from the tick-tock dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2010, the ACTA negotiations were nearing completion, prompting EU Parliament members to speak out even louder about their objections to the deal and the Mexican Senate to vote unanimously to withdraw from the negotiations entirely. Though officially nobody but the negotiators were supposed to have seen the agreement text, nobody was surprised when the MPAA voiced its approval of the current deal. When the draft text was finally released, it was bad, and we pointed out how that was inevitable considering they didn’t talk to key stakeholders — but the negotiators continued with their line that secrecy was vital (and turned off the WiFi at a briefing about the draft).
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s advertisers were bailing on his paywalled news sites while the Boston Globe was celebrating its own paywall with a column full of logical fallacies, and the Knight Foundation was bizarrely funding even more paywalls. Cory Doctorow (who has a way better nose for business models) was explaining why free doesn’t bother him, and the world was realizing just how much money Minecraft was raking in.
Ten Years Ago
In 2005, the Wall Street Journal was a paywall pioneer, and getting ready to raise its online subscription prices, not for the first time. The BBC, on the other hand, was realizing that its role in news had to evolve and change, and focused on becoming a facilitator.
A new study suggested that file-sharing is good for digital music sales, but that didn’t stop Macrovision from trying to convince entertainment companies they really need more copy protection software (which Macrovision made). The industry was trying a new (and stupid) approach by insisting that fair use harms innovation, while we were offering the more likely explanation for their behaviour: innovating is hard, but suing people is easy. The RIAA was gearing up to go after satellite radio, while the most egregious incident comes from France, where the operator of a lyrics website got six months in jail.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2000, it was still a time to analyze Silicon Valley in the midst of the dot-com flux. One study suggested that dot-com execs don’t actually fit the stereotype most people have in mind, though the public sex that broke out at a big dot-com party diluted that message a bit. More important was determining which dot-coms were running out of money — and for some, that became a way to make money in and of itself (while for others it was the sign of a coming internet depression).
Six-Hundred And Five Years Ago
This week we celebrate the makers of the Medieval era by marking the October 9th birthday of the Prague Orloj aka the Prague Astronomical Clock. Actually, nobody knows its precise birthday, just the first time it was mentioned in writing in 1410 — but it’s a marvel of early engineering, the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest that is still ticking away today.