This Week In Techdirt History: January 8th – 14th
from the the-gloaming dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2012, plans were coming into place for the SOPA blackout that would happen the following Wednesday. Reddit was the first to announce a site-wide blackout, and the next day they were joined by the Cheezburger network of sites. Then came the announcement that would really shift the tides: Jimmy Wales stated that he was in favor of the blackout, and asked the Wikipedia community to decide.
Meanwhile, it was a big week for SOPA/PIPA supporters being caught infringing content themselves. CreativeAmerica appeared to crib much of a pro-SOPA mass email from Public Knowledge’s anti-SOPA equivalent, then offered a denial that inadvertently underlined exactly why SOPA was so dangerous. CreativeAmerica also teamed up with the MPAA to place a pro-SOPA opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune, which turned out to be a bit of a remix from the text past lobbying efforts. And then SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith himself was discovered to be violating the Creative Commons license of a photo used on his website.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2007, the big news (especially in retrospect) was Tuesday’s unveiling of the Apple iPhone after a flurry of rumors and hype. There was a hiccup when it turned out Apple hadn’t yet secured the rights to the name, but as we know the ascendance of the device was unstoppable. There was also a weak attempt to use the iPhone as an example of why patents are necessary, which was much less convincing than the new study showing no link between patents and innovation.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2002, long before the days of SOPA, the DMCA was still a source of real debate — with attacks on the anti-circumvention provisions still showing promise. Apple was fresh off a somewhat-less-revolutionary announcement of a new iMac, and an early leak debacle showed just how tight a relationship they seemed to have with the press. Satellite radio was showing promise, SMS was failing in the US for reasons that were getting boring to hear about, online pizza delivery was becoming a competitive space, and Taser was working on its first consumer model.
One-Hundred And Twenty-Three Years Ago
We’ve used the example of telephone switchboards many times in talking about how job-destroying innovation can often yield an explosion of unexpected new jobs, and this week we mark a turning point in that piece of history: on January 9th, 1894 the first battery-operated telephone switchboard was installed in Lexington, Massachusetts by the New England Telephone And Telegraph Company.