Back in the day — going on ten years ago — we thought the 'net would change the world. We were right about that, but not in the ways we thought — we thought PGP and onion routing and an explosion of free speech meant an end to content control.
We vastly overestimated the speed with which non-techies would take up the toys; the growing and enduring dominance of one software platform that didn't take up the toys; and especially the ability of the empire to strike back via both tech (trusted user) and law (DMCA and worse).
Some time about four or five years ago, somewhere around the Article 2B/UCITA fight, of necessity we switched to fighting defense instead of offense. And don't get me wrong, that defense is important. But it's still defense.
But it's still disheartening to read real smart people writing that it's been a good year for those of us concerned about free speech, democracy, and creativity because we beat back the baddies.
I guess I think it wasn't a bad year, and yes there were some decent court decisions, but I call it not bad only because the hardware tech and the open source is still slowly spreading, and so far at least just keeping ahead of the Empire. And especially because of the growth of 'offense' movements such as the free culture movement.
[Sorry for the obscurity of some this post and the absence of links. I'm still digging out from under our move…and I have a ton of work.]