from the predictions-and-foreshadowings dept
Five Years Ago
Before the Hachette fight, Amazon got in a conflict with Macmillan over ebook prices this week in 2010. Authors were mad at Amazon, but some in the industry were beginning to realize that change can be turbulent, but still good. Heck, even Rupert Murdoch's daughter acknowledged that piracy can be good. This is in stark contrast to the music duo that claimed it would stop selling CDs until all piracy is stopped (though that might have been a joke). Billboard Magazine took a shot at Techdirt directly, decrying our ideas about CwF+RtB, leading us to explain how it still takes effort and commitment.
Definitely not a joke, however, was the Citizens United ruling, which had just come out, leading us to wonder if a corporation could run for public office. Later in the week, a PR company took that idea a step further.
In Australia, iiNet won its lawsuit against movie studios claiming it was responsible for user infringement, and the ruling offered a great explanation of why ISP's can't be copyright cops. The industry responded by immediately asking for a government bailout and, of course, this story and this fight were far from over. On the flipside, an Australian court this week also decided that Men At Work's Down Under did indeed infringe on a decades-old folk song.
Ten Years Ago
Long before Bing, Microsoft made its first attempt at breaching the world of search this week in 2005 with MSN Search. Unlike some other things launched the same week — like Amazon Prime and OnStar as a standard GM feature — it didn't stick around.
The term "PDA" was in its dying days, with only a handful of people still distinguishing them from smartphones (which some were worried would wear down our thumbs). Video games were exploding beyond the central industry, with fan-made games and mashups getting attention (including attention of the legal variety). Despite regulation, spam didn't seem to be going anywhere soon, perhaps because it was still effective on a shockingly high number of people. And the latest trendy foray into culinary madness was high-tech food.
Also in 2005 this week: the RIAA sued a dead woman with no computer for sharing 700 songs, Google lost a trademark lawsuit over AdWords in France, an accidental button-push almost evacuated Connecticut, and some students cast the future of RFID into question by cracking a bunch of secure chips.
Fifteen Years Ago
There were lots of predictions flying around this week in 2000. The wireless, mobile future was becoming more apparent, and the potential for commerce therein becoming more exciting. That much came true, but so many of the details are off — like how credit cards stick around despite fifteen years of calls for alternatives. Kinda like Usenet, which is anything but mainstream, but also far from dead despite repeated predictions of its doom. And while gaming consoles have indeed evolved into more robust multimedia devices, they haven't replaced PCs the way some expected.
Also this week in 2000: BMG Germany's attempt at CD DRM was a disaster, email marketing was going legitimate, Motorola turned its sights on next-generation devices, and Techdirt saw an unexpected and unexplained traffic bump.
Three-Hundred And Seventy-Eight Years Ago
If you've studied economics, even casually or in passing, you've probably heard of tulip mania — a period of Dutch history in which tulip prices exploded then collapsed. It's generally presented as the first recorded economic bubble in history, and its lessons are still relevant to economics nearly 400 years later. This week marks the critical days in 1637 when the bubble began to pop — on February 3rd, tulip prices hit their peak, and by the 5th they were on the downturn. Spotty record keeping left a gap in the numbers after the 9th, but by May 1st the market had bottomed out.