This Week In Techdirt History: October 23rd – 29th

from the 'memba? dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, we saw several examples of companies attacking consumers and/or making their products worse/harder to access. Universal Music started going after the Bad Lip Reading parodies on YouTube, Sony Ericsson shut down an Xperia fan blog that aggressively promotes their products, Hollywood’s “kinder, gentler” DRM Ultraviolet was being widely hated upon, and Warner Bros. decided it wanted to embargo DVD sales to libraries for a month.

We also featured our own little historical epic on the site this week: Tim Cushing walked through the many, many technologies that have “killed” the film industry in a trilogy of posts: part one, part two and part three.

Ten Years Ago

The ripples of the YouTube acquisition were continuing to spread this week in 2006. Despite lots of concern about legal issues, it became clear that YouTube’s compliance with DMCA takedown procedures were keeping it in the clear (this was long before the rollout of ContentID) and the service was perfectly legal. Meanwhile, Google was building a portfolio of legal wins against smaller claimants as ammunition for when bigger companies came calling. And despite all this supposedly hurting music sales, Weird Al was openly crediting YouTube and the internet with the success of his new album, while folks in Hollywood were realizing that online stars might just represent the next big talent pool.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, we saw prototypical versions of fights that would become commonplace in the digital world. Tech companies were opposing an onerous regulatory bill in congress, Microsoft was getting ready to sue a hacker for breaking DRM, and Homestead was ordered by a court to turn over identifying info about its users. Meanwhile, some big products were hitting the market: Windows XP was getting a lukewarm reception (not to mention pushback against its new activation procedure), and as we mentioned last week, Apple officially unveiled the iPod — though folks weren’t sure if it was revolutionary enough (a funny notion in retrospect).

Twenty-Four Years Ago

Computer-aided dispatch systems are now the norm for emergency services, and have vastly improved their efficiency — but getting here wasn’t an easy road, as one historical example this week demonstrates. The London Ambulance Service in the UK commissioned a computer dispatch system way back in the 1970s, but it sat unused for thirteen years because nobody wanted to switch. The system was replaced but the replacement failed tests. It was replaced again on October 26th, 1992 and the results were a complete disaster that caused huge ambulance delays. The debacle now serves as a popular item of study in the subject of poor engineering management.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: October 23rd – 29th”

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Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Back then most of the programmers were seriously good...

… you mean, back in the day when customers would get sent bills for $0.00? And then keep getting insistent payment reminders, until the only solution was to actually send in a cheque for $0.00?

Anybody remember getting those cards that said “do not fold, spindle or mutilate”?

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