This Week In Techdirt History: December 27th – January 2nd

from the old-year's-eve dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, China was doing exactly what many warned they would do and pointing to the US to defend its own anti-encryption stance, while Mark Zuckerberg was desperately defending Facebook’s “Free Basics” power grab. It was revealed that the NSA never stopped spying on foreign leaders and even swept up the US congress in the process, leading to some amusing backlash from former congressional defenders of the agency. Meanwhile, Harvard Law Review was freaking out about a public domain citation guide, 50 Cent was hypocritically suing over a mixtape, and CBS filed a lawsuit over the Star Trek fan film it had previously seemed to be supporting.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, a Dutch court threw out criminal charges against a P2P index site for relying too much on information from a private anti-piracy group, while leaked cables revealed that Swedish officials had complained to the US about the impact of a Hollywood-pushed copryight law, and a Canadian music collection society was demanding payment for 30-second song previews and France was trying to extend its private copying levy to tablets… unless they run Windows. We talked about permission culture and the automated diminishing of fair use, while NBC Universal and the MPAA were getting New York City to run anti-piracy propaganda and Gibson got an injunction over PaperJamz.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, there was a dust-up online over the question of blog piracy, while one Chinese blogging firm with big dreams was collapsing before it got started. The movie industry was pointing fingers over its poor box office returns, the RIAA was accused of coaching a 15-year-old witness in a file sharing lawsuit, and Australia was considering expanding fair use. We talked about how the Sony rootkit scandal had woken more people up to copy protection and the war on modifying your devices, while Sony was giving away a whole lot of free downloads in a settlement over the infected CDs.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: December 27th – January 2nd”

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PaulT (profile) says:

"The movie industry was pointing fingers over its poor box office returns"

I bet they wish they could have that year’s box office right now though, lol.

But, it’s hard to make direct comparisons. While that year was the lowest total revenue until 2020, the distribution landscape bas changed so much since then that it’s not possible to point at a single factor that improved things for them. What is clear is that when they stopped whining and started dealing with what audiences wanted, stopped complaining about piracy and started embracing new ways to distribute movies legally, and so on, that the doom predicted did not come to pass. We will see if audiences return to theatrical screenings once it’s safe to do so (which, I personally think will happen, but not for several years and perhaps with less of a sharp focus on releasing overblown movies that need to make hundreds of millions of dollars in their opening weekends just to break even). But, without the pandemic problems, the trajectory was not the one they predicted then.

As a side note, I can’t help but think of the films mentioned in the article linked to that old article. One mentioned as disappointing is King Kong, but the problem with that film is that it just cost too much. The major complaint of the films was that it was 3 hours long, and took way too long to actually get anywhere. Apart from the lukewarm reaction the film got from audiences due to this issue (and thus people who just decided to wait for the home release), the problem might just have been that they were spending too much on the movies, not that audiences weren’t paying enough to see them. Maybe they still need to learn that lesson.

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