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.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: January 8th – 14th”

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CharlieBrown says:


Techdirt history will be 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years. As long as that email guy doesn’t make Techdirt history.

Hey Leigh, when it comes to the week SOPA / PIPA actually died, can you please add this to your writeup because I can’t remember, did they just die before getting to the floor, were they voted down or were they outright withdrawn as bills to be voted on?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Cell phones with 802.11

People can’t admit more than 1 solution working at the same time for the same thing or on the same gadget. I like how Google wants to ditch the portion of the cellphone signal reserved for talking only and move this talking to voip and then switch from the mobile network to a wifi connection and use that to provide all the services. You install your wifi in usually crowded places and offload the burden of the mobile network making the whole system more resilient. And you free that reserved channel to internet that’s actually what matters today.

So, yeah, you are right.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "Give me your money or I TAKE it."

Had to love the warped mindset those trolls demonstrated with that. "If we can’t get our way openly due to public opposition we’ll just slip what we want into the law anyway", which made for a nice contrast with the ‘moral, law-abiding’ individuals they tried to pretend to be when they weren’t throwing out insults like a child.

And who can forget the ‘boycotting a company, or calling for a boycott due to that company supporting SOPA is CENSORSHIP/BLACKMAIL!’, that was classic TD troll.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Give me your money or I TAKE it."

That’s not even the funniest part. The funniest part was Dodd throwing a tantrum of epic proportions, threatening not to fund politicians for the defeat of SOPA… and then we had the trolls gloat about how all the nasty bits, without any checks and balances, were being discussed and written into law anyway. If support for the bill was never needed and any disagreement (according to the trolls) was just pissing in the wind, why so much butthurt when SOPA fell apart?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Give me your money or I TAKE it."

Because it demolished their ‘The public is on our side!’ narrative.

Time after time they painted any opposition as ‘fringe’, any concerns as paranoid and unwarranted, and the bill itself as something the public at large desired with only the criminals objecting to it, so to have massive numbers of people(vastly more than they could manage to get on their side) objecting to it and raising concerns they couldn’t just dismiss out of hand honestly(not that they didn’t try to dismiss them dishonestly) it slowly but surely exposed the bills as something being bought and paid for by certain companies and industries, not something being put forward to serve the public.

Add in them used to always getting their way via paid off politicians and it was a rude slap to the face that the public can in fact impact the laws and undercut their ability to just buy the laws they want, leading to an emotional backlash against those that upset them, and promises to ‘show them’ and slip the laws through anyway in ways the public couldn’t do anything about.

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