Five Years Ago
This week in 2012, we saw some copyright insanity when BMG issued a YouTube takedown on a Mitt Romney campaign ad for including a clip of Obama singing an Al Green song, and then the next day went on to take down the original clip, because even the President was a pirate in the eyes of the entertainment industry. Thankfully, by the end of the week, YouTube decided the videos were fair use, and restored them. Meanwhile, Viacom was blacking out web clips as part of a spat with DirecTV, leading Jon Stewart to blast them on their own network and get them to reverse the decision for at least some clips. And in New Zealand, the judge in Kim Dotcom's extradition trial spoke out against the TPP and copyright extremism, which forced him to step down from the case (even though the same thing never seems to happen to pro-copyright judges).
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2007, the RIAA finally found itself on the hook for legal fees in one of its aggressive lawsuits, despite its usual strategy of dropping cases whenever that looked like a possibility. The head of an LA news agency who made headlines by being the first person to sue YouTube for copyright infringement decided he might take his misguided fight to Apple as well. The MPAA was speaking out against net neutrality because it might interfere with anti-piracy enforcement, Clear Channel was trying to use the Sirius-XM merger as a reason to get looser restrictions on terrestrial radio ownership, and Microsoft was making promises about future Windows editions as damage control after the poor reception of Vista.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2002, webcasters were appealing the new royalty rates that would cripple them, tech executives were seeking a better starting point for a conversation about piracy with Hollywood, and Universal was doing the kind of thing Universal does and appointing a new "senior vice president of anti-piracy". At least one analyst was looking at broadband adoption in a more positive light than usual at the time, while others were not too sanguine on the future of 3D TV — but we also took a moment to celebrate how it's often unglamorous technology that changes history the most, on the 100th birthday of the air conditioner.