This Week In Techdirt History

from the going-back-in-time dept

Five Years Ago

A Canadian appeals court let common sense prevail and said that merely linking to a website was not defamatory. Over in the UK libel laws were still out of control, creating real chilling effects for criticism. Meanwhile, Oregon wanted to sue a guy who posted the state’s own guide to using public laws because, apparently, the state prefers the public to be ignorant of the law (easier to lock ’em up that way). Meanwhile, a sheriff used Craigslist to arrest some prostitutes, and rather than realizing how the tool helped him do the job, he blamed Craigslist for the prostitutes being so easy to arrest.

The legacy entertainment industry was pushing its bogus propaganda on school children, and even more ridiculous, part of the program was trying to create propaganda that could then be distributed to local newspapers and TV stations to distribute the propaganda. On the flip side, some were pointing out that privacy rights and copyright often come into conflict, even though few people really consider that fact. ASCAP and BMI were demanding money for the 30 second previews that online music stores were selling, because of course they’d demand that. And up in Canada, the industry wanted a new tax on the iPod because of course they’d want that. A newspaper exec was claiming that search engines “break into our homes”… by driving more traffic to their websites. Some things never change.

Things started to get heated with musicians disagreeing about how to deal with the internet. A group of musicians spoke out strongly against blaming fans and kicking them off the internet for file sharing. In response, another group of musicians attacked that first group of musicians, calling them “unhelpful” and “destructive” for daring to suggest that maybe attacking fans isn’t a good idea. 50 Cent came out and pointed out that piracy is just a part of the marketing, leading Lily Allen to go on a bit of a rant about how evil piracy was and how the internet is destroying the music industry and all that. If you’ve been reading Techdirt for a while, you may recall what happened next, but we’ll save that for next week… Meanwhile, a new research paper was showing best practices in online music offerings — and it didn’t include Lily Allen.

Ten Years Ago

We were, of course, discussing new business models for the music industry — with the main one being patronage (a model that has become increasingly popular these days). Guess what? We were also discussing net neutrality a decade ago, because this is the debate that will never end. Microsoft software was shutting down air traffic in California, because what’s air traffic control without some blue screens of death? AT&T was engaged in price gouging during a Florida hurricane, because it’s AT&T.

The masters of vaporware, the Phantom Gaming Console was a big story for a product that many believed was a scam all along. Patent trolls were suing lots of internet companies because that’s what they do. Some people were asking to use mobile phones in airplanes, though that didn’t get very far. And finally, people assumed that instant messaging at work must be a bad thing with no actual evidence to support that.

Fifteen Years Ago:

This was a big one. Fifteen years ago this week the White House finally eased off its restrictions against exporting encryption, a move that was vital to increasing internet security. Speaking of internet security, we were already dealing with FUD around cybersecurity as there were reports of Russian hackers breaking into the Defense Department. Also Hotmail had a security breach, because it’s Hotmail. And Network Solutions, which still controlled all domain names, revealed everyone’s passwords. Oh, and if you were really afraid of the upcoming Y2K threat, you could rent a self-sufficient mansion in the South Pacific for a few months on either side of Y2K.

In the music world, Sony Music was acting like a typical major record label in telling bands that they had to give up lifetime rights to any URL that had the band’s name in it. Way to internet, Sony Music. A reporter at Fortune couldn’t find an MP3 and declared the whole concept of downloadable music over (Fortune reporters weren’t exactly fortune tellers). We were already discussing the end of software in the age of the internet. Oh yeah, and remember when AOL was the big internet company everyone feared? 15 years ago, eBay gave AOL $75 million just so that it wouldn’t start its own auction site.

One Hundred And Twenty One Years Ago:

On September 20th of 1893, Charles Duryea road-tested the first ever gasoline-powered automobile. Today, of course, it seems like we’re finally trying to move past gasoline-powered cars.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History”

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Anonymous Coward says:

‘The legacy entertainment industry was pushing its bogus propaganda on school children’

just as they have been doing recently, with the schools and i assume the education authorities blessing. shows how desperate they are to NOT DO ANYTHING THEMSELVES that they KNOW they can do to reduce ‘piracy’ do almost zero, like stop ripping customers off!!

ryuugami says:

This Week In Techdirt History

Check the link-box between the post and the comments.

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in…

This Week In Techdirt History
This Week In Techdirt History
This Week In Techdirt History
This Week In Techdirt History
This Week In Techdirt History

Yeah, not exactly user-friendly. I have a suggestion:
Maybe you should add which week it is in the post title.
“This Week In Techdirt History (Sep. 14 to Sep. 20)”
“This Week In Techdirt History [9/14~9/20]”
or something like that.

As it is now, the only hints of which dates you are talking about is the little date-thingy on the left of the post and the url… And for the links, only the url.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

P2Pnet’s Jon Newton was also sued by “the deep-pocketed morally deficient” Kazaa CEO Nikki Hemming for a blog post which included an anonymous reader comment about Nikki Hemming that was apparently not to her liking.

With all the enemies that Techdirt must have made over the years with its no-holds-barred commentary, it’s a stroke of luck that no lawsuits have been filed. (assuming that the self-proclaimed email inventor hasn’t ‘pulled the trigger’ yet as he threatened to do recently)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s come up before elsewhere, and if memory serves Mike said they get around one lawsuit threat per month on average.

If I had to guess, the main deterrent that keeps it from going beyond just a threat is the knowledge that TD wouldn’t just roll over and settle, but would fight, and much like bullies everywhere, legal and online bullies prefer to only go after targets that can’t, or won’t, fight back.

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