Thursday 20 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.1 - Remixes & Mashups (& Copyright)

In order to get started thinking through this area, when reading, please consider:

1. Lessig argues that video, audio and other forms of media should be remixable in the same way that textual sources can be cut-up, such as citations in an essay. Should different media forms have different copyright restrictions; does taking a 10-second ‘quote’ from a feature film in a remix video equate with quoting 50 words form a published book in an essay or a published article in a journal?
2. If some remixes and mashups should be legal, even using copyrighted works, can we define what’s ‘remix’ and what’s just copying? Does remix involve fundamental changes in form, in length, in meaning or something else? If you had to offer a legal boundary between a legitimate remix, and an authorised copy, could you?
3. Should the intention of a remixed work matter? For example, in the US, ‘fair use’ means that political expression is largely protected, even using material under full copyright. So, for example, the ‘prezvids’ Tryon discusses are ‘legal’ as long as their intent (as political expression) is obvious. Australia, however, doesn’t recognise the same right of political expression.  Do you think intention matters (and if so, how do you ‘prove’ the intent of a piece of media)?

1. I tend to agree with Lessig - copyright does have a purpose, in ensuring that people do not copy another person's work in it's entirety and reissue it as their own.  But culture grows and is enhanced by basing new ideas on previous ideas, and currently the pendulum between fair use and copyright is swinging very firmly in the direction of copyright - and by extension, the bottom line of commercial entities..  In MED104 I read this article by Steve Collins, who refers to the story of a woman who uploaded a video of her baby son dancing in the kitchen, and she was issued with a takedown notice because of music playing in the background!  Completely ridiculous.  At the end of the day I think the defining factor is commercial consumption.  If you copy somebody elses work and subsequently profit from it then you should be subject to copyright assessment.

2. I think it's very difficult to offer a legal boundary between "remix" and "copying".  Again, I would probably go with the "commercial consumption" assessment.

3. Australia may not recognise political expression but they do recognise "parody or satire" under Fair Dealing provisions.  I suppose if somebody was copying a segment of my work and using it for some kind of racist or hate message then I would want to have a way of objecting.


Monday 17 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.0 - Creating Reflective Web Media

  1. Listen to the 2.0 lecture and read over the details for assignments three and four.

  2. Skim over topics 2.1 though to 2.4 - think about which elements interest you the most, and what you might like to focus on for your Reflective Web Media Creation and the related Pitch.

  3. There are four videos below. Some have content that relates to this unit, but all are in a format and style that would make an appropriate Reflective Web Media Creation. Think about how these videos were probably constructed. What techniques were likely used and how long would it have taken to make each one? Do you think any of these videos show a style you might like to try and utilise? How else might you approach the format of your Reflective Web Media Creation?

Core Viewing:
Consider these four videos:





Thursday 13 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 1.5 - Photography

1. As the introduction to this week's coursework says, "From a professional, elite and almost mythical media form, as it becomes web media photography has transformed into one of the most accessible and most banal of media forms, second only to text".  However, as Sturken says, "technologies interact with people and the forces of politics, economics, and other aspects of culture in various social and historical contexts, resulting in changes not only in the technologies themselves but also in social practices and uses".  Cobley and Haeffner quote Chalfen (1987) who says that "technological innovations are, and will continue to be, less important than culture's contribution to providing a continuity in a model and pattern of personal pictorial communication".  So while photography is now ordinary and everywhere, it's very ubiquitousness has resulted in many social and cultural changes.

2. Cobley and Haeffner quote Feldges (2008) who identifies four main genres of domestic photography - idiomatic micro-communication (where the main aim is to capture non-verbal communication such as a snapshot of a child's face on a swing), macro-communication (which is a bit vague and arty), the presentational spectacular (big, bright, clear nature-style sort of shots) and the scientific idiom (for example, closeups of a drop of water landing in a pool).  Considering that I've never heard of any of these descriptors and I personally think the majority of photographers today are just happy snapshot snappers, I'm not convinced that means that most users have a better understanding of what makes a good photograph at all - there are an awful lot of poorly framed, poorly lit and poorly taken photos out there.

3. Sturken's reading finishes with this: "images and media forms are no longer so tightly bound to the idea of representing a real, and visual technologies are no longer as pervasively regarded as replicating or objectively performing the work of the eye".  Which essentially means, you can't really "trust" photos to be a factual source of reality any more.


Wednesday 12 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 1.4 - Games

1.  Costikyan refers to Chris Crawford's 1982 book "The Art of Computer Game Design" and makes the distinction that "A puzzle is static.  A game is interactive."  But you can interact with a game without it being social - ie. single player chess games, or Solitaire, or Sim City, or Bejeweled.  I think a social game is one where a level of either collaboration or competition between individuals is involved.

2.  As Stew says on Blackboard this week:

When we strip away the whizbangery, Doom is arguably just 'Cowboys and Indians' (mechanic = shooting), Bejewelled is just 'snap' (mechanic = pattern recognition) and Pacman is just 'chasey' (mechanic = evade)

So while many of the games themselves are based on the same mechanics as pre-digital games, the fact that they can be played simultaneously across the internet with hundreds or thousands of other people at the same time makes them different.

3. I don't agree that games can change the world, fundamentally.  I tend to agree with this week's lecture, that life isn't a game and that games don't generally have consequences, but real life does and for that reason it's important to separate play from real life.  Having said that, games can teach people certain skills such as collaboration, problem solving, hand/eye coordination, etc.  An example would be fighter pilots, who play fighter pilot games to help them train for real-life flying of a plane.  But the consequences within the game if they mess up, are different to the consequences if they mess up in real life.


Wednesday 5 January 2011

Bargain online shopping sites I've found (thanks Gerry Harvey)

Following on from yesterday's post, there has been plenty of online discussion and a rather large Twitter smackdown directed at Gerry Harvey, which has been somewhat amusing.  According to Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten in the Age today, ''Online retail sales account for about 3 per cent of all retail sales in Australia and it is estimated that between 20 per cent to half of these sales relate to overseas purchases'', which the Age interprets as "meaning overseas online sales could be as little as 0.6 per cent of total retail sales."  Of course, now that Gerry & co. have chosen to spend $200k on spreading the word and consumer's reactions are now splashed across every newspaper in the country, it's only a matter of time before more people clue in on how much cheaper it can be to shop online and that percentage rises.
Here's some of the things I've learned this week:
  • Appliances are much cheaper online (and they're Australian).  OK, I already knew this but let's spread the word!
  • has free worldwide shipping and their book prices are WAY lower than anything you can find in Australia (thanks Herald-Sun).
  • has loads of running shoes and free shipping if your order is more than US$75.
  • If you're into designer, online outlets in the US such as Shopbop are awesome.
And the old favourites:
  • rocks, always (got a box set of the Chronicle of Narnia a few weeks ago at almost half the price of any Australian retailers).
  • eBay can be great for bargains, but know your brands and beware of fakes - always read a seller's feedback before you bid.
I'll add more as I come across them in the media.
Nicky xo

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Australian retailers greed

This is the type of nonsense that I woke up to this morning:

Led by a bunch of fat-cat millionaires and multi-millionaires who are suddenly seeing their MASSIVELY overinflated margins being slowly chipped away by *gasp* that nasty old Internet.

Today I bought a new washing machine at price - $596, including free delivery and removal of the old one. Harvey Norman price - RRP $899. Gerry Harvey, you may be a millionaire but you are also a moron - it's not "overseas" retailers creating an uneven playing field, it's your own over-priced stores full of under-trained staff who "just have to go and ask someone" that are the issue. GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND BUILD A DECENT WEBSITE... and stfu. Thank you.

PS: Just found this article at Delimiter that says it better than I can!

PPS: I'm still giggling at the irony that the Australian government introduced a GST 10 years ago, with no obvious thoughts about the concept of international retail, even though it was at least 5 years after eBay was well and truly established...