This Week In Techdirt History: June 12th – 18th

from the same-difference dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, things were heating up around ICE’s recent domain name seizures. Several of the targeted sites were challenging the seizures to get their domains back, with one — Rojadirecta — going ahead and suing the US government, Homeland Security and ICE. Those trying to get more information via FOIA requests were met with stalling by the government (which was not out of character). Then, the government decided to up the ante and sought to extradite one of the site operators from the UK on copyright charges (despite the fact that this essentially amounted to enforcing US copyright law outside its jurisdiction, since the target violated no UK laws). Meanwhile, some people online were busy turning ICE’s gaudy takedown notice pages into the new Rickroll, and China was using the copyright excuse to clamp down on freedom of speech.

Ten Years Ago

There was a big fight over net neutrality happening in 2006, and this week we couldn’t help but balk at all the propaganda, from terrible newspaper editorials to celebrity endorsements and good ol’ propaganda music. The issue was muddied by nonsense, and only a few people had rational thoughts to share.

The RIAA seemed to have moved into the denial phase of grief about piracy, declaring victory and saying it was “contained”. Perhaps that’s why it had to turn its sights on YouTube videos of people dancing to music they haven’t licensed. At least they still had Canadian politicians in their pocket.

Fifteen Years Ago

There were several technologies looming on the horizon this week in 2001. Digital cash was struggling to catch on long before the revolution of the blockchain; Ebooks were poised to change everything from the way people write to the role of libraries; and SMS text messaging was taking the world by storm, but the US was a major holdout.

Also this week in 2001: we saw a prototypical net neutrality crisis, the homepage takeover ad started to appear, Apple sued the Church of Satan for its own “Think Different” campaign, and Homer Simpson’s iconic “Doh!” was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

One-Hundred And Ninety-Four Years Ago

Most of you surely know that the world’s “first computer” is generally considered to be Charles Babbage’s mechanical difference engine. It was on June 4th, 1822 that Babbage first proposed the possibility of such a machine to the Royal Astronomical Society. The project wound on for 20 years and cost £17,000, but never came to fruition, as the government abandoned it and Babbage moved on to his new analytical engine.

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