This Week In Techdirt History: April 17th – 23rd

from the there-is-no-news-today dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, the cracks in Righthaven’s facade were starting to widen. One judge explained that their demands were silly then slammed their tactics and unsealed a damning document, which revealed that Righthaven’s copyright assignments from Stephens Media were a sham, only assigning the “right to sue”. Meanwhile, the company was defending itself before another highly skeptical judge.

YouTube was facing a lot of criticism over its problematic copyright school (though it wasn’t as bad as some “educational” offeringsthe associated quizzes, to the point that Public Knowledge was offering $1,000 to anyone who’d create a better one. The RIAA lawyer fighting the Limewire lawsuit was recommended as a federal judge while Grooveshark was defending its own legality and the MPAA was contradicting itself on the subject of protecting culture. This was also the week that we saw the birth of Kopimism.

Ten Years Ago

In the world of copyright lawsuits this week in 2006, we took a closer look at why never appealed the ruling against it, while one federal judge was considering possible defences against RIAA filesharing lawsuits. The FCC commissioner was pushing for DRM for no real reason, one economist was trying to blame piracy for the high price of concerts, and Mike was heading to Washington to discuss copyright at the CATO Institute.

Laws against driving while using a cellphone were still proving popular, even if that required misrepresenting studies that actually said all distractions are bad. And in the world of completely unsurprising studies, we also learned that people use the internet, especially internet users and kids can find their way around web filters.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, people were grappling with predictions about emerging technologies, from the mostly-doomed (interactive TV) to the partially-successful (RFID tags are everywhere even if they never fully replaced barcodes) to the still-emerging (augmented reality) to the we-really-should-have-this-all-sorted-by-now (fiber to the home). A not-particularly-funny New York Times was calling for relationship counselling for the music industry and its customers while an always-funny Douglas Adams was delivering the keynote at the Embedded Systems Conference. Those who looked ahead with a bit more concern were noting that mass online victimization via data theft and hacking were just around the corner (and UK intelligence agencies couldn’t even stop losing laptops).

Eighty-Six Years Ago

We’ve all seen the absurd lengths cable news networks will go to in order to keep something on screen 24 hours a day, even when they have nothing interesting to talk about. On April 18th, 1930, BBC Radio took a slightly different approach that’s almost unimaginable today: they simply announced that there was no news, and played some piano music instead. Of course, there actually was news, just as there’s plenty the cable networks should be turning their attention to today, but at least then they had the reasonable excuse that said news couldn’t possibly have reached them in time.

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