Five Years Ago
This week in 2012, following widespread protests, ACTA was on the verge of death — but that hadn’t stopped G8 countries from already preparing to replace it. Similarly, following the SOPA defeat, the usual copyright maximalist suspects were regrouping to come up with new tactics for fighting the public (and surely the revolving door between the MPAA and the federal government would help out on that front). Meanwhile, the lawmakers behind the new awful bill — CISPA — were downplaying the protests against it, even though the White House was also (meekly) opposed to the bill.
Also this week in 2012: Twitter unveiled its revolutionary patent agreement, and the Oracle/Google fight began heating up over the originally-secondary API copyright issues that would come to dominate the case.
Ten Years Ago
Maybe all those lawmakers should have read our post five years earlier in 2007, all about how politicians need to understand the internet before trying to regulate it. Of course, at the time, you had high new webcasting royalty rates from the RIAA, Sony’s DRM on DVDs causing all sorts of problems, the Authors Guild calling writers who give away content ‘scabs’, and telco-funded think tanks insisting anyone who supports net neutrality is just a pirate. Some corporate competitions were getting nasty too, with Microsoft lobbing antitrust accusations over Google’s purchase of DoubleClick and Ticketmaster suing StubHub over exclusivity.
Meanwhile, Mike’s series on the economics of scarcity drew some poorly-argued ire from sources ranging from CNN’s James Ledbetter to Dilbert creator Scott Adams (the latter of which turned into a longer back-and-forth).
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2002, lots of people were grappling with new questions and trends raised by technology. Parents were deciding whether or not to use internet filters for their kids while workplaces were getting into the idea of monitoring employees’ instant messaging; texting was becoming a favorite tool of schoolyard bullies and, unsurprisingly, sexting was already on the rise (though still unnamed). Meanwhile, a new study was showing that the death of Napster did little to change the popularity of digital music, even as the recording industry continued to blame file sharing for all its woes (rather than, say, idiotic DRM “compromises” like a CD that lets you send temporary copies that “expire” to friends).
But every now and then in doing this rundown, I find one of those posts that sounded so innocent at the time and now evokes an instantaneous “oh if only you knew…” reaction — such as this brief post noting Nathan Myhrvold’s “interesting idea” to start up an “invention factory.” Can anyone recall how that turned out?
Forty Years Ago
Though the technology had already been in development and testing for some time, it was today on April 22nd that fiber-optic cable was first used to carry telephone traffic, reaching 6 Mbit/s speeds all the way back in 1977.