Fear of new tech goes back a long way

100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words

Nate Anderson looks back at a hundred years of alarming predictions about the adverse effects of technology from the player piano and the gramophone onwards.

It’s almost a truism in the tech world that copyright owners reflexively oppose new inventions that do (or might) disrupt existing business models. But how many techies actually know what rightsholders have said and written for the last hundred years on the subject?

Here’s the short version of Nate’s answer I think the whole thing is worth reading.

The anxious rhetoric around new technology is really quite shocking in its vehemence, from claims that the player piano will destroy musical taste and the “national throat” to concerns that the VCR is like the “Boston strangler” to claims that only Hollywood’s premier content could make the DTV transition a success. Most of it turned out to be absurd hyperbole, but it’s interesting to see just how consistent the words and the fears remain across more than a century of innovation and a host of very different devices.

Hat tip: David Smith’s daily feed

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