from the the-more-things-change dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2010, we called attention to the Campbell Soup Company's positive 1964 reaction to Andy Warhol's art, and wondered how that same situation might play out today (with the smart bet being "cease and desist"). As it happened, we got plenty of examples of aggressive takedowns and legal attacks that very same week: NAMCO demanded the takedown of a kid's project recreating Pacman in a simple learning language, Pilsbury sent its lawyers after the "My Dough Girl" bakery for its mild similarity to the famous Dough Boy, the FBI claimed Wikipedia can't display its agency logo, the RIAA was going after people for sharing Radiohead's free In Rainbows album, the Beach Boys were making a ridiculous copyright claim over Katy Perry's California Gurls... The list goes on and on. At least one ridiculous threat was squashed by public reaction: George Lucas backed down from his threats against Wicked Lasers for daring to be compared by others to lightsabers.
The blocking game was being played at the highest levels around the world, too: while the UAE and Saudi Arabia were moving to ban Blackberries, Australia was grappling with attempts to make ISPs responsible for stopping piracy, and Indonesia was just going ahead and ordering all ISPs to block all porn within two weeks.
Ten Years Ago
Five years before that, some US Senators were more interested in taxing online porn than banning it — though the bill was clearly, undeniably unconstitutional. Meanwhile, in what's become a long-running tradition, America was using a trade agreement (this time the CAFTA) to export the worst parts of copyright law.
The Sprint-Nextel merger was approved, while Mozilla was in the process of building its corporate subsidiary; newspapers were still figuring out how to do online news and not always building great websites, while Rupert Murdoch was buying up online media companies. Perhaps the most notable of those purchases was MySpace, a site that was already showing cracks in its popularity and usefulness.
Also this week in 2005: the ringtone bubble was bursting, people were getting stung by phishing schemes and bad bank security (while the fear of identity theft was great news for the document destruction business), Cisco was learning a tough lesson about attempting security through obscurity, and apparently the astrophysics community was learning a security lesson of its own.
Fifteen Years Ago
The big topic this week in 2000 was e-commerce. Some were questioning whether or not it had any kind of future at all, though others were saying it's doing just fine. The people getting in on the conversation ranged from a small-town mayor who decided e-commerce is evil all the way to the presidential candidates.
Mobile devices were causing all the usual upsets in places people hadn't previously considered them, whether that's bugging people on camping sites or causing mistrials in murder cases. Internet-enabled cellphones were selling well, though it wasn't clear if this had much to do with the under-utilized internet capabilities, and some wondered if PC-dominance in the US was holding back adoption of truly revolutionary mobile devices. But hey, these were the days when a 6-gigabyte MP3 player was news.
Thirty-Eight Years Ago
A couple months ago, we pointed to the release of the Apple II in 1977. Now, hot on its heels, we've got the August 3rd release that same year of the competing TRS-80 Micro Computer System, another major milestone in the history of personal computing.