This Week In Techdirt History: December 7th – 13th

from the history-of-history dept

Five Years Ago

Since this is a history post about the history of our posts, let’s start with a post about history! This week in 2009 we looked at the history of the telegraph system and how it relates to modern net neutrality issues. We also took a look at more recent history — with the NBC/Comcast merger in the works, we reminded everyone of NBC Universal’s vehement opposition to the AOL/Time Warner merger not long before.

Recently, the band Pomplamoose caused a stir (and faced a lot of absurd attacks) by releasing its tour financials. This week in 2009, Pomplamoose made its Techdirt debut when we pointed to the band as an example of making a living as an indie artist in the digital era. We also had a similar post about Corey Smith detailing his successes as an independent musician. Meanwhile, artists continued to innovate, like the guy who chased down a Street View car to promote his band.

Also in 2009 this week: the judge in the Tenenbaum case finalized the ruling and trashed the poor defense (who would then ask for a retrial); prosecutors who charged a young woman for filming her sister’s birthday party and catching snippets of New Moon finally came to their senses and dropped the charges; Ron Livingston sued Wikipedia with a flimsy understanding of the law; music publishers attempting to sue Yahoo, Microsoft and Real saw their lawsuit tossed; and Hollywood, despite its fears of piracy, had another record year at the box office (as it has again every year since).

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2004, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Grokster case, which would lead to the shutdown of popular P2P networks and absolutely no reduction in actual piracy or increase in revenues. Success! Even musicians were getting sick of the RIAA at this point.

Despite rumours that they might enter some kind of deal with Apple, this week saw the near-confirmation that IBM would be selling its PC division to Lenovo; Google started testing out its now-ubiquitous Google Suggest feature for searches; and Starbucks was having real but limited success with its music program.

2004’s holiday season was, as it is today, a big time for online shopping, and a time to notice trends therein. The auction competition mentality was starting to wane on eBay, we observed that all-night shopping was one of ecommerce’s undersung advantages, and Woot was raking in the cash with its pioneering Daily Deals model.

Next we’ll be heading to 1999, but first, it looks like we already did that in 2004: after the holiday rush knocked several major retailers offline, we pointed out that the same thing was happening (and more excusable) five years earlier.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years before the Grokster case hit the Supreme Court, we had the official commencement of the Napster lawsuit this week in 1999. We saw some foreshadowing of today’s broadband woes in not-really-unlimited ISP offerings, and questioned the decision to credit Apple with the worst management mistake ever.

IBM announced its new “Gene” supercomputer project, Amazon kept pushing into the mobile shopping game, and AOL showed incredible speed and dexterity in constantly blocking anyone who tries to integrate with its IM network.

And there was plenty of discussion about the future, including the prediction that within ten years nobody would even talk about “the internet” since it would be so integrated with our lives. That didn’t exactly come true, but it’s still a meaningful observation: in 1999, the internet was still very much the “other” to many people, and the question “do you have the internet?” was not uncommon. Today, “the internet” is more commonly used to refer to the community of people online or simply to the concept of interconnectivity in larger discussions, since its prevalence in day-to-day life is old news.

54, 51 and 49 Years Ago

This week, we’ve got three firsts from the world of television in the 1960s. On December 9th, 1960, Coronation Street debuted in the UK. It still airs today, making it the world’s longest-running soap opera, and one of the most successful TV series of all time.

A few years later was the first-ever use of instant replay on television. Though the concept of replays had started a few years earlier up here in Canada (for hockey, of course), it was highly limited, technically complicated and, of course, not instant. It was this week in 1963 that a CBS Sports Director invented a system for instant replay from videotape, and put it to use during an Army-Navy football game. The machine weighed 1300 pounds.

Finally, two years after that on December 9th, 1965, and also on CBS, A Charlie Brown Christmas made its first appearance and kicked off the beloved tradition of Peanuts television specials.

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