Category Archives: A democratic medium?

How can innovative “pay by..” models stem file swapping? …(or can they?)

“Physical” music sales are down. Forever. And they’re not alone. The question now isn’t if people will download music, but how. Will they steal it? Will they know they’re even breaking the law? Will they pay for it? Lot’s of record companies and big retailers seem confident they will. If they buy it, what can they do with it? Will it be “theirs” or will it be theirs only if they have iTunes?

Is DRM it, or are there obvious solutions right under our noses?

If your favorite band offered you their new album for FREE, would you still pay for it? Conversely, if you just took it for free without asking, would your favorite band be pissed at you? Still, is free web-distribution the little guy’s best chance for recognition (and future sales)?

Seems also like the music industry just doesn’t get the dynamic of evolution inherent in new media. Sure, they’ll win some battles. But they’ll lose the war.

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, P2P (Peer to Peer), When New Meets Old

Cyberchondriacs, Cyberquacks…why is health info on the Internet surrounded by negativity?

Cyberchondriacs are not only using the Internet to educate themselves, many are also using it to assist in their conversations with their physicians. A 58 percent majority of adults who have gone online to get health information say that they have discussed this information with their doctors at least once in the last year. Furthermore, more than half (55%) of cyberchondriacs have searched for health information based on discussions with their doctors.

More from Harris Interactive and commentary at Ars

This article discusses the growing trend towards ‘lay’ people accessing information about health from the internet. Surveying the major studies of online health consumption, I argue that this phenomenon can be seen as a marker of a broader shift in focus within public health discourse and the popular media on health as an individual ‘lifestyle’ issue. Despite this cultural shift, the medical debate over online health consumption has been largely negative, viewing the internet as an unruly and unregulated space of mis-information and lay web users as potential victims of ‘cyberquackery’. In contrast to this reductive account, I discuss a qualitative study I conducted into young people’s use of the internet for health material that showed they are often highly sceptical consumers of online health material. Furthermore, the study found that the kinds of health material young people access is informed by issues of social positionality or ‘health habitus’ complicating individualistic notions of lifestyle ‘choice’.

Abstract from Tania Lewis’ Seeking health information on the internet: lifestyle choice or bad attack of cyberchondria? in the journal of Media, Culture & Society

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Virtual Communities

Turns out their are maps for these territories. Lots of them.

With the help of simple tools introduced by Internet companies recently, millions of people are trying their hand at cartography, drawing on digital maps and annotating them with text, images, sound and videos. In the process, they are reshaping the world of mapmaking and collectively creating a new kind of atlas that is likely to be both richer and messier than any other. They are also turning the Web into a medium where maps will play a more central role in how information is organized and found.

Read this article from the New York Times

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Aggregate, Connection/Isolation, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Tools, Usability, User generated content, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

Web Widgets become serious business

The rise of widgets was caused by several factors including the adoption of RSS, the expansion of the blogosphere, growth of social networks, fashion of self-expression and the democratization of the web at large. Originally, the goal of widgets was to simply deliver a miniaturized version of a specific piece of content outside of the primary web site…A major development in the history of widgets occured just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. The goal of this effort is to standardize how widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent, follows W3C principles, and is as interoperable as possible with existing market-leading user agents on which widgets are run.

from The Evolution of Web Widgets: From Self-Expression to Media Companies at the Read/Write Web

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Productivity, Tools, web 2.0

‘Social’ porn sites and the privacy intrusions we make on each other

As sites like YouPorn and PornoTube that mesh community aspects of social networking with completely free-of-charge pornography rise in popularity, so too do the associated copyright and privacy infringements. Right now, the law is lagging behind in redressing the harm done to victims of “porn 2.0.”….But the worldwide nature of the web makes it difficult to trace and prosecute violators and even more difficult to police privacy rights. There is no universal set of laws that apply to the distribution, purchase, or possession of Internet porn. Still, that’s not to say what happens on the net can’t be regulated, says Benedet. “The idea that the Internet is a borderless lawless universe is quite false,” she adds. Experts like Lane say porn 2.0 is here to stay, given how easy it is to post and view material online. Now lawmakers need to catch up with tech-savvy Internet users, and deal with the potential emotional and psychological damage lurking for “ex-girlfriends” around the world.

Sunny Freeman’s Porn 2.0: What Happens When Free Porn Meets Social Networking from Alternet

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Privacy, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Digital Sharecropping: Lessig warns of user-generated content exploitation

In May, Lucasfilm announced plans to enable fans of the “Star Wars” series to “remix” “Star Wars” video clips with their own creative work. Using an innovative Internet platform called Eyespot, these (re)creators can select video clips or other content and then add images or upload new content, whether images, video or music. Eyespot is one of many new technologies inviting “users” to do more than use the creativity they are consuming. Likewise, Lucasfilm is one of many companies recognizing that the more “users” use their creativity, the thicker the bonds are between consumers and the work consumed.

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A dark force, however, has influenced Lucasfilm’s adoption of Eyespot’s technology. A careful reading of Lucasfilm’s terms of use show that in exchange for the right to remix Lucasfilm’s creativity, the remixer has to give up all rights to what he produces. In particular, the remixer grants to Lucasfilm the “exclusive right” to the remix — including any commercial rights — for free.

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Hybrids are an important future of Internet growth. Businesses will have to think carefully about which terms will excite the masses to work for them for free. Competition will help define these terms. But if one more lawyer protected from the market may be permitted a prediction, I suggest sharecropping will not survive long as a successful strategy for the remixer.

Commentary from Lawrence Lessig for the Washington Post

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Aggregate, Digital Commons, Electronic Storytelling, Fair Use, Same as it ever Was, Tools, User generated content, When New Meets Old

City WiFi vs. service providers, state governments, and their own rocky start

Dissatisfied by private Internet providers’ service or speed, cities from Lancaster, Pa., to Boulder, Colo., have sought to build their own networks to provide upgraded, and in some cases, free service to residents. In turn, providers such as Time Warner and Comcast, among others, have complained to state lawmakers about unfair government competition….This year, Wyoming became one of 12 states that restricts public broadband Internet, joining Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Legislation proposing restrictions in North Carolina is in the committee phase but has inspired opposition from cities, consumer advocates such as the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group and tech companies such as Google. The debate also has caught the attention of U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who has drafted a bill to keep states from putting up barriers to public Internet. “Broadband is every bit as essential as electricity was when it was emerging 100 years ago,” he said. One of the state legislators Boucher wants to stop, Rep. Drew Saunders, also drew a comparison to the utilities of the past. The Democratic chairman of the N.C. House Public Utilities Committee said the bill he introduced this year would apply 21st-century technology to the principle that municipalities shouldn’t compete with industry.

Read this article from USA Today

On topic:

  • Municipal Wi-Fi: A Failure To Communicate from Business Week
  • American Wi-Fi gets off to a bad start from the New Scientist online
  • Muni Wi-Fi hits wall of economic and political realities from ComputerWorld
  • Bringing public Wi-Fi to small-town America from C|Net
  • Facing economic realities of muni Wi-Fi from C|Net
  • City wi-fi plans under scrutiny from the BBC
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    Filed under A democratic medium?, Community WiFi, Broadband, Digital Divide, Regulation, The Politics of New Media