This Week In Techdirt History: July 28th - August 3rd

from the that-was-then dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014 was one of significant events around the CIA. First, it was reported that the agency was intercepting confidential whistleblower communications sent to the Senate, which led to angry denials followed in short order by an admission and apology — while also revealing that the spying on the Senate went even further than the report showed. At the same time as all this, the CIA torture report was winding its way towards release. Some leaked details revealed that State Department officials knew about the torture and were instructed not to tell their bosses, and then the White House passed on its redacted version to the Senate — leading Dianne Feinstein to ask why so much of the report was redacted and delay its release. Then, at the end of the week, President Obama addressed the issue with the disturbingly casual statement that "we tortured some folks".

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, there was no surprise when the court rejected Joel Tenenbaum's highly questionable fair use defense for file sharing, capping off the general trainwreck of his defense, and ending with Tenenbaum being ordered to pay $22,500 per song, for a total of $675,000. Meanwhile, the Associated Press was sick enough of people mocking its plans to DRM the news that it said it's done talking about fair use, though perhaps a more important question was whether the AP was still relevant at all. This was somewhat mirrored in Barnes & Noble's bizarre response to questions about why it put DRM on public domain books.

Also this week in 2009: Taser dropped its misguided lawsuit against Second Life, we saw what appears to be the first defamation lawsuit over a tweet, and Apple was fighting to prevent a DMCA exception for jailbreaking iPhones — not a great look in the same week it blocked Google Voice from the iPhone and sparked an FCC investigation.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years earlier in 2004, before the iPhone existed (but with people including us already using the term to describe a hypothetical device we all suspected was coming), Apple made news by putting a slimmed down version of iTunes on a Motorola phone, though we couldn't help but wonder if carriers would kill it due to their own walled-garden mentality. Not that Apple would deserve much sympathy since, that same week, RealNetworks engineered a way for people to put their Real music onto iPods only for Apple to act indignant and accuse them of "adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker". Meanwhile, Google was moving towards its hotly anticipated IPO when it got hit by the MyDoom virus and taken offline for several hours (which may have only served to make people realize just how much they use it).


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2019 @ 11:59pm

    Here Poochie, bye Felicia

    Diving back into the Joel Tenenbaum fiasco it feels odd to see blue not spamming the weekly history thread - especially on such a significant milestone for copyright enforcement. You’d think that a six-figure sum on a copyright enforcement case, which has never withstood appeal, would be the crowning glory of intellectual property fanboys; a rallying cry of victory that you can fuck over someone’s life because a random number generator and skewed court system allowed you to.

    So why haven’t average_joe, John Smith, and blue shouted about it from the heavens?

    Because the Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset cases turned out to be little more than Hail Mary nothingburgers. Piracy didn’t stop because two groups of lawyers were separately terrible at convincing RIAA-indoctrinated juries, Google still exists as copyright enforcement’s biggest bogeyman, and judges didn’t suddenly become more keen or hesitant to enforce copyright - because judges had always played by the rules, regardless of copyright enforcement’s willingness to disregard them. Up to the point where the plaintiffs became so egregious, so blatant, that judges finally stood up and said, “You know, maybe we shouldn’t keep taking these RIAA, MPAA and porn people at face value.”

    2013 was the year when Tenenbaum lost his final appeal - but more importantly, it was the year that Prenda Law made the news for all the wrong reasons, and set the precedents through which judges now justifiably view copyright plaintiffs with when they demand subpoenas.

    Over the years, the RIAA, MPAA, GEMA, IFPI, etc managed to earn the ire and wrath of various judiciaries, ruin the already-strained relationships they had with the general public, and painted themselves into a corner so quickly they had to abandon the “moral” argument against piracy and settle for a scaremongering campaign about malware, which affected everyone between Graham Burke and Fuck All.

    By its own nature, copyright enforcement damaged its case far more than pirates or the EFF ever could. Because copyright enforcement is a cancer that corrupts everything it touches, including itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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