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Digital Culture Links: August 30th 2010
August 30, 2010 / 1 Comment on Digital Culture Links: August 30th 2010
Links for August 27th 2010 through August 30th 2010:
- iPod sales drop to lowest quarterly number since 2006 [Business | The Guardian] – Sales of the traditional iPod are slowing in the face of the dramatic growth of iPhones, iPads and other competitor products. Apparently the music industry is concerned because they were betting on (presumably old-style) iPods to be the great saviour of the music industry, ensuring the next generation was downloading music legally, replacing slowing CD sales. The article also mentions the shift some canny bands have made to band-specific apps, meshing music and other experiences together via in bespoke applications, which better suit an iPhone/iPad environment. To be honest, nothing in this article should come as a shock, but it does point out that with 5 billion app downloads from the Apple store in just 2 years, this is definitely the peak growth area.
- The Trouble with the Fourth Estate [Snurblog] – A sobering but insightful analysis by Axel Bruns regarding the failings of political journalism and the limits of political blogging in Australia today. Axel argues that the ‘fourth estate’ is probably the wrong metaphor for political bloggers today, although they struggle perhaps to be a fourth branch at times, doing some work once in realm of good journalism. The short version, though: “we’re stuck in a muddle, where journalists won’t and bloggers can’t exercise the informative function with as much energy and commitment as it actually requires – and that’s a very problematic state of affairs, especially in a political situation that is as confusing as the one we now find ourselves in.”
- The Ballad of Cat Bin Lady: The Internet’s Latest Viral Villain [Mashable] – Coventry, England resident Mary Bale made a stupid decision when she pushed a local cat into a wheelie bin and shut the lid. By virtue of CCTV footage posted online, she was identified, named and shamed, and so forth. She’s become a meme, and a hated meme at that. But is the response too much? A ‘Death to Mary Bale’ Facebook group has just been shut down, suggested that in ‘citizen justice’ the penalties often vastly outweigh the crime.
- Facebook Trademark Lawsuit Aims to Limit Use of “Book” by Others [Mashable] – “Facebook has filed suit against Teachbook.com, an online community for teachers. The lawsuit accuses Teachbook of “misappropriating the distinctive BOOK portion of Facebook’s trademark.” The lawsuit argues that Teachbook’s use of “book” dilutes the Facebook (Facebook) brand name, impairs Facebook’s ability to remain unique and creates the facade of a false relationship between the two social networking entities. While Facebook does not own the rights to the word “book” in all its forms, the company believes its name trademark applies to the word “book” when used in connection with a website of similar purpose. Facebook also takes issue with the fact that Teachbook has attempted to trademark its name and makes claims about being “Facebook for teachers” on the Teachbook website.” (Oh noes: I’ve been using this trademark infringing NOTEBOOK all this time …)
Digital Culture Links: June 28th 2010
June 28, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: June 28th 2010
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.”
Digital Culture Links: June 10th 2010
June 10, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: June 10th 2010
Links for June 4th 2010 through June 10th 2010:
- Copyright: The Elephant in the Middle of the Glee Club – Christina Mulligan [Balkinization] – Great post from Christina Mulligan about copyright and the (fantasy of) Glee: “The fictional high school chorus at the center of Fox’s Glee has a huge problem — nearly a million dollars in potential legal liability. For a show that regularly tackles thorny issues like teen pregnancy and alcohol abuse, it’s surprising that a million dollars worth of lawbreaking would go unmentioned. But it does, and week after week, those zany Glee kids rack up the potential to pay higher and higher fines. […] Defenders of modern copyright law will argue Congress has struck “the right balance” between copyright holders’ interests and the public good. They’ll suggest the current law is an appropriate compromise among interest groups. But by claiming the law strikes “the right balance,” what they’re really saying is that the Glee kids deserve to be on the losing side of a lawsuit. Does that sound like the right balance to you?”
- Second Life in second incarnation [The Age] – “Linden Lab, creator of the online virtual world Second Life, is laying off 30 per cent of its staff and restructing it to make the once popular online world more relevant to social networking times. The San Francisco company did not reveal how many people it was letting go as part of what it called a “strategic restructuring,” but it is understood it has more than 300 employees. […] Chief executive Mark Kingdon, known inworld as M Linden, said the company plans to create an internet browser-based virtual world experience, eliminating the need to download software, and extend Second Life into social networks. […] Second Life was an online sensation after Linden Lab launched the virtual world in 2003 as a place for people to play, socialise and do business but its popularity has faded in recent years.”
- Ashton Kutcher: ‘Bruce Willis? At first it was difficult. He’s the guy who used to sleep with my wife…but it got easier’ [Mail Online] – Ashton Kutcher on how he used Twitter to escape the paparazzi: “There used to be five or six cars full of paparazzi following us – I stopped that with Twitter. Except for rare occasions, they don’t follow us any more. I definitely try to lead the long tail of the press, so if I’m going to an event I break the story myself – I don’t need somebody making money from breaking a story about me. If I’m going to be in a zoo, I want the keys to the cage – I saturate the market with images of myself, so their images won’t have any value.” (5th June 2010)
- The ‘Star Wars Kid’: Where is he now? [The Age] – “Today, Canadian law student Ghyslain Raza is president of a nonprofit organisation dedicated to preserving the heritage, culture and history of a riverside French-Canadian town called Trois-Rivières. But before that, the world knew him by a different title: The “Star Wars Kid.” Raza is now a law student at Montreal’s McGill University. In February of this year, he took control of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières (formerly called the Society for Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage), which was founded more than 30 years ago. […] Is that where you expected the Star Wars kid to be today? The short attention spans of viral video viewers prevent the subjects of the videos from fully and accurately presenting themselves. Few people would want to be entirely defined by one minute and 48 seconds of fame, but that’s the hand Raza was dealt in his youth. Hardly anyone would recognise him these days, though.”
- Court uses Facebook to serve paternity test order [The Age] – Australian courts allow Facebook to be used as a communication platform for serving legal papers: “In a case which highlights the difficulties of keeping a low profile when you have a Facebook account, a court has ordered that the social networking site be used to serve legal documents on an elusive father in a child support dispute. The federal magistrate who made the order, Stewart Brown, said the Adelaide case was unusual but ”demonstrative of social movements and the currency of the times”.”
Digital Culture Links: May 26th 2010
May 26, 2010 / 1 Comment on Digital Culture Links: May 26th 2010
Links for May 24th 2010 through May 26th 2010:
- Facebook ‘hindering the police’ [WA Today] – The Australian Federal Police take on Facebook: “Facebook’s woeful relationship with law enforcement bodies is hampering police investigations and putting lives at risk, the Australian Federal Police says. The AFP’s assistant commissioner and head of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan, will fly to Washington DC today for a meeting convened by the US Department of Justice in which senior law enforcement officials from around the world will discuss their concerns with the social networking website. State and federal police have told the Herald’s sister paper, the Age, the company has been unwilling to provide police with the intelligence they need for investigations. They want Facebook to appoint a dedicated law enforcement liaison in Australia who can, for example, match user accounts to physical internet addresses.”
- Facebook told to set up warning system after new sex scam [The Age] – Just what Facebook needs, its own viruses: “A major computer security firm urged Facebook to set up an early-warning system after hundreds of thousands of users were hit by a new wave of fake sex-video attacks. British-based virus fighter Sophos warned users of the world’s biggest social networking site to be on guard against any posting entitled “distracting beach babes”, which contains a movie thumbnail of a bikini-clad woman. In a press statement, Sophos said the malicious posts appear as if they are coming from Facebook users’ friends, but it urged recipients not to click on the thumbnail. By clicking on it, users are taken to a rogue Facebook application informing them that they do not have the right player software installed, Sophos said. It tricks users into installing adware, a software package that automatically plays, displays or downloads advertisements to their computer, and the video link is spread further across the network.”
- Lady Gaga Says No Problem If People Download Her Music; The Money Is In Touring [Techdirt] – “… Lady Gaga admits she’s fine with people downloading her music in unauthorized forms because she makes it up in touring revenue:
She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music — then tour. It’s just the way it is today.”
Similarly, she knocks bands that don’t really try to work hard to please the fans, and who just expect them to automatically buy each album:
“I hate big acts that just throw an album out against the wall, like ‘BUY IT! F*** YOU!’ It’s mean to fans. You should go out and tour it to your fans in India, Japan, the UK. I don’t believe in how the music industry is today. I believe in how it was in 1982.”
- How The Australian fell in love with the iPad [mUmBRELLA] – Is The Australian an Apple customer or commentator? “While it’s fair to say that the world’s media has been pretty excited about Apple’s iPad, The Australian appears to be on the verge of spontaneously combusting over the device’s official arrival Down Under this Friday. Clearly the newspaper’s plans to launch its own paid-for iPad app are unrelated to that. Indeed, if it sells as many apps as it has written stories about the iPad, it will be well on the way to securing a digital future for itself. […] I’d love to bring you every article The Australian’s carried about the iPad. But Google tells me there are 4,790 of them. So I’d better stop there. Did I mention that The Australian’s got an iPad app?”
- Quitting Facebook is pointless; challenging them to do better is not [danah boyd | apophenia] – boyd’s discussion points:
“1. I do not believe that people will (or should) leave Facebook because of privacy issues.
2. I do not believe that the tech elites who are publicly leaving Facebook will affect on the company’s numbers; they are unrepresentative and were not central users in the first place.
3. I do not believe that an alternative will emerge in the next 2-5 years that will “replace” Facebook in any meaningful sense.
4. I believe that Facebook will get regulated and I would like to see an open discussion of what this means and what form this takes.
5. I believe that a significant minority of users are at risk because of decisions Facebook has made and I think that those of us who aren’t owe it to those who are to work through these issues.
6. I believe that Facebook needs to start a public dialogue with users and those who are concerned ASAP (and Elliot Schrage’s Q&A doesn’t count).”
Digital Culture Links: May 14th 2010
Links for May 13th 2010 through May 14th 2010:
- Well, These New Zuckerberg IMs Won’t Help Facebook’s Privacy Problems [Business Insider] – “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy. An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won’t help put these concerns to rest. According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Brutal. Could Mark have been completely joking? Sure. But the exchange does reveal that Facebook’s aggressive attitude toward privacy may have begun early on.”
- Why, despite myself, I am not leaving Facebook. Yet. [Online Fandom] – “… Using Facebook with the rules I signed on for makes me a subversive user. That’s wrong. What I want is a Facebook that is premised on a belief that first and foremost human relationships are valuable and sacred, not the ground on which money trees grow, but that if the value of relationships is genuinely nurtured, there will be ways to earn money. I want a Facebook that really believes that people have a right to select how their information will be shared, instead of a belief that they’re too dumb to figure it out if the settings are too confusing so it’s okay to dupe them. I want a Facebook that can find creative ways to make a profit using the rules they originally set for their own game. I want an ethical Facebook. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
- Social networks and the end of privacy [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Pesce on wanting to let go: “I want to quit. Like Michael Corleone, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in! No, I’m not talking about the Mafia, though I am Sicilian. I’m talking about an organisation that’s more pervasive, and more insidious – Facebook. […] For now, I’ve cut back on Facebook. I’m not accepting new friend requests, or joining new groups. I’m still using Facebook to share interesting information – particularly if that information is about the problems with Facebook. It is possible that we can use Facebook to accelerate the transition to an alternative to Facebook. That would be the most appropriate end to a fun but unwholesome chapter in the Web’s history.”
- Apple ‘digital locker’ to allow online music stream [The Australian] – Apple iCloud: “The move could pose a significant threat to existing music operations such as Spotify and We7. According to music industry insiders, iTunes customers will be given access to a “digital locker” that will automatically store songs bought through Apple’s music store. At present, songs downloaded from iTunes can be stored only on a computer or iPod. Under the digital locker system, customers will also be able to access the tracks they have purchased by logging on to a website — expected to be called iTunes.com — where the songs could be streamed over the internet to any computer. Spotify and We7 are fledgeling services giving access to millions of songs that can be heard over the web and paid for through monthly subscriptions or advertising. Analysts have long expected Apple — acting before Google or Amazon — to create a system allowing people to store and access their music collections “in the cloud” on the internet.”
Digital Culture Links: April 5th 2010
Links through April 5th 2010:
- Google Buzz Privacy Reset Coming Tomorrow [Mashable] – “In an effort to address mounting criticism of the privacy issues surrounding Google Buzz, the search giant is going to ask all Buzz users to confirm or change their privacy settings. In an announcement that will be coming soon, Google will admit that they “didn’t get everything right,” which has resulted in serious privacy tweaks since its launch. However, many users weren’t affected by these changes because they had activated Google Buzz before the privacy updates. Now in a renewed effort to correct its gaffs, the search company is going to ask all Google Buzz users to confirm (or change) their Buzz settings. This will be gradually rolled out tomorrow, but the result will be that every user will be prompted with a confirmation page the next time they click the Buzz tab. […] The page isn’t anything new — it’s really just the Google Buzz settings page. However, Google’s taking a step in the right direction by giving every user a big opportunity to change their privacy settings.”
- When office affairs take over the bedroom, the lounge … [The Age] – “Many workers are caught in an insidious technology trap of being permanently online. Some people are checking emails around the clock – to the detriment of their private lives – and never feel they have left the virtual office, research suggests. Melissa Gregg, of Sydney University’s department of gender and cultural studies, conducted interviews with 26 employees in information industries who did at least some work from home. “This study was designed to pick up all that extra work that goes on outside the office, which is generally sold to us as this new freedom to be in touch with work when it suits us,” Ms Gregg said. The participants believed checking and sending emails from home did not constitute work. Yet emails were constantly invading evenings and weekends, potentially affecting family relationships. The study showed that workers were checking email at night in bed and as early as 6am before children woke so they could focus on “real work” in office hours.”
- Chatroulette Piano Improv’s Merton on YouTube Takedowns, Ben Folds and What’s Under That Hoodie [NewTeeVee] – A new interview with ‘Merton’, the guy behind the Chatroulette PianoChatImprov videos. I found it particularly interesting how people gave (or refused) permission to be recorded: “NewTeeVee: How do you now go about the process of getting people’s permission to use them for videos?
Merton: What I do is as soon as they come on the screen, I very quickly paste a little message into the text area that says “I may be recording this. If I have your permission to possibly post this video online, please say yes and give me a thumbs up.” We consulted an attorney about how to word it. And if people say no, I assure them that I’m not going to put them on YouTube and we then both relax and I still play music for them. That’s some of the purest interactions I have because we’re both off stage all of a sudden and we just relax and have a really nice time with it.”
- Results From Dungeons & Dragons Online Going Free: Revenue Up 500% [Techdirt] – A freemium success: “Last year, we wrote about the decision by Turbine to turn its formerly fee-based Dungeons & Dragons Online MMO into a free offering, that had reasons to buy built into the game. At the time, we noted that the early results looked good, but over time they’re looking even better. Reader Murdock alerts us to the news that DDO was able to get 1 million more users and boost revenue 500%… all by going free.”
- Government goes to war with Google over net censorship [The Age] – “The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has launched a stinging attack on Google and its credibility in response to the search giant’s campaign against the government’s internet filtering policy. In an interview on ABC Radio last night, Senator Conroy also said he was unaware of complaints the Obama administration said it had raised with the government over the policy. The government intends to introduce legislation within weeks forcing all ISPs to block a blacklist of “refused classification” websites for all Australians. Senator Conroy has said the blacklist will largely include deplorable content such as child pornography, bestiality material and instructions on crime, but a large and growing group of academics, technology companies and lobby groups say the scope of the filters is too broad and will not make a meaningful impact on internet safety for children.”
Digital Culture Links: March 1st 2010
March 1, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: March 1st 2010
Links for March 1st 2010:
- YouTube mum wins mammoth music battle [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – A win for US fair use: “A woman in California has won a partial victory in a lawsuit against a record company that forced her to remove a video she posted on YouTube. The woman posted a video of her young child dancing to the Prince song Let’s Go Crazy. Universal Music, which owns the copyright, demanded YouTube remove the video – which it did. With help from a group of free speech activists, she filed a suit saying her video constituted a fair use of the song. A California judge has ruled in her favour, saying she is entitled to at least recover her legal fees. Observers say this is an important case in copyright-infringement law.”
- This week in search 2/28/10 (Google Adds Facebook Status Updates to Search) [Official Google Blog] – Google officially adds Facebook status updates to their real-time search function (with the implicit flow-on into ‘normal’ Google search, as with Twitter): “Facebook in real-time search: Starting this week we added Facebook content to real-time search in the U.S. Real-time search, which we launched in December, helps you tap into the most relevant, freshest search results on the web, many of which are just seconds old. With this latest addition, you can access the news, photos and blog posts that Facebook fan pages publish to the world. You can find the Facebook Pages updates in our real-time mode by clicking on “Show Options” and then “Latest” or “Updates.” Example search: [facebook]”
- Academic Author Sues Journal Editor For Criminal Defamation Over Negative Book Review [Techdirt] – After a book review she was unhappy with wasn’t removed from publication at her request, Karin Calvo-Goller is suing the journal editor for criminal defamation (in the French courts). Apart from fundamentally misunderstanding how the culture of academic book reviewing works, I fear Calvo-Goller is rather unfamiliar with the Striesand Effect!
- How to Deal With Twitter DM Spam [Mike Haydon] – “There is a lot of malware spam on twitter at the moment. I’m getting between 100-500 Direct Messages (DMs) a day from compromised accounts. They say things like: “i made $426.23 online today with” “I make money online with google. i learned how here” “this you here” “hey can you do me a favor? take this iq test. here” “hey. can you take this quiz thingy? here” “rofl this you???” “LOL, omg this you?” “hahah you should see this” “You’re on here…” […] … all with links at the end. I just copy/pasted some of the ones I received today. DON’T CLICK THE LINK even if it’s from one of your friends. It seems the link takes you to a site where your twitter account gets hacked and sends the same sort of DMs to your followers.”
If you did click the link don’t panic, read this!
Digital Culture Links: February 26th 2010
Links for February 21st 2010 through February 26th 2010:
- iTunes sells 10 billionth track [BBC News] – “Johnny Cash’s Guess Things Happen That Way has become the 10 billionth track to be sold at the ITunes online store. Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling was officially named the site’s most downloaded track, with their single Boom Boom Pow the third biggest seller. Lady Gaga’s Poker Face took the number two slot, with hits Just Dance and Bad Romance also featuring in the top 25. Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia bought the 10 billionth track winning a$10,000 (£6,500) iTunes gift card.” (I’m pretty sure this means 10 billion items sold, rather than 10 billion different tracks, but it’s impressive nevertheless!)
- Conan O’Brien Joins Twitter With a Humorous Plea: ‘Somebody Help Me’ [NYTimes.com] – I like my CoCo in 140 characters! “Conan O’Brien, the unemployed former host of “The Tonight Show,” has ventured into the twittersphere. His first message on Twitter, posted Wednesday evening, is a memorable one: “Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.” In his Twitter bio, Mr. O’Brien describes himself thus: “I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account.””
- Google executives convicted over posted video [The Age] – Bye bye YouTube in Italy?? “A court in Milan on Wednesday convicted three Google Italy executives over an internet video showing a handicapped teenager being bullied – an unprecedented ruling that the US internet search giant vowed to appeal. Each executive was given a six-month suspended sentence for violation of privacy, while a fourth was acquitted. All four were acquitted on a charge of defamation. The mobile phone video, uploaded on Google Video where it remained for nearly two months in late 2006, showed four students bullying the teenager with Down’s syndrome in front of more than a dozen others who did not intervene. Of the four executives on trial, David Drummond, chairman of the board of Google Italy at the time; George De Los Reyes, then a board member who has since left the firm; and Peter Fleischer, who was responsible for privacy issues, were convicted for violation of privacy.”
- Movie studios appeal against iiNet piracy ruling [The Age] – Here we go again … (or still …) “Hollywood film studios today lodged an appeal against a landmark legal judgment which found an Australian Internet provider was not responsible for illegal movie downloads by its customers. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), representing a consortium of 34 studios, said the Federal Court’s ruling was out of step with well-established copyright law. “The court found large scale copyright infringements (proven), that iiNet knew they were occurring, that iiNet had the contractual and technical capacity to stop them and iiNet did nothing about them,” said Neil Gane, executive director of AFACT.”
- Is Twitter Overtaking Myspace [Richard Giles] – Purely in term of pages views (as tracked by Alexa) Twitter appears to be just overtaking global MySpace traffic (all the more impressive when you consider how much of Twitter’s traffic isn’t through pageviews).
- WhoseTube? [NYTimes.com] – An insightful and balanced op-ed from Damian Kulash Jr.(lead singer of OK Go who made twhen their “Here It Goes Again” video went very viral in 2006) looking at why big music companies just don’t get the internet: “In these tight times, it’s no surprise that EMI is trying to wring revenue out of everything we make, including our videos. But it needs to recognize the basic mechanics of the Internet. Curbing the viral spread of videos isn’t benefiting the company’s bottom line, or the music it’s there to support. The sooner record companies realize this, the better — though I fear it may already be too late.”
Digital Culture Links: February 17th 2010
February 17, 2010 / 1 Comment on Digital Culture Links: February 17th 2010
Links for February 16th 2010 through February 17th 2010:
- Google admits Buzz social network testing flaws [BBC News] – “Google has admitted to BBC News that testing of its controversial social network Buzz was insufficient. The firm has had to make a series of changes to the service after a ferocious backlash from users concerned about intrusions of privacy. The BBC understands that Buzz was only tested internally and bypassed more extensive trials with external testers – used for many other Google services. Google said that it was now working “extremely hard” to fix the problems. “We’re very early in this space. This was one of our first big attempts,” Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, told BBC News.”And the line that has everyone going “Duh*: ““We’ve been testing Buzz internally at Google for a while. Of course, getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn’t quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild.”“
- The fear fades: legal downloads make sweet music for industry [SMH] – What’s that? Given actual legal options, people still buy music? “The very thing that has torn strips from the Australian music industry now looks to be driving a return to profitability. Digital music has experienced rocketing sales that appear – last year at least – to have more than offset the continuing drop in CDs sold, according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Buyers’ increased enthusiasm for legal digital downloads has fuelled the industry’s first year of financial growth since wholesale earnings peaked in 2003. Overall revenue last year was up almost 5 per cent to $446 million on the back of a 72 per cent rise in digital-album purchases to almost 2.3 million.”
- A fight over freedom at Apple’s core [FT.com / UK] – Jonathan Zittrain on Apple’s philosophy shift from open (Apple Mac) to closed (iPhone/iPad): “In 1977, a 21-year-old Steve Jobs unveiled something the world had never seen before: a ready-to-program personal computer. After powering the machine up, proud Apple II owners were confronted with a cryptic blinking cursor, awaiting instructions. The Apple II was a clean slate, a device built – boldly – with no specific tasks in mind. Yet, despite the cursor, you did not have to know how to write programs. Instead, with a few keystrokes you could run software acquired from anyone, anywhere. […] Mr Jobs ushered in the personal computer era and now he is trying to usher it out. We should focus on preserving our freedoms, even as the devices we acquire become more attractive and easier to use.”
- Is ChatRoulette the Future of the Internet or Its Distant Past? By Sam Anderson Feb 5, 2010 [New York Magazine] – Accessible and human article about ChatRoulette (a service which connects random strangers to each other to ‘chat’ via webcam or text). ChatRoulette has many sides, with some amazing stories and people, but also an awful lot of things that are best left unshared (also, not safe for kids, not safe for work, etc). For one of the most human moments I’ve read about a ChatRoulette interactions, see Scott Heiferman’s Notes from hell.
- EMI Apparently Forgot Grey Album Disaster; Issues Takedown Of Wu Tang vs. Beatles [Techdirt] – “I’m beginning to think that EMI is trying to commit suicide, given many of its recent actions. Its latest move is to force offline a wildly popular mashup, mixing The Beatles with The Wu Tang Clan., despite it getting rave reviews and lots of attention… and despite a history of similar actions backfiring massively for EMI. Let’s take a look back. Apparently the folks over at EMI/Capitol Records have no sense of history. Back in 2004, DJ Danger Mouse put together “The Grey Album,” a fantastic mashup of The Beatles’ “The White Album” with Jay-Z’s “The Black Album.” EMI/Capitol, who holds the copyright on much of The Beatles’ catalog went nuts, and started sending cease-and-desists to pretty much everyone, leading to the infamous “Grey Tuesday” on February 24, 2004, where lots of websites posted the album in protest. Years later, EMI admitted that the Grey Album didn’t do any harm, but the company didn’t care, saying “It’s not a question of damage; it’s a question of rights.””
Digital Culture Links: February 11th 2010
February 11, 2010 / 1 Comment on Digital Culture Links: February 11th 2010
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!
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