Five Years Ago
This week in 2015, the administration made the meaningless gesture of sanctioning North Korea over the Sony hack, while James Clapper was calling it the most serious cyberattack on the US to date, implying there have been no serious ones, and Neil deGrasse Tyson was offering up the incredibly helpful and realistic suggestion that the solution is to simply create unhackable systems. The MPAA was trying to get regulators to force ISPs to block sites “at the border”, while still pursuing their campaign to get links to pirated content out of Google — a strategy that is both ineffective and self-defeating. And we saw more bogus DMCA takedowns, of course, both mundane and personal.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2010, there was plenty more copyright panic from companies: Ninentdo shut down a fan-made Zelda movie, Sony was not supporting its own movies for the Oscars out of piracy fears over sending out DVD screeners, music publishers forced another lyrics site offline, and the UFC announced plans to start suing individuals for piracy. And even as many indie filmmakers were realizing that releasing movies for free online has many benefits, one indie record label in Finland was insisting it wouldn’t sign any new bands until the government stops piracy. Meanwhile, Bono came out in favor of using China-style internet censorship to fight piracy (even as China’s efforts were failing in many ways), garnering confused support from Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic even as he admitted he didn’t really know much about the subject. And we looked at one attempt by an ISP to actually fight back against bogus DMCA notices, which only highlighted how this is almost impossible.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2005, there was some debate about the nature of apparent security loopholes in Microsoft’s DRM, while Bill Gates was deploying the ol’ accusations of “communism” against those who call for copyright reform. Another court told the MPAA it has to actually file lawsuits to get customer information from ISPs, while the BSA was seeking to codify the just-send-a-subpoena option right into the DMCA. After an initial loss, Geico was continuing its trademark crusade against Google, while Toronto’s airport was getting into the trademark threat game to stop a silly blog that posts photos of urinals. And we were completely flabbergasted by the shocking results of a critical study, which revealed the oh-so-secret fact that… entertainment industry executives were scared of file sharing.