This Week In Techdirt History: October 9th – 15th

from the as-it-ever-was dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2017, a proposed bill would have exempted Customs and Border Protection from FOIA compliance until reporting on the issue got the problem fixed, the DOJ was fighting against a FOIA lawsuit and arguing that not even the courts have any right to question the administration’s handling of records, and the Treasury Department became the latest government entity to be accused of domestic spying. The Supreme Court left some troubling CFAA rulings in place, while we saw the initial filing of the lawsuit that has now hit SCOTUS regarding social media platforms and terrorist content. Also, this was the week that the New York Times published the horrifying story that would bring down Harvey Weinstein, and the now-disgraced movie mogul immediately threatened legal action.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2012, the New York Times was taking on the broken patent system, including the revelation that the previous year Google and Apple had spent more on patents than on research and development. The RIAA’s latest deployment of bogus math was to make the insane claim that there had been a 41% decline in the number of musicians, while copyright maximalists were trying to claim that the Google book scanning settlement was a big win for copyright, even as another court was finding that book scanning was obviously fair use. Meanwhile, a UK anti-piracy group was already complaining that the country’s new anti-piracy law didn’t go far enough, and Hollywood had its eyes on New Zealand where it was wining and dining politicians to rally support for the TPP.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2007, victims of the Apple update that infamously bricked a bunch of iPhones filed a class action lawsuit against the company, while some frivolous-but-amusing lawsuits against Google were quickly dismissed. Marshall, Texas was still making its name as the best place to file patent lawsuits, while we pointed out how calls to increase the number of patent examiners wouldn’t fix the broken system, and the whole patent reform battle was descending into farce. This was also the week that we saw the first appearance of an excellent sarcastic phrase for the various bogus legal attacks on innovative upstart companies: “felony interference with a business model”.

In The Beginning…

This week’s issue of Up To Date, the newsletter predecessor to Techdirt, went out on October 11th, 1997 with many items including a lot of statistics about Windows and a brief mention of the ongoing ’90s edition of the crypto wars.

Filed Under: history, look back

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