MEGAUPLOAD (by Dan Bull) – Independent artist Dan Bull raps about the harm shutting down MegaUpload has done to smaller artists. In the name of protecting the intellectual property of Hollywood and the MPAA, it seems that smaller artists who rely on cyberlockers like MegaUpload have found their means of distribution erased without noticed or recourse to protest.
Star Wars crowdsourced film reaches million YouTube views [BBC News] – “A “directors cut” of a fan-made version of Star Wars has passed one million views on YouTube. The film, uploaded on 18 January, is made up of hundreds of 15-second scenes created by internet users. The Star Wars Uncut project is widely regarded as an example of the power of crowdsourcing. Ramon Youseph, of the Crowdsourcing Gazette blog, told the BBC it showed “the power of the web to engage people in a global collaborative effort”. The website starwarsuncut.com began asking for fan-made scenes in 2009. It went on to win an interactive media Emmy in 2010.”
EU proposes ‘right to be forgotten’ by internet firms [BBC News] – A new law promising internet users the “right to be forgotten” will be proposed by the European Commission on Wednesday. It says people will be able to ask for data about them to be deleted and firms will have to comply unless there are “legitimate” grounds to retain it. [...] A spokesman for the commissioner clarified that the action was designed to help teenagers and young adults manage their online reputations. “These rules are particularly aimed at young people as they are not always as aware as they could be about the consequence of putting photos and other information on social network websites, or about the various privacy settings available,” said Matthew Newman. He noted that this could cause problems later if the users had no way of deleting embarrassing material when applying for jobs. However, he stressed that it would not give them the right to ask for material such as their police or medical records to be deleted.”
60 hours per minute and 4 billion views a day on YouTube [YouTube Blog] – “Since the dawn of YouTube, we’ve been sharing the hours of video you upload every minute. In 2007 we started at six hours, then in 2010 we were at 24 hours, then 35, then 48, and now…60 hours of video every minute, an increase of more than 30 percent in the last eight months. In other words, you’re uploading one hour of video to YouTube every second.”
How Parents Normalized Teen Password Sharing [danah boyd | apophenia] – Interesting insights from danah boyd regarding teens sharing passwords to social media services with each other. It’s all about trust, and that’s something learnt at home since parents ask kids to trust them and let parents look after (or at least know) their passwords in the early years (normally): “When teens share their passwords with friends or significant others, they regularly employ the language of trust, as Richtel noted in his story. Teens are drawing on experiences they’ve had in the home and shifting them into their peer groups in order to understand how their relationships make sense in a broader context. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone because this is all-too-common for teen practices. Household norms shape peer norms.”
Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea) [YouTube] – A great talk from Clay Shirky explaining the history, context and potential impact of the US SOPA and PIPA bills which seek to radically censor the internet in the name of stopping “piracy”. Important to listen to since, as Shirky argues, there’s no doubt more of the same just around the corner.
Parents using Facebook to attack school staff, Principals Federation says [Perth Now] – “Parents are using Facebook and other social networks to attack principals and teachers they dislike or believe have wronged them or their children. The growing practice of raging against school staff online has sparked calls for the Education Department to step in. “These forums can also fuel the sort of misplaced anger and hatred that can end in physical confrontations and school lockdowns,” Australian Principals Federation president Chris Cotching said. Lawyers acting for the federation have warned the department it could be legally culpable if it continued to ignore online campaigns against staff.”
Palin Fans Trying to Edit Wikipedia Paul Revere Page [Little Green Footballs] – Interesting case study on Wikipedia’s accuracy – after Sarah Palin gets history wrong, her supporteres try and edit Wikipedia to make the Palin version; drama and editorial warfare ensue: “Man, you’ve gotta almost admire the sheer blind dedication of Sarah Palin’s wingnut acolytes. Now they’re trying like crazy to edit the Wikipedia page for “Paul Revere” to make it match Palin’s botched version of history. Here’s the Revision history of Paul Revere; check out the edits that are being reversed. Also see the discussion page for an entertaining exchange between Wikipedia editors and a would-be revisionist.”
Google Chrome: Lady Gaga [YouTube] – Clever ad for Google Chrome featuring Lady Gaga (and simultaneously a Lady Gaga ad featuring Chrome!) which really highlights how she’s deeply engaging with her fanbase via social media.
Google’s YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism [guardian.co.uk] – Cory Doctorow laments Google’s copyright-driven philosophical contradictions: “The news that Android users who have jailbroken their phones will be denied access to the new commercial YouTube pay-per-view service is as neat an example of copyright extremism as you could hope for. Android, of course, is Google’s wildly popular alternative to Apple’s iOS (the operating system found on iPhones and iPads). Android is free and open – it costs nothing to copy, it can be legally modified and those modifications can be legally distributed [...] unless you’re running a very specific version of Google’s software on your phone or tablet, you can’t “rent” movies on YouTube. Google – the vendor – and the studios – the rights holders – are using copyright to control something much more profound than mere copying. In this version of copyright, making a movie gives you the right to specify what kind of device can play the movie back, and how that device must be configured.”
The hole in their bucket [Inside Story] – On iiNet & film/music futures: “…the debate about copyright tends not to acknowledge the importance of this informal consumption. Nor does big media, which is suspicious of any activity from which they do not directly benefit. Yet informal circulation, generally unlicensed and unmanaged, is one of the foundations of paid consumption. It is absolutely vital to the long-term sustainability of cultural industries. This is why we now need to expand our view of what constitutes media business. A teenager who listens to illegally downloaded MP3s of her favourite band may also be a proudly paid-up member of their fan club, own several items of legally purchased merchandise, and be a paying regular at every gig. Yet the music industry’s refusal to acknowledge the role of informal circulation means that it can’t acknowledge these other potential sources of revenue. This studied ignorance does little to help record companies out of their current structural crisis. The same is true of film. “
How to confuse a Facebook user [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Huh? “… sometimes your worst fears are given a real form – when you see the responses what is a browser, for example, or as shown by a little incident when the site ReadWriteWeb wrote about Facebook…. with hilarious consequences. Yesterday RWW wrote a post about how Facebook was partnering with AOL, in a way that would make the site’s login procedure more powerful than ever before – headlining the story “Facebook wants to be your one true login”. Suddenly, thanks to the magic of Google, that post became the most heavily-featured result for searches like “Facebook login” – which caused all kinds of confusion. It looks like a number of users clicked on the top result, expecting to be taken to Facebook’s login page (also known as, erm, facebook.com) and instead being presented with this ENTIRELY DIFFERENT site. The post now has a comment thread of around 300 posts, many from disgruntled Facebook users who have clicked and can’t work out what’s happened to the site they know and love.”
Links for December 3rd 2009 through December 6th 2009:
Panic Attack and YouTube Discovery [The Chutry Experiment] – Great post from Chuck Tryon about Fede Alvarez’s sudden appearance on the Hollywood radar thanks to his YouTube short “Ataque de Pánico,” (Panic Attack!), 4 minute special effects driven extravagnaza in which a city is destroyed and a career created: “One of the underlying narratives associated with Hollywood mythology is the “discovery story,” the idea that a talented newcomer emerges by chance, out of nowhere, to become a Hollywood “star.” Lana Turner was discovered, so the legend goes, on a barstool at Schwab’s drugstore. Now, as the tools of filmmaking and film distribution have been democratized, those discovery stories have expanded to filmmakers as well. And although it is the case that such stories can be read ideologically, it is also true that YouTube and other video sharing sites still offer us the opportunity to be astonished by the talents of an aspiring filmmaker.”
Memories of a paywall pioneer | Media | guardian.co.uk – Scott Rosenberg reflects on Salon’s experiments with a paywall, suggesting it’s not the model for future news media: “I’m not hostile to the notion of people paying for online content. I do so myself. I’m glad people stepped up and paid for Salon. But the value of stuff online is usually tied to how deeply it is woven into the network. So locking your stuff away in order to charge for it means that you are usually making it less valuable at the moment that you are asking people to pay for it. And that’s why people so often respond with: “No thanks.”"
Vampire Politics by Lisa Nakamura et al [Flow TV, 11.03, 2009] – “True Blood is socially conservative, gesturing towards a radical politics (or any social movement based politics) that it cannot (or will not) deliver. Likewise, the form of the medium itself is conservative. Like its vampires, True Blood is a relic – it airs on television, not the Internet, and it is broadcast rather than streamed. Though HBO claims “it’s not television, it’s HBO,” we know better. Like the credit sequence’s time-delayed decayed foxes and possums, True Blood is a memento mori – to the Civil Rights South, to broadcast television, to civil rights organizing and “unsexy” rights-based movements. True Blood pursues vampire politics, which are all about sexy self fashioning. Were it not for the exquisite Godric’s self-immolation in season two, the program’s credo might be “survival of the sexiest.””
Identity Wars: Google & Yahoo! Bow to Facebook & Twitter [RW Web] – “Yahoo! announced this morning that it is adding Facebook Connect across many of its properties. This afternoon Google Friend Connect announced the inclusion of Twitter as a top-level log-in option. These moves will be convenient for users, but may not be good for the future of the web.” (This is a really interesting article looking at what happens when Facebook and Twitter become default identity authentication systems – so much power then resides in these systems, and what happens to attempts at standards like OpenID?)
After Tony Abbott won the #spill, ensuring Australia will continue doing nothing about Climate Change in the immediate future, it would be fair to say that December has not begun on a peachy note. This effort from the Goodie Bag showing the Hollywood penchant for destroying New York seems to fit the day nicely:
Why Academia Is No Longer A Smart Choice By Melissa Gregg [newmatilda.com] – “So often the perception of university life in Australia is a cosy existence involving luxurious philosophical debates, long holidays and international sabbaticals. The reality is far less glamorous. The past 10 years has seen an escalation of requirements for entry-level jobs so great that starting positions aren’t even advertised. The over-supply of PhD graduates has made competition so fierce for tenured positions that casual contracts have replaced ongoing junior positions. Our best graduates, fresh from the biggest challenge higher education can throw at them, face their most energetic years vying for the privilege of this state of insecurity. As the system currently stands, junior scholars are asked to prove their worth to universities in ways that those hiring them never had to.” (Depressing, but all too true.)
Murdoch madness [BuzzMachine] – Jeff Jarvis speaks with wisdom: “Were Bing to pay News Corp. to drop Google, it would be a double-play in Google’s favor: Microsoft would lose money and gain little. News Corp. would lose traffic, shifting away from the search engine with more than 60% penetration in the U.S. and more than 80% in the U.K. to one that has 10 percent here – and that’s just the search engine; it doesn’t account for the disparate popularity of Google and Bing News. [...] News Corp. leaving Google would be a mosquito bite on an elephant’s ass. Unnotice by Google or by the audience. For there will always be – as Murdoch laments – free competitors: the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corp, which he and his son complain about, not to mention the Guardian, the Telegraph, NPR, CBC, and any sensible news organization worldwide.”
Heads Of Major Movies Studios Claiming They Just Want To Help Poor Indie Films Harmed By Piracy [Techdirt] – “Just last month, we talked about a top exec at Paramount claiming that his “real worry” about movie piracy online was how it was going to harm indie films, since, as a big company, Paramount could take it. Then, just a week or so later, Sony Pictures’ boss, Michael Lynton, also started talking about how fewer movies were being made due to piracy. Unfortunately, he was wrong. In the past five years the number of films being released has more than doubled and the major studios are making more money than ever at the box office. And yet… they keep trying. … the CEO of Fox Films, Jim Gianopulos, is the latest to claim that movie “piracy” is harming independent films the most (while saying it’s harming everyone in the movie business, despite no evidence to support that claim). He made this statement while suggesting that the US needs to follow France in kicking people off the internet for file sharing accusations (not convictions).” (It’s called a straw man argument … or a lie!)
Links for October 14th 2009 through October 19th 2009:
Judges have final decision after Twitter enters court [The Australian] – “The Federal Court will leave it up to individual judges to decide whether to allow cases to be covered from within their courtrooms on new media platforms such as Twitter. The issue arose after two technology journalists, Andrew Colley from The Australian, and Liam Tung from website ZDNet Australia, started using the microblogging site to publish running reports of the landmark iiNet copyright case being heard by judge Dennis Cowdroy in Sydney and which is big news in Hollywood. [... ] But the Twitter reporting is also a first for Australia, although court cases have been reported on Twitter overseas. The reporters published their “tweets”, which are limited to a maximum of 140 characters, using their personal Twitter feeds, on which they identify themselves as journalists and name their media organisations. Both used laptop computers. Mobile phones and recording devices are prohibited in court. Justice Cowdroy soon became aware of what was happening but opted not to stop them.” (While only being reported in relation to the iiNet case, this is actually quite a big deal about reporting technologies being allowed in Australian courtrooms.)
Don’t Call Me a Slut [The Daily Beast] – Meghan McCain (John McCain’s daughter) calmly and sanely responds to a stupid Twitter-fueled minor media scandal: “On Wednesday, I posted a hastily taken self-portrait on Twitter—which I thought was funny and silly—and within a few hours I had caused a minor media scandal. I spent most of the next day thinking about what exactly was so shocking about the picture, why there was such an immediate and nasty overreaction. After all, it’s not like I was caught making a sex tape. I certainly didn’t pose nude for Playboy. And I hadn’t even exposed a nipple. So why all this Sturm und Drang? Could it be it’s because I have breasts? Because for those of you who didn’t know, I have two. They’re larger than some women’s and not as big as others. I don’t usually show off my cleavage—as I did in the photos I posted—which I will admit is not the smartest thing I have ever done. But it’s just not worth the drama it caused. To be honest, I don’t feel that I have anything to feel ashamed of.”
Hey, showbiz folks: Check your contract before your next tweet [The Hollywood Reporter] – “Hollywood is coming down with the Twitter jitters. There’s a growing number of studio deals with new language aimed specifically at curbing usage of social-media outlets by actors, execs and other creatives. The goal: plugging leaks of disparaging or confidential information about productions via the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. A recent talent contract from Disney includes a new clause forbidding confidentiality breaches via “interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog.”” (The dream factory just isn’t ready to share the candid reality …)
Berners-Lee ‘sorry’ for slashes [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The forward slashes at the beginning of internet addresses have long annoyed net users and now the man behind them has apologised for using them. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has confessed that the // in a web address were actually “unnecessary”. He told the Times newspaper that he could easily have designed URLs not to have the forward slashes. “There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said. He admitted that when he devised the web, almost 30 years ago, he had no idea that the forward slashes in every web address would cause “so much hassle”. “
Links for January 11th 2009 through January 13th 2009:
The Evolution of Dance 2 Proves You Can’t Go Home Again [YouTube Reviewed] – “That guy who has done arguably the worst job in the history of the internet capitalizing on one of the most widely viewed viral videos ever is back (and, of course, featured on the front page of YouTube) with Evolution of Dance 2. While the original was kind of fun because it seemed like one of those really cool moments that just happened to be captured on film, the corporately co-opted sequel reeks of a coordinated production trying way too hard to look like a spontaneous moment caught on tape.
Twitter’s Massive 2008: 752 Percent Growth [Mashable] – “There’s little doubt that Twitter was one of the most talked about startups over the past year. But just how much did it grow in 2008? The final numbers are in, and according to Compete, they’re astounding: 752%, for a total of 4.43 million unique visitors in December. After starting the year with only around 500,000 unique monthly visitors, Twitter saw its most dramatic growth in the back half of ’08, picking up more than one million additional visitors in December alone. And that’s all just in the US.”
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button: Possible “Benjamin Button” Snub Proves Oscars Hate Science Fiction [io9] – “Variety reports that the Oscars are considering passing over Brad Pitt’s performance in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button for a Best Actor nod, because his acting was enhanced by special effects. Especially in the early scenes where he’s an old-man infant, some critics say he’s more of an animated Gollum-esque figure than an actual actor. Variety wonders whether Paramount did too good a job of exposing the movie’s makeup and CG wizardry in the promotional campaign, and that biased Pitt’s critics against the role.”
Interesting links for August 23rd 2008 through August 25th 2008:
Drilling Down – Preferring the Web Over Watching TV [ NYTimes.com] – “For children ages 10 to 14 who use the Internet, the computer is a bigger draw than the TV set, according to a study recently released by DoubleClick Performics, a search marketing company. The study found that 83 percent of Internet users in that age bracket spent an hour or more online a day, but only 68 percent devoted that much time to television. The study found that the children often did research online before making a purchase (or bugging their parents to make one). The big exception to this rule was apparel: like many grown-ups, the children said they preferred to choose their clothes at a store.”
Film Studies For Free [Catherine Grant on Blogger] – “Film Studies For Free actively espouses the ethos of Open Access to digital scholarly material. It aims to promote good quality, online, film and moving-image studies resources by commenting on them, and by linking to them. These resources will include published scholarship or research in various forms: from film and media weblogs, through online peer-reviewed journals, to other forms of web-based scholarly writing, as well as online works of film/moving-image research by practice. Film Studies For Free readers are invited to bring relevant items to the blog’s attention; please use the comments option or this email link to do so.”
Hollywood losing its grip on television content [Darknet] – JD Lasica interviews Eric B Kim (an Intel VP and general manager of its Digital Home Group) and Patrick Barry (VP of TV for Yahoo) about the coming trend of getting TV properly on the net: “Kim’s quote that most stuck out for me was this: “We’re bringing television to the internet.” Notice what Kim didn’t say: We’re bringing the Internet to television, which has been the approach of the big movie studios until now. (Or, until recently, We’re preventing the Internet from coming to TV.) I don’t know whether Kim’s turn of phrase was intentional or not — I suspect so — but the difference is a significant one. “
Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games [Times Online] – “Extraordinarily lifelike characters are to begin appearing in films and computer games thanks to a new type of animation technology. Emily – the woman in the above animation – was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as ‘uncanny valley’ – which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness. Researchers at a Californian company (Image Metrics) which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a ‘control system’.” [Via io9]
The dawn of intelligent machines [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The idea may scare some, but Intel predicts that by 2050 machines could surpass the peak of human intelligence. So predicted Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at the chip maker, in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum which examined how technology is expected to bridge the gap between man and machine. The vision included sensitive robots and shape-shifting materials. “There is no question that one of the most likely things that will happen in the next 40 years is that machine and human intelligence will come much closer together,” Mr Rattner told the BBC. “The ability of humans to communicate with machines and for machines to communicate with humans will get so much better.”"
NSFW: A Beginners Guide To Sporn [Rock, Paper, Shotgun] – (Contains Images Only Intended for Adults!) “You give humanity a creative tool, the first thing a human will do is – well – make a tool with it. Since the Spore demo?s release, it?s become a bukkake wave sweeping the web: comedy pornographic images via Spore. Spornography – aka “Sporn”.”
Mum pleads not guity in web suicide case [PerthNow] – “A US woman who prosecutors say drove a 13-year-old girl to suicide with a cruel MySpace hoax has pleaded not guilty. Lori Drew of Missouri, who is accused of creating the fake MySpace persona of a 16-year-old boy…”