Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, popular websites across the web participated in Internet Slowdown Day to demand net neutrality from the FCC — driving 1,000 calls per minute to Congress at some points, for a total of 300,000 calls plus 2-million emails and 700,000 FCC comments. It also spurred the big cable companies to waste their money on ads misleadingly pretending to support net neutrality themselves.
Also this week in 2014, a court ruling gave a big win for fair use and against “hot news”, one cab company was extra-angry about Uber and labeled it a cyber-terrorist group, and newly released memos justifying warrantless wiretapping showed crazy levels of executive branch authority.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, Hollywood was continuing its zealous war against Redbox by fearmongering about kids renting R-rated movies, the recording industry in Japan was working with the government on a plan to disable phones that are used to listen to pirated music, yet another DVD release of a classic TV show had to replace its music with new generic stuff due to licensing headaches, some ridiculous exaggeration was exposed in the UK’s oft-repeated figure of 7-million file sharers, we got a look at the RIAA’s copyright propaganda for schools, and there was yet another attempt to turn content into physical property with universal DRM. After all this, it was nice to read a judge eloquently explaining why copyright is not property… all the way back in 1773.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, the war against spam continued as WiFi spammers got caught and a major spam ISP finally kicked off 148 spammers — but so did the counterattacks, with a lawsuit against the spam blacklist headed to court and everyone bracing for the incoming deluge of election spam, though there was hope that might not be as bad as expected. One strategy that definitely didn’t make sense was combating spam by turning email into a walled garden.
Meanwhile, a university was trying to ban independent wifi networks with questionable authority, congress was moving forward with a draconian plan to criminalize file-sharing, and we saw the terrible appeals court ruling in Bridgeport v. Dimension that eliminated the de minimis defense for music sampling (even when the sample is completely unrecognizable) and issued the absurd edict “Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.”
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