This Week In Techdirt History: November 9th – 15th
from the tracing-beginnings dept
Five Years Ago
Nowadays we’ve got the Techdirt Insider Shop, where you can buy our ever-popular DMCA t-shirt, but five years ago we were running our original tiered RtB program for a limited time only, and this week was your last chance to get the original DMCA shirt.
This week in 2009, Modern Warfare 2 was released and quickly became the biggest entertainment launch in history across all types of media. It didn’t go wonderfully for everyone, though: before the launch, some fans were pissed off about artificially limited multiplayer capabilities, and folks who purchased the game on Steam found they had to wait two extra days to play thanks to DRM. Also, in a bizarre reversal of the norm, a game modder turned around and sent a DMCA takedown over a video by the developer, Infinity Ward.
Rupert Murdoch made waves by claiming that he would remove all News Corp. sites from Google. Mark Cuban suggested it was all about Facebook and Twitter. It also sounded like the one good part of the WSJ paywall was going to be eliminated. Of course, as we pointed out, Murdoch owned plenty of sites with aggregators.
On the bright side of things, a lot of people in 2009 seemed to be coming around to the realities — and opportunities — of the digital age. More independent filmmakers were embracing the piracy of their films, more game developers were recognizing that it’s not a huge threat (with one even “pirating” its own game as promotion), and Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge was calling for artists to adapt, give music away for free, and sell other things. Not everyone was on board, though: the director of Zombieland was lashing out at fans after seeing a 60 Minutes episode about the evils of piracy.
Ten Years Ago
Once upon a time in the tech startup world, it was all about the IPO. Now, building a company to sell is standard practice. And this week in 2004 we were in the middle of that shift, and just starting to realize it. Lots of things were different then: video ads were a new and uncertain proposition, “entertainment as advertising” was just catching on, and Firefox was just hitting version 1.0.
It’s hard to imagine now, but this week in 2004 automated public bathroom fixtures were still new. The complaints some had at the time — that the machines are often slow and unresponsive, or oversensitive — are frankly not entirely obsolete.
Today, Monster Cable is well known as an aggressive trademark holder, but ten years ago we were just catching on to the company’s pattern as it sued job site Monster.com and threatened many others. We did see one interesting trademark resolution this week, too: the band The Postal Service reached an agreement with the US Postal Service wherein they’d help promote the USPS with their music.
Finally, from the pile of the bizarre/amusing/ironic: Blockbuster managed to convince itself it needed to open more stores, AOL was kicking users off of broadband and back onto dialup (try to wrap your head around that), and someone took a shot at finally killing the fax machine (a job which is, amazingly, still open).
Fifteen Years Ago
Though Yelp wasn’t around until 2004, consumer ratings sites existed back in 1999, and this week some were beginning to notice just how fishy a lot of the reviews seemed. RealNetworks was still around, and the cracks were showing in its obsession with control. Amazon was very much around, and still tearing through the growth that would turn it into the powerhouse it is today, this week expanding into software, video games, gifts and home improvement for the first time. Webvan hadn’t spectacularly collapsed yet, but the FedEx CEO saw the writing on the wall. Yahoo Messenger was also around, and it just became available on PDAs in an early step towards ubiquitous mobile messaging (though we were lukewarm on it).
Speaking of Yahoo, the company was being sued for its universal shopping cart (and, after the one-click shopping incident, we were really beginning to see a problematic trend).
157 & 47 Years Ago
November 9th marks two landmarks in the history of media and journalism — the births of publications that still hold sway and produce quality content to this day. In 1857, The Atlantic was founded in Boston, and in 1967, the first issue of Rolling Stone was published in San Francisco.