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This Week In Techdirt History: January 14th - 20th

Five Years Ago This week in 2013, we were shook by the sad news of Aaron Swartz's death . Through the week, we looked at the actions of prosecutors and investigators and the fact that in the US "anyone interesting is a felon" , and at all the other crimes that would have resulted in less jail time than Swartz was facing . But we also looked at what we should learn from him moving forward, about how to build up instead of tearing down , and ...
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Iowa State's Attempt To Violate Its Students First Amendment Rights To Cost State Nearly $400k In Damages

In the early part of 2017, we brought you the story of an Iowa State University student group pushing for marijuana reform in the state that was being targeted by the university for trademark infringement after the group used some school iconography on t-shirts it developed for its cause. The whole episode was fairly bonkers, with the school initially approving the students' use of the imagery, only to rescind that approval after Iowa House...
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Psychiatrist Drops His Lawsuit Against Critic Who Left Wordless One-Star Review

It looks like the psychiatrist who sued a pseudonymous reviewer over a wordless one-star review has finally decided to stop digging this particular hole. Since news broke of psychiatrist Mark Beale's defamation suit against "Richard Hill," Beale has amassed a great many one-star reviews by non-patients . There's no telling if Beale will be seeking to file an en masse lawsuit against these Does (taking a page out of copyright trolls' handboo...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place comment on the insightful side came in response to our post about the fact that copyright maximalists appear to have thrown in the towel on fighting for more copyright extensions. John Snape offered a simple and popular sentiment : If you can't make a profit after 28 years exploiting a copyright, you're a failure. In second place, we have an anonymous comment that also racked up quite a few funny votes, responding...
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This Week In Techdirt History: January 7th - 13th

Five Years Ago This week in 2013, we watched as new players tried to get into the copyright trolling game but were rebuffed by a court system getting wise to their antics — even if, at the same time, established copyright trolls were upping their insane demands . We got some great examples of copyright nonsense as Lionsgate issued a takedown on a video that the Copyright Office itself had featured as an example of fair use , and Sony releas...
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Colorado Cities Keep Voting To Build Their Own Broadband Networks

So we've long mentioned how incumbent ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally buying shitty, protectionist laws in more than twenty states. These laws either ban or heavily hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It's a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too; they often refuse to upgrade their networ...
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Intelligence Oversight Tries Again With Zero-Reform Section 702 Bill, Criticizes Reform Efforts As Threats To Security

The Congressional showdown on Section 702 reforms/renewal continues to generate little actual debate or reform -- but plenty of bad proposals. Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have decided there should be a renewal -- preferably an extended one -- with zero actual reform . Members of the House offered up some tepid reforms in the USA Liberty Act, only to find this offering blocked by the House Permanent Select Committee on ...
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Techdirt Podcast Episode 149: Barbies v. Bratz

If you've been reading Techdirt for more than five years, you probably remember the conclusion of Mattel v. MGA — and if you've been reading for more than thirteen years, you might even remember when it started . This epic legal battle over intellectual property went through nearly a decade of rulings and reversals, and the resulting story is a fascinating one that ties in a lot of the topics we discuss here at Techdirt. It's also the subje...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is a simple comment from Mason Wheeler making a straightforward proposal regarding copyright terms on America's (hopefully last) empty Public Domain Day : I find 14 years, optionally renewable once to be perfectly reasonable. In second place, we've got a comment from Tanner Andrews about the journalist who was arrested for publishing confidential information a police officer gave to h...
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This Week In Techdirt History: December 31st - January 6th

Five Years Ago This week in 2003, we kicked off the year by witnessing things start to go seriously wrong for a little law firm by the name of Prenda . Well, that and noting how, as usual, nothing at all was entering the public domain (a situation that looked like it could be extended thanks to the supreme court ). The Megaupload case was mired in the courts and some companies were getting impatient . And we saw some pretty stunning DMCA no...
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It Begins: Some Comic Conventions Refusing To Fold After San Diego Comic-Con Gets Its Trademark Win

After following the saga of what seemed like a truly misguided lawsuit brought by the San Diego Comic-Con against the company putting on the Salt Lake ComiCon, the whole thing culminated in the SDCC getting a win in the courtroom. One of the reasons this verdict threw many, including this writer, for a loop is that the defendant in the case made the argument that the SDCC had allowed the term "comic con" to become generic, an argument buttr...
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Techdirt 2017: The Stats.

Another yearly tradition is, after the new year, we try to take a look at some of the stats on traffic and commenters and such. I know many sites do this before the end of the year, but we're sort of a stickler for actually including the full year's data, so ours comes out sometime after the new year actually starts (and once I have time to really go through the data). For reference, you can see these stories from the past seven years as we...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2017 At Techdirt

It's that time again! In lieu of the top comments of the week, we're using this last Sunday of the year to look at the comments that racked up the most funny and insightful votes in all of 2017. We'll be highlighting the top three comments in each category, and noting where they ranked in terms of combined votes as well. (For those of you who are still interested in this week's winners, here's first and second place for insightful, and firs...
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This Week In Techdirt History: December 24th - 30th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, we were a bit surprised and confused to see pirated movies being shared from Hollywood IP addresses — and, it soon turned out, from all major record labels, and several government agencies including the DOJ . Whether this was just amateur honeypotting was unclear, but whatever the case, Hollywood still broke records at the box office that year . Meanwhile, the Senate was debating the extension of FISA — whi...
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New Year's Message: Keep On Believing

Since 2008, my final post of the year is one where I try to reflect on the year coming to a close -- with a general focus on optimism. That is, the usual goal of these posts is to take a step back from the day to day grind and look at the larger picture to see what good things have happened, that often get missed in the daily struggle. Techdirt has now reached its 20th birthday , and we've now been doing these posts for nine years. The firs...
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