Monday, April 18, 2011

Blog #12

There are many connections between Lawrence Lessig's book and the documentary RIP! A Remix Manifesto. Specifically, I saw three key points that Lessig and the documentary centered around. 

The documentary's focus centered on the musician "Girl Talk", while exploring the ideas of copyright, remixes, and intellectual property. The first key comparison that I saw between this film and Lessig was the belief that an amateur remixer should not be regulated by copyright law, due primarily to the creative nature of the work, and all around practicality of situation. Lessig shows his position when he states "At a minimum, Congress should exempt this class of creative work from the requirements of clearing rights to create" (3008-34). The documentary revealed their view of how copyright law through comedically teasing the audience with how they cannot play certain songs, or how the film itself is infringing copyright laws. 

The second key similarity explored how historically, the people in power are the ones that feel the need to control and dictate how specific creative works are used. Both Lessig and the documentary talked about key findings, such as the VCR recording televisions, through which both argue that it is time for another change in our current practices. Lessig believes that if specific steps are taken, for example, if peer to peer file sharing is decriminalized, there would still be a way for the artists to track they work and earn royalties without impractical legal battles. 

The last connection that I made between Lessig and the documentary was the call to action for the current society. It was intriguing how both talked about the numbers and shift towards this new creative world, where remixing is allowed, and copying, or badly remixing, is what gets users in trouble. The documentary showed how certain bands released they album and other works completely free. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blog #11

Describe the difference between a sharing and a commercial economy. Why does this distinction matter to Lessig's main argument?

A commercial economy is where the exchange of money, or currency, for another good or service is the accepted and normal interaction. A sharing economy on the other hand, is a community based on exchange, where money does not transfer hands, and in Lessig's main argument, the exchange of money is "poisonous" to this type of economy. Instead of a monetary transaction, a sharing economy is based on the idea that participants of a community give freely to others because of a personal benefit or feeling of obligation that arrises when they contribute to this economy. Lessig talks about several examples, including Wikipedia, Linux, and Apache, where the users contribute because they feel the obligation to better the community, not because of a monetary compensation. Within sharing communities, Lessig explains that there are two subcategories; 'thin-sharing economies' and 'thick sharing economies'. The major difference between the two economies is based on the amount the contributor feels that the contribution is going to benefit themselves. Overall the importance of understanding both economies is that Lessig feels that in our increasingly technological world there is going to be a need to create a hybrid of the two. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

blog #10 Lessig and Remix

First, post a link and/or description of a remix you like. Next, make 3 specific connections between today's reading and the remix. 

My remix is Sam Adams' "I hate college": (link below)

This link is a remix of Asher Roth's song "I love college". This remix connects to the Lessig reading in these three ways:

  1. Lessig explained that creative writing gives anyone the ability to share. Therefore, writing gives us the ability to quote previous works as long as we give credit to those that have 'originally' published the work. However, with music and videos, this use of 'quotes' changes. This remix plays on this idea because it uses the same music, though slightly altered, is easily identifiable. Furthermore, the name itself draws attention to both the original work as well as sets itself apart from this work so that the 'consumer' of this media would not be confused, and mistake this piece for the original. 
  2. Lessig stated that multiple quotes from various places put together is a remix. This is true in this remix because the artist Sam Adams' used the same gramatical structure in his remix, while changing the message.
  3. The third point the Lessig brings up is that the remix dilevers a new message to the viewers. A copy of the creative work does not have the same value if it was completely recreated, using a copy of the work provides the remix with the power that was behind the original. With this in mind it is important to understand how this remix contrasts the original by calling to light the fact that the original song "I love college", by Asher Roth, wasn't actually talking about college, but rather was talking about the party life that often blurs into the college life of most students. 

In conclusion, I feel that this remix helps reemphasize the point that Lessig was trying to get across, that a remix is a way of creating something new, by changing something that was preexisting. Stepping out of the American view, "here is something, buy it" and into the Japanese view "here is something, make something, do something with it". It is a mix of building and interacting with a community and a form of education. (Ironically the song I picked was about education.)

Aside from the remix I selected, something else that I found very interesting was the statement "If you don't want something stolen, make it easily available". This phrase alone, I believe shows how creative culture is shifting in our newly digital age.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blog #9 Lawrence Lessig's Remix

First, describe what you see as Lessig's key argument in the Introduction. 

"Permission is vital, legally"... This is the key phrase that is repeated throughout the introduction. As Lessig discusses the examples of how the legality of many situations in todays music and creative society are technically right, but at the same time, this legal restraints seem outdated and unproductive, unless you are the lawyers defending the multimillion dollar companies that own the rights. Lessig's overall argument of the introduction is that modern technology is changing the way in which people interact in a creative sense, especially in the music sense, and as this interaction becomes increasingly easier, it is important to look at both the impact and the "damage" this new form of creation is causing. 

Second, describe the difference RW and RO culture and why it matters to Lessig's argument. 

RW stands for "read/Write" culture. RO stands for "Read/Only" culture. According to Lessig, the difference between these two cultures is the interaction from the person accessing the work. In a RW culture, the person reads, or listens, to the music, but in a RO culture, there is merely consumption of the creative work. 

Third, why does Lessig use Sousa?

Lessig used Sousa as an example because of his take on creativity and culture. Sousa believed that the shift in more people creating new works would prohibit others from being able to create truly great works. The principle behind copyrights, according to Sousa, was to allow the professionals a chance to be creative, instead of suppressed. Overall Sousa believed in an extremist view that every form of culture should be regulated. Lessig puts this view in the beginning of his book in order to provide the reader with a broad spectrum, through which all a opinions should be based, as the we read we must keep both sides of the arguments in mind in order to fully understand the issue at hand. 

Blog #8: End of Miller and Connection to WhoSampled

Thoughts on the reading...

"Newton's synchronized time ordered the industrial revolution and gave us a culture of production based on highly stratified temporal regulation" (80).

"A paradox in math and physics translates into the social realm of human relations"(80).

"Sometimes the best way to get an idea across is to simply tell it as a story"(80).

"For math to code to culture, contemporary art has shifted as well. It all seems more and more that the creative act itself is becoming a source-code like Linux where people create and add modules of thought-ware to the mix, making it all a little more interesting. Speaking in code, we live in a world so utterly infused with digitality that it makes even the slightest action ripple across the collection of data bases we call the web"(89).

"Strange, inferential portraits of a seamlessly complex system for routing people and products, a system as intricate as a global nervous system without all the baggage... It all depends on your perspective"(92).

"It's a milieu where each 'musical sculpture' is unique yet completely dependent on the system that created the context"(97).

"Context becomes metatext, and the enframing process, as folks as diverse as Iannis Xenakis, Kool Keith a.k.a. Dr Octagon or Eminem can tell you, like media philosopher Freidrich Kittle, 'Aesthetics begins as 'patterns recognition'. ' "(100).

"The prostitute scenario is about an end of definitions - breaking the loops, and watching the role collapse in on itself when it's no longer occupied"(109).

"My challenge to myself is to always try to create new worlds, new scenarios at almost every moment of thought"(109).

"You can never play a record the same way for the same crowd. That's why remixes happen. Memory demands newness"(113). Connection...

Wiz Khalida's "The Thrill" from 'Burn after rolling' mixtape.

Empire of the Sun's ''Waking on a Dream''.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog #7

First, briefly summarize the overall argument(s) of the deBourgoing piece. 

The article entitled, Hip Hop Goes Transmedia: Seven Laws, by Marguerite de Bourgoing, explains how the hip hop community has taken advantage of the new digital age in order to continue a thriving culture, that will continue to produce even more works. First, the key to becoming successful is the ability to promote yourself online. For rap artists, this means a strong web presence is required, and directly relates to a bigger following, which ultimately gives the artist recognition in the music world, as well as a greater attendance at their performances. What is key is that each artist creates an image, or as deBourgoing explains it, a self brand. With the idea of creating a 'self brand' in mind, the second key aspect of deBourgoing's piece, is understanding how create more then a brand, but a style that influences their communities. With the popularity, that comes from the online recognition, the self brands often take on new aspects, especially clothing. This was seen in the past with Run DMC and Adidas shoes, and is still evident today as styles and products follow what these artists choose to wear. It is also key to understand that the creation of these styles means that the artists are getting more recognition, through the promotion of these styles the clothing companies feel it is important to not only sponsor them, but to also allow them to express themselves in innovative clothing lines. The third point explains that will all this recognition, there comes a great deal of power, as these artists are seen as becoming more politically influential. Collaboration is the forth key element in this seemingly individualized realm. Collaboration has become more then just the interaction between the DJ and the artist. It is seen as artist work together to produce music, bringing together multiple fan bases. El Prez compared it to superheros, since many superheros are know for their individual qualities but tend to work together. This was an intriguing connection as the ability of these artist to work together, can help them promote themselves even further. The fifth augment focuses on the fact that these artists are skillful with their word choice and are able to get messages across. Female artists are the sixth argument in how the Hip Hop industry is taking advantage of the digital revolution. Though the sexists and bias remarks of many of the artists may create an image of a male dominated industry, the fact is that many women work within this rap world, and are crucial in the promotion of an artist work. Finally, deBourgoing points concludes with the point that the hip-hip is a great example of how oral cultures manifest in ways that are not just verbal.  

Second, briefly describe any connections you see between her argument(s) and the things we discussed in the first half of the course. 

This article provides an example for many of the ideas we have discussed in class during the first half of our course. Considering the Web2.0 and Web Squared articles, I drew connections between how the artists are choosing to use the internent in order to self promote their 'brand'. Using Twitter, Tumblr, and other websites that allow for fans to not only follow their favorite artists, but in some ways interact with these artist. Drawing connections to Weinberger, this book shows how powerful the 'one leaf on many braches' idea is, as seen through the ways the artist promote themselves. Especially when deBourgoing  discussed how these artists are collaborating together, which made me think of how the followers of one artist might follow a link to another artists page. Another connection is how the artists are choosing to put music and music videos online, now free for the viewer, because there is a connection between the amount of people viewing their music and how many people choose to attend a performance. Building on this online arena of music, I think it is cool how the ability to not only listen to the music, but the chance to watch the music videos, has pushed for more innovative ways to self promote an artists brand and style. 

Third, the Miller book is a bit tough to read, but do your best to summarize his key argument(s). 

I also drew connections between what I have stated above and the assigned reading from the book by Paul Miller, Rhythm Science. Though abstract in his explanation, I believe that there was three main points. The first key point was the connection between writing and music. As Miller explained it, those who write books and those who create music are one in the same. Just as writing requires building on knowledge of predecessors, so too does music. While unrecognized by many, Miller explains how he can draw connections between modern music and ancient music. Second, Miller discusses the idea of a multicultural 'melting pot' in which each person has a greater opportunity, due to the digital age, to create a unique self, separating oneself entirely. Lastly, Miller discussed the revolutionary effects that were caused by the ability to broadcast sound, and how society is encountering the same revolution with this digital age as people are exploring and creating new ways to interact with each other. Overall, I believe the key of the section was understanding how our digital abilities can not only change how we see ourselves, but how we communicate with others, both having enormous emotional impacts.  

Lastly, make any connections you can between deBourgoing, Miller, and any of the topics we've discussed in class so far.

The connection with others that Miller has explained relates to many of the things we have discussed in class this semester. However, I see a strong connection between Miller and the thought inspiring 'so what' question that follows many lecture conversations. I see Miller as trying to delve deeper into understanding how this digital realm will change society on a mass level, focusing specifically on how it is going to shape how individuals express themselves. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blog #6: Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

I have read the book entitled Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, by Henry Jenkins, multiple times throughout my college career. The interesting thing about his book overall, is how the patterns, insights, and predictions seem to arrise in almost every subject. Reading the introduction this time and considering what David Weinberger had said in his book, I decided to draw on some important "key points". 

To begin Jenkin's stated:

"Welcome to convergence culture, where old and new media collide, where grassroots and corporate media intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways."

While Jenkins is simply trying to explain the key concept of his book overall, it is interesting that he brings up the fact that the media producer and consumer the interaction is unpredictable ways. This was also a key point that Weinberger brought up in his book. User content, (or user input, such as tagging or blogging) provides the web with the information and creates knowledge that is accessible for anyone, and can result in a plethora of outcomes. 

"Instead, convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encourages to seek out new information and make connections amount dispersed media content."

I thought this was another key idea, as it connects to Weinberger's point focusing around 'social knowing' and tagging. Since each person 'lumps and splits' differently, we draw connections in different ways. This quote shows how Jenkins' see both finding new information and how each person connects the information in new ways. 

"None of us know everything; each of us knows something; and we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills."

Again this ties in to Weinberger's book, especially when looking at how he describes metadata and data. Jenkins and Weinberger both see and mention the key shift in what is 'useful knowledge' and how all other knowledge, especially in the case of specialty topics, should be left the the consumer's interests. 

"You are now entering convergence culture. It is not a surprise that we are not yet ready to cope with its complexities and contradictions. We need to find ways to negotiate the changes taking place. No one group can set the terms. No one group can control access and participation."

This is closely tied into what Weinberger said about how the control of the information/ knowledge is no longer in the hands of a single authority, but rather the collective society that participates via the internet. No one can 'tag' something, that everyone else has to live with, since we can each add our own input. 

Below are some other key points that I drew from the chapter, and my reasoning for why I felt they are important, though they do not directly relate to Weinberger. 

"It also occurs when people take media in their own hands... When people take media into their own hands, the results can be wonderfully creative; they can also be bad news for all involved."

I think Jenkins has an extremely important point, that Weinberger did not really talk about, (or at least not in such detail). When considering that users add content and interact with content in this new era of Internet technology, there is a massive potential for a negative outcome by irresponsible people. I believe a key point is that user's generate content, but are also responsible for that content, and on the Internet, this responsibility seems to be lessened, then through other mediums. 

Quoted Ithiel de Sola Pool, MIT political scientist, "... It operates as a constant force for unification but always in dynamic tension with change. . . . There is no immutable law of growing convergence; the process of change is more complicated than that."

What we are now seeing is the hardware diverging while the content converges.

This quote was especially intriguing because it draws on the point that the physical technology is irrelevant; what matters is that content that imerges from the use of the technology. Basically, wether I use my iPhone or a computer, or even a magazine, what is crucial is the way I interact with that content, not how I interact with the technological item.