This Week In Techdirt History: December 6th – 12th

from the old-and-new dept

Five Years Ago

Wikileaks, Wikileaks, Wikileaks. That was the dominant subject this week in 2010. Firstly, there were plenty of attempts to squeeze out the site through various means: though Twitter was a holdout and the White House was contradicting the Library of Congress on the subject, the Swiss bank handling Wikileaks donations found a technicality under which to freeze the account while PayPal cut off all payments. The Defense Department appeared to be blocking all sites with Wikileaks in the title, then Visa and Mastercard joined the no-more-payments-for-Wikileaks chorus (despite not having any similar issues with the KKK). This may have been because the latest leak was about them.

But, the more people tried to kill the site, the more it spread. Political pundits didn’t seem to understand its distributed nature and the government didn’t realize that expansionist copyright policies are what drove the development of such technology. Meanwhile, those who actually bothered to look at the cables themselves discovered plenty of things, like the expected fact that the US entertainment industry basically wrote Spain’s new copyright law and the US Embassy had its fingers in Swedish copyright issues too.

Ten Years Ago

The worlds of film and television were changing rapidly this week in 2005, and some seemed to get it while others didn’t. Steven Soderbergh had a good grasp on where things were and needed to be headed for films, while CNN seemed somewhat confused about offering broadcast content online. NBC made some shows available for download on iTunes, which shed some light on why they wanted to sue TiVo a few weeks earlier. Cable companies were trying to maneuver around having to offer a-la-carte channels (even though some recognized this was still just a stepping stone to unbundling the shows altogether.

Oh, and though the Sony Rootkit scandal was winding down, it wasn’t over: yet another vulnerability was found and… another one too, in a patch for a previous one. Good for Sony.

Fifteen Years Ago

Still lots of analysis of the tech bubble this week in 2000. Some were trying to figure out just what caused it while others were being both optimistic and pessimistic about the future of tech (not to mention those who still thought they could assert that the internet is a passing fad). Bands were experimenting with the internet, and most people were reading too much into individual successes and individual failures. Rage Against The Machine was surprised to find people getting banned from Napster for sharing their music, since they didn’t want that at all. Some people were finally taking a clear and sober look at the future of mobile music, though in general it was becoming clear that wireless was the next big thing in tech.

247 & 138 Years Ago

December 6th is a double-hit of the first publications of long-running institutions, though only one of the two still survives as of a few years ago. First, in 1768, it was the day of the publication of the first volume of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, one of three volumes that would eventually become a set costing 12 pounds sterling. Then, in 1877, it was the day the Washington Post published its first issue, which clocked in at four pages and cost three cents.

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