Five Years Ago
This week in 2015, newly released documents from the Snowden leak revealed how the UK’s GCHG collected emails from journalists and used compromised hardware to get data from iPhones, and how the NSA harvested data from other surveillance agencies. We also learned more about the DEA’s role in the surveillance world, while the FBI was touting another of its own manufactured-then-foiled terror plots as evidence that the PATRIOT Act should be renewed.
Meanwhile, a European Parliament report called for wide-ranging copyright reform that was actually good, a court soundly rejected the attempt by Omega to abuse copyright to stop Costco selling its watches, and Cory Doctorow rejoined the EFF to lead a project to eradicate DRM. Also, James Bond entered the public domain in Canada, which is worth highlighting because we came up with a darn good headline if I do say so myself.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2010, the US was trying to strongarm Costa Rica into adopting draconian IP laws by blocking sugar from the US market, Italian lawmakers were pushing their own draconian provision to require government authorization for all video uploads, Oxford University made the bizarre decision to ban students from using Spotify, and EU trade negotiators were calling Canada’s public comment period on copyright law “a tactic to confuse”. BPI was insisting that UK ISPs were overstating the cost of a three strikes program, and the IFPI was loudly complaining about piracy in its annual report that conveniently omitted its own study showing file sharers also buy lots. ACTA secrecy was in full swing, with bloggers getting kicked out of consultations in Mexico and the UK government telling MPs they couldn’t see the details. And in one better-than-nothing-I-guess development, the judge who oversaw the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case reduced the completely insane damages of $80,000 per song to the less astonishing (but still arbitrary) figure of $2,250 per song.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2005, radio broadcasters were gearing up to be the newest entrants in the already overcrowded world of music download stores, TV broadcasters were trying to come up with ways to compete with DVRs, and Sony’s Ken Kutaragi surprisingly admitted that DRM held up the company’s innovation. The “war on file sharing” nabbed its first prisoners in the form of two men who plead guilty to “conspiracy to commit felony copyright infringement”, while one state senator in California was promoting the idea that developers of file-sharing programs should be jailed.
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