This Week In Techdirt History: July 15th – 21st

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, as new leaks made it clear that NSA surveillance went even further than everyone thought, we got disturbing comments from NSA boss Keith Alexander about the need to “collect it all” (which also happens to be the name of our CIA card game which you can still preorder…) and from a former top agency lawyer who blamed the 9/11 attacks on civil libertarians. But the backlash grew too, with the EFF filing a massive lawsuit along with several other groups, and one congressional rep trying to strip the NSA’s funding while another aimed to repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, a closer look at the Viacom/YouTube lawsuit revealed Viacom’s focus on finding out what Google employees uploaded as a sneaky way to hopefully eliminate some DMCA protections. Apple launched its much expected lawsuit against Mac clone maker Psystar, and a UK law firm went big on the pre-settlement shakedown game with over 100 lawsuits against file sharers. A court ruling about bots in World of Warcraft set a dangerous copyright precedent, and we saw some amusing DRM irony when Ubisoft broke its own game then fixed it by issuing a third-party DRM cracking tool as an official patch. And, sadly, despite an earlier rejection, the EU brought up copyright extension again and voted to bump the term of performance rights up from 50 to 95 years.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, while the MPAA was fighting a bill just to spite the EFF, the RIAA was going nuts with its subpoenas to identify file sharers at a rate of about 75 per day. Two Catholic Universities quickly caved and turned students over to the RIAA, and while some studies suggested that file sharing was diminishing, there were also a lot of people passionately defending it.

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