This Week In Techdirt History: January 20th – 26th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, Dianne Feinstein was defending the NSA on the basis that they are so “professional”, while ignoring declassified facts that contradicted some of her statements. Then the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board released an anticipated report that destroyed the arguments for bulk collections — and noted that the FISA court didn’t even bother evaluating the legality of such collections until after the Snowden leaks. TV news stations, meanwhile, seemed intent on giving NSA defenders all the air time in the world, and though NSA critics got a bit of time too, sometimes they had to cut away due to critical events beyond their control… like the latest Justin Bieber news.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, as usual, the recording industry was engaged in multiple battles. The RIAA was considering trying to bribe ISPs into playing along with its copyright strikes program, while its British equivalent was convincing the UK government to force them to do so, and a bunch of labels were launching the first infringement lawsuit directly targeting an ISP in Ireland. But the biggest fight was the developing Joel Tenenbaum case, where the RIAA was so opposed to it being streamed online that they appealed the judge’s order (supposedly out of fear that people might remix it to make them look bad, as if they needed any help with that) — and they even sought sanctions against Tenenbaum’s lawyer.

Fifteen Years Ago

The Tenenbaum case was in response to the RIAA’s mass lawsuit strategy, and the same week in 2004 was a prime example, with the agency suing 532 new John Does in the hopes of subpoenaing their information. Meanwhile, Kazaa was suing the industry in an audacious move of its own. Pepsi put a bunch of kids sued by the RIAA in a commercial for their limited time iTunes promotion, while Coca-Cola was struggling to keep its ill-fated music download service up and running (it was a weird time).

The photography industry was trying to drag on the quality of camera phones, thus missing the point which is that people can do new things with them, like the early discovery that they could be bar-code scanners. And, in an event that seems worth noting given today’s insane and chaotic news climate, this was around the time that dedicated “fact-checking” sites started popping up online.

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