from the history-at-christmas dept
A federal Anti-SLAPP law was introduced in Congress, and went nowhere. It's something we desperately need, and it's ridiculous that Congress hasn't taken up the issue. Various online publications were still whining about Google sending them traffic. Meanwhile, as the recording industry was whining about piracy, we noted that it would likely be blaming something else within a decade (I think streaming sites are the current obsession). IsoHunt lost a key ruling in court, saying that the site "induced" infringement by showing what was popular -- and also because the court took some statements by the site's founder out of context.
China took unending Hollywood-funded pressure to ramp up its efforts to stop copyright infringement... and used it as an excuse to censor more of the stuff on the internet that the Chinese government didn't like. Meanwhile, a German court decided that TV schedule information was covered by copyright. Demi Moore's lawyers thought that it was defamation to suggest that her images had been photoshopped. And the NBA was fining players for happily tweeting about victories too soon after the game was done.
There are two other interesting stories, just because nearly identical issues have cropped up this week, five years later. First, we had a discussion on whether or not sites should be forced to take down content if a court rules against the user -- if the user can't be found or is unable to do anything about the content. The sites are protected by Section 230 and don't need to do anything -- but some are suggesting otherwise. In fact, a judge in NY was suggesting that a Right To Be Forgotten might be a good remedy in this situation. The second was a story out of Chicago, done by the Chicago Tribune, noting that red light cameras seemed to be leading to more accidents. We've been reporting on this exact thing for many, many years, but this past week the very same Chicago Tribune reported on the very same issue again after doing a more detailed look at the numbers. Turns out its story from five years ago still held true: red light cameras increase crashes.
Ten Years Ago:
Do you remember when Cablevision thought that it was going to get into the satellite TV game and compete with DirecTV and Dish? It was called Voom and it failed miserably. Blockbuster (remember that company?) was realizing that Netflix was real competition. During this holiday season -- but years before smartphones were really a thing -- we were discussing the issue of bringing your email on vacation.
Despite all the fears about kids learning "texting speak," studies were showing that kids can understand the context and know they have to write differently in formal settings rather than sending a text to a friend. And yet some people still don't believe this. Trust me: kids are smarter than you think. Finally, we were learning about more and more documentaries that could never be shown again, because original licenses for archival footage and/or music wouldn't allow them to ever be shown again.
Fifteen Years Ago:
While most people were correctly predicting that the shift from 1999 to 2000 would not result in the Y2K bug ending the world, MTV was still pulling a publicity stunt and sending six people into a bunker to repopulate the world after everything fell apart. I wonder if they're still down there. Speaking of bad predictions, some were saying that Amazon.com was finished. In 1999. Oops. But, more seriously, online shopping was having some trouble delivering Christmas gifts on time.
Fifteen years ago, there were some early attempts to monitor driving traffic by looking at mobile phone data. The idea seemed perplexing to us -- and we wondered about the privacy implications. Of course, fifteen years later, we're all tracked everywhere we go... but we have pretty decent information about the traffic when we're driving. Finally, in those early days on the web, you could still put up fake job listings and convince people they were interviewing for a job at CBS.
Thirty Two Years Ago
Time Magazine named "the personal computer" as its "Person of the Year" -- the first time it went to a non person.