Five Years Ago
This week in 2013 we learned that, despite the White House’s denials, the review of NSA surveillance was indeed overseen by James Clapper. The NSA was complaining about how it had to spend time closing leaks while its apologists were out in force, with some trotting out the old “privacy is dead” argument and, of course, incoming FBI director James Comey saying it was all good and legal. The critics were out in greater force, though: the New York Times called for the NSA to be barred from requiring surveillance backdoors, the president of Brazil blasted the US in front of the United Nations, Senator Leahy gave a speech condemning the agency’s practices, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced comprehensive surveillance reform legislation.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2008, while companies were waking up to the absurd trademark restrictions around the Olympics, Major League Baseball surprised us by backing down from a takedown notice in the face of a well-crafted fair use defense. A Spanish court upheld the idea that deep linking is not infringement, a Ugandan composer was suing the government for copyright infringement over the national anthem, and the European Parliament rejected the idea of three strikes laws for file sharing. Back in the US, the judge in the Jammie Thomas case declared a mistrial, the Senate passed the bill creating a copyright czar, and Arts+Labs emerged as a new anti-piracy lobbying supergroup.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2003, we talked once again about how infringement isn’t theft, and also how in fact what the RIAA does is a lot closer to stealing. Of course, studies unsurprisingly showed that file sharing wasn’t going away, and smarter upstart record labels were starting to see it as an ally, but the RIAA was still stuck keeping an eye on innocent people. We also took a look at how the MPAA’s mistakes were uniquely flavored and different from the RIAA’s, but the BSA was taking a direct lesson from the RIAA with its offer of amnesty to confessed pirates (and its doom-and-gloom soothsaying about software piracy).
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