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This Week In Techdirt History: June 16th - 22nd

DATE POSTED:June 22, 2019

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, it was becoming increasingly clear that the government had no idea how to solve a problem like Snowden, and we all got to see more details about things like the NSA's aggressive language about data collection, its gamification of spying, and the fact that it was accessing insane amounts of data directly from overseas cables. But some progress was made as the House overwhelmingly voted to take away one of the NSA's spying tools, even as the administration declined to take an easy opportunity to end bulk phone data collection immediately.

Meanwhile, police in London made the hilarious claim that "The Tor" is 90% of the internet, the feud between John Oliver and Tom Wheeler moved into its second phase, Techdirt received its first right to be forgotten request, Prenda Law was hit with $12,000 in sanctions, and an appeals court ruled unequivocally that yes, Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, while one media analyst was calling Hulu "anti-Ameircan" for providing free content, and Blu-Ray was rolling out the ability to make inconvenient DRM-laden copies of discs, the recording industry was tying itself in knots in its fight for the Performance Rights act: arguing against the idea that digital radio is different from terrestrial despite that being an idea the RIAA itself originally promulgated, and calling for an FCC investigation of radio stations that were refusing to play songs from musicians who supported the Act even though their whole argument is that all this unpaid airplay constitutes piracy. But they got a big win in the ill-advised Jammie Thomas case, with Thomas ordered to pay a shocking $1.92 million by the jury — an insane number that raised big constitutional questions was of course quickly defended by all the usual RIAA mouthpieces.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, the big trend for online newspapers was the silly notion of registration walls, but at least that wasn't quite as insane as their plan to get in on the music download store trend. People were still having all sorts of reactions to the spread of mobile phones, from the irritation with hearing private conversations to the standard fear about kids accessing porn and even in some places giving serious credence to fears about wireless signals causing illness. Perhaps the craziest example was in Ireland, where the government wanted to create a registry of all 3G phone buyers in case some turned out to be child pornographers.

Meanwhile, the MPAA was trying to come up with strained legal reasons that file sharing systems should be investigated, Universal's vaunted price-drop for CDs was not going so smoothly, DirecTV stopped attempting to extort people who had purchased smart card readers in what seemed to be the result of EFF pressure but turned out to likely have been because of a forthcoming court order, and Cory Doctorow — in a fight that he sadly must continue (but thankfully does continue) to this day — made a thorough and impassioned argument against DRM to Microsoft.



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