This Week In Techdirt History: August 4th - 10th

from the back-in-the-day dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, while President Obama was defending the CIA's increasingly exposed use of torture on the basis that they had a "tough job", James Clapper was defending the redactions in the torture report and calling them "minimal" — but Senators were calling it "incomprehensible", because even 15% redaction can hide all the critical details.

Meanwhile, comic artist Randy Queen was giving a crash course in DMCA abuse, using takedowns to censor blogs that were critical of his work, then claiming that posts criticizing this were defamatory, then doubling down yet again by trying to DMCA the posts about his DMCA abuse.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, a Washington Post writer started an online journalism dust-up when he complained about Gawker "ripping off" his reporting with a blog post discussing and heavily linking to one of his articles. Other bloggers quickly pointed out that, in fact, the mainstream press "rips off" bloggers constantly, spurring more people to dig in and illustrate the entitlement mentality driving big media's complaints about blogs, and finally the suggestion that perhaps they should run their own blogs about their own reporting if they are so upset. Amidst this, the Associated Press was still digging in on their plan to DRM the news, with their text licensing calculator that would gladly charge you for any text whether it came from the AP or not, and ironically leveraging Creative Commons licensing language for their ill-fated DRM tech. We suggested the agency would be better off finding other services to offer newspapers, while competitor Reuters stepped up defended linking, excerpting and sharing.

Also this week in 2009, we published a long rebuttal to the RIAA's factually-challenged boasts about the Joel Tenenbaum verdict.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, long before Joel Tenenbaum, we were wondering why the RIAA gets to hold parents responsible for their kids' downloading. The US was using trade negotiations to export the DMCA and software patents to Australia, as it likes to do, Hollywood succeeded in driving a DVD backup software company out of business, and for no particular reason the FCC happily voted that VoIP systems should be required to have wiretap backdoors for law enforcement — a fitting week for Tim Wu to write a post exploring how different regulatory schemes create a "copyright gap" that impacts the telephony and content industries in vastly different ways. We also got an important appeals court ruling that found websites devoted to criticizing companies are not commercial speech and thus do not constitute trademark infringement.

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, 11 Aug 2019 @ 7:59am

    Re: Moderation != Censorship

    My point remains about secrecy. How many votes are enough? How do they balance against “insightful” or “funny” votes? Why not publish the vote count, if it is legitimate?

    Why hide behinds words like “it can not censor” when it can hide posts? Why play with the meaning of words to make your point? Are you an attorney? Are you fighting to keep things hidden? Why is that?

    Why not be transparent and open? What does it accomplish to hide behind generalizations? It makes Techdirt look illegitimate and phony, what is that a good thing?

    Who is voting? What are their (fake) names? Why does everything need to be hidden from direct view? What are you afraid of?


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