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Tag Archives: censorship
Links for July 11th 2010 through July 14th 2010:
- Recycle, Remix and Re-use with Creative Commons on Vimeo Staff Blog [Vimeo Staff Blog] – Video-sharing website Vimeo adds support for Creative Commons licenses. Yay!
- Google’s Do-It-Yourself App Tool [NYTimes.com] – Nifty: “Google is bringing Android software development to the masses. The company will offer a software tool, starting Monday, that is intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android smartphones. The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android (appinventor.googlelabs.com/about), has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not computer science majors. The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves. “
- Facebook ClickCeop app to offer optional ‘panic button’ [Technology | The Guardian] – “After months of pressure to improve its online safety features, Facebook has reached an agreement to provide an application not dissimilar to the “panic button” critics have called for, which users can add to their homepage and links to the UK’s online child protection watchdog. […] Now Facebook UK is to launch a new initiative with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, one of its harshest critics, to give all users the potential to access the organisation’s advice and reporting centre. The service, accessible via a ClickCeop button, includes a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour. Facebook said that it marks the first time in the UK that all users, and especially the target demographic of 13-to-18-year-olds, will be able to have direct access to CEOP’s services. However, the new system is opt-in, meaning that Facebook users will have to actively choose to download, add, or bookmark the new button …”
- Facebook relents on doll nipples ban [The Age] – Not so prudebook (just bad management): “A Sydney jeweller has castigated Facebook for its “opaque” and “arbitrary” moderation system after the site apologised for censoring her images of a nude porcelain doll posing with her works. The social networking site admitted this morning that it made a “mistake” in removing Victoria Buckley’s photos, after last week sending her several warning notices for publishing “inappropriate content” and erasing both censored and uncensored versions of the image from Facebook. “We’ve investigated this further and determined that we made a mistake in removing these photos,” Facebook said in a statement.”
- iChatr: Chatroulette For the iPhone [TechCrunch] – “Oh, Internet, is there anything you can’t do? iChatr, a new app for the iPhone, is essentially Chatroulette for the iPhone. It’s pretty barren right now – I saw the same people once or twice – but the quality is pretty good …”
Links through June 28th 2010 (catching up on the last week!):
- Fairfax and content theft – mUmBRELLA – Mumbrella asks if Fairfax media is copying YouTube videos and placing them onlive via a Fairfax media player, then using them on Fairfax online properties: is this “piracy”? Aren’t Fairfax ripping off YouTube creators who are relying on advertising (on their YouTube clips) to make a little money? I’ve no idea if Fairfax has some sort of license to do this (or if it might be legal under fair dealing – although using the whole clip can’t be) but it’s an important question given the rhetoric of piracy being a problem with individuals, rather than corporations, downloading “illegally”.
- Google’s mismanagement of the Android Market [Jon Lech Johansen’s blog] – Jon Lech Johansen’s critique of the current Android marketplace. While it’s preferable to the closed Apple App store, the Android Marketplace clearly needs a lot more work on its centralised architecture to sell and distribute apps effectively.
- Exercising Our Remote Application Removal Feature [Android Developers Blog] – Android centrally nukes their first app from the marketplace and all phones using it; from the Android blog: “The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed. This remote removal functionality — along with Android’s unique Application Sandbox and Permissions model, Over-The-Air update system, centralized Market, developer registrations, user-submitted ratings, and application flagging — provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.”
- Pakistan to monitor Google and Yahoo for ‘blasphemy’ [BBC News] – “Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked. Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. In May, Pakistan banned access to Facebook after the social network hosted a “blasphemous” competition to draw the prophet Muhammad. The new action will see Pakistani authorities monitor content published on the seven sites, blocking individual pages if content is judged to be offensive. Telecoms official Khurram Mehran said links would be blocked without disturbing the main website.”
- ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups [Threat Level | Wired.com] – ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) tries to rally against alternative copyright licensing, even those which actually assist creators to license clearly! “ASCAP’s attack on EFF and Public Knowledge are farfetched. Those groups do not suggest music should be free, although they push for the liberalization of copyright law. But the attack on Creative Commons is more laughable than ASCAP’s stance against EFF and Public Knowledge. While lobby groups EFF and Public Knowledge advocate for liberal copyright laws, Creative Commons actually creates licenses to protect content creators. […] The licenses allow the works in the public domain, with various rules regarding attribution, commercial use and remixing. The group’s creative director, Eric Steuer, said nobody forces anybody to adopt the Creative Commons credo. “I think it’s false to claim that Creative Commons works to undermine copyright,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s an opt-in system.””
- dev:wordpress [Zotero Documentation] – Plugins to make the COins data on blogs visible from WordPress (ie makes Zotero recognise WordPress blog metadata).
- Sex domain gets official approval [BBC News] – .xxx is coming: “Official approval has been given for the creation of an internet domain dedicated to pornography. The board of net overseer Icann gave initial approval for the creation of the .xxx domain at its conference in Brussels. Icann’s approval will kick off a fast-track process to get the porn-only domain set up. ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, said .xxx would make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. The decision ends a long campaign by ICM Registry to win approval. Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM, welcomed the decision and said it was “great news for those that wish to consume, or avoid, adult content”.”
- Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review [danah boyd | apophenia] – “I’m pleased to announce a rough draft of Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review for public feedback. This Literature Review was produced for Harvard Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative, co-directed by John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and myself and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This Literature Review builds on the 2008 LitReview that Andrew Schrock and I crafted for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. This document is not finalized, but we want to make our draft available broadly so that scholars working in this area can inform us of anything that we might be missing. Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review.”
- Twitter has a bad day: FTC tells it off and the site’s not running well [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter’s having a bad day. First it got told off by the US Federal Trade Commission for incidents in January and May last year when 33 accounts, including Barack Obama’s, were hacked using the company’s own internal support tools. And then it’s having to scale back on its API in order to get the site in order, according to its status page. The FTC settlement is “the agency’s first such case against a social networking site” over flawed data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, between January and May 2009, hackers who gained administrative control of Twitter were able to view nonpublic user information, gain access to direct messages and protected tweets, and reset any user’s password and send authorized tweets from any user account.”
- 1 in 5 Android Apps Pose Potential Privacy Threat [REPORT] [Mashable] – Further fuel for Steve Jobs decision to police the Apple App store so tightly: “Mobile security company SMobile has looked into the potential privacy and security issues in more than 48,000 apps in the Android Market. The company’s findings are alarming for Android owners, since approximately 20% of Android apps request permission to access private or sensitive information.[…]. By contrast, the Android (Android) market is open, meaning that Google (Google) doesn’t minutely examine apps for approval (it did, however, ban certain apps from the Market) and Android apps don’t have to be acquired from the Market; users can obtain them from other sources, like a developer’s website. Google’s approach makes it easier on the developers, but it can also result in a security nightmare for consumers. According to the report, one out of every 20 apps can place a call to any number without approval from the user; 3% of apps can send an SMS to any number…”
- HUGE: Twitter Lets You Automatically Follow Your Facebook Friends [UPDATED] [Mashable] – “Twitter has announced that it is launching major upgrades to its Facebook and LinkedIn (LinkedIn) applications, bringing added functionality and integration between Twitter and two of the world’s largest social networks. The new Twitter app for Facebook, which is now available here, not only allows you to syndicate your tweets to the world’s largest social network, but now has a feature that allow users to see which of their Facebook friends are also on Twitter and choose which ones they want to follow. The new feature could be huge: it brings existing Facebook connections into the Twitterverse, which is likely to spur new levels of engagement and growth.”
- Judge Sides With Google in Viacom Suit Over Videos [NYTimes.com] – “In a major victory for Google in its battle with media companies, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement against YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Google. The judge granted Google’s motion for summary judgment, saying that the company was shielded from Viacom’s copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law generally protects user-generated sites from liability for copyrighted material uploaded by users as long as the operator of the site takes down the material when notified by its rightful owner that it was uploaded without permission. The dispute is over videos owned by Viacom that others had posted to YouTube. Viacom, which sued Google in 2007 for copyright infringement, had argued that Google was not entitled to the copyright act’s protections because Google deliberately turned a blind eye and profited from to the rampant piracy on YouTube.”
- YouTube Video Editor [Google OS] – Useful for only the very basics, but still a useful on-the-fly tool: “YouTube has a new video editor that lets you create videos using excerpts from the videos you’ve already uploaded. You can also add a music file from the AudioSwap library, but YouTube mentions that it might display ads if you use some of the audio files.”
- Content Is No Longer King: Curation Is King [Business Insider] – “”Content is King” — no longer. Today, the world has changed. “Curation Is King.” Ok, I hear all the content-makers sharpening their knives to take me on. I’m ready. First, why content is dead: Content used to be the high quality media that came out of the very pointed end of the funnel. Articles in the New York Times. Movies from Miramax. Thursday night comedy from NBC. Books published by Simon and Schuster. Creative folks wrote pitches, treatments, sample chapters, pilots, but only the best of the best got published. Then, the web came along and blew that up. Kaboom! Now content has gone from being scarce to being ubiquitous. […] We’ve arrived in a world where everyone is a content creator. And quality content is determined by context. Finding, Sorting, Endorsing, Sharing – it’s the beginning of a new chapter […] The emergence of a new King — a Curation King, reflects the rise of the new Aggregation Economy. It is an exciting time to be in content, and the best is yet to come.”
Links for May 31st 2010 through June 3rd 2010:
- Anatomy of an Unpublished Chapter [Just TV] – Jason Mittell’s insightful post about academic publishing in general, and the challenges of balancing copyright, readership and academic reputation. I admire Jason’s decision to give up publishing a chapter in a collected edition due to the inflexible copyright demands of the publisher (including a requirement for him to remove a pre-print version on his blog); that said, at this stage of my academic career, I’m definitely not established enough to be this brave!
- Did Twitter censor the #flotilla hashtag following the Israel attack? [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – The #flotilla hashtag disappeared from Twitter’s trending topics briefly – cries of censorship erupted – but it soon returned and it appears that the disappearance was due to automated spam filtering (the hashtag had been active earlier in the week relating to another story).
- Terminating employees for their conduct on social media sites – Malcolm Burrows (B.Bus.,MBA.,LL.B.,GDLP.,MQLS Associate) offers some useful advice and tips about social media and the law in Australia, especially as to whether it’s legal to fire someone for social media comments made outside of work time (short answer: mostly no, but with some important exceptions).
- When Facebook Says – You Have Too Many Friends [NYTimes.com] – 5000 Facebook friends: that’s your limit.
“anthropologist and Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has posed a theory that the number of individuals with whom a stable interpersonal relationship can be maintained (read: friends) is limited by the size of the human brain, specifically the neocortex. “Dunbar’s number,” as this hypothesis has become known, is 150. Facebook begs to differ. […] Facebook famously co-opted the word “friend” and created a new verb. Friending “sustains an illusion of closeness in a complex world of continuous partial attention,” said Roger Fransecky, a clinical psychologist and executive coach in New York (2,894 friends). “We get captured by Facebook’s algorithms. […] Facebook discourages adding strangers as friends, adding that only a tiny fraction of its 400 million users have reached the 5,000 threshold, at which point Facebook wags its digital finger and says: That’s enough.”
- Facebook, you’ve been sent a message . . . Angry users quit over privacy fears [The Australian] – “Tens of thousands of other disaffected former Facebook fans are also due to commit mass account suicide today, which has been declared “Quit Facebook Day” in a grassroots campaign started by two tech guys, Joseph Dee and Matthew Milan. Motivating them in part are the increasing privacy concerns surrounding the world’s most popular networking site. As of yesterday afternoon, about 24,000 Facebook users had committed to leaving, according to the tally on QuitFacebookDay.com. That’s about 0.006 per cent of the site’s approximately 400 million active users. However, surveys show growing dissatisfaction with the site, with users complaining settings make it too hard to restrict who can view their personal information and too easy for them to inadvertently share details with third-party websites, which mainly use the information to better target them for advertising.”
Links for April 13th 2010 through April 16th 2010:
- No Free Lunch for Ning Users; Still Plenty of Bargains Elsewhere [Read Write Web] – “The social networking platform Ning announced today that it was making some substantial changes to the company. The news, coming just one month after Jason Rosenthal replaced Gina Bianchini as CEO, was sour for both employees and for many users of the service. Ning will cut 70 jobs and will end free subscriptions to the site. Rosenthal writes in the press release, “We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning.” According to the release, paying subscribers account for 75% of the service’s traffic. These fees have ranged from $4.95 per month to use your own domain name, to $24.95 per month to remove Ning’s promotional links, although it’s unclear if those fees will change. But the service has long been used by many small groups and organization, many of which are in a tail-spin over today’s announcement.”
- Youth, Privacy and Reputation (Literature Review) – April 12, 2010 Authored by Alice E. Marwick, Diego Murgia Diaz, John Palfrey, Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative [Berkman Center] – Fantastically useful overview of youth & privacy writing & research: “The scope of this literature review is to map out what is currently understood about the intersections of youth, reputation, and privacy online, focusing on youth attitudes and practices. We summarize both key empirical studies from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and the legal issues involved in regulating privacy and reputation. This project includes studies of children, teenagers, and younger college students. For the purposes of this document, we use “teenagers” or “adolescents” to refer to young people ages 13-19; children are considered to be 0-12 years old. However, due to a lack of large-scale empirical research on this topic, and the prevalence of empirical studies on college students, we selectively included studies that discussed age or included age as a variable. Due to language issues, the majority of this literature covers the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada.”
- Murdoch hails iPad as saviour of news [The Age] – “Rupert Murdoch has launched a spirited defence of putting up paywalls around his newspaper websites, while embracing the game-changing potential of Apple’s iPad. The News Corporation chairman hailed the device as a possible saviour of the newspaper industry.Advocates of free newspaper websites often accuse Murdoch of being a technophobe but the Australian media mogul was happy to embrace the technology of Apple’s iPad tablet device, launched in the US on April 3. […] During an interview with journalist Marvin Kalb, Murdoch sat with an iPad and even picked it up to demonstrate how to navigate The Wall Street Journal’s website. He said the iPad could be the saviour of newspaper journalism – in electronic form, not print. ”I got a glimpse of the future … with the Apple iPad,” Murdoch said. ”It is a wonderful thing. If you have [fewer] newspapers and more of these … it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.””
- Internet Filter Not Needed, Says US Ambassador to Australia [The Age] – US to Australia: don’t screw up the internet! “The US ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich has criticised the Rudd government’s plan to filter the internet, saying the same goals can be achieved without censorship. The federal government’s $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes forcing ISPs to block access to certain websites and blacklist offensive material. Legislation to enable the scheme is set to be introduced this year. On ABC’s Q&A program last night, Mr Bleich said the “internet has to be free” and that there were other means of combating nasty content such as child pornography. “We have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers … without having to use internet filters,” he said. “We have other means and we are willing to share our efforts with them … it’s an ongoing conversation.””
Links for March 23rd 2010:
- Conroy’s internet censorship agenda slammed by tech giants [WA Today] – “Australia’s biggest technology companies, communications academics and many lobby groups have delivered a withering critique of the government’s plans to censor the internet. The government today published most of the 174 submissions it received relating to improving the transparency and accountability measures of its internet filtering policy. […] Most of the submissions called for full transparency surrounding the operation of the list and for all sites placed on the list by bureaucrats at the Australian Communications and Media Authority first to be examined by the Classification Board. They supported a regular review of the list by an independent expert and the ability for blacklisted sites to appeal. But many reiterated their concerns that the policy is fundamentally unsound and would do little to make the internet a safer place for children.”
- Google stops censoring search results in China [BBC News ] – There is some semantic differences between stopping censorship and closing one service and re-directing to another, but the effect on the ground, if the Hong Kong site is accessible in China, should be the same: “Google has stopped censoring its search results in China, ignoring warnings by the country’s authorities. The US company said its Chinese users would be redirected to the uncensored pages of its Hong Kong website.”
- R18+ Rating For Games A Step Closer In Australia [The Age] – The future of an R18+ video games rating in Australia is looking more and more hopeful! “The long-awaited introduction of an adults-only rating for video games in Australia could be a step closer after South Australia’s Michael Atkinson yesterday resigned from his position as Attorney-General. Mr Atkinson has been the South Australian Attorney-General since 2002 and has frustrated attempts to introduce an R18+ rating for games because its introduction requires unanimous support from all state and federal classification ministers. […] Australia is the only democracy in the western world not to have an adults-only rating for video games. Last year six games were refused classification for exceeding the limits of the MA15+ rating, effectively banning their sale in Australia.”
- Facebook settles privacy class action for $10.3m [The Age] – “A San Jose federal judge has approved the $US 9.5 million ($10.3 million) settlement of a class-action lawsuit over the social networking site Facebook’s program, Beacon, which published data on what users were buying. Facebook denied any wrongdoing but agreed to end the Beacon program last November. As part of the settlement, Facebook will fund a ”digital trust fund” that will issue more than $6 million in grants to organisations that study online privacy.”
- How To Use An Apostrophe [The Oatmeal] – Useful visual guide to apostrophe use. Many people should print this out or buy the poster. Many.
Links for February 11th 2010:
- Warner Music Shoots Self In Head; Says No More Free Streaming [Techdirt] – How to encourage music piracy 101: “A few years back, it seemed like Warner Music actually had a better handle on where the music industry was heading than its 3 major label rivals. In the last two years, however, it seems like WMG has consistently gone further and further in the opposite direction. It may have hit a new low today with the announcement that it will pull out of all free streaming music licensing offers. Yes, Warner Music just told the one thing that was effectively competing with unauthorized downloads to shove off. Brilliant.”
- Google baulks at Conroy’s call to censor YouTube [SMH] – Google tells Stephen Conroy it won’t be filtering YouTube for him! Australian “Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally. Google Australia’s head of policy, Iarla Flynn, said the company had a bias in favour of freedom of expression in everything it did and Conroy’s comparisons between how Australia and China deal with access to information were not “helpful or relevant”. Google has recently threatened to pull out of China, partly due to continuing requests for it to censor material. “YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can’t give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube,” Flynn said.”
- WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw [Business Insider] – The privacy problems with Buzz defaults: “There is a huge privacy flaw in Google’s new Twitter/Facebook competitor, Google Buzz. When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow. A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail. That’s fine. The problem is that — by default — the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile. In other words, before you ever touch any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see who are the people you email and chat with most. In my profession – where anonymous sourcing is a crucial tool — the implications are terrifying. But it’s bad for others too. Two obvious scenarios come to mind: imagine if a wife discovering that her husband emails and chats with an old girlfriend a ton. Imagine a boss discovers a subordinate emails with executives at a competitor”
- More Fun than Blackboard – A satirical blog which documents things which might be “more fun that Blackboard’s discussion board system”. So far, blog entries include root canal surgery and running with scissors!
Links for February 2nd 2010 through February 3rd 2010:
- Technology Blamed For Bad Grammar Despite Total Lack Of Causal Evidence [Techdirt] – Sometimes, you just have to blame the journalism: "We were just recently reporting on yet another in a very long line of studies that showed that instant messaging and texting was actually helping kids have better writing skills. So, it was interesting to see an article published up in Canada (thanks to Marcus Carab for sending this in) that claimed a study "proving" that Twitter and texting was causing grammar and spelling problems for students. But, if you read the details of the article, they don’t say that at all. It’s entirely made up by the reporter."
- Charlie Brooker – How To Report The News [YouTube] – An outstanding video which demonstrates how many tv news reports are put together. (Language warning!)
- Tablet [The Chromium Projects] – Early visualisations of the proposed Google tablet (gPad?) driven by the Chrome OS. It’s a long way from built, but the timing of these "visual explorations" is sure to irk Apple. And, to be honest, I’d prefer Chrome OS over Apple’s locked-down App store options!
- Attorney-General Michael Atkinson vows to repeal election internet censorship law amid reader furore [Adelaide Now] – An important backdown on censoring political speech online in South Australia: "Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has made a "humiliating" backdown and announced he will retrospectively repeal his law censoring internet comment on the state election. After a furious reaction on AdelaideNow to The Advertiser’s exclusive report on the new laws, Mr Atkinson at 10pm released this statement: "From the feedback we’ve received through AdelaideNow, the blogging generation believes that the law supported by all MPs and all political parties is unduly restrictive. I have listened. "I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively." Mr Atkinson said the law would not be enforced for comments posted on AdelaideNow during the upcoming election campaign, even though it was technically applicable. "It may be humiliating for me, but that’s politics in a democracy and I’ll take my lumps," he continued in the statement."
- iPad Hardware Reveals Potential Slot for Camera – A built-in webcam would counter a lot of the initial iPad design bashing (and would make it a lot more attractive as a travel-device instead of a netbook): "Perhaps we haven’t learned everything about the iPad just yet. Could an iPad with a camera be in the near future? Mission Repair, a company that fixes broken Apple products, apparently got their hands on some iPad parts. Their pictures showed off the internal frame, which curiously enough has a small hole on the top of the frame. When the Mission Repair team took a camera out of a MacBook and placed it inside the iPad’s top hole, it fight right in."
- Aussies play on through the gloom [Sydney Morning Herald Blogs] – "For the first time, Australians spent over $2 billion on video gaming in 2009, a new record for the industry. Publishers and distributors were ecstatic by the growth of 4 per cent given the much publicised financial crisis. The increase was in stark contrast to the declines seen in most other Western markets, which analysts have blamed on the music genre slump and a lack of innovation in the industry, as well as the GFC. Nintendo continued its dominance of the industry: two thirds of all hardware sold during 2009 in Australia was Nintendo-branded."
Links for February 2nd 2010:
- Labor gags internet debate [AdelaideNow] – Where did this ridiculous law come from? “South Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet. The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month’s state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll. The law will affect anyone posting a comment on an election story on The Advertiser’s AdelaideNow website, as well as other news sites such as The Punch, the ABC’s The Drum and Fairfax newspapers’ National Times site. It also appears to apply to election comment made on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.” I think Andrew Bartlett’s response is most appropriate: “Draconian, dumb, futile and foolish are a few descriptions that spring to mind. I’d also say it’s unworkable in terms of it’s stated purpose, but it could none the less snare innocent parties…”
- Led by Facebook, Twitter, Global Time Spent on Social Media Sites up 82% Year over Year [Nielsen Wire] – According to The Nielsen Company, global* consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from the same time last year when users were spending just over three hours on social networking sites. In addition, the overall traffic to social networking sites has grown over the last three years. Globally, social networks and blogs are the most popular online category when ranked by average time spent in December, followed by online games and instant messaging. With 206.9 million unique visitors, Facebook was the No. 1 global social networking destination in December 2009 and 67% of global social media users visited the site during the month. Time on site for Facebook has also been on the rise, with global users spending nearly six hours per month on the site. […] Australia led in average time per person spent, with the average Australian spending nearly 7 hours on social media sites in December.”
- Amazon to Macmillan: You Win (for Now) [Mashable] – After a war of words (both in press, and for sale) Amazon have capitulated and will allow Macmillan to dictate the prices of Kindle eBooks from Macmillan’s range. From Amazon’s statement: “Macmillan, one of the “big six” publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases. We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. “
Links for January 27th 2010:
- Terms of (Ab)Use: US and UK Consumers Dance to Different iTunes [Electronic Frontier Foundation] – Further illustration of the insanity of different national licensing agreements: “For example, as with many TOS agreements, the iTunes U.S. Terms purport to allow Apple to terminate any part of the service, including access to any music or other content available through iTunes, at any time without warning. The U.K. Terms step back from that extreme position. In particular, the U.K. Terms do not allow Apple to affect a user’s access to content already purchased. Furthermore, before terminating a user’s access to iTunes, the U.K. Terms require there at least be “strong grounds,” rather than mere “suspicion,” to believe the user has violated the agreement, and also obligates iTunes to provide notice of any planned modification, suspension, or termination to the extent possible. In other words, the U.K. Terms provide customers at least some guidance as to the grounds for termination, rather than leave them to worry their access to iTunes can be terminated at any moment for any reason.”
- Australia Set to Introduce Internet Filter that Could Block Access to Thousands of Anime, Comics, Gaming (ACG) and Slash Fan Sites by Mark McLelland, University of Wollongong [Guest Post: Confessions of an Aca-Fan] – Guest post by Mark McLelland looking at the implications of the Australian government’s forthcoming ISP-level internet filtering legislation on slash, anime, manga sites and thus fans in Australia. Outlook: poor.
- After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday’s Web Site [The New York Observer] – So, how’s that paywall going? “In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect? So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com? The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class. That astoundingly low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.”
- Google Doodle For Australia Day Missing Aboriginal Flag [SMH] – “An Australia Day artwork by student Jessie Du will be viewed by millions on Google’s home page today but one feature of her original design is conspicuously absent – the Aboriginal flag. Jessie’s Australia-themed version of the Google logo beat thousands of other entrants in the search giant’s Doodle 4 Google competition […] Jessie, 11, is a student at Rydalmere East Public School. Her entry fashioned the letters in Google’s logo out of native Australian animals, such as the kangaroo, koala and emu. The central “o” in the original design was the Aboriginal flag but this has been edited out of the final version that adorns Google’s home page today. The discrepancy caused much consternation on Twitter, but a Google spokeswoman explained that the editing of Jessie’s design was due to a copyright dispute. The designer of the flag, Harold Thomas, who owns the copyright to the flag, refused to give Google permission to reproduce the design on its website…”
- Stop pining for life on Pandora and come back to planet Earth [Telegraph] – Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson on Avatar: “It is a feature of powerful military empires that they like to romanticise their victims and luxuriate guiltily in the pathos of their suffering. Think of the Roman crowds pleading for the lives of captured barbarians in the amphitheatre.[…] And I can’t believe that many of these gloomy post-Avatar Westerners, when they really think about it, would want to up sticks to Pandora and take part in Na’vi society, with its obstinate illiteracy, undemocratic adherence to a monarchy based on male primogeniture and complete absence of restaurants. The final irony, of course, is that this entrancing vision of prelapsarian innocence is the product of the most ruthless and sophisticated money-machine the world has ever seen. With a budget of $237 million and with takings already at £1 billion, this exquisite capitalist guilt trip represents one of the great triumphs of capitalism.”
Links for January 24th 2010:
- What Does China Censor Online? [Information Is Beautiful] – Provocative infographic illustrating some of what China blocks online.
- The Director of Downfall Speaks Out on All Those Angry YouTube Hitlers [Vulture – New York Magazine] – “When the Conan-Leno debacle began, two things were certain: One, it would change the face of late night, and two, someone would apply it to the Downfall Hitler meme. When Oliver Hirschbiegel staged the famous bunker scene in his 2004 movie, with Bruno Ganz as Hitler, he wasn’t expecting it to be appropriated for comedy; a dramatic recreation of Hitler’s last stand is not exactly a laugh-out-loud subject. And yet the German filmmaker is pleased, nay, thrilled that YouTube enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret it to address anything from Hillary Clinton’s loss to the Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud. “Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one,” says the director …”
- Phone texting ‘helps pupils to spell’ [BBC News] – “Children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell correctly, research suggests. A study of eight- to 12-year-olds found that rather than damaging reading and writing, “text speak” is associated with strong literacy skills. Researchers say text language uses word play and requires an awareness of how sounds relate to written English. This link between texting and literacy has proved a surprise, say researchers. These latest findings of an ongoing study at the University of Coventry contradict any expectation that prolonged exposure to texting will erode a child’s ability to spell.”
- Serial Boxes [Just TV] – A draft of Jason Mittell’s “Serial Boxes: The Cultural Values of Long-Form American Television” essay which gives a very clear account of the different ways viewers engage with television, especially long-form serial television, in light of the shifts from live viewing as the only (or primary) choice to a market where box-set DVDs and the like encourage quite different modes of reception. Mittell also looks at the ‘re-watch’ projects and notes why they usually fail to sustain their initial enthusiasm and momentum.
- Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish [The SMH] – “Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish despite protests from Indians in Australia. Groups such as I think Indian People Should Wear Deodorant, Stop Whinging Indians, and Australia: Indians, You Have a Right to Leave, have not been removed. Gautam Gupta, secretary of the Federation of Indian Students, said: “These sites must be shut down but, on the other hand, we must keep track of these hate groups being formed. They can be online or offline. When they’re offline we call them gangs. These are essentially online gangs.” More than half a dozen Australian groups that are specifically anti-Indian are still active on Facebook. On top of that, there are many broadly racist groups, including F— Off – We’re Full and Speak English or Piss Off!!!, which has 54,000 members and is growing at a rate of about 2000 people a week. “I don’t think it’s just a Facebook problem – it’s a social problem, a problem in the society,” Mr Gupta said.”
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