This Week In Techdirt History: March 27th - April 2nd

from the copying-the-past dept

Five Years Ago

After all the DMCA talk this week, it's interesting to see all the related battles that were happening back in 2011. We saw a court reject the idea that the DMCA requires service providers to proactively block infringement; we debunked the idea that the public domain is a bad thing and showed examples of how just letting people use your content is often a better choice than struggling with licensing. In general it was clear that greater IP enforcement simply doesn't work and copyright doesn't even make sense in cognitive science terms — but that didn't stop broadcasters from trying to block time-shifting options or ISPs from trying to throttle infringement but hurting World Of Warcraft players instead, or Boston College from telling students that a wireless router is a sign of copyright infringement. In the world of revolving doors, former Senator and fresh new lobbyist Chris Dodd was practicing his MPAA talking points, while a judge who was okay with lumping together a bunch of unrelated filesharing lawsuits turned out to be a former RIAA lobbyist, and the EU hired a former IFPI lobbyist to take the lead on copyright regulations.

Ten Years Ago

The saga continues as we move back to 2006, when Germany was seeking hefty jail sentences for file-sharers, TorrentSpy was trying to stop the MPAA from re-interpreting the Supreme Court in its favor, and experts were already pointing out that copy protection doesn't work and it was clear that nobody liked it (like the new DRM from Accenture that was too confusing for anyone to understand). This was underlined by the Korean music industry successfully selling DRM-free music at a higher price-point. An ISP that had formerly claimed filesharing was a huge burden admitted it wasn't, while YouTube was instituting its (now much more flexible) ten-minute time limit on videos as a scattershot way of reducing piracy and trying to avoid comparisons to Napster by courting official distribution deals.

And, given what's happening in America right now, it's fun to look back at our coverage of a silly Donald Trump business idea and remember how inconceivable today's circus once seemed.

Fifteen Years Ago

In 2001, copy-protected CDs were just getting ready to enter the US (and the problems were already becoming apparent). Despite all the doom and gloom, digital entertainment providers were doing just fine, though the same couldn't yet be said about mobile content: people just didn't seem to care despite all the hype, and the revenue had yet to materialize. Some were pointing out that internet companies still need to be innovative, though perhaps examples like MLB charging money for its online baseball audio broadcasts wasn't the best approach.

This was also the week that Google slightly surprised everyone by naming Eric Schmidt as chairman.

Eighty-Six Years Ago

Considering how awful the MPAA is these days, it's easy to forget that the group's current role was originally intended to be a solution to a different problem: the incredibly restrictive and censorious Motion Picture Production Code that clamped down on the free expression of American filmmakers. It was on March 31st, 1930 that the industry's MPAA-prototype first adopted the code (though it wouldn't be enforced strongly for four more years).

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Filed Under: history, look back

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