Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?

04/12/2009

1. Provide a quick over view or summary of the readings (3 – 5 sentences) (8pts)

The Sims
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In “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars? Grassroots Creativity Meets the Media Industry,” Jenkins walks the uninitiated through the ways in which media allows or does not allow for mashups, remixes, and collaborations with the audience. Specifically described are the ways in which Star Wars, Manga, The Sims, Online Gaming Universes, Modding and Movie production see audience collaboration as either a nuisance, a source for direction, an inspiration, prohibited, creative, or dangerous, and how the more restrictive the re-use of the media, the more limited its potential for adoption and longevity. The Lessig view of folk collaboration and read write culture is compared with the corporation as cornered and threatened by dilution culture, and while the writing is far from biased, it’s clear that there is a suggestion to producers to allow for audience collaboration in return for the many potential benefits of doing so.

2. Clearly Identify what you feel are 3 key ideas in the readings (8pts)

1. Media producers who decide that audience-as-collaborator is a threat to their creation are going to have a great deal of work keeping people from doing it and may damage their fan base in the cease and desist effort.

2. Media producers who allow or encourage audience collaboration may be able to gather feedback about new directions for the franchise, may gather stronger ties with audiences, may be able to discover new talent for their creative teams, and may be able to develop new avenues for their content.

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3. While outright outlawing of audience media manipulation will likely result in an audience backlash, the audience as creator will often accept suggestions for what is legitimately allowed within the recreation of stories, ideas, and characters of the franchise. This can be done using media contest rules, community rules, and official sponsorship of media that respects the rules.

3. Support your summary and/or key points with three specific references to the readings (7pts)

“The Star Wars franchise has been pulled between these two extremes both over time (as it responds to shifting consumer tactics and technological resources) and across media (as its content straddles between old and new media). Within the Star Wars franchise, Hollywood has sought to shut down fan fiction, later, to assert ownership over it and finally to ignore its existence; they have promoted the works of  fan video makers but also limited what kinds of movies they can make; and they have sought to collaborate with gamers to shape a massively multiplayer game so that it better satisfies player fantasies” (p. 134)

“If, as some have argued, the emergence of modern mass media spelled the doom for the vital folk culture traditions that thrived in nineteenth-century America, the current moment of media change is reaffirming the right  of everyday people to actively contribute to their culture.” (p. 132)

“With the consolidation of power represented by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, American intellectual property law has been rewritten to reflect the demands of mass media producers — away from providing economic incentives for individual artists and toward protecting the enormous economic investments media companies made in branded entertainment; away from a limited duration protection that allows ideas to enter general circulation while they still benefited the common good and toward the notion that copyright should last forever; away from the ideal of a cultural commons, and toward the ideal of intellectual property.” (p. 137)

Lawrence Lessig
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4. Identify the most difficult or challenging concept for you from this week’s readings. Saying “I don’t know” or “nothing was difficult” is not an adequate response. (8pts)I am wholly personally invested in the idea of Creative Commons. I am a Lessig fanboy. I release most of my creative work under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license, which allows for commercial re-use, modifications, and incorporation of my ideas into projects, as long as I’m credited, and as long as the resulting work is licensed in the same fashion. My most challenging concept is why Lucasfilm, Wil Wright, and other creators who have given great breadth of creativity to the audience in remixing and collaborating with their brands won’t consider licensing some (or most) of their work in the same way. Maybe I’m dreaming, but I think it could do great things in terms of longevity and expansion of the brands.

5. Provide 2 or 3 discussion questions for us to talk about in class (6pts)

Padre de Familia, Star Wars
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In what ways have you participated in Popular Culture remixing? Has anyone here modded a game, written fan fiction, mashed up a scene from Star Wars, or made a parody of mass media?

Does anyone have an example of a audience created piece of media that affected their feelings positively or negatively about the original media that inspired it?

6. Discuss how this week’s readings might relate to your upcoming presentation, paper or to the “real world.” Here too, saying “I don’t know” or “it does not apply” is not an adequate response. (8pts)

I feel that the ideas presented in this week’s readings are reflective of my own feelings about the topic. I feel that media that have been commercially produced are enhanced, extended, and recieve benefits from mashups and remixes. The only one who can potentially lose is the original producer who sees the remix as a threat, and who does not embrace it as a way of promoting their own brand. By attacking fans who are simply trying to celebrate the work (even in the form of a critique perhaps) you might only serve to alienate other fans.

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Behind the Twitter Mad-ness – WSJ.com

02/28/2009
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In the digital media convergence concepts of particpatory culture, bottom up media, microblogging, and digital self, this is an interesting article that talks about the phenomenon where people tweet on twitter in the voice and persona of characters from the popular AMC TV show called MadMen.

The people behind three of the most mysterious Twitter accounts, those themed after the AMC television show “Mad Men,” have kept their identities a secret—until now.

So who are @PeggyOlson, @BettyDraper and @Roger_Sterling? Together, the characters from the halcyon days have more than 24,000 followers on the microblog and have written nearly 3,000 tweets, as posts on Twitter are called.

via Behind the Twitter Mad-ness – WSJ.com.

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State of the Art – Amazon.com’s Kindle Goes From Good to Better – NYTimes.com

02/24/2009
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David Pogue talks about the Kindle in this article, which we talked about in class last time. However, he also talks about that quirky aspect of Convergence, in which older formats and newer formats don’t replace each other or even resemble each other directly, but are rather influenced heavily by one another, such that anything that comes after benefits from both existing.

So, for the thousandth time: is this the end of the printed book?

Don’t be silly.

The Kindle has the usual list of e-book perks: dictionary, text search, bookmarks, clippings, MP3 music playback and six type sizes (baby boomers, arise). No trees die to furnish paper for Kindle books, either.

But as traditionalists always point out, an e-book reader is a delicate piece of electronics. It can be lost, dropped or fried in the tub. You’d have to buy an awful lot of $10 best sellers to recoup the purchase price. If Amazon goes under or abandons the Kindle, you lose your entire library. And you can’t pass on or sell an e-book after you’ve read it.

via State of the Art – Amazon.com’s Kindle Goes From Good to Better – NYTimes.com.

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New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com

02/23/2009
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In terms of convergence, the whole of shared knowledge, and collective intelligence, Google is cutting themselves off from the “Deep Web” — the trillion databases of information that remain untapped as sources of information, cross information, and potentially, artificial intelligence:

Beyond those trillion pages lies an even vaster Web of hidden data: financial information, shopping catalogs, flight schedules, medical research and all kinds of other material stored in databases that remain largely invisible to search engines.

The challenges that the major search engines face in penetrating this so-called Deep Web go a long way toward explaining why they still can’t provide satisfying answers to questions like “What’s the best fare from New York to London next Thursday?” The answers are readily available — if only the search engines knew how to find them.

via New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com.

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Reading Review and Journal (for February 24th)

02/22/2009

1. Topic for your final Paper

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How Google is making us brilliant; how Google, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other tools like these will allow us all to achieve higher collective intelligence on several layers and at several axes.

2. Thesis for your final paper. It is the central idea you would like to present in your final paper. The more specific the better. Please make sure to demonstrate how your thesis is related to the Internet and digital media convergence concepts, theories, or models we have covered in our class.

Google provides an interface to a growing collection of collective knowledge, which with proper training, can be tapped efficiently to help solve any problem that has been previously solved and shared. Twitter allows you to ask the world a question, and get 1,000 answers in an instant. Facebook allows for us all to interconnect on a visual verbal basis, actively or passively, allowing for a more comprehensive look at each other’s (constructed) profiles and provides a way to grasp deeper socio-emotional connections with others. Blogs allow us to quickly produce our own pieces of collective intelligence, feeding Google all the while, providing new fodder for Facebook and Twitter, and generally increasing the amount of known published knowledge with each post.

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3. Two articles (academic or professional) that you would like to use in your paper.

Ivana Marenzi, Elena Demidova, & Wolfgang Nejdl. (2008, June 30). DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://dspace.learningnetworks.org/handle/1820/1260?mode=full&submit_simple=Show+full+item+record.

L. Johnson, A. Levine, & R. Smith. (n.d.). 2009 Horizon Report. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/.

Readwriteweb, S. P. (2009, January 30). How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/01/30/30readwriteweb-how_to_friend_mom_dad_and_the.html?em.

Stone, B., & Stelter, B. (2009, February 19). Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/technology/internet/19facebook.html?_r=1&em.

4. Brief summary of the two articles.

LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning provides a theoretical framework that focuses on the sublime ability for social networks and technology services to enhance learning. This article brings to light some of the ways in which social networks can be particularly utilized in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning. This is in stark contrast to the idea promoted in “Is Google Making us Stupid?”

The 2009 Horizon Report is a yearly prediction of the ways in which current and emerging technologies will affect teaching, learning, and society in general. It is a strikingly accurate and thoroughly enjoyable read for a technologist who has faith in the ways in which technology can help us change for the better.

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The two New York Times articles focus on Facebook. One describes best practices for information sharing for the new user, how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing the wrong information or sharing it in the wrong way. The other article speaks about the recent flap in which Facebook changed its terms of service (TOS) to indicate that the content that users add to the system belonged solely to the company forever. A blog post on The Consumerist brought the change light and public scrutiny, and Facebook quickly reverted to its previous TOS language. This speaks to the concepts of collective intelligence, bottom up media vs. top down media, information ownership, and others that help define Digital media convergence.

5. Brief discussion about how the two articles are related to your thesis.

The LearnWeb 2.0 article shows a framework that could potentially exemplify my thesis that learning is enhanced and magnified with the proper application of Social networking tools.

The 2009 Horizon Report defines a long list of technologies and the ways in which they will theoretically affect learning spaces, learners, teaching, distance learning, mobile learners, portable media in learning, and other aspects of gathering and gaining intelligence.

An example of a social network diagram.
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The two New York Times articles on Facebook will help to bring to light issues regarding the broad increase in information sharing and the relevant importance of guiding new users to use the systems properly. It also helps to show the blurry line that exists between producer, consumer, content owner, intellectual property owner, and privacy in the shared online space.

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Open Source – The Washington Times – Home

02/20/2009
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Some old media are embracing new methods, including openness and portability of data, such as the Washington Times. This is big.

The Washington Times has always focused on content. After careful review, we determined that the best way to have the top tools to produce and publish that content is to release the source code of our in-house tools and encourage collaboration.

The source code is released under the permissive Apache License, version 2.0.

via Open Source – The Washington Times – Home.

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Obama’s Latest Pick for DOJ is RIAA Lawyer Who Killed Grokster and Sued Jammie Thomas – ReadWriteWeb

02/06/2009
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This is an interesting story considering the copyright issues that are being brought into the spotlight by bottom-up creators and convergence in general. I’m an avid supporter of creative commons licensed media, and so I don’t really see the threat of this affecting me directly as a content producer, but I can certainly see those who want to abuse or abuse copyrighted material being potentially upset by this. In the middle, though, there are the people who want to simply make a copy of a DVD they bought as a backup, which many of these legal representatives might have a big problem with, and that does concern me. Moreover, freeing media is definitely something I’m for as a consumer.

DSLReports notes that Obama’s own ethics rules would prohibit these appointees from directly working on copyright issues, as they previously represented the entertainment industry in these cases, but it is somewhat disconcerting that the Obama administration would pick so many industry insiders for these positions. We would have hoped that the administration had chosen a set of appointees with a more progressive attitude towards copyright.

via Obama’s Latest Pick for DOJ is RIAA Lawyer Who Killed Grokster and Sued Jammie Thomas – ReadWriteWeb.

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