This Week In Techdirt History

from the a-brave-new-world dept

Five Years Ago…

This week in 2009, we’ve got a whole bunch of companies reacting badly to technology. The NFL banned social media for refs, and live-tweeting by reporters; DigiProtect admitted it shares files itself just to find downloaders and demand settlements from them; Cash4Gold sued blogs for reporting on its practices; the MPAA renewed its calls for selectable output control; and the BSA joined the chorus in support of a “three strikes” plan.

It wasn’t all bad news though. This was also the week that the Lori Drew case was officially dropped, an Israeli judge declared watching streaming games online to be fair use, and a silly lawsuit over Yahoo search results was dismissed (though if you recognize the name Beverly Stayart, you know that particular story wasn’t over). The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal refused to enforce a new internet hate speech law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, and another study showed that, contrary to popular belief, technology is making kids better writers (a subject beautifully summed up by a recent XKCD).

Ten Years Ago…

One of the big topics this week in 2004 was still-new RFID technology. Though some were calling for regulation, others rightly pointed out that it was too early for that. Of course, one way or another, the bottom line was that the technology was coming, like it or not.

In a broader sense, this was the time that the earliest generations of true digital natives were coming of age, and the world was beginning to explore the implications of that. Some, of course, were treating it as a problem, such as claiming that broadband is killing “patience” and just generally blaming everything on the internet and text messaging. Video games were going more and more mainstream (though, after a series of PR blunders, Acclaim went out of business). Schools were experimenting with PDAs and wireless networks. And the soon-to-retire MPAA president Jack Valenti was misunderstanding technology right up to the end.

Fifteen Years Ago…

In 1999, the internet was rocked by a huge Hotmail security breach that allowed anyone to read anyone else’s email. In general, the world was realizing that online privacy was a big deal calling for a lot of vigilance.

Sun bought Star Office, which was then open sourced and lives on with us today in the form of OpenOffice. Burger King installed internet kiosks, and the US government was worried out about the high speed of Apple’s G4 chip, giving them the kind of marketing money can’t buy. Alanis Morrissette made out very well on a deal with

Also in 1999, we held a contest to come up with a tagline for Techdirt. As far as I know, none were adopted, but there are some interesting ideas in the comments — maybe it’s time to reopen the subject?

522, 492 and 394 Years Ago

Today, September 6th, is home to an interesting trifecta of great moments in the history of sea voyages. Firstly, it was this day in 1492 that Christopher Columbus left his last port of call before crossing the Atlantic for the first time. Thirty years later on this day in 1522, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition arrived in Spain and became the first ship to ever circumnavigate the globe. And finally, nearly a century after that on this day in 1620, the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower, bound for North America.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History”

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zip says:


“Alanis Morrissette made out very well on a deal with”

That’s assuming that Alanis Morrissette cashed out her $20 million in shares in in time. Just as well, (or anyone else, for that matter) would have been wise to dump its investment in Alanis Morrissette before her ‘value’ crashed just as hard.

I wonder if the record industry still blames unauthorized file-sharing for the catastrophic failures of virtually all the big recording stars of the 1990s? Rather than, say, the industry’s once-firmly-held belief that digital music would be a passing fad once the RIAA stamps it out?

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