This Week In Techdirt History: January 11th – 17th

from the legacy-of-a-merger dept

Five Years Ago

There was a whole lot happening in the piracy wars this week in 2010. Grooveshark was sued again (in what you could easily call “negotiation via lawsuit” by rightsholders), record labels were demanding cash from the Pirate Bay’s founders, and the EFF discovered a copyright loophole for the RIAA/MPAA in the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules. The copyright reclamation fight over Marvel characters was getting nasty and Jaron Lanier stepped onto the scene as a get-off-my-lawn type. These things weren’t contained to the US, either: in the UK, ministers were pushing the Digital Economy Bill while Scottish schools considered anti-piracy education based on anti-drug campaigns; Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN shut down hundreds of (mostly unused) torrent sites; France’s copyright three-strikes enforcement agency was caught using an unlicensed font; and European consumer electronics groups were fighting against proposed copyright levies. Amidst all this, Public Knowledge held World Fair Use Day.

On the patent front, Kodak launched a massive attack on Apple and RIM. Patent lawyer Gene Quinn was claiming that anyone against software patents is anti-innovation, while Union Square Ventures came out in favor of an independent invention defense.

Ten Years Ago

Today, the stats and rankings make it pretty clear that US broadband availability sucks. People were already noticing this all the way back in 2005, but it still wasn’t entirely clear that it was such a huge problem at the time. At least it wasn’t $400 a month for 10Mbps like one offering in Australia.

Ten years ago, texting was still only just catching on in the US — leading to some people, especially parents of cellphone-bearing kids, being surprised by their bills. Of course, as always, some people were making the evidence-free claim that kids shouldn’t use mobile phones, while others were trying to stop cyberbullying with the help of Spider Man.

Also in 2005: A major exploit was found in Windows’ DRM, and Microsoft tried to escape responsibility; Apple released the Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle; IBM freed up 500 patents; Blockbuster made a smart (and self-serving) call for the end of release windows; pop-up ads starting giving way to overlays; and the inventor of the blue LED got a huge payout.

Fifteen Years Ago

Early in the morning on Monday this week in 2000, we heard the murmurs that AOL and Time Warner would be merging. A few hours later, it was confirmed, the media landscape was drastically changed, and the reactions began pouring in.

That was just one of two big events this week fifteen years ago. It’s also the week that Bill Gates stepped down as Microsoft’s CEO and Steve Ballmer took his place. Meanwhile, in a less high-profile stepping-down, the Pentagon’s Y2K expert left the agency.

Oh, and David Bowie opened an online bank. It’s not still around.

One Hundred And Five Years Ago

On January 13th, 1910, the first public radio broadcast was transmitted from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. It was basically a failure, with the poor microphones of the day failing to adequately capture the live singers.

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