Tag Archives: Lessing

2.2 Don’t touch that! Copyright, ownership and institutional control

1.    Summarise the main points from the reading and the talk by Lawrence Lessig.

M/C Journal, Vol. 11, No. 6 (2008) – ‘recover’

Recovering Fair Use, Steve Collins

Copyright law has become the hot topic of conversation due to the ever changing landscape of the internet and the sites that distribute content across the world. In this reading, I learned that even though the term Prosumerism is not new, it has taken new significance lately because the very act of creating using other people’s ideas (new or old) is what defines this generation according to Lessing,2007.

Using YouTube as an example, who use the term “Broadcast Yourself”, the video sharing web site allows for a democratised media process, in other words, a more equal footing, and give people the the tools to put their message across. However, big media corporations have in the past “actively defended their intellectual property through law suits, take down notices and technological reinforcements.” (Collins, 2008).

So, even though YouTube users might not be earning any money from the use of copyrighted material, many of the big media companies are suing, and winning, setting precedents which Collins calls “absurd”. He proceeds to explain that Fair use was put in place to “prevent oppressive monopolies” but has become almost Blackstonian in it’s approach.  He believes that with fair use, “balance can be restored.” The court system agrees that copyright was “intended to promote creativity” and any misconceptions about copyright laws must be cleared. In doing so, new creators would benefit and indeed balance can be achieved. (Collins, 2008).

Lawrence Lessig on “laws that strangle creativity”2007

I enjoyed Lessing’s talk on “Laws that choke creativity” and found it an interesting watch. He starts of with three concepts of “user generated content” which includes culture as a read-write culture (participatory) or a read only culture (we are just consumers); Land or property that is protected by law and broadcasting technology, the terror of the content industry.

The way he puts his point across is clever. First, Lessing informs us that we began as a read-write culture by being able to tell our stories, or sing our songs from today and yesterday, but slowly began to loose the freedom of expression to big corporations. For example, phonograph giant Victor who monopolised  the recording of sound from 1901 to 1929. Secondly, property laws were devised to protect citizen from trespassers, but these laws needed to be updated to suit the times. His example of planes needing clearance every time they flew over different portions of land makes it clear that these laws although useful long ago where indeed vague and antique. Thirdly, the ASCAP vs BMI case where a David and Goliath battle seem to develop in the early 1940’s, it was the unprecedented shift of customers to a lesser quality public domain provided by BMI that proved competition and a more democratic view for broadcasting, was the way to go.

“In my view the most significant thing to recognise about what this internet is doing is its opportunity to revive the read-write culture that Sausa romantised. Digital technology is the opportunity for the revival of these vocal cords that he spoke so passionately to Congress about.” (Lessing, 2007).

Lessing claims that spreading user generated content in business today is invaluable, because people do it for the love of it, not for the money. When people stop being just consumers and just producers and start using something new and something old they make something interesting.

He is quick to point out that he is not endorsing piracy, instead he talks “about people taking and creating, using other people’s content, using digital technologies to say things differently.” (Lessing, 2007).

Pointing out that kids today are more technology-minded, Lessing says that this sort of creativity are the new tools that have been embraced. However, these tools come with the taboo of being illegal and the here is where the trespassing plane law comes in. Yet another example of a Blackstonian approach (as per Steve Collins journal entry, 2008). But with the idea represented by BMI, that with competition, balance can be achieved.

Lessing proposes two changes that can bring balance about and those are Artists/creators more open to fair use and for organisations to help build the read-write culture which will enable “free content or freer content [to] grow on a neutral platform, where they both exist simultaneously, so that more free can compete with less free and the opportunity to develop the creativity in that competition can teach the lessons of the other.” (Lessing, 2007).

It is imperative to allow people today more freedom of expression through work that they have made mixing the old with the new. To remove the knowledge that what they are making could constitute as copyright infringement. These laws should be rejuvenated.

2.    Identify any problems about copyright that you are likely to encounter in your remediation assignment. Assume the text that you will remediate is the text you chose as a favourite in your first entry.

As I have chosen to do a montage of photos of Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy from both the BBC Wordwide’s Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary from Universal Studios, I searched many websites to obtain said photos, many of these websites did not have reference or point of origin, however some photos were subject to copyright. So far however, I haven’t had any problem with the visual.

However, music, I can confirm is another matter all together! I decided to go through the uploading process to see what it entails using YouTube. Upon uploading my ‘fanvid’  I received an email from YouTube informing me that I might have issues. Because I am using the song ‘I Found Love’ by C + C Music Factory, Sony 1995, my video clip cannot be shown in some countries (currently Germany). And so it cannot be seen on my blog, it must be seen on the YouTube website. I am advised to check regularly to see if this has changed but other than that I am told to do nothing, thank goodness. Below is a copy of the email and what appears after I click on the link ‘the Content ID Matches section of your account’.

“Dear evie08eric,

Your video, MED104 Engaging Media Remediation Project, may have content that is owned or licensed by Sony Music Entertainment.

No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

– The YouTube Team”

Your video, MED104 Engaging Media Remediation Project , may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:

  • Entity: Sony Music Entertainment Content Type: Sound Recording

As a result, your video is blocked in these locations:


What should I do?

No action is required on your part. Your video is still available everywhere not listed above. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.

What can I do about my video’s status?

Please note that the video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.

Under certain circumstances, you may dispute this copyright claim. These are:

  • if the content is mistakenly identified and is actually completely your original creation;
  • if you believe your use does not infringe copyright (e.g. it is fair use under US law);
  • if you are actually licensed by the owner to use this content.

I need more information. I want to learn more about the dispute process.

Please take a few minutes to visit our Help Center section on Policy and Copyright Guidelines, where you can learn more about copyright law and our Content Identification Service.

I then took the copyright tutorial on the YouTube website and found it to be well written and comprehensive enough for me, explaining what copyright means, infringement and creative commons licensing. They also listed several links should I want to investigate further such as Fair Use Project Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Very interesting reading!

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Posted by on 03/23/2011 in MED104


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1.2 The Medium is the Message? When the media coverge

Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture (Vid)

The video for me was a lot more interesting than the article, because even though it’s basically the same message, the visual helped a lot! When Jenkins was talking about big media companies, you could see in the background that he was referring to Disney as there were clips of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Aladdin and even the Walt Disney Logo.

In this video he says, “major media companies claimed ownership of these stories in the 20th century” (Jenkins, 2009 on Transmedia from niko on Vimoe) and I take it to mean that Disney took stories like the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Little Mermaid and made it their own. The remediation of this story has Ariel living happily ever after with her prince at the end of the film. (As we all know she dies in the original story).

Since the movie came out in 1989, sequels have followed, as well as TV shows, games, toys, activity books and a vast array of merchandise including clothing and manchester. Disney has done this process to a number of other stories as well, whereby the story becomes the property of Disney, if not physically then by the very process of remediation. Ask a child today, 5 years ago, even 10 years ago who came up with The Little Mermaid and they will no doubt tell you it was Disney.

So according to Jenkins and to paraphrase, today’s participatory culture is allowing ordinary people with different perspectives to use the necessary tools to tell their own story. To come away from the shadows of big media companies such as Disney for example and to claim back stories that belonged to us so long ago. After all, “a world governed by participatory culture has the potential to be much more diverse than a world controlled by a handful of media companies.” (Jenkins, 2009 on Transmedia from niko on Vimoe).

Lessing 2006

Personally, I know cyberspace is real even if I don’t indulge in that particular world. I enjoy Facebook, as I tend to participate in everything it has to offer: I write what is on my mind daily, I post photos for my friends and family to see, I catch up with friends here in Oz and over seas and I play games when time allows. Creating a whole life in cyberspace is a little too tedious for me, however, I guess both are part of Jenkin’s participatory culture!

What I got out this text was that virtual reality to paraphrase, enables us to have a duality, to have a life that might not be normal in today’s society, and can be acceptable online. However, is the government keeping up with the technology today? Do they have rules and regulations (apart from system codes that make a cyberspace program possible) that determine how people should behave, or punished for any wrong-doing and who they are governed by online? Do these rules border on the ambiguous because they are yet to be tested?

Another question is, can virtual worlds be governed by the real world and do the same rules apply? The example of Ann Arbour Jake and Hackensack Jake was very interesting because “It [cyberspace] created a competing authority for Jake and gave him the chance to select between these competing authorities merely by switching his computer on or off.” (Lessing, 2006).

Lecture: Merrick 2010 MED104 Key Themes

Finally got to listen to the whole thing! I love Star Trek. My step father got the movies for us to see every Friday night. If it wasn’t that, it was Chuck Norris or Steven Segal. Love it!

To answer your question Elaine, the unit themes are Ownership; Participatory Culture; Ethics; Credibility and Privacy.

Reservations, concerns about new media use

  • Identify and discuss community fears and concerns about new media use.

In regards to what I’ve learned from Jenkins and Lessing fears about new media use include online war games being too graphic and too violent; cyberbullying; sexual predators. Personally, I can attest that my mother is terrified of even owning a computer because she might break it! Aside from that, when she does log into Facebook, she often admits she would hate to look foolish on something so public should she accidentally publish a typo (my mum is bilingual, Spanish being her first language).

  • Consider violent and sexually explicit content on the web and in games.

As a Christian as a mother I do not tolerate such content in my home, and I have Family Safety Filter through Windows Live installed. However, I also believe each to their own, I’m not going to tell others what and what not to access on the net.

  • Discuss net filters and government regulations as well as resistance to regulation

Having young children, who are curious about everything, the internet included (my two year old knows how to access the ABC for Kids website) I trust and believe in net filters placed by the government. They are too young to question what is being left out and I’m happy with that. When they are older they can make their own decisions about what is suitable for them to see.

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Posted by on 03/12/2011 in MED104


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