Five Years Ago
This week in 2015, a major scandal began when Volkswagen was accused of using software to cheat emissions tests. The White House was backing away from attacks on encryption, and it turned out that the FBI, CIA and much of the military were not doing basic email encryption — but in India things were going in the opposite direction. The monkey selfie saga began a new chapter with PETA filing a lawsuit on behalf of the monkey, and then an even bigger copyright bombshell hit when a judge ruled that Warner Chappell doesn’t hold the copyright on happy birthday. Plus the world got a new famous villain with a sudden hike in drug prices introducing everyone to a man named Martin Shkreli.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2010, Intel was threatening to break out the DMCA anti-circumvention lawsuits against anyone using the recently-leaked HDCP master key, state AGs were turning their attention to Backpage (which was gearing up to fight back), and movie studios were freaking out about fan pages. The MPAA was apparently fishing for censorship tools in ACTA by talking about Wikileaks, while the Senate was offering them a gift with a new bill that would enable global censorship of “pirate sites” (with a special loophole allowing the DOJ to avoid due process. And we saw a variety of interesting developments in various lawsuits: one judge was entertaining the notion of implied licenses in a Righthaven lawsuit while another was shutting down US Copyright Group subpoenas, a UK judge was similarly not impressed by copyright pre-settlement campaigns, and a judge in Spain smartly ruled that Google is not liable for user uploads.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2005, there was a mess of internet jurisdiction cases in Canada with one ruling being overturned on appeal while another court muddied the waters with a ruling based on the overturned ruling. Hollywood was pouring money into an ill-fated attempt to build better DRM technology, which could be described as them calling their own bluff. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in their case, Grokster was scrambling to sell to a “legit” company, as were several other file-sharing software providers. And one judge in a RIAA lawsuit thankfully recognized that parents aren’t liable for their kids downloading music.