This Week In Techdirt History

from the trend-tracking dept

Five Years Ago…

This week in 2009 we (along with the rest of the web) had a lot of posts about newspapers. We asked how they could claim to be serving the public while shutting that public out with paywalls; we noted that comparing the dollar value of print and digital readers was missing the point; and we called out CNN for ripping off the reporting of others while crowing about “parasitic aggregators.” We watched as news organizations fought with sports leagues over various fees for access and reporting, and mused about the possibility of sports betting as a revenue stream for US newspapers. But as the newspapers continued to call for antitrust exemptions that would allow them to put up standardized paywalls, we said fine, let them collude. See how that works out.

In non-newspaper news, we saw the federal courts condemn and then reverse their stance on RECAP, and we noted the still-new-ish trend of music publishers suing lyric sites. We also had an interview with William Patry about the state of the copyright debate, and some data from Nina Paley about her film Sita Sings the Blues.

Ten Years Ago…

2004 is the perfect year to look at to see the earth tremors that preceded today’s common tech trends. Ten years ago this week, we were watching the early competition in the in-flight WiFi space, questioning the future of new online carpooling systems, and getting curious about the emerging industry of currency farming in online games. A new study discovered that IM use at work was exploding, there were renewed rumblings about a Google browser, and nobody could deny that online bullying was getting kinda scary.

We also learned that the early Mars Rovers had some problems with DOS. Oh, and the DOJ said it wasn’t interested in doing Hollywood’s dirty work, which hasn’t turned out to be entirely true.

Fifteen Years Ago…

Of course, for the really subtle early indicators, you have to go all the way back to 1999. That’s when manufacturers were still struggling with the earliest iterations of the “electronic book”. It’s when we were remaining skeptical about a cellphone that (gasp!) played MP3s. It’s when internet addiction was a brand new idea. And it’s when Techdirt, much smaller than it is today, was first mentioned in an article in Wired.

Some things don’t change though. Then, as now, the flying car was just around the corner.

179 Years Ago…

The internet, as we all know, is rife with journalistic hoaxes — but such hoaxes are much older than that. One famous example comes from this week in 1835, when The Sun in New York published an elaborate series of fictional articles about the discovery of life and civilization on the moon, all falsely attributed to a notable astronomer of the day. The whole thing was both a publicity stunt to boost circulation and a sincere piece of satire targeting the wild astronomical theories being tossed around in the media at the time. Known now as The Great Moon Hoax, it also may have inspired some of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous forays into proto-science-fiction.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Flying cars .... pls I want them

The root cause of many traffic jams is people traveling from horizontally distributed houses to vertically stacked offices. This concentrates vehicles into a smaller and smaller area, hence the jams. Now picture as many flying cars trying to land on the roof of the office block.

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