This Week In Techdirt History: January 13th – 19th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, as congress was preparing to give up its authority and fast-track agreements like the TPP, and the USTR was not even showing up for hearings on the subject, the EFF and others teamed up to launch Copyright Week, for which we featured daily posts about copyright. On Monday, we looked at the reasons why the USTR and Hollywood hate transparency; on Tuesday, we dug into the loss to culture from killing the public domain; on Wednesday, we pivoted to knowledge and learning with a post all about Open Access; on Thursday, we looked at how copyright can destroy property rights; and then on Friday we wrapped it up with a look at the importance of fair use.

Ten Years Ago

Copyright was also on our minds this week in 2009, especially since it turned out the RIAA’s promise to stop suing file sharers was not so solid when they filed yet another new lawsuit. Less awful but still very disappointing was the discovery that Apple’s much-vaunted removal of DRM from iTunes songs also meant they were watermarking all the files with your email address. We took another look at how friendly DRM is an oxymoron, how collection societies like ASCAP and BMI harm up-and-coming singers, and the long, fraught history of copyright and music in general. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was asking the administration for input on copyright issues related to remote DVRs, and the judge for a case challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA’s actions agreed to broadcast the trial live online.

Fifteen Years Ago

Sometimes it’s eerie and depressing how little changes across these five-year jumps. In 2004, the RIAA was just in an ever-so-slightly different phase of its activities following the loss of its ability subpoena file sharer information after the Verizon case: it was just trying to get ISPs to do it voluntarily, and having a hard time getting any on board. Studies suggested that the war against file sharing was gaining little ground, as piracy appeared to be on the upswing again while moving deeper underground. Over at the MPAA, the situation was similar: having just been blocked by a judge from banning screener DVDs for award shows, the agency was drumming up concern over the copies that began to show up online, which they started slowly finding one by one. Meanwhile, some folks were suggesting ways to deal with video piracy by totally missing the point of online video.

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