This Week In Techdirt History: August 8th - 14th

from the reminiscence dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2016, we looked at the recent emergence of the new "value gap" rhetoric" in music industry complaints about tech, while Kickass Torrents was trying to get the Justice Department to drop charges against it, and Ed Sheeran was facing lawsuits for songs that were merely inspired by older songs. The EFF was asking the FTC to enforce "truth in labeling" rules around DRM, a judge upheld his own problematic ruling concerning Cox's repeat infringer policy and the DMCA, and we were anticipating a deluge of copyright fights over viral news videos. One judge thankfully laughed off the notion that Twitter was liable for ISIS attacks, while another court said the FBI had to be much more frequent about reviewing NSL gag orders. And the Monkey Selfie case got even more silly with an amacus brief from a primatologist.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2011, some patent troll lawyers were smacked down and made to pay sanctions, while the website Fark got another patent troll to settle for nothing. We looked at a historical example of how even the death penalty doesn't stop infringement, just as New York was expanding anti-piracy laws for no reason and a court in India ruled that service providers are liable for copyright infringement by users — all while file sharing continued to grow, not shrink. A very worrying ruling by the Sixth Circuit said that sending too many emails can violate the CFAA, Apple advertised how frightened it was of the Samsung Galaxy tablet by getting a Europe-wide blockade of the device, and the San Mateo County District Attorney finally realized that Gizmodo didn't break the law by writing about the iPhone 4 prototype it found.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2006, AOL made a huge and astonishing unforced error by exposing the search queries of 500,000 users for research purposes, leading the CEO to eventually start calling individual customers to apologize — and the incident seemed to spark some recognition in government that data retention isn't a good thing. The Senate released a patent reform plan with some good aspects and a whole lot of bad ones, while a very interesting patent battle broke out over Amazon's infamous one-click patent. Major League Baseball failed in its attempt to claim ownership of stats, but decided to double down with a slightly different approach. And the RIAA was fighting against efforts to have its representatives deposed in a lawsuit by demanding sweeping gag orders on the depositions.

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Filed Under: history, look back


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2021 @ 10:18am

    What has consciously occurred to me since i read this yesterday, and thinking about some of the history referenced, is how many of the outbound links are dead, even (or, rather, especially) for still extant publications. The just memory-hole stuff as if text and maybe a few images are just clogging up their server storage.

    I am always grateful that techdirt is not one of the organizations that does this.


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