Five Years Ago
This week in 2012, we saw some obstinate reactions to the ACTA protests, with an EU Parliamentarian saying dissent was "a soft form of terrorism", and the EU Commissioner saying he would simply ignore rejection of ACTA by the EU Parliament — while Australia's parliamentary committee on the subject was recommending rejection. As for the TPP in the US, we were annoyed but unsurprised to learn that the MPAA had full online access to the text of the agreement even as Congress continued to struggle to get even the slightest glimpse. Rep. Darrell Issa made the reasonable request that he be allowed to observe the next round of TPP negotiations, but he was (again unsurprisingly) rejected.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2007, some people were beginning to ask whether the RIAA's piracy investigation tactics were even legal. Of course, Attorney General Albert Gonzales was far more interested in throwing people in jail for attempted piracy. Rolling Stone rolled its eyes and wrote an obituary for the recording industry, while the MPAA was off doing its own thing — suing sites for just linking to infringing content. Meanwhile, statistics about reality kept being disobedient to the world of anti-violent-videogame crusaders, with their protests driving up the hype around Manhunt 2, and violent crime rates continuing to fall while violent video games got more popular.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2002, the new era of the web was slowly being born as the world noticed that broadband internet access unlocked entirely new usage patterns and behaviors for internet users — even though broadband was still really struggling to catch on in the US. Meanwhile, a congressman introduced a bill to legitimize all sorts of nasty anti-piracy vigilante tactics including the increasingly popular music industry scheme of trying to swamp file trading networks with fake files. Newspaper executives were looking to the future of the mobile web, while newspaper columnists were stuck in the past and moaning about those newfangled "blogs". And the RIAA succeeded in scaring workplaces into cracking down on employees sharing MP3s.