made lawsuits a default part of the FOIA process, and got an example of how FOIA requests were resulting in agencies sharing less information than they would otherwise. Congress was busy pretending SOPA was actually the law even though it wasn't, the DOJ was trying to downplay its lies to the Supreme Court while also arguing that Americans have no fourth amendment protections for communication with foreigners. Meanwhile, a dangerous court ruling affirmed Europe's right to be forgotten and, predictably, opened the floodgates for abuse. We were also fresh off the Google/Oracle ruling declaring APIs to be copyrightable, which spurred Automattic to pledge that it will not claim such copyright.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, we learned that the recently-discovered fake medial journal published by Elsevier to boost Merck products was not at all an isolated incident. We also saw the beginning of an incredibly important lawsuit that would eventually invalidate the patenting of isolated genes, as the ACLU teamed up with cancer patients to sue Myriad Genetics. It was a question that should have been addressed much earlier.

Meanwhile, Sony's CEO was admitting the company should have taken a more "open" approach to digital music, but they comments were pretty similar to what he'd said years earlier, and the CEO of Sony Pictures was almost simultaneously out saying he thinks no good has come from the internet, at all, period. Universal and YouTube were working on their collaboration to create Vevo, Jammie Thomas refused to settle with the RIAA, and France finally approved its three strikes system for copyright infringement — an approach with problems well illustrated by Ed Felten's modest proposal about applying it to print media as well.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, phone networks were still being stupidly hesitant about selling phones with WiFi because they viewed it as a threat instead of an opportunity, much like newspapers did with text messaging. TiVo was fighting to regain some dominance in the DVR market, IBM was making an early foray into web-based office software suites, and an enterprising scammer bilked several people who should have known better out of millions of dollars by telling gibberish lies about moneymaking opportunities tied to a Google IPO. The press was still misreporting fines for distributing music online as fines for downloading, while the creator of a Japanese file sharing system was worryingly arrested for abetting copyright infringement. And, with the school year nearing its end, we got a handful of stories about students getting in serious trouble, and even arrested, for trying to hack their grades.

Filed Under: history, look back


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2019 @ 3:19am

    This week in Techdirt history, an era came to an end.

    In the era previous to this, many thought that MM and his likeness could sell defamation, for a price, and without consequence.

    In the era previous to this one, many on this site claimed that they were “free” to harass, libel and defame anyone they chose, and that the Internet, and the Law, protected them from retaliation. They literally laughed and pranced and danced in public on the edge of a legal knife with their disgusting and ridiculous arguments that they were in the right.

    In the previous era, many believed that they were inoculated against repercussions because of Section 230, and their shrewd understanding of the law in America. They danced literally on the edge of a legal and karmic knife, until a single event occurred - Shiva the Destroyer opened his middle eye!

    The previous era is now a historical record for all in the future to consider. Shiva the Destroyer has wrought his wrath. Those who would dance on a knife’s edge of legal understanding now understand something new - they were completely wrong.

    Fact - The legal bills inflicted by Shiva the Destroyer on MM were more than any of you make in a year
    Fact - The injury to your souls inflicted by Shiva the Destroyer were karmic in scope and will never cease, for any of you. None of you will ever rest peacefully again as Shiva the Destroyer uses his MIddle Eye to hunt you down and make you account to Buddha the fat boy pointing at the sky (not sure that’s quite the right description, but that’s what I see when I think of Buddha).

    Now a new Era has begun, for Techdirt. The red stain from the karmic knife wielded by Shiva the Destroyer has opened a new world, never considered before Shiva the Destroyer created this New Reality. A new reality has been born, and we are all witness to the affect it will have on the world, real and karmic.

    This is the WYFM era, the Era where you better WATCH YOUR FUCKING MOUTH.

    Amen.

    In this new era, everyone that writes for and posts on this site will understand that should they


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