This Week In Techdirt History: April 19th - 25th

from the moore-not-less dept

Five Years Ago

By this time in 2010, everyone had seen the leaked draft of ACTA — so, naturally, the USTR decided it was time to release it. It was, as we put it, "only very slightly less awful than expected", and it was missing a critical piece of information: what each country is pushing for.

Speaking of pushes by various countries, this week in 2010 we saw Canada's recording industry begin a campaign for draconian copyright laws, while India introduced draft copyright amendments that were a mixed bag. We were unsurprised to discover that UK piracy statistics are bunk too (while at home the MPAA was refusing to reveal how it came up with its own bogus numbers). Amidst all this, Google launched its tool for looking up international takedown stats, though it seemed to have significant limitations.

Also in 2010: Blizzard sold $2-million worth of virtual horses in four hours while Ubisoft was busy annoying customers with its DRM; still-free Hulu announced its paid subscription service while DirecTV struck another customer-confusing release deal with movie studios; and we looked at possibilities for reforming copyright such as returning it to its roots or using compulsory licensing to build an "abundance-based" system.

Ten Years Ago

Plenty of what happened in 2010 wasn't exactly new to that year. Five years earlier the same week, the Canadian recording industry was already trying to kill online music stores with tariffs, the UK recording industry was already saying stupid thinks about filesharing, and bad DRM was already annoying customers.

The entertainment industry was exerting a lot of influence on law enforcement, and sharing songs or movies before their release became a felony with three years of jailtime. Not content to be overly protective of the movies themselves, the MPAA was also sending C&Ds to people who use its movie rating system for other things. Not content to be overly protective of the songs themselves, the recording industry in Germany was forcing a bunch of lyrics sites to shut down.

Microsoft Encarta was still around in 2005, and beginning to adopt some vaguely Wikipedia-like features, but it was too little too late. Macromedia was also still around, and this week Adobe announced that it would buy it for $3.4-billion. And catalog shopping was still around, but not for long, it seemed. Book publishers were starting to freak out about Google's scanning plans, while newspaper editors were surprisingly and naively not freaking out about Craigslist (if they even knew what it was).

Fifteen Years Ago

Just this morning, I was calibrating the voice-wakeup on my phone and being frustrated by its general lack of responsiveness. Despite this, I can't deny it's come a long way from visions of voice-based WAP shopping all the way back in 2000, when AltaVista was still around and postponing its IPO, and colleges were bizarrely cracking open the subject of internet ethics.

This week in 2000 also featured a big announcement from Mirimax: an experiment in putting feature films online, something nobody had done before. It was impossible not to consider the turbulent future of that move, since this was also a time of rampant discussion and controversy around Napster, including some side-switching and the decision of a few fans to put together a system for donating money to Metallica.

Fifty Years Ago

Predictions are abundant in the technology world. They are also almost always wrong, usually either vastly overestimating change in the short-term or vastly underestimating it in the long-term. But there's one fundamental and famous tech prophecy that has held true throughout all the twists and turns of the entire digital revolution: Moore's Law, which turned 50 this week. Put in the simplest terms, the law states that the power of computer processors (more technically, the number of transistors in dense integrated circuits) will double every two years — and that's exactly what's happened for half a century.

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Filed Under: history, look back


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2015 @ 2:16pm

    Reasonable reaction.

    In this item, an ordinary and reasonable person using screen name of "Goobered Up" tries to argue with fanboys after Masnick's article asserts that purchasing a DVD means that you own "the movie", or the "content":
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150422/23110430764/dvd-makers-say-that-you-dont-really -own-dvds-you-bought-thanks-to-copyright.shtml

    "Goobered Up" is astonished by number and wrongness of the opposition. It's believable from the writing that person has 20 years of IP law experience as claimed, but as shown there, stating it just targets ad hom.

    What's NOT believable by reasonable people who happen into Techdirt is the ferocity and sheer number of false and baseless assertions.

    Techdirt is truly like a religion. The massive dog-pile and ad hom tactic by the faithful Masnickers is nearly always effective against of professionals who assumed it a civil and moderated discussion forum with people at least aware enough of facts and law to not blatantly contradict both.

    Astonished is the reaction reasonable people will necessarily have upon encountering Techdirt. Because rabid assertions and nasty ad hom from copyright minimalists / pirates is encouraged here.

    My bet is that "Goobered Up" won't comment again. -- And good riddance, eh? -- Having found it's useless to argue here! The faithful will just go round and round, unconvincable.

    By the way, that person did note one comment in that topic as the only one NOT "asinine". Of course, that's been censored, another tactic here. (Just watch this space!)

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re: Reasonable reaction.

      If you want honest responses, you need to make an argument in the first place.

      The core of GooberedUp's point seems to be "It's been known for ages that a person "owns" the physical media but does not own the copyrighted content."

      This is at most a shoddy half-truth.

      While you can't go republishing the content, it's not at all established that you can't modify it, format-shift it, make or make personal backups of it. Even if that means breaking any DRM. Even the DMCA explicitly allows this - notwithstanding its preventing you from telling others how you broke the DRM.

      And that's without getting into the ethics or legality of things like the key revocation system on Blu-Ray players - where the player you purchased suddenly doesn't play new content because someone else's player was hacked.

      GooberedUp also claimed, "And if that work is video content, I get to dictate how you consume that content."

      Again, wrong. Nothing in copyright law - explicit or implied - say that I can't transfer a DVD over to my tablet or my personal cloud service. I can't republish it - by selling copies or making that cloud service available to the public. I can't make money off it. But beyond that you have no say in what I do with it.

      If GooberedUp had the integrity to be a bit more honest and a bit more accurate, he would have gotten a better response.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Reasonable reaction.

      Hey Blue, I was involved in that discussion with GobberedUp. Do you care to point to which of my arguments were "false" or "baseless assertions" or even an ad hom attack?

      As for GooberedUp having "20 years of IP law experience" which may or not be true, I can only say that he must not be very good at his job to toss out silly generalizations like this:
      However, the copyright holder has the rights to dictate how you consume the copyrighted content.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 27 Apr 2015 @ 1:20pm

      Re: Reasonable reaction.

      I just wrote response to this comment and it has gotten caught in the spam filter and is now awaiting moderation.


      See Blue, even the regulars with registered accounts have comments that get caught in the spam filter on occasion. There really is no grand conspiracy to silence you at all.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2015 @ 1:51pm

      Re: Reasonable reaction.

      TWO DAYS LATER IT APPEARED. Long after the item was current, so no effect, dead thread. But fine, THIS one. I'll see in future.

      Besides, I've had at least a dozen NEVER get through. And must got through TOR, local addresses remain blocked.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 25 Apr 2015 @ 8:43pm

    Macromedia was also still around, and this week Adobe announced that it would buy it for $3.4-billion.

    This killed off one of my favorite new technology words, one used to describe most Flash animations, games and internet applications: Macromediocrity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2015 @ 7:29am

    Reasonable reaction.

    In this item, an ordinary and reasonable person using screen name of "Goobered Up" tries to argue with fanboys after Masnick's article asserts that purchasing a DVD means that you own "the movie", or the "content":
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150422/23110430764/dvd-makers-say-that-you-dont-really -own-dvds-you-bought-thanks-to-copyright.shtml

    "Goobered Up" is astonished by number and wrongness of the opposition. It's believable from the writing that person has 20 years of IP law experience as claimed, but as shown there, stating it just targets ad hom.

    What's NOT believable by reasonable people who happen into Techdirt is the ferocity and sheer number of false and baseless assertions. It's n "alternate reality".

    Techdirt is truly like a religion. The massive dog-pile and ad hom tactic by the faithful Masnickers is nearly always effective against of professionals who assumed it a civil and moderated discussion forum with people at least aware enough of facts and law to not blatantly contradict both.

    Astonished is the reaction reasonable people will necessarily have upon encountering Techdirt. Because rabid assertions and nasty ad hom from copyright minimalists / pirates is encouraged here.

    My bet is that "Goobered Up" won't comment again. -- And good riddance, eh? -- Having found it's useless to argue here! The faithful will just go round and round, unconvincable.

    By the way, that person did note one comment in that topic as the only one NOT "asinine". Of course, that's been censored, another tactic here. (Just watch this space!)

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

  • identicon
    Sourajit, 28 May 2015 @ 5:49am

    Techdirt follower

    Techdirt is genuinely like a religion. The gigantic pooch heap and commercial hom strategy by the dependable Masnickers is almost constantly viable against of experts who expected it a common and directed talk discussion with individuals in any event sufficiently mindful of truths and law to not conspicuously repudiate both. Thank you. :)

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


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