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.
Links for February 1st 2011 through February 7th 2011:
The ex factor: when love doesn’t click, revenge does … online [SMH] – Another digital shadow: “In dating land, revenge is now a dish best served online, with jilted lovers using Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to dish the dirt on their exes. And what would once have been a heat-of-the-moment spray can now live on forever, dredged up by a simple Google search. As the online reputation management company SR7 says, “what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook”. In the latest example, an angry ex-girlfriend took her ex-boyfriend’s professional photograph and overlaid it with derogatory text – then uploaded dozens of different versions to the web. They now come up every time someone Googles his name. The feud was first spotted by the SEO Roundtable blog, which also uncovered that the ex-boyfriend’s mother sought help from the Google Webmaster Help forum. The post has now been removed but not before hitting the blogosphere.”
Big business buys up to outsmart ‘typosquatters’ [The Age] – “BIG Australian companies are buying up ”misspelt” internet domain names to stop others making money from their brand. Corporations such as Qantas, Westpac and Woolworths have registered the incorrectly spelt internet names because many people are terrible typists or cannot spell. Consumers can type in quantas.com.au and still get to the airline’s website. And if they leave the ”s” off the end of Woolworths, they are still diverted to the giant retailer’s website. Australia Post has registered austaliapost.com.au and australipost.com.au to make sure clumsy typists can still get access. Another company, Weather.com.au, has also registered whether.com.au and wether .com.au. Internet authorities are also cracking down on so-called ”typosquatters” who register deliberately misspelt domain names to make money from big business. The ”domainers” run ads on the misspelt websites and get paid up to $20 a click by the advertisers.”
WikiLeaks has created a new media landscape [Clay Shirky | Comment is free | The Guardian] – Clay Shirky on Wikileaks: “WikiLeaks allows leakers transnational escape from national controls. Now, and from now on, a leaker with domestic secrets has no need of the domestic press, and indeed will avoid leaking directly to them if possible, to escape national pressure on national publishers to keep national secrets. WikiLeaks has not been a series of unfortunate events, and Assange is not a magician – he is simply an early and brilliant executor of what is being revealed as a much more general pattern, now spreading. Al-Jazeera and the Guardian created a transnational network to release the Palestine papers, without using WikiLeaks as an intermediary, and Daniel Domscheit-Berg is in the process of launching OpenLeaks, which will bring WikiLeaks-like capability to any publisher that wants it. It is possible to imagine that secrets from Moscow, Rome or Johannesburg will be routed through Iceland, Costa Rica, or even a transnational network of servers volunteered by private citizens.”
Single or Spoken For? Facebook Can Alert Your World [NYTimes.com] – “Why do so many Facebook users agree to announce their romantic entanglements? “What is a wedding ring, but a status report?” said Nancy Baym, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and the author of “Personal Communications in the Digital Age.” But she noted that Facebook had changed the way people report developments in their love lives to the wider community, creating the ability to instantly send out an update, which, she said, “forces you to make things explicit.” “It can force you to have discussions, or arguments, or decision points,” she added. “When you start dating somebody, you go through the transition, ‘Gee, we are hanging out and having fun,’ you don’t usually make an announcement.””
Finding the Global Village through a Twitter Bot [Just TV] – Media scholar Jason Mittell has responded to the misuse of Marshall McLuhan on Twitter by creating a Twitter bot which automatically assails tweets which mention MchLuhan with a famous line from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. In that scene the real McLuhan confronts a pompous academic who misunderstands McLuhan, responding “You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong.” Now the Twitter bot shares that same retort; the Twitter profile points back to a YouTube clip of the scene in question, so anyone getting autotwittered at can share the joke (although not everyone does). Is this comedy, criticism, spam or the new face of the “digital humanities”? 🙂
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The New York Times vs. Fox News [POLITICO.com] – Damn right: “New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has become the most prominent media figure so far to blame Fox News for the polarized discourse that has become such a hot topic in the wake of the Tucson shooting. During an interview with Marvin Kalb in at the National Press Club in Washington Monday night, Keller expanded his complaint with Rupert Murdoch beyond the scope of the Wall Street Journal’s newspaper war with the Times, accusing Murdoch of poisoning the American discourse through Fox News. “I think the effect of Fox News on American public life has been to create a level of cynicism about the news in general,” Keller said. “It has contributed to the sense that they are all just out there with a political agenda, but Fox is just more overt about it. And I think that’s unhealthy.””
Media Life and Protests in the Arab World [Deuzeblog] – Mark Deuze: “It is safe to say that just about every news organization and technology-blog spends significant time these days engaging with the ongoing protests and turmoil across the Arab world and the role of internet and mobile media in general and Al-Jazeera, Twitter, Facebook, and texting in particular. […] I’m covering this debate in my (work-in-progress) Media Life book, aiming to articulate a position beyond whether ‘media did it’, instead suggesting that lived experience is synonymous with mediated experience, and therefore we cannot experience a revolution or indeed any kind of process of social change outside of media.”
Links for December 7th 2010 through December 13th 2010:
The state, the press and a hyperdemocracy [Unleashed (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Mark Pesce provokes a much larger debate about Wikileaks … is it really ‘the press’? “WikiLeaks is the press, but not the press as we have known it. This is the press of the 21st century, the press that comes after we’re all connected. Suddenly, all of the friendliest computers have become the deadliest weapons, and we are fenced in, encircled by threats – which are also opportunities. This threat is two-sided, Janus-faced. The state finds its ability to maintain the smooth functioning of power short-circuited by the exposure of its secrets. That is a fundamental, existential threat. In the same moment, the press recognises that its ability to act has been constrained at every point: servers get shut down, domain names fail to resolve, bank accounts freeze. These are the new selection pressures on both sides, a sudden quickening of culture’s two-step.”
The Atlantic Turns a Profit, With an Eye on the Web [NYTimes.com] – The Atlantic turns a profit by thinking digitally, and employing bloggers: “How did a 153-year-old magazine — one that first published the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and gave voice to the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements — reinvent itself for the 21st century? By pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive. The Atlantic, the intellectual’s monthly that always seemed more comfortable as an academic exercise than a business, is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. That would be the first time in at least a decade that it had not lost money. Getting there took a cultural transfusion, a dose of counterintuition and a lot of digital advertising revenue. “We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic,” […] “In essence, we brainstormed the question, ‘What would we do if the goal was to aggressively cannibalize ourselves?’””
Angry Birds, Flocking to Cellphones Everywhere [NYTimes.com] – “It sounds like a tough sell: a game that involves catapulting birds at elaborate fortresses constructed by evil pigs. But Angry Birds, a hit game by Rovio, a small Finnish company, is one of the unlikeliest pop-culture crazes of the year — and perhaps the first to make the leap from cellphone screens to the mainstream. Angry Birds, in which the birds seek revenge on the egg-stealing pigs, is meant to be easily played in the checkout line and during other short windows of downtime — but some players have trouble stopping. Rovio says people around the world rack up 200 million minutes of game play each day. (Put another way, that is 16 human-years of bird-throwing every hour.) The game has inspired parodies, homages and fervent testimonials. Homemade Angry Birds costumes were big hits on Halloween. Conan O’Brien demonstrated the game in a YouTube video promoting his new show, and a sketch from an Israeli TV show about a birds-and-pigs peace treaty was popular online ….”
Assange And WikiLeaks Have Parallels With Spycatcher [SMH] – Malcolm Turnbull on Wikileaks: “Governments and politicians should be careful not to make a martyr of Assange and fools of themselves. Julia Gillard’s claim that Assange had broken Australian laws, when it is clear he has not, demonstrates how out of her depth she is. One may well ask whether her denunciations would be so shrill if the documents had been handed to a powerful newspaper group – if the contents were being dribbled out by The Australian, would she be accusing Rupert Murdoch of high crimes and misdemeanours? Assange is an Australian citizen. No matter how much the government disapproves of his actions, it should make it clear that he is entitled to return to Australia if he wishes and to receive consular assistance if the charges of sexual assault proceed in Sweden.”
Wikileaks and the Long Haul [Clay Shirky] – Some thoughts from Clay Shiry regarding Wikileaks which are well worth reading: “Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency — Wikileaks shouldn’t be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change. If it’s OK for a democracy to just decide to run someone off the internet for doing something they wouldn’t prosecute a newspaper for doing, the idea of an internet that further democratizes the public sphere will have taken a mortal blow.”
Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits [NYTimes.com] – On this front, at least, Google have got their ‘Don’t be Evil’ stance right: “On Thursday, Google is going to begin covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year. “It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,” said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of “Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.” Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google’s move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.”
Apple introduces iHand: the right way to hold your iPhone [Scoopertino] – Yes, it’s a parody: “Responding to complaints that the new iPhone 4 loses signal when held by a human hand, Apple today launched iHand — a synthetic appendage that makes it easy for anyone to “get a grip” on iPhone and remain connected. iHand is so easy to use, it doesn’t require a manual. Simply insert iPhone 4 into iHand’s adjustable fingers, raise it to your ear and start talking. With iHand, you get all the functionality of the human hand, without the signal-sucking biology that encumbers most iPhone owners.”