from the lots o lawsuits dept
Five Years Ago
There were two related incidents this week in 2011, to do with citizens in Illinois videotaping authorities. One woman was arrested and faced 15 years in prison for recording her attempt to file a report of being sexually assaulted by a police officer; meanwhile, an artist faced the same sentence for video taping his own arrest. On the flipside, in the same week, a man was acquitted of charges that came after he filmed the TSA and refused to show his ID.
The George Hotz situation was still in its early stages and unfolding slowly, but was already troubling after the judge approved an aggressive temporary restraining order requested by Sony. UFC was going after Justin.tv for inducing infringement, a Japanese court deemed overseas place-shifting of television to be infringing, and mass copyright shakedowns appeared based on Paris Hilton’s sex tape and, more generally, the wide world of porn. Amidst all this, the president nominated a former top RIAA lawyer to be Solicitor General.
Ten Years Ago
Speaking of the RIAA, this week in 2006 they were pushing the new line that merely making files available is infringing, while some were predicting that their next target might be ISPs (following other trailblazers). In Canada, one record label actually stepped up to help defend a teen against the RIAA’s aggressive tactics. The MPAA, for its part, exposed a serious double standard when it defended its own right to internally copy and distribute movies, even as the industry continued to push a plug for the analog hole in the form of secretive technology that nobody’s allowed to examine.
Following the disastrous launch of its Video project, Google admitted its mistake (though perhaps didn’t quite grasp its full scope). This came the same week that Google announced it would let the Chinese government censor results on a special version of its site — a disappointing move, though we weren’t sure why congress was grandstanding about it.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2001, IBM was claiming to have developed “Napster-proof” DRM-laden music, Sega was getting out of the console business, the digital holdouts at The New Yorker were finally getting ready to go online, and even the smartest among us often failed to recognize the potential of mobile internet.
The Presidential turnover was marked by widespread failures on the new Whitehouse website, though perhaps they had something to do with the prank pulled by the outgoing Clinton administration: removing the “W” key from all the keyboards in the building (prompting one TV show to hold a drive to collect replacements.
Also this week in 2001: Despair.com (in)famously managed to trademark the 🙁 emoticon.
Thirty Years Ago
As you’ve likely noted, this Thurdsay was the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Back in 2011, we wrote a little about it on the 25th anniversary.