This Week In Techdirt History: December 18th - 24th

from the christmas-eve dept

Five Years Ago

The anti-SOPA momentum continued to gain steam at an exponential rate this week in 2011. Both polls and wildly successful petitions were demonstrating that Americans across the political and demographic spectrum were opposed to the bill. And the list of high-profile voices realizing SOPA was a bad thing was growing by the day: the cable news networks figured it out, a CBS opinion piece went as far as calling for MPAA boss Chris Dodd to be fired over his position on it, and a Reuters columnist explained why SOPA is a cure worse than the disease. Long-retired political cartoonist David Rees picked up his pen again to oppose the bill, MythBusters' Adam Savage explained why it could destroy the internet, and Ashton Kutcher spoke up as well. Scribd launched a creative and aggressive campaign to educate its users, and all sorts of major internet infrastructure players started coming out of the woodwork to oppose SOPA. And, in a major surprise, the Heritage Foundation broke its pattern of support for the MPAA and opposed the bill too.

Moreover, the bill's supposed "support" was crumbling. Gibson Guitars and several other companies that were listed as "in favor" stated that they said no such thing. Law firms started removing their names from those lists too. And, in a high-profile example of successful public pressure, GoDaddy reversed its position and withdrew all support.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2006, the recording industry was pursuing its more traditional strategy of just suing everyone. The RIAA dropped a case against a mom because it couldn't draw blood from a stone, and turned its attentions to her kids, while a bunch of record labels ganged up and sued Allofmp3.com despite already pressuring Russia into going after the site for them. Meanwhile, with even folks like Roger Ebert calling for eliminating movie release windows and giving customers more options, there was a mixed response from the industry: some folks, like Xbox, were offering actually good video download services, while others like Morgan Freeman (for some reason) were offering crappy competition.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2001, Universal began releasing copy protected CDs in the US to block people from ripping MP3s (or... playing the CDs in Mac computers or DVD players, because that's how you make a good product). A few days later, of course, the protection was easily cracked. Meanwhile, much like 2006's crappy Hollywood-built online movie services, the record industry's new MusicNet and PressPlay offerings were by all accounts pretty terrible, which might explain why music listeners across the board were mostly ignoring them. At least we also saw the seeds of some more successful digital innovations too: people began to notice that Netflix was a strong survivor of the dot-com bubble burst, and rumblings were afoot about selling games for mobile devices.

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Filed Under: history, look back


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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 24 Dec 2016 @ 4:38pm

    A few days later, of course, the protection was easily cracked.

    Even then, covering the outer edge of the CD with a Magic Marker was unnecessary: UMG later switched to SunnComm's MediaMax DRM which also used the CD's outer data track. A Princeton University student pointed out that you could simply turn off auto-run on CDs in Windows - which you should do regardless - or merely hold down the Shift key while inserting the 'protected' music CD.

    A commenter in the Techdirt story jokes...

    I just really really want to see them try to nail this Patrick guy (from the article..gonna have to check out this TechTV show/channel) under the DMCA.

    Sunncomm publicly threatened to sue the student for violating the DMCA, but later backed off thanks to bad publicity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2016 @ 6:12am

    This year we witnessed the demise of copyright trolls - Prenda's destruction came to fruition on the government's part, Malibu Media's own plot began to unravel at the seams, and judges are finally starting to put the kibosh on copyright's ridiculous terms and penalties.

    This year we witnessed the demise of Techdirt trolls - old faithfuls such as out_of_the_blue, average_joe and his ever changing emails, as well as Whatever and his long list of constantly switching identities, and even the new nincompoops like John Mayor (please, email him).

    Merry Christmas to you, Mike Masnick, and the rest of the Techdirt team.

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


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