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Limewhaaaattttt?

This news story from the US lists some amazing stats, including that Limewire is believed to have been downloaded over 200 million times.

Wow.

Watch the video for more amazing information and I’d love to hear how much you think the company should have to say the American Music Industry.

Uploaded by on Oct 27, 2010

Am I a bad person??

I’m watching the hills  and gossip girl on sidereel at the moment.

Firstly, please don’t judge me for watching the hills … because it’s awesome and you know it. Secondly, should I feel bad about watching tv shows illegally? Should I have bought it from iTunes?

xo xo …

B) Medosch argues that: “piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions” (Reader, page 318).

I love the last part of Medosch’s statement; that it “…fulfills culturally important functions.” The reason I love it is because it’s 100% true. Piracy is a part of society, whichever way you look at it. The way I see it, pirating films, movies, tv shows using various methods is mankind trying to do something easier than everyone else. Sure, it’s implications are largely financial as people are constantly trying to save themselves that extra bit of money, but it also comes down to laziness, masked identity and self righteousness.

Monetarily, it’s estimated that the international maritime trade revenues add up to approximately 7 trillion dollars (Chalk, Smallman, Burger, 2009). Now, there have been a plethora of variations of figures thrown around as to how much piracy costs industries such as film and music. Anywhere between 1 billion and 50 billion have been mentioned at some point or another. Whatever it is, I don’t think piracy is going to make a substantial dent in the global economy.

Fair enough? Thanks, I thought so.

FBI Warning message, courtesy of http://www.myce.com

Secondly, piracy is indeed another form of human activity that involves a certain kind of anonymity, and it’s all kind of a pattern in society. If you finish a bottle of water when driving along in your car and don’t want to turn the inside of your vehicle into a moving dumpster, why not throw it out the window when no one’s watching? Seriously; you’re in a side street, there isn’t anyone around and no one can see you through your slightly tinted windows. So, why not? Just do it. Similarly with fare evading on public transport, unless you’re unlucky enough to come across a ticket inspector, no one’s going to know whether you’ve bought a ticket or not, so why not save the $3.80 and spend it on a coffee?

The same exact principles can be applied to the piracy of movies and music. If I like the new Gaga song, why spend $1.19 on iTunes when I can have it for free through Limewire (or most recently Frostwire). Unless I’m going to be personally named and shamed for downloading music illegally, yeah I’m going to go ahead and do it. An online phenomenon, Limewire enables its users to illegally share music with each other. Once a hot song comes out, and everyone grabs it of Limewire, they can share their views and opinions with each other the next day. It’s as if Limewire, or at least music piracy, has become a culturally important function. It means that people have the ability to have access to the same programs, files and functions without having to pay. It’s like communism, except it works – well, at least for the consumers it does!

A parody of anti-piracy campaigns thanks to recordunion.com

Indeed, the increased confidence in things like piracy has become more prevalent within society since the introduction of the World Wide Web. The revolution of social networking and blogging meant that individuals could hide behind the computer screen and not have to deal with the real life ramifications that come with face-to-face encounters. To put ridiculously, if music files were hidden in a physical place, guarded by members of the music industry who could identify me, then I would sincerely reconsider whether I’d “steal” the files. But instead, I am able to hide behind programs that enable my anonymity to be secured. It’s perfect.

I guess at the end of the day, if people can do it. they invariably will.

References

Chalk, p, Smallman, l, Burger, N., Countering piracy in the modern era, Rand Corporation, 2009.

 

Burgess and Green argue that: ordinary people who become celebrities through their own creative efforts “remain within the system of celebrity native to, and controlled by, the mass media” (Reader, page 269)

 

My very own YouTube video!

 

As you can see by me making my own video, we are all controlled by the mass media. As I said in the video, there are many examples of demographics that have been metaphorically forced to utilise things like YouTube to get their point across. A perfect example of which, are politicians.

References:

Cogan, B. and Kelso, T., Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media and Popular Culture, ABC – CLIO, 2009.

We hear so much about anti-piracy in the post-modern world. We all know that downloading movies and watching them on our computers is illegal, and heavily frowned upon by those in the film industry. The irony is, they’ll use all the free advertising they can get. They don’t mind sticking enticing movie trailers up on YouTube for the public to see.

But, wait, make sure you pay $15 for a movie ticket and then buy the DVD for $29.95. Spare me, film industry.

Check out this trailer for a new movie Insidious that I found on YouTube … it leaves you frothing at the mouth to see more.

In week 7, we discussed the issue about blogs:

CRITICAL MEDIA SCRUTINY BLOGGING OR HOMOGENEOUS/BIASED/PROPAGANDIST BLOGGING.

We also talked about:

Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.

The introduction of blogging and the intrinsic freedom that it created stirred controversy for the “old school” journos, who remember the days of typwriters and black and white tele. It was almost an unspoken rule that if a media outlet made a mistake, or if there work was just  plain awful, then other outlets should never point that out in the public eye. You see, journalists tend to beleive in karma more than any other profession known to man. If one was to point out another one’s flaws and place it in a widely accessible domain, then they would run the risk of the same thing happening to them. By the same token, if everyone forgot about everyone else’s mistakes, then the media world would be a happy one, where everyone would live and work in harmony.

Or at least, something like that.

But then came the internet. And with it came blogging.

Shakespare pondering the world of blogging thanks to quicksprout.com

 

Crikey.com became one of the more notable online media outlets in Australia. It was widely regarded by the public domain but equally as hated by other mediums, such as print and tv outlets. On May 19, 2002, Crikey’s Hugo Kelly posted an article titled:

The life and times of Australia’s crankiest sports columnist

In it, he castigated many Melbourne journalists as incompetent and inept. Patrick Smith, Henry Gordon and most noteably Geoff McClure, all received the full extent of Kelly’s wrath.

Geoff McClure was a sports columnist for The Age, where he wrote a full page column on the back page of sport for 14 years.

Kelly wrote:

“If you’ve ever read Geoff’s rambling offerings, you’ll be struck by the amount of column space he devotes to TV coverage of sport. That’s because it’s his prime medium for watching the game. He never gets to the footy. He lives in bloody Tasmania, from where he files his column.”

The comments were based on the back of one column, which led with the story about tv coverage in the Wizard Cup, which back in 2002 was the AFL’s pre-season competition. Kelly wasn’t finished:

“Most of his stuff is derivative or just plain dull. A sports writer who never gets to sporting events and bases his entire corpus of work on what he saw on telly, or gleaned from the Internet? It might be excusable if he was a good writer. And he isn’t. He’s a shocker, with a clumsy wooden style. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s never been to the MCG.”

The truth was, McClure only lived in Tassie for family reasons. He was born Broken Hill, NSW, before moving to Victoria and becoming Sports Editor of the Sun News Pictorial (which later became the Herald Sun) at the same time that radio presenter Neil Mitchell became Sports Editor of The Age. He then spent four years in London working on Fleet Street.

Maybe get your facts right, Hugo.

In relation to the comment about never being to the MCG, McClure spent much of his time working there. He watched over 16 Grand Finals there, including the infamous 1979 Grand Final between Collingwood and Carlton in which the boundary umpire played a large role. He was also the only journalist allowed down into the rooms of the umpires post match on Grand Final day.

Again, not sure if you looked into that one, Hugo.

One of McClure's columns thanks to theage.com.au

The point I’m making here is, blogging in all its complexity has created a monster in the world of journalism. No longer is there the same severity of ethical standards, and no longer can it be surveilled ot the same degree. With blogging, if you don’t like something, you can say it. In his book Internet and Society, Fuchs (2008) discusses the correlation between olden day democracy and modern day technology. He states:

“…blogging becomes an ideology and an expression of repressive tolerance.”

Kelly couldn’t bare to tolerate McClure’s alleged insolence, so he used a form of blogging in Crikey to portray his discomfort. Fuchs makes another fantastic point when he says:

“…blogging today takes place in a hierarchical and stratified society in which public attention in which public attention can be bought …”

You don’t have to say it on a camera, or write it in the newspaper, you can simply hide behind a computer screen and type to your heart’s content. It doesn’t even matter if your not a real journalist. As is evident.

The blogging world is about media scrutiny, but it’s also about used as a tool to manage one’s insecurities, and to degrade others to a point where one feels better about themself. Kelly used his role at Crikey to “manage the self”.

Crikey were later forced to officially apologise to the journalists, including McClure.

But you know what the true beauty about blogging is? It doesn’t discriminate. That notion of karma? It still exists.

I guess you just didn’t think it could happen to you, did you Hugo?

References

http://www.crikey.com., visited on 23th April 2011. (http://www.crikey.com.au/2002/05/19/the-life-and-times-of-australias-crankiest-sports-columnist/)

Fuchs, C., Internet and Society: social theory in the information age, Routledge, 2008.

Lovink, G., ‘Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’ in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, London, Routledge, pp 1-38.

WordPress “masks the database and creates a continuous  blogging experience within the browser” (Helmond in Reader, p. 180), yet the database is rigidly defined and categorised. Discuss how this shapes the way we interact with the World Wide Web through blogging and how it affects user agency.

Having used WordPress now for the past month, I can honestly say that I am impressed with its swift ability to blog “continuously.” And that’s not a bad accolade coming from someone who has grown up with the likes of Facebook and Twitter to compare it to. In saying that, it does come with rather a “rigidly” defined  database.

But is that a bad thing?

Absolutely not.

The ability to blog continuously and have defined categories are not mutually exclusive entities, in fact, it’s quite the contrary. Take Facebook for an example. There are a plethora of opportunities for users of the social networking website, including instant messaging, commenting on friends’ photos and uploading videos. Its capacity for freedom is about as close to limitless as you’re going to get. However, it still has a defined database. Each user’s “wall” is set up in a particular format and design, photos are categorised into certain albums and general comments made by people are placed in a rather strict chronological order. To quote the question, Facebook in essence is “rigidly defined and categorised.

WordPress has many categories which help to make up it’s database and design. Helmond (2007) speaks in depth about plugins and widgets and says that both facets illustrate the close interaction between the WordPress community and the WordPress developers.

The widgets, such as Twitter, help to make the user’s blog more immediate and interactive for other users and add specificity. “Some plugins and widgets allow the blog to be easily connected to the engines” (Helmond, 2007). Google has become a massive part of this part of WordPress, with 52 Google Plugins available that make Google utilisation far more accessible. For instance, you can add a Google Map to your blog so that when a map appears that makes it far simpler for Google to index your blog.

Another “defined” aspect of WordPress’ database is the themes. Indeed, the choice in theme for the users adds to the continuity of the blog, but it’s also a category within the database. If one is attracted to another’s blog purely for aesthetic reasons, then they are more likely to pay attention to the content within it.

Furthermore, the sharing capabilities of WordPress do provide some outlet for users who enjoy social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter (Sabin-Wilson and Mullenweg, 2010).

Before the introduction of themes, WordPress used a single file; index.php. Now, however, unique designs are possibly through the “WordPress modular template files system.” (Helmond, 2007) Furthermore, the themes can be quickly changed and altered depending on the user.

In setting up my blog, I altered my theme and widgets many times before I found the appropriate combination, both for looks and content. The different definitions and categories with WordPress allow for a more personal effect to be had on one’s blog, meaning that interaction with the World Wide Web through blogging is much more specific to an individuals need. That applies for not only one who is setting up their blog, but also for those that are looking through other blogs in search for entertainment or information.

Our user agency and the way in which we interact is dependent on the systems we use. Agency will of course become more open and prevalent when the system allows for more creativity and individualisation. In saying that, I sincerely think that WordPress allows interaction on the World Wide Web to be communicative and broad, whilst establishing the necessary categories that are needed in all systems; and has therefore successfully introduced a “continuous blogging experience.”

References:

Helmond, A., ‘Software Engine Relations’, in Blogging for Engines: Blogs Under the Influence of Software-Engine Relations, MA Thesis, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, 2007.

Sabin-Wilson, L and Mullenweg, M., WordPress for Dummies, For Dummies, 2010.

Listen to the initial conversation between Jean and Bambi when they talk about the need to give up privacy in order to access desired information. Bambi makes very pertinent points.

Uploaded by on Apr 28, 2006

Really, Mark?

Question for this week:

Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing

it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices:

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/146252

Mark Zuckerberg’s comments relating to privacy are strong and uplifting, but ultimately they are far too simplistic. Indeed, comfortability often insights people to become more open with what they share, but to what degree is this a good thing? Certainly, the evidence is there to suggest that society is in fact sharing more as time goes on because they can control it:

“According to one study of Facebook users at a particular school

[…] 90.8 percent of profiles contain an image, 87.8 percent of users

reveal their birth date, 39.9 percent list a phone number… and

50.8 percent list their current residence” (Solove 2007: 27)

Indeed, these statistics are so high because users know that Facebook can “protect” their privacy so that certain information The Facebook privacy statement reads:

“The accessibility of your profile is fundamental to your privacy.  Only Facebookers in one of your networks or a friend can access your profile. This is the default privacy setting on Facebook.”

Mark Zuckerberg thanks to winandmac.com

That was in the privacy statement of 2007. Zuckerberg and his team are essentially providing further insurance to Facebook users that their information and communication will be released only to those who you agree to. As each and every Facebook user has the ability and right to choose who they are friends with, Zuckerberg is giving power and control to his users. However, a lot of you may not know that things have changed significantly since late 2009. The wesbite Read Write Web has been running a technology blog since 2003 and is often publishing information to keep internet users up to date with what’s going on in the World Wide Web. In early January 2010, they wrote a story on Mark Zuckerberg. This is an extract:

“As of mid-December (2009), Facebook users were no longer allowed to hide from the web-at-large some information including their profile photos, list of friends and interests in the form of fan pages they followed. Text, photo and video updates shared on the site have always been by default private (friends only) but if you’d never changed your privacy settings before last month, then Facebook suggested you switch them to make those updates publicly visible to everyone. That became the new default.”

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/why_facebook_is_wrong_about_privacy.php

Is Mark Zuckerberg cheating us out of our own system? Are we being used as tests to see how open the world can be in communication before it suddenly implodes? No, I don’t think so. At least I hope not. But I highly doubt that by creating a more open Facebook world, the world itself will be able to handle our biggest problems. That, sir, is way too simplistic.

Terrorism, religion, gender, health, employment. These things aren’t going to be solved by sharing more on Facebook. And that’s just to name a few. I mean, in theory it seems credible enough, but in reality the world’s biggest problems need to be solved by individuals inside microcosms in society inside cultures. Not by a social networking website.

Mark, don’t talk to us like we were born yesterday. A lot of us are dealing with real problems in the real world. Facebook, although it is a wonderful phenomenon that has helped many people with connecting and communicating, is not going to solve those problems.

 

References:

Solove, D., The future of reputation: gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet, Yale University Press, 2007.