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Digital Culture Links: January 27th 2010
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.”
Digital Culture Links: December 6th 2009
Links for December 3rd 2009 through December 6th 2009:
- Panic Attack and YouTube Discovery [The Chutry Experiment] – Great post from Chuck Tryon about Fede Alvarez’s sudden appearance on the Hollywood radar thanks to his YouTube short “Ataque de Pánico,” (Panic Attack!), 4 minute special effects driven extravagnaza in which a city is destroyed and a career created: “One of the underlying narratives associated with Hollywood mythology is the “discovery story,” the idea that a talented newcomer emerges by chance, out of nowhere, to become a Hollywood “star.” Lana Turner was discovered, so the legend goes, on a barstool at Schwab’s drugstore. Now, as the tools of filmmaking and film distribution have been democratized, those discovery stories have expanded to filmmakers as well. And although it is the case that such stories can be read ideologically, it is also true that YouTube and other video sharing sites still offer us the opportunity to be astonished by the talents of an aspiring filmmaker.”
- Memories of a paywall pioneer | Media | guardian.co.uk – Scott Rosenberg reflects on Salon’s experiments with a paywall, suggesting it’s not the model for future news media: “I’m not hostile to the notion of people paying for online content. I do so myself. I’m glad people stepped up and paid for Salon. But the value of stuff online is usually tied to how deeply it is woven into the network. So locking your stuff away in order to charge for it means that you are usually making it less valuable at the moment that you are asking people to pay for it. And that’s why people so often respond with: “No thanks.””
- Vampire Politics by Lisa Nakamura et al [Flow TV, 11.03, 2009] – “True Blood is socially conservative, gesturing towards a radical politics (or any social movement based politics) that it cannot (or will not) deliver. Likewise, the form of the medium itself is conservative. Like its vampires, True Blood is a relic – it airs on television, not the Internet, and it is broadcast rather than streamed. Though HBO claims “it’s not television, it’s HBO,” we know better. Like the credit sequence’s time-delayed decayed foxes and possums, True Blood is a memento mori – to the Civil Rights South, to broadcast television, to civil rights organizing and “unsexy” rights-based movements. True Blood pursues vampire politics, which are all about sexy self fashioning. Were it not for the exquisite Godric’s self-immolation in season two, the program’s credo might be “survival of the sexiest.””
- Networking Families: Battlestar Galactica and the Values of Quality by Jordan Lavender-Smith [Flow TV, 11.03, 2009] – “Galactica’s interrogation of post-nuclear family mechanics and what it means to be human was potentially groundbreaking, but by the show’s end the reconstitution of the family breaks down, and a thick line is drawn between the natural and artificial, delivering an outmoded humanism through posthuman technologies.”
- Identity Wars: Google & Yahoo! Bow to Facebook & Twitter [RW Web] – “Yahoo! announced this morning that it is adding Facebook Connect across many of its properties. This afternoon Google Friend Connect announced the inclusion of Twitter as a top-level log-in option. These moves will be convenient for users, but may not be good for the future of the web.” (This is a really interesting article looking at what happens when Facebook and Twitter become default identity authentication systems – so much power then resides in these systems, and what happens to attempts at standards like OpenID?)