This Week In Techdirt History: January 22nd – 28th

from the post-sopa dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2012 was all about the fallout from SOPA/PIPA, and the pivot to focusing on new battles. The SOPA supporters who own major media networks were somehow complaining they couldn’t get their voices heard, while movie theatre lobbyists were continuing to make up facts and a very confused CreativeAmerica was still campaigning for SOPA on the basis of needing it to take down Megaupload — despite that being the other big battle of the week because Megaupload had just been seized without SOPA.

On that front, we saw the chilling effects as other companies began turning off useful sharing services, and began learning interesting tidbits from the indictment. Some artists spoke out in opposition, with Jonathan Coulton tweeting and blogging against the seizure and Dan Bull releasing one of his always-excellent protest songs. But Megaupload wasn’t the only battlefront: we also saw the backlash against ACTA begin to build, with the Polish government seeing SOPA-like protests (and calling it “blackmail”) followed by that epic moment when Polish politicians in parliament donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest themselves. And as if all that wasn’t enough, we also had to contend with the TPP, support of which was laced into Obama’s state of the union address, prompting public interest groups to speak out about an upcoming secret meeting on the deal.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2007, the big copyright fight was still over DRM. The RIAA was complaining about how people thought it looked evil, Blu-ray’s DRM was rapidly cracked by the same hacker who beat HD DVD, the licensing group behind AACS admitted that DRM is not in fact a meaningful barrier to piracy, and a fight was breaking out over Apple’s FairPlay DRM in Norway. On the plus side, we saw a couple positive court rulings, one further defending the right to anonymity online, and another not just protecting but potentially expanding the safe harbor protections of CDA Section 230.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2002 we were still addressing a few more quaint copyright questions, like whether sharing abandonware is piracy. Beset by lawsuits, KaZaa was selling its site and software to an Australian company. Taxis were beginning to adopt GPS, the future of free web email seemed uncertain, PC-based e-voting was being tinkered with, and we got an early glimpse into the iron-fisted secrecy of Apple. Oh, and Techdirt was nominated for a Bloggie award.

Two-Hundred And Sixty-Three Years Ago

This has little to do with Techdirt topics, but it’s a fun and interesting fact nonetheless: it was on January 28th, 1754 that Horace Walpole coined the word “serendipity” in a letter to Horace Mann, basing it on an old name for Sri Lanka used in a Persian fairy tale.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: January 22nd – 28th”

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Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Serendipity Is A Litmus Test For Reality

How can you tell your field of endeavour is actually grounded in reality? By whether you get the phenomenon of serendipity occurring.

For example, this frequently happens in science and maths, where people who set out to investigate one thing end up discovering another. Also in art, where the artist accidentally creates something they weren’t expecting.

But it doesn’t happen in religion, or indeed any faith-based ideology. When an intellectual structure is made up out of pure belief, there is no chance for reality to interpose something that surprises you.

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