Rip/Mix/Burn

The controversial topic of pirated content has generated many heated debates across many industries around the globe. Movies, games, and audio files are just some of the content in such strong demand that individuals and groups have taken to producing content illegally in order to tap into the demands of consumer to make money. Now, I am sure that at some point or another virtually every person is guilty of illegal file sharing but the ramifications of a seemingly innocent act are more serious than people realise.

Mp3s and p2ps are examples of disruptive technology, which help to create new markets by applying a new value network that eventually overtakes an existing market. The Mp3 form epitomizes a disruptive technology as it is perfectly designed for “illegal file sharing”, meaning it was specifically devised for “quick and easy transfers, anonymous relations between provider and receiver, cross-platform compatibility, stockpiling and easy storage and access.” (Johnathan 2006)

P2p stands for peer-to-peer and refers to a computer network in which all computers act as both clients and servers. “P2p technology then is simply giving new power to this defining feature of human existence, which was only somewhat subdued in the analog media environment” (Stalder 2008).

Napster is the ground zero for mass file sharing with (as of Feb. 2001) over 26 million users, sharing over a billion files. These figures are astronomical but over a decade old. It is difficult, if not impossible, to single handedly predict where the figures would stand now with an increasing number of individuals and communities around the globe turning to technology for communication and information. Other file sharing apps include Bearshare, which closed in 06, DC++, Soulseek, and torrenting e.g. uTorrent.

The pyramid of Internet privacy is a fundamental aspect of file sharing especially illegal file sharing. At the top sits suppliers who illegally record films that are then sold to ‘replicators’ who rapidly produce millions of copies. These copies are then distributed by release groups/top sites that consist are individuals who obtain pirated content from suppliers and are the first source of piracy on the Internet. Facilitators including internet directories or search engines then coordinate the exchange of pirated content between downloaders/file sharers who use p2p software that allows fast and easy sharing between computers.

The gradual progression of musical history reflects the shift in the socio-moral values of society.

Gospel -> funk -> hip-hop -> rave -> jungle -> d‘n’d -> breakcore

Composers have incorporated breakbeats, the Amen, subgenres and even the audience in order to highlight that “the sharing of culture is constitutive of culture itself and corresponds with a deep human need to communicate.” (Stalder 2008)

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Nerds, what can’t they do?!

The idea of a nerd has dramatically morphed in today’s society from the quintessential odd, extremely intelligent, socially awkward to the centre of modern technology and has even undertaken the transformation of becoming cool. I am pleased to publicly announce (or at least to those of you who are reading this) that yes I am a nerd/geek/dork/weirdo/unapologetic enthusiast (although apparently nowadays that’s the norm.)

Convergent media practices have helped to transform the stereotypical image of a geek, allowing greater accessibility and impact to audiences who have never truly been passive. The desire to be social and create sub communities along with the freedom and non exclusivity of the internet, nerds around the globe have united to form Clubs and societies including the infamous “Nerd Fighters”.

The fusing of subculture and big business has generated mixed views among geeks themselves with some feeling that their area of interest has been tainted by mainstream industry, while others feel they are being catered to on a much larger, more prominent scale. The ideas of “coolness and nerd” are no longer mutually exclusive and now share a symbiotic relationship due to personal interpretation and choice. The entertainment industry has created a platform whereby nerds can gain visibility and reclaim the nerd labels. Producers (including Steven Spielberg and Josh Lucas,) actors (Scarlett Johansson and Justin Timberlake,) television presenters, and authors have all contributed in changing the representations of nerds in society by identifying themselves as nerds.

To aid in bridging the gap between nerds and coolness individuals must adhere to conditions of plausibility regarding coolness in the form of irony and self-reflexivity. Through this process nerds become less threatening and a comfortable distance between the ‘self’ and ‘nerd’ is created to evoke a sense of protection for the audience. The notion of unself-conscieness is another contributing factor towards the interlocking of nerd and coolness using ironical enthusiasm to create a paradox that generates a sense of authenticity to an individual consolidating credibility, legitimacy and a senesce of place.

Convergent media practices no longer rely on geographical location or cost to create sub cultures and communities but instead uses friendships across the globe, the creation of fan fiction to create a wider audience, collaboration of individuals to produce the convoluted notion of fans becoming fans of fans, and collective intelligence and activism to support charities including World Vision and Protect for Awesome.

Giving the people a voice

The issue of abortion is reasonably universal and is extremely controversial so it is no surprise that it has sparked discussions throughout social networking sites. Individuals supporting the legalisation of abortion argue that the developing fetus lacks moral status while those opposing this view content that the unborn child possesses a moral status exactly because it is a human being. However it is generally accepted among abortion rights advocates, with our contemporary knowledge of growing fetuses, to draw the line at the moment of birth.

For my BCM110 issue I have highlighted this already sensitive subject to focus on after-birth abortions and how this is presented in the media.

Online blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Podcasts have all played a major role in facilitating the general public in voicing their opinions and concerns and distributing them worldwide. In opposition to some academics who view post-birth abortion only marginally (if at all) different to pre-birth abortion, including Anthony Ozimic from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children who says “there is no difference in moral status between a child one day before birth and a child one day after birth,” everyday citizens see after-birth abortion as equivalent to murder.

Twitter is bursting at the seams to accommodate the amount of people frantically trying to get their voice heard with hash tags such as #abortion, #ProLife, and #personhood being created to collectively argue against after-birth abortions. Many YouTube videos have surfaced from across the globe in the form of News programs (like this one) and personal beliefs that can be accessed, liked and commented on by anyone, anywhere, anytime, giving the general public a powerful, collective voice.

After-abortion circulation

My issue for BCM110 is after-birth abortion that continues to be considered a heated topic of arguments throughout all media platforms. Literary media including newspaper and journal articles written by journalists and academics from such sources as British Medical Journal, Journal of Medical Ethics, Washington Post, and CBN News present the issue as a medical procedure devoid of emotional attachments rather than a moral and social concern.

This approach to this universal and extremely complex subject has provoked severe criticism in some cases (most notably towards Giubilini and Minerva for their article supporting after-birth abortions) for their insensitive and at times blunt opinions.  While other academic works have been created to present the issue in a concise, detached manner to merely inform rather than to pass judgment.

The perspectives of academic articles have both supported and dismissed the notion of after-birth abortions. The most controversial of which was an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics that evoked an intense response from audiences by stating that foetuses and newborns “do not have the same moral status as actual persons” and “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant”. This remark prompted responses including Stuart Cowie, from the LIFE charity retorting “The idea that respectable academics at prestigious universities would argue for the killing of newborn babies seems monstrous,” and also reassurance from the British medical Journal saying “Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well-reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises.”

It should be noted that along with scholars and academics who are well educated on the subject, journalists have also written articles on after-birth abortions. Journalists who have no authority in the field and whose job it is to not only inform the general public but also to sell papers reducing the reliability of the opinions and information put forth by the author.

Technological and economic dynamics

The notion of transmedia and the technological and economic dynamics of the channels within media platforms, is a collective intelligence that establishes a world by encompassing different aspects of one story that can be accessed over many channels.

Creating multiple transmedia channels increases the audience segments that engage the responder and immerses them further into the fictional experience. An experience that employs not only singular channels (such as a book, a movie or a game) but rather fuses many channels including fan fiction to create a rich, complete world. George Lucas and the Starwars universe has expanded considerably beyond the movies to incorporate games, comics, TV series, literature and fan fiction and in doing so the audience has increased significantly.

The use of multiple channels to sustain a story also has its limitations and restrictions to the audience in that only those who view through every channel experience the entirely of the world.  The Matrix phenomenon consists of a movie trilogy, the Animatrix series and games based on the movie that depend heavily on the content of the other channels, interweaving different elements into the same story.

The technological dynamic of the platform highlights how digital content flows fluently across channels that are not tied to stories. Content flow is a temporary contact point creating multidirectional channels. The economic dynamic of transmedia emphasises the importance of industry consolidation as a defense tactic and the role of size and scale in pre-empting and preventing failure. Many entry points allow greater interaction with responders creating a flexible, highly accessible media platform.