This Week In Techdirt History: October 16th – 22nd

from the blast-from-the-past dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, an interesting copyright question was raised when Warner Bros. bought the movie rights to a story written in a Reddit comment thread, and subsequently stopped the author from continuing to use Reddit, even as it wasn’t clear that under Reddit’s TOS he would be able to offer Warner Bros. an exclusive deal in the first place. Meanwhile, in a real blast from the past, Bill Gates was called to testify in an antitrust trial about… Windows 95. And Microsoft’s views on sure seemed to waver a lot depending on who was in the antitrust hot seat. In congress, Senator Wyden was continuing to fight the PROTECT IP bill while the broader internet clued in on the notion that another bill focused on anti-streaming could make Justin Bieber a felon.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, everyone was still trying to parse the implications of Google’s acquisition of YouTube, except for politicians who were rushing to blame YouTube for all sorts of things. Universal Music launched a lawsuit against streaming sites but left YouTube out of the list of targets — which became very unsurprising when we learned that Google’s new deals with record labels included giving them equity in YouTube. Meanwhile, the Authors Guild lawsuit over Google Books was proceeding just about as slowly as a lawsuit possibly can, the MPAA was doing its best to brainwash the Boy Scouts with an anti-piracy badge, and a tour through the EULA for Windows Vista revealed a hilariously broad term stating that “you may not work around any technical limitations in the software”.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, the first inklings of the mass-ditching of landlines in favor of cellphones were spotted. There were also inklings about the death of broadband that didn’t pan out quite as accurately. Speaking of technology takeovers, professional photographers were starting to make the switch to digital cameras and (most) retail software stores were struggling to compete with downloads. But in retrospect, perhaps the biggest tech news was a simple and vague rumor portending that Apple was going to launch some sort of non-Mac music device the following week (and fifteen years ago tomorrow, the world would meet the iPod).

One-Hundred And Forty-Seven Years Ago

Hoaxes are a dime a dozen in the internet era, and frankly they are just too easy. But I love a good hoax story from the golden age, and this week we’ve got one that certainly qualifies: on October 16th, 1869 workers uncovered the Cardiff Giant, a huge “petrified man” forged by an atheist New York tobbaconist in order to win an argument with some Methodists. Scientists quickly realized it was a fake, but theologians who believed giants once walked the earth defended its authenticity. It’s still on display in the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, and a replica made by P. T. Barnum can be seen in Michigan.

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