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This Week In Techdirt History: October 30th – November 5th


Five Years Ago

This week in 2011 we witnessed the true birth of a monster. The PROTECT-IP act morphed into the E-PARASITE act and, realizing how ridiculous that name is, lawmakers began calling it… SOPA. Soon everything went crazy: supporters ranged from Go Daddy (and we all know how that ended) to, uh, firefighters (?) and of course the US Chamber of Commerce and Hollywood astroturf groups like Creative America. Warner Bros. pleaded for support on the basis of poverty despite just having announced record profits, Joe Biden threw his hat into the “pro” ring, and Viacom insisted it wouldn’t require changes to the DMCA even as its co-author admitted that was the plan.

But the backlash was quick to form too. We published an open letter to Senator Chris Dodd signed by top VCs and innovators, a White House petition started gaining steam, and the Future Of Music Coalition said it couldn’t support the bill in good conscience. Larry Downes published an excellent and thorough analysis of the bill’s problems, and even the mainstream press started to catch on.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, anonymous rumors were painting an intriguing picture of the deals between YouTube and record labels. The owners of, desperate for a way to cash in after a slew of mistaken traffic, tried suing Google for clogging their site by buying YouTube. We took a look at how the DMCA could be abused to shut down critics or really just about anyone, and knew it would be on the rise as online video became big business, with early first steps like Google striking a special ad deal on viral “Mentos and Diet Coke” videos and Hollywood’s creative class looking to secure its share of this new market.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, people were still amusingly trying to figure out if the iPod would be successful. The market for absurd luxury devices was forming with a $60,000 bejeweled mobile phone. The holes in post-9/11 security theater were already beginning to show. And Google Search unveiled a feature it’s hard to imagine life without now: searching by file type.

Sixty-Nine Years Ago

Before the World Trade Organization, there was its prototype: the International Trade Organization, which reigned for almost fifty years from the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on October 30th, 1947.

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