This Week In Techdirt History: March 15th - 21st

from the the-first-domain dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2010, the Viacom/YouTube lawsuit started in earnest with the motions for summary judgement from both sides, most of which appeared to be a lot of he-said-she-said. As the week wore on, though, the cracks started to show: Viacom couldn't figure out which clips were actually infringing (despite insisting that Google should be able to do so), and people realized that a lot of YouTube quotes in Viacom's filing were taken completely out of context. YouTube's motions, on the other hand, highlighted how industry lawsuits may have slowed innovation, and we wondered if the whole case might lead to an FTC investigation.

Over in the UK, Simon Singh stopped writing his Guardian column to fight the British Chiropractic Association's libel lawsuit against him for calling them out on their many pseudoscientific claims. A commission was calling for a tax on Google to prop up newspapers (while Google was telling newspapers to experiment), and the Times Online was blocking aggregators after a ruling that the latter didn't have to pay a license fee. But perhaps the biggest news was the passage of the Digital Economy Bill through the House of Lords, which had only one positive outcome: it garnered another hilarious message song from Dan Bull.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2005, Kevin Martin took over as FCC chair following Michael Powell; INDUCE Act author Orrin Hatch was put in charge of the Senate's copyright panel; bad stats were misleading people about reactions to copy protection; and we were wondering about the balance between privacy and anti-piracy efforts (while AOL was actively sacrificing the privacy of AIM users). Internet jurisdiction questions were still heated and unsettled, and strange legal ideas were popping up all over the world such as an attempt by an Indian newspaper to claim that ongoing criticism was a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, the MPAA was searching for the legal theory that would make BitTorrent trackers illegal.

France was beating up Google on trademark issues while embarking on its own book scanning project; Apple managed to wrestle itunes.co.uk away from its previous owner; the NY Times was toying with the idea of charging for content; eBay was embroiled in a business model patent mess; and Yahoo was backtracking on claims that it would fully support Firefox.

Fifteen Years Ago

Would it blow your mind to know that, unlike today, in 2000 the entertainment industry was still struggling with the internet? Oh, they still are? Never mind then.

Those struggles included, but where not limited to: the question of used CDs online, a cancelled merger between CDNow and Columbia House, and the creation of and subsequent freakout over Gnutella, the P2P file-sharing network. Meanwhile, some people were already cluing in to the idea that live performance is where it's at.

Also in 2000 this week: rumours flew (as they would again in later years) that eBay and Yahoo were merging; Microsoft tried revitalizing MSN for the umpteenth time; Network Solutions got hit with a big class-action lawsuit; Stephen King tried releasing an online-only novel; and WashingtonPost.com seemed to be in trouble.

Oh, and it appears that we may have accidentally coined the name "iPad" ten years early.

Thirty Years Ago

Techdirt was still a decade away (and I myself was still five months away), but on March 15th, 1985, the first commercial internet domain name — symbolics.com — was registered. The site that lives there now purports to offer "unique and interesting facts pertaining to business and Internet history", but seems to be a little light on content.

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Filed Under: history, look back


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  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 21 Mar 2015 @ 1:10pm

    But perhaps the biggest news was the passage
    of the Digital Economy Bill through the House
    of Lords, which had only one positive outcome:
    it garnered another hilarious message song from Dan Bull.

    Speaking of that, either Download This Song or Don't Download This Song*. Your choice.
    *Official video "Not Available on Mobile", so...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2015 @ 3:10pm

    Man, this "history" bit is lame.

    Most relevant history is Masnick's / Techdirt's record on major court cases involving "file sharing", as stealing is euphemized here: from Napster to Aereo, it's been solid that "monetizing" or even "sharing" someone else's intellectual property is right out.

    But does Masnick / Techdirt even recognize the trend? Nope, just continue to claim some mysterious entitlement to content for free.

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

    • icon
      charliebrown (profile), 21 Mar 2015 @ 6:37pm

      Re: Man, this "history" bit is lame.

      I think you completely missed the point of why that story was and is relevant.

      The point Viacom made was that YouTube is full of infringing videos and Google should know which ones are infringing and remove them. Google basically replied stating that it can't know which ones are infringing unless it's been told which ones. Viacom promptly produced a list of infringing videos, including quite a few that Viacom staff had uploaded themselves.

      Therefore either those videos uploaded by Viacom staff were official after all or Viacom was engaging in entrapment by uploading infringing videos in order to get Google into trouble. But if they're not involved in entrapment and the videos uploaded by Viacom staff are official, how is Google meant to know that they are official when even Vicaom, who own the videos, can't tell if they were official?

      And so the lawsuit went. Nobody is condoning the stealing of intellectual property, let alone monetizing the stealing of intellectual property.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2015 @ 11:02pm

        Re: Re: Man, this "history" bit is lame.

        "Most relevant history is Masnick's / Techdirt's record on major court cases involving "file sharing", as stealing is euphemized here: from Napster to Aereo, it's been solid that "monetizing" or even "sharing" someone else's intellectual property is right out.

        But does Masnick / Techdirt even recognize the trend? Nope, just continue to claim some mysterious entitlement to content for free."


        Mike Masnick recognized the trend, and his long held contention that the record and movie industry's demands were untenable turned out to be an accurate prediction. It may have taken many years to finally get through their thick skulls, but the media bosses finally acknowledged that the only effective way to fight "piracy" was to stop clinging to outdated (pre-internet) business models and instead provide 21st-century consumers with the digital content that they demand.

        The record industry's woes were wholly self-inflicted. Had they allowed Napster to turn into some kind of Spotify-like service (which Napster had offered a billion dollars cash upfront to do) a decade and a half ago, instead of spending years waging war against their own best customers (and alienating many into boycotting major-label music for life) then it's quite possible that the record industry would not today be a mere shell of its former self.

        Many people may not realize that a lot of "pirates" were much less interested in getting (or giving) stuff for free than they were in reaping the satisfaction of sticking it to these greedy, vindictive corporations.

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

        • icon
          madasahatter (profile), 22 Mar 2015 @ 8:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Man, this "history" bit is lame.

          "Many people may not realize that a lot of "pirates" were much less interested in getting (or giving) stuff for free than they were in reaping the satisfaction of sticking it to these greedy, vindictive corporations."

          Also, they never grasped that "pirates" could be used as free advertising. iTunes showed that most people would pay a reasonable price to download music and videos.

          The vindictive part is all too true. Many have hard the horror stories of the music and film industry accounting practices that deny royalties to the artists. Many, who have some sense of ethics and morality, despise both industries and only weep crocodile tears over industry laments.

          I knew a couple of musicians who told me the actual economics of producing a recording (~2000). If they could self publish the recording, a $10 cd at that time had a break even point somewhere around 3 to 5,000 units for a production lot of 10,000 cds.

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 22 Mar 2015 @ 4:01am

      Re: Man, this "history" bit is lame.

      I call BS on your BS.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2015 @ 5:18pm

    You didn't coin the name "iPad", the website you linked to Insanely Great Mac did. Still, intrusting stuff.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2015 @ 7:06pm

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

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


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