This Week In Techdirt History: December 11th – 17th

from the a-look-back dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, everyone from Rupert Murdoch and Chris Dodd to sixteen former Judiciary Committee staff who had become entertainment industry lobbyists (hello revolving door!) was pushing to get SOPA passed. At the same time, Wikipedia was explaining in great detail why SOPA hurts the internet, and we heard the first rumblings of the now-famous Wikipedia blackout in protest.

Meanwhile, some creators were smartly focused on being creative and finding new business models: this was the week that Louis CK launched direct-to-fan sales of his latest special via his website, and set the comedy world on fire with its staggering success.

Oh, and Mike published his 40,000th post on Techdirt!

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, people were beginning to slowly understand the fact that the iTunes store was just a loss-leader to help boost iPod sales, though several analysts were not quite getting the point. Other stores like eMusic were showing the power of DRM-free music but the record labels weren’t listening, and even though folks like Bill Gates seemed to understand the dangers of DRM, they weren’t doing anything about it. Meanwhile, the debacle continued, the Netherlands blazed a trail in switching from analog to digital TV broadcasts, and laptops were beginning their ascent as desktops began their decline.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years earlier in 2001, some were already calling for the death of the PC industry and its replacement by the next big thing (though that may have been somewhat overstated). NY Times Magazine took a great look at the year’s most interesting ideas, though perhaps the most problematic post-9/11 trend was the obsession with finding silver-bullet technological solutions to big problems. Tech was getting smarter, with some of the first forays into music recognition technology and the military suddenly becoming interested in the role of robots in war. (And today we have ContentID and drone strikes…) In slightly more pleasant forms of progress, Apple was realizing that Macs need more games (a problem that is a lot closer to solved today).

One-Hundred And Fifteen Years Ago

Just a brief historical nod this week: it was on December 12th, 1901 that the first transatlantic wireless transmission was received by Guglielmo Marconi at Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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