This Week In Techdirt History: June 28th – July 4th

from the it's-all-relative dept

Five Years Ago

Last week, we recalled on ASCAP’s attack on Creative Commons. This week in 2010, its own members lashed out at it in response. EFF, Public Knowledge and Creative Commons itself all politely responded to the attack, while we noted that the music publishing industry in general has a bad habit of aggression towards consumer’s groups and those who respect individual rights.

The Swedish Pirate Party was seeking to host The Pirate Bay from inside the Swedish parliament, while Dutch ISPs were fighting against demands that they block the site entirely, even as Dutch public television was experimenting with BitTorrent distribution. Meanwhile, the pilot of TV show Pioneer One was released on BitTorrent and quickly raised $20,000 do create more episodes.

The Supreme Court’s Bilski Ruling came out, narrowly allowing software and business model patents to survive while dropping plenty of hints that the court was against software patents in the long run. The IEEE, on the other hand, just celebrated.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2005, there were two other expected and fairly predictable rulings from the Supreme Court: Grokster and Brand X. Sweden was putting a bad file-sharing law into effect while a Taiwanese court ruled that file-sharing software is completely legal. The EU wanted an EU-wide licensing scheme for music downloads, former RIAA boss Hilary Rosen realized that these victories might not be victories and at least one record label surprised us by not blaming technology for its problems. Warner Brothers, on the other hand, was still actively rebelling against new business models, while UK residents were discovering that their home VHS copies were the only remaining records of shows the BBC never kept.

Newspapers were having fun making pointless and/or obvious observations about the digital age, like the fact that online directions are sometimes wrong, or that user-created content is popular, or that giant would-you-rather studies about technology yield weird results.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years before that, the New York Times was already criticizing geeks while lexicographers were struggling to agree on the correct spelling of “dot-com” (or .com or dotcom or…) A former top music exec was pointing out that file-sharing can’t be stopped, while a current top music exec was insisting he’ll crush digital music sites entirely.

Some high-profile outages also rocked the web this week in 2000: Yahoo! went down when a fiber line was severed, United Airlines’ website disappeared for most of a morning, and most shocking of all, a glitch took down Techdirt’s front page for an hour and a half.

One-Hundred And Ten Years Ago

We’ve had lots of technology history lately, so this week let’s take a break for some science history. It was on June 30th, 1905 that the Annalen der Physik science journal received Albert Einstein’s paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, which established the theory of special relativity. The universe would never be the same again.

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