from the last of 2015 dept
Thanks to the way the days align and the fact that we don’t publish on New Year’s, there aren’t any posts from 2011/2006/2001 to highlight just yet — so this slightly-truncated history post represents the very last of the 2010/2005/2000 batch!
Five Years Ago
Lots of back-and-forth on the copyright and piracy front was happening this week in 2010, and most of the news was international. In India, the film industry was threatening a strike over the possibility that filmmakers would have to pay composers for music, while we looked out how ‘piracy’ helped establish the Nigerian film industry, which is often compared to the famous Bollywood; in Canada, a music collection society was trying to get payouts for 30 second song previews, while Germany’s infamous GEMA collection society was cracking down on free sheet music for kindergarten students; in Sweden, the leaked State Dept. cables revealed that copyright enforcement was happening at the behest of the US, while officials complained that the Hollywood-backed IPRED law was doing more harm than good; and, following a similar situation in Spain, politicians were already planning the return of a rejected US-written copyright bill.
There was at least one bit of sanity too, thankfully. A Dutch court dismissed criminal charges against a P2P index site while noting how heavily law enforcement relied on information (and prompting) from an anti-piracy group.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2005, a huge discussion broke out about blog plagiarism, and we wondered just how big a deal it really is. At the same time, blogs were supposedly the booming new thing in China, but that bubble appeared to be rapidly bursting. The shiny new MMS multimedia messaging was struggling to get off the ground, but it turned out early adopters included high school drug dealers — while in South Korea, SMS was already so common it was normal to serve legal notices via text. Telecommuting as a whole, on the other hand, appeared to have an uncertain future.
Also this week in 2005: we saw an early net neutrality battle around the idea of a two-tiered internet, the RIAA was accused of coaching a teenage witness in a file-sharing case, Australia was considering expanding fair use, and Sony agreed to settle a class action suit filed over its rootkit.
Fifteen Years Ago
Bluetooth was still a big new thing this week in 2000, but its applications were still uncertain. Some complained that venture capitalists were funding too many Bluetooth chipmakers and not enough application builders, while others were going as far as to call the whole technology vaporware. As usual for the time, some were predicting the end of the dot-com downturn and pointing out the sectors that were surviving, while some were looking at the bigger picture and examining the consequences of an economic recession in the US.
The video game world was rocked by rumors that Nintendo was buying Sega, but they were quickly put to rest. Meanwhile, a more traditional gaming world was re-emerging, as people realized that board games were a comeback hit. We had our first (I think) run-in with a website trying to charge people to link to it, and Techdirt got mentioned (weakly) in the news.
Fifty-Six Years Ago
You may have heard the conception of nanotechnology attributed to Richard Feynman. In fact, this is only partly true — while he did indeed propose the idea in a lecture over half a century ago, it went largely unnoticed, and appears to have been dug up much later by scientists pursuing nanotechnology, in order to absorb some prestige from the famous physicist. In any case, like all Feynman lectures and writings, There’s Plenty Of Room At The Bottom is full of intriguing ideas explained brilliantly, and it was on December 29th, 1959 that it was delivered to an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech.