This Week In Techdirt History: December 13th – 19th
from the not-so-final dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2010, we saw artists responding to piracy in a variety of ways. On the one hand, a comic artist was speaking out about how copyright kills culture, a musician was explaining why file sharing isn’t a big deal, and an author was trying an honest and direct approach to asking pirates for support. On the other hand, a different author was slamming piracy while admitting to having a huge pirated music collection, and George Clinton (usually a supporter of remixing and sampling) surprised us all with a lawsuit against the Black Eyed Peas.
Meanwhile, the Wikileaks saga continued, and many noted that the US’s reaction was doing more harm than the leaks themselves (to the point that you had to wonder if it was more about overhyping threats to pass new laws). The Congressional Research Service noted that there were serious challenges to charging Julian Assange with anything (not to mention the challenge of doing proper research on Wikileaks when access to Wikileaks is blocked). Attention was also beginning to turn towards Chelsea Manning (then still Bradley), who was being tortured by the government apparently in the hopes of securing testimony of a “conspiracy” with Assange.
Ten Years Ago
Today, product placement is a fact of life — but this week in 2005, creators in America were still hoping they could get out from under its bootheel while creators in Europe were only just beginning to experience the gathering storm. The music business was busy blaming Apple for the fact that digital download sales weren’t a panacea, while Starbucks was considering its own download offerings and Google was rolling out music-focused search services. Congress was doing Hollywood’s bidding in seeking to plug the analog hole, Microsoft was granted an absurd patent on pausing videos with a click, and the Supreme Court allowed CD-ROM reproductions of magazines (remember those?) as long as they are in annoying limited formats.
Since some of Sony’s DRM-infected CDs were still on the shelves, one band took it up the task of recall the discs themselves. Another copy protection provider was trying a publicity stunt with a $1000 bounty to convince the world its technology was safe, though at least some people were smart enough to realize that copy protection stalls innovation.
Fifteen Years Ago
Five years before that, the idea of copy-protected CDs was a new one. This week in 2000 was the first time we heard of plans to make such CDs (and the first of many times we’d point out the inherent problems with the idea).
Also this week in 2000: Tuvalu was getting rich off the dot-TV domain deal, while technology magazines were no longer getting rich covering post-bubble Silicon Valley; electronic ink was still on the horizon though early wireless payments were becoming a reality; Walmart couldn’t catch up to Amazon despite predictions, and Ask Jeeves was cleaning house with lots of layoffs; and, near the very beginning of a process that has now entirely reversed itself, the tech world was actively pushing more people to adopt Flash.
Twenty-Eight Years Ago
Square Enix is one of the most popular video game developers in the world, but back in 1987 it was still just Square — a struggling studio on the verge of bankruptcy, with no popular games under its belt. On December 18th, strongly suspecting it would be their last title ever, they released a little game called Final Fantasy for the NES. The rest, as they say, is history.