Five Years Ago
This week in 2012, the ITU was holding its World Conference on International Telecommunications to try to, more or less, “fix the internet” (not that it was broken). Their ideas about speeding up infrastructure built-out were more likely to slow it down, and it was unclear who many of the new proposed rules actually covered. They rushed to approve a deep packet inspection standard in secret, then turned out to be really bad at secrecy. Amidst all this it was no surprise that Congress managed to pass a unanimous resolution telling the ITU to keep its hands off the internet.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2007, Apple (while navigating the iPhone patent minefield) was proposing a plan to make extortion an explicit part of DRM, while Nielsen was for some reason trying to become a copyright cop. Perfect 10 was losing in its attempts to blame anyone with money for infringement, rather than the infringer while the MPAA, in an instance of extremely amusing irony, was forced to take its anti-piracy kit for universities offline for violating the GPL license on code therein. This was also the week that we saw the introduction of the PRO IP Act, which would be signed into law the following year.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2002, file sharing was in the legal crosshairs as Morpheus and Grokster went to court. Deals site FatWallet challenged a crazy DMCA claim from Wal-Mart over posting sale prices, leading to a public outcry and, later in the week, Wal-Mart backed down. We got a good example of licensing insanity when Finnish taxi drivers were forced to pay for the music they play in their taxis, and in the least surprising news ever, analysis of broadband prices following the recent Comcast/AT&T Broadband merger showed that they were going up.