Five Years Ago
The SOPA battle rolled on this week in 2011. We took a look at how other parts of the world viewed the bill, as more people began to realize that it was about regulating the internet, not copyright. We gave kudos to the Senators who were standing up against PROTECT-IP, its partner bill and especially to Ron Wyden for promising to read out the names of all the people who opposed it. Even the BSA was changing its tune on SOPA — apparently prompted by the concerns of Microsoft. Meanwhile, the numbers were in: the previous week’s anti-SOPA protest was huge (but wouldn’t be the biggest).
Ten Years Ago
Record labels were at war with parody songs this week in 2006, with Universal Music threatening Bank of America over a viral video with a U2 parody and EMI targeting some sports fans who wrote parody lyrics to various famous songs — because apparently they think making unreasonable legal demands is a business model. On the flipside, CBS seemed to be realizing that TV show piracy increases viewership and that you can and must compete with free online video. Microsoft was in the middle of its failed attempt to offer the Zune as an iPod competitor, while iPods were embracing video but users mostly weren’t — though not because Stephen Spielberg was crotchety about it.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2001, SMS in America took a big leap forward when AT&T finally launched inter-carrier messaging. Nokia, meanwhile, was making early forays into camera phones and MMS on its first phone with a color screen. An early encryption battle was underway, mirroring today’s, with Bruce Schneier explaining why backdoors are a bad idea. We took a look at the entertainment industry’s ongoing attempts to kill fair use, Amazon was making its transition from store to platform for stores, and the Sega Dreamcast was in its death throes and selling for only fifty bucks.
Twenty-One Years Ago
These days, 3D-animated movies are a dime a dozen and vary wildly in quality. But the first feature-length fully-3D-animated film is almost universally beloved, and it was on November 22nd, 1995 that Toy Story saw general release.