Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, an analysis of the Snowden leaks demonstrated that the NSA was clearly lying when it said he didn’t have access to actual surveillance data, while the agency apologists were out in force. Then, a new release from the leak revealed that the FBI was directly spying on prominent Muslim-American politicians, garnering a weaselly non-denial from James Clapper. We also got a look at the FBI doing the bidding of the CIA, which sent agents after an employee over a FOIA request, while the wiretap report from the US Courts system revealed the surveillance nightmare of day-to-day drug enforcement, and the ACLU was digging into the militarization of police across the country.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, the RIAA was predictably trying to overstate the reach of its legal victory over Usenet.com, and also exaggerate the actions of Jammie Thomas as she sought a new trial. An appeals court punted on the chance to evaluate the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board, while we got examples of the insanity of collection societies and anti-piracy groups around the world: the UK’s FACT (a private organization) appeared to have seized and kept computers from a criminal investigation, people in Germany were beginning to talk about the huge problems with GEMA, ASCAP was trying to demand public performance licenses for embedding YouTube videos, Sweden’s STIM was trying to charge companies that play music for employees, and SIIA’s quasi-ironic resurrection of the Don’t Coppy That Floppy campaign was based around a big lie about criminality.
Fifteen Years Ago
Something the RIAA wasn’t shouting loudly about in 2004 was CD sales — because they were on the rise and that didn’t fit with the sky-is-falling narrative about piracy. This was happening amidst the ongoing fragmentation nightmare in the world of music download stores, and while the BSA and MPAA were both out in force spreading flimsy numbers about piracy to be mindlessly parroted by reporters. The latter had also come up with a new insane plan for DVD screeners in award seasons: lock them to a single special DVD player that is also sent out to the judges.
Also this week in 2004: people were realizing that Gmail was a solid proof-of-concept for the viability of web applications, Yahoo was noticing this itself and purchased Oddpost for its email interface (which would become the new Yahoo Mail), and Nintendo’s persistence in going-its-own-way failed when it led Satoru Iwata to believe customers don’t want online games.
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