by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
archives, look back

This Week In Techdirt History

from the a-long-way-back dept

Five Years Ago:

We were writing about (surprise!) the nuttiness of copyright laws. We had a story about a professional blues and jazz musician who was absolutely baffled by the way copyright law was getting in the way of basic creativity. Meanwhile, the Associated Press, who claimed that you had to buy a license if you quoted more than 4 words of an article was happily licensing words on which it held no copyright. Over in Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren was beginning to wonder why the government didn't examine if copyright laws were being used in a manner that violated anti-trust laws. And, yes, people were still getting arrested for tinkering with products they bought, because obviously that's copyright infringement (huh?).

On the trademark side, we wrote about a lawyer who had the job of watching finished movies to make sure no brands appeared anywhere in the movie unless a fee had been paid (what a job!). It was beginning to look like paid WiFi was on its death bed. The influx of parents was starting to make Facebook uncool. And, as a response to all those people claiming "well, you wouldn't want your brain surgery done by 'the crowd' so why would you trust Wikipedia," we pointed to a study saying many doctors were using Wikipedia to research things.

Finally, down in Australia, one of that country's many experiments with internet filters and censorship resulted in educational sites being blocked, while porn sites were widely available.

Ten Years Ago:

Hollywood helped put an innovative company out of business, killing off 321 Software, a company that made software to let people make backups of their DVDs. Tim Wu discovered people being turned away from an RIAA-sponsored concert, because (supposedly) bands were annoyed that cameraphone photos of the bands would show up online, without the band making any money for it (yeah, okay).

On the patent front, we were covering stories of some of the early patent trolls, while Marten Mickos wrote one of the best analogies we'd heard about software patents, referring to them as the nuclear stockpiling of the software industry. Meanwhile, Symantec got sued by a company that was upset that Symantic referred to its product as adware and a service in Malaysia was trying to let people send text messages to the driver of any car if you knew their license plate.

Fifteen Years Ago:

There were a lot of fairly bad predictions going around. Amazon was being criticized for expanding into selling consumer electronics, while investors were saying that downloadable music was a terrible idea, with a Tower Records (remember them?) exec claiming that downloadable music was a "video game". Meanwhile, we were wondering -- back in 1999 -- if the world had too many blogs (we were still calling them weblogs back then). Similarly, the NY Times thought people were crazy to waste their time scouring the internet for news articles and sharing them with people. How about that?

Meanwhile, Bill Gates had been criticized widely for many years for not donating much to charity. Fifteen years ago, he finally revealed his plans to give away most of his money -- something he's been following up on.

Twenty Three Years Ago:

We weren't publishing on the web yet, in part because this week Tim Berners-Lee revealed the details of his World Wide Web project to the world by posting it to a few Usenet groups. This is widely considered the birth of the web.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2014 @ 2:44pm

    'this week ......23 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee revealed the details of his World Wide Web project to the world by posting it to a few Usenet groups. This is widely considered the birth of the web.

    and the entertainment industries, using any and every trick in the book and a few that aren't yet, to try to take control of it and use it in their image! you haven't realised yet that this is the ultimate aim? check what they have done in the fight for that control and the numbers of people who have been ruined! not a single 'star' has been hurt, not single studio or label has had to close through bankruptcy or imprisonment, but look at what ordinary people have had to endure and a couple who have been killed as well!! all for the sake of a movie or music disk that the 'owners' refuse to do as customers continually ask!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2014 @ 11:49pm

    I'm absolutely baffled that someone would try to use anomalies to try and paint with a broad brush, but hey, different strokes, y'know?

    Otherwise the terrorists totally win, brah.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2014 @ 5:01am

    "professional blues and jazz musician who was absolutely baffled by the way copyright law "

    That does not surprise me one bit.
    I predicted this
    even the labels don't know the LAW
    "one hand doesn't see the other."

    that they're tryin to cram SOPA/PIPA/TTIP DRM or whatever acronym it is this time down -- the way out -- is to turn the lights out

    Come lets theoretically try it...

    * Decimate Programmers with copyright fear and being VAGUE vs remix rights
    * Stir CHAOS into documenting everything, constantly change format metadata, paperwork, rights, ala UMG goin-- want service pay 10 G's foo..
    * EDUCATION - Make sure our kids growing up's BANDS don't sign with big labels (ya might not realize it but they ARE the bands of the future)
    * Boycott this, Boycott that, hit them in the wallet (good bands will break away from their labels--perhaps become a label themselves--other hand global monetary system failure imminent- I dunno)
    * REMOVE the channels ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, NBC from your Television Receiver (skip channel) Repeat with AM Broadcast, and FM broadcast bands. Ya can have your stupid cable--it's not public spectrum but I still won't help you hook it up or filter it either.
    * Pass/Update/Publicize NDAA so reporters are scared (ain't the definition of terrorism lol scaring ppl) to interview anyone who might be a terrorist -- sorry middle eastern looking band, no interview, no airtime, no message to the world
    * Make world Pandemic so no DISC's can be shipped from country to country.. NO SALES, NO TOURS, NO SHOWS, NO T-SHIRTS

    what do ya all think... Seems like some of that is already happening. Maybe I am delusional again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dermot Gilley, 11 Aug 2014 @ 1:22pm

    Techdirt anniversaries

    Wow, you go back quite a ways. Which is good, because many sites' modern authors lack temporal perspective when they write about things. "Too many blogs" - like "There is a demand for about five computers world-wide" (IBM's Watson after WW II). This Internet is here to stay to surprise us every five years or so with developments that we would have ruled out categorically. Like I predict the demise of Facebook in five to ten years. Let's look at it at your 25th anniversary. I'll come and read and comment and we'll trade notes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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