This Week In Techdirt History: August 16th – 22nd

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, new leaks confirmed what we suspected about AT&T’s cozy relationship with the NSA, which was especially concerning given the company’s long history of fraudulent and abusive behavior, and the fact that the NSA seemed to think telco partners freed it from the constraints of the Fourth Amendment. The leak also revealed that the agency was misleading at best about how many cellphone records it could access.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, Peter Sunde gave a fascinating presentation on the history of The Pirate Bay, while we were emphasizing that record labels can still have a role in music if they embrace the ways that role is changing, and a new comprehensive graphic aptly demonstrated just how insane the music licensing world is. The trend of established musicians and industry folk using apocalyptic language to describe the impact of the internet continued, with rants from U2’s manager and John Mellencamp (who compared the internet to the atomic bomb).

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we took a look at how the DMCA was not just a failure but a completely avoidable one with flaws that were obvious from the start, while we were pleased to see one person finally ready to fight back against the RIAA’s lawsuits. The mobile music market was on the rise with Japan blazing the trail (and trying to debunk claims that this was due to a lack of wired connections), but we wondered if the market might be killed by aggressive use of DRM. Mobile games were also on the rise, but the biggest and most important development was one we (like many people) underestimated when it happened: Google bought Android, leading to some speculation that they might be building a mobile OS which we said “seems unlikely”.