Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, traffic to The Pirate Bay was yet again surging following an attempt to block it. The copyright revolving door was in full swing, with the main architect of PIPA becoming an MPAA lobbyist alongside one of Hollywood’s favorite former congressmen. Italy’s public prosecutor seized a giant webmail provider and cloud storage provider for shaky copyright reasons, a San Francisco eviction lawyer was abusing the DMCA to censor a protest video, and a musician whose work was at the center of a copyright lawsuit against YouTube slammed the lawsuit and copyright itself.
Meanwihle, The Intercept revealed the US government’s guidebook for putting people on the no-fly list, as well as the stunning extra scrutiny such people were then put under. And an ex-official from the State Department suggested that the NSA has even worse surveillance programs than the ones everyone was focused on.
Ten Years Ago
Sometimes there are shockingly perfect parallels between the present week and the past. Yesterday, we reported on Tulsi Gabbard’s frankly insane lawsuit against Google — and this week in 2009, we reported on a gamer suing Sony with the same non-starter claim: that the company violated his First Amendment rights by banning him from a PS3 game. One might have hoped this sort of constitutional nonsense would stay relegated to random gamers, rather than being elevated to presidential candidates.
Also this week in 2009: LSU was fining students for filesharing while apparently deeply misunderstanding the RIAA’s demands, copyright lobbyists and government officials were celebrating bogus piracy stats, BREIN was demanding the Pirate Bay itself start blocking Dutch ISPs, and the Associated Press announced its ill-fated plan to DRM the news.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, panic gripped the copyright maximalists of Europe in the face of a looming horror: some popular rock songs starting to enter the public domain. The research director for the BSA admitted that the group misleads the public with how it describes its statistics, by changing “retail value of pirated software” to “sales lost to piracy” — a massive change, but subtle to those who don’t follow the subject closely. Nevertheless, Congress was pushing forward with the INDUCE act to fight piracy, holding hearings where the Copyright Office gave a full-throated endorsement of the bill and Orrin Hatch seemed not to notice that he basically admitted banning P2P systems is wrong. Congress was also pretty gung-ho on passing some sort of anti-spyware bill, details be damned. And this was also the week that Lindows became Linspire, after Microsoft gave up and just paid Michael Robertson a cool $ 20-million to buy the name.
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