Recreation or Irritation: The Line Between Copyright and Fair Use

 

UGH. It’s so hard to answer this question, because I am thinking about this on the larger scale, not just about Girl Talk. Aside from the fact that I think his music is TERRIBLE, I listened to “Night Ripper” in its entirety on YouTube and could barely sit through it, but just because I don’t personally care for it doesn’t mean that nobody does. Pretty much all of life is just recreations and samples from other parts and other people; especially art and culture. So in that way of thinking I fully support his style and business, and leave it up to the listeners to decide whether or not to partake. However, there was a lot of time, money, thought, and man hours put into the creations of each and every one of the songs he uses, without permission, and on that note—I do not agree at all.  If I was one of the artists of the original songs I would be pretty annoyed that someone was sampling my music, without my permission, to make an”original” work of art.

As you noticed the quotations over original, I don’t believe his works fall into the classification of original simply because he didn’t transform them enough. When breaking glass, plastic or any other materials to make a mosaic, you are completely transforming those pieces into an original work of art. The previous piece has to lose enough of its original integrity and identity in order to be used into another piece, and I don’t feel like Girl Talk does that at all.

Back to the point though, if he is able to obtain permission from every single artist he samples, then there is legally and morally nothing wrong with what he is doing. However, since he isn’t doing that it raises the question of violation. BUT then thinking back to it, as the manifesto said “Culture always builds on the past”. Which I stated earlier was very true. I’m trying so hard to avoid the question right now, but for sake of the assignment, shotgun to my head if I was a judge, I would call it theft, a violation of copyright law and not allow him to record or sell it in the future.

All of this as you imagined definitely leads to copyright being the single most important legal consideration in our digital environment. Although we have the societal factors and moral reasons to allow for free expression and the use and reuse of the previous in order to grow a better tomorrow, what are the definitive lines in the sand for this issue? I have an iPhone, if someone walks up, takes it, then starts using it it would be considered stealing, no? Therefore what is the legal definition and physical representation of our intellectual property? If I spend my whole life working on the perfect song, writing each lyric from my heart and own experiences—just to have Girl Talk mash it with the latest Taylor Swift song and call it original, I wouldn’t be okay with that at all. Copyright can both help and impede the creative process, from what I just stated of upholding one’s creation, to severely inhibiting one from moving forward if someone manages to invoke copyright on something that isn’t so black and white as the previous example.

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The copyright infringement lawsuit has gotten to such a ridiculous level that CBS is suing one social media user for posting stills from a 1948 episode of Gunsmoke. 

Althought this previous example rom CBS is an extreme case, and as you will read very revengeful, it still leaves the fact that although CBS’ lawsuit is quite ridiculous, it is technically true, and the user is technically in the wrong. With the lines between fair use, Creative Commons and actual copyright blurring each day there are no solid laws or guidelines in place where someone could confidently create an artistic project without fear of infringement. Moving forward, with the ease of access we now have to almost everything every published anywhere on the web, it is only going to get more and more difficult to place blame and hold people accountable to copyright.

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God, I Wish I Knew How To Code

Honestly, my view is that regardless of my personal or anyone else’s personal views, programming and product management in the media industry is growing far more rapid than anyone would have expected. In the tween months between my application to graduate school and my acceptance I began looking for relevant jobs to both my bachelor’s degree and what direction I wanted to move forward with. However, I am SO LUCKY that I was accepted into this program, because although I had spend the past four years studying, learning and designing—I apparently still wasn’t ready to take on a professional position at any publication.

My dream is to honestly become the male version of Anna Wintour(minus the attitude). However, I’d settle for art/creative director of National Geographic Magazine. A good start for my career path would be some sort of junior designer, layout editor, or even a social media controller for any sort of print or online publication. So, those were the exact jobs I was looking for. To my dismay, each one preferred some sort of html, css or other coding-like knowledge, which I honestly don’t have. In highschool I took one html class, and aside from the fact that I took it 8 years ago and remember close to nothing, the game has changed and advanced tremendously since I studies html. Specific knowledge will no longer get you anywhere in today’s technologically advanced society.

As disappointed I was, I am more than glad I began this program here at Texas State University. Not only will I have the knowledge and skills to land any one of these jobs, I will just have a greater understanding of technology which we have all expressed is the future.

 

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The biggest challenge for project management is not only to stay focused themselves, but to keep the entire team focused as well. All the while constantly defining and redefining project goals, and relaying these new goals and parameters to the staff. Even more, they must keep up with any further changes or advancements in the area they are working in.

Erik Palmer sympathizes with this, and is trying his hardest to really advance and widen the scope of journalism in the classroom with his ‘disruptive journalism’ course at Southern Oregon University.

Coding has become, as I said earlier, a preferred skill on most jobs in journalism and even beyond this field. However, the way it looks we may be moving towards coding being on the required skill list for every job in our searches before we know it. Programs like this Digital Media concentration are great, and will 100% help me achieve that dream job I hope to one day have. However if I would have learned even one thing about coding during my time in undergrad I would be miles ahead from where I am now.

Journalism today: Coding tomorrow

Not only journalism, but literally every aspect of our daily lives are changing in some way due to technology and the rise of social media. Because of this new digital world we are—not only dipping our toes into now, but soon to be completely immersed—in, we must find new ways to adapt and transform our current businesses.

When looking at journalism’s future, it only makes sense that any journalist would need to code or have some other kind of “superpower” to move forward in this field. With every media company losing money to alternative, cheaper, or even free competitors—we simply cannot afford to have a single staff member for every task; instead we must have one for all. This is a strategy that should and probably is reaching out way past journalism, simply because of its practicality in today’s society.

However staffing is not the only way in which our business world needs to transform, we must learn how to both reach and interact with the consumer as well as adapt to all of the different platforms, all the while turning a big enough profit to keep our companies afloat.

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What a company like the NYT has is customer loyalty and brand recognition, there are so many news outlets that are free, but how many are there that are completely reliable? Personally I go through CNN to check fact all my news, because that is the outlet I see as most reliable, but I’m sure there are many people who feel that way about the NYT, and that might need to be where they maximize their future on. To compete with a company like Buzzfeed, they will need to not only keep up with the changing times and trends of online, social journalism—but also bring things to the table that aren’t elsewhere. I’m not going to lie, I pay $39.99/year for the NYT crossword app; it comes out to less than $3/month and keeps me busy sometimes, as that’s the only game I have on my phone. However, for the price of $119.00/year for their entire digital access subscription the NYT is really gonna have to bring a lot more to the table.

To be frank, I don’t necessarily care for Buzzfeed personally however I STILL click on their page to see which Game of Thrones character I’d be or what animal I am based on the music I listen to. You, I, or the NYT can criticize them all we want, but at the end of the day Buzzfeed is producing content interesting enough to attract viewers in the masses and their business is doing very well because of that.

While they are praising themselves for their consumer focused business model and highlighting the fact that their consumer revenue increased a mere 33% in 10 years, they are eluding to the fact that their total revenue still fell short $0.4 bullion from where it was in 2004. The NYT should really take a look at Facebook’s business model and maybe find some middle ground on how they feel about ads.

Dr. Royal’s model for bringing women into the fold of the tech industry can actually be very well translated to this problem as well. If colleges and universities begin to merge the curriculums of computer science not only with journalism programs, but with all programs honestly,  we will begin to have a whole class of students fluent in business, art, journalism, accounting and so much more—all with basic or even advanced coding skills in order to elevate them to the level needed in the hiring processes seen today.

Insights: Women Who Code

Last week was Texas State University’s annual Mass Comm Week, providing various events throughout the week for its students about the field of mass communication. A new event this year, the Women Who Code Panel, was added by Dr. Cindy Royal—Associate Professor of Mass Communication—to increase the awareness and provide a positive message about women, who are so underrepresented, in the profession of coding and web development. The panel included four alumni of Texas STatue University; Becky Larson—Web developer at USAA, Ashley Hebler—Web Developer at Cox Media Group, Kimberly Cook—Web Developer at Zenoss, Erica Toney—Web Developer at Rainman Creative, as well as Holly Gibson from Women Who Code, Austin. 

Throughout the panel the women were asked questions such as how they ended up in this profession coming from such different backgrounds or how exactly they found the jobs they are currently at. Another question asked what their thoughts were on big scandals such as the Google Inc. memo or the UBER harassment case; to which Cook expressed from her experience that it was mainly “individuals who felt this way, not groups” when referring to men’s prejudice against women. Toney furthered the conversation by saying “give them a reason not to say no to you”. Unfortunately however not all are able to share that same spirit and drive, Laraine Shawa, junior at Texas State and a former Computer Science major shared her thoughts with me after the event, “I can definitely understand what [women] must be going through in the professional setting, even at the educational level when I was a CS major, I just felt so out of place. I think that is really where this movement needs to start.” 

Is this issue getting any better? Are we progressing at a rate steady enough to get us where we need to be? With men still not caring, or acknowledgeing that there is even a problem—at least not substantially enough compared to women, we are finding it hard to really get in there and turn things right side up. 

I will say however, events such as this one are definitely a step in the right direction when thinking about this issue as a whole. Putting strong, powerful women who code in the spotlight might make even me pursue a career in coding.

But Ricky, I wanna code too!

**If I Love Lucy was a sitcom in 2017.** Just to explain my title a bit.  

The—quite frankly—ridiculous thing about this is that even 60 years later we are still seeing gender as an issue to a point where you can actually compare the gender gap to that of the 1950’s. It would have been one thing if women had zero history in the field, and trying to integrate them completely might prove taskful. However as we saw with Ada Lovelace, women have always been in the tech, programming and coding field; which makes this gap even more strange and even more frustrating. Moreover, most people who work in the tech industry are relatively young, and as the progressive millennial generation we are, why can’t we get this one right?

Aside from the direct day to day sexism that is happening across the board, there is a certain social-mental setback when you’re the minority in any situation, but especially one where you’re constantly in day in and day out. This is why diversity in the workplace is such an important thing, mainly because of the sheer amount of time one is at the workplace. 

When it comes to the tech industry sexism and racism is really preventing us from reaching our highest potential. In order to further progress it is imperative that we find ways around these issues, be it some sort of affirmative action, education, or simply making structural and staff changes in workplaces. 

What’s good though, is how the wonderful women of this year’s Women Who Code panel are setting that example for other women and creating change themselves on the daily. This brings me to the questions I have for them:
1. What is your personal goal for bridging the gender gap, what are you doing or want to do to try and help?

2. Have you ever been at work and thought “I shouldn’t be doing this.”? How do you cope with those thoughts?

3. Not even if, but how many times have you experiences sexism in the workplace, and what was the absolute worst situation?  

It’s Worth A Google

When thinking of Google, whether it be Inc. or .com, we need to think about it and recognize it for the empire that it is. Google is much more than a search engine or browser, it is a lifestyle—and that brand translates into users’ loyalty to it.

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I mean, just look at some, not even all of what they offer. If i need something translated, I go to Google, for class group projects, we use Drive, Google owns YouTube which literally everyone ever uses to watch ridiculous videos at 3 a.m. That they don’t really need to be watching; all the while showing ads for not only other businesses but for Google Inc. itself. Beyond advertisements it strengthens that brand I was talking about earlier, it allows them to be the household name that they have become.

This leads me into how Google Inc. really turns a profit: Advertising. Google Inc. does this through their  program called AdWords, which allows businesses to use certain keywords in order to determine when Google.com shows the corresponding adversitment. I searched the word “shoes: on Google.com and along the top of the page was presented with many brands who had obviously used AdWords to advertise. There was a little information icon at the corner of the ad section and I clicked on it, with the results shown below

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After reading “one of many factors”, I tried to see exactly what each and every one of those factors were—specifically. I then came across this, which helped, but really showed the fault in AdWords’ process, as long as a company is willing to pay

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As you saw the placement of an ad is determined by the bid multiplied by their quality score. Now, that is very effective in certain cases, but all company IV had to do was up their bid a little higher in order to tie with the company I, which might even in turn raise company IV’s quality store due to higher publicity.

This AdWords strategy may very well be how companies can and probably already do improve their SEO with Google.com. For example if there is a brand new company or website up, they would probably have a relatively low if any index for Google.com to display them on a search. But buying ads an creating traffic to their website, they can begin to both decrease the amount of money they pay for ads (due to a higher quality score) as well as begin to generate that organic traffic.

Let’s talk about competitors, all though Google has quite a few—is it really a competition? On the browser side we have Microsoft with Internet Explorer, and Apple with Safari. On the search engine side we have Microsoft yet again with Bing, and then now Verizon with Yahoo!, even further with that, you have the rise of information on social media. We can find news, weather even shopping on Twitter or Facebook often easier than through searching it on Google.com

Would it even be appropriate to say Google Inc. has the rest of the world as a collective competitor?

With Google Inc.’s various programs and initiatives being the epitome of relevancy, you see other tech companies outside of the traditional search trying to incorporate all different aspect of Google into themselves, to slowly break down this tech giant that, at the end of the day, is number one.

As we are ever changing in the technological world we are in today, as we move past these old traditions we once held on to; we very well may see Google.com or Google Inc. shift into a completely unrecognizable company one day.

 

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Under the Influence

The Problems

  • How much have foreign governments influenced past campaigns via social media?
  • Which demographics are these influences affecting more?
  • How many people are aware that not only foreign influence is happening, but that it could be—and probably is—1st happening to them?

The Issue

With the growing reality that foreign governments utilized social media to influence the outcome of the 2016 United States Presidential Election, it is clear that we have a real problem here…a few problems actually.

The video below is an unconventional, yet surprisingly informational video regarding fake accounts and how they can be used to influence users.

 

The Ethical Dilemma

A quote from the New York Times, regarding a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban of donations from foreign nationals to local, state or federal elections in the United States, states:

“Foreign nationals, other than lawful permanent residents, are completely banned from donating to candidates or parties, or making independent expenditures in federal, state or local elections.”

The law on this matter is pretty clear. However, it then comes to another question: Where exactly do borders lie when it comes to the World Wide Web?

Let’s say I have a family member who live in Russia, and they buy an ad on Facebook promoting something political in regards to our election; now there very well could be a way for their ads to be seen only by or including all of their friends—which would include me.

Should Facebook be able to regulate and hide my family member’s ad from me, just because it is political? Should the Unites States government be able to compel Facebook to hide my family members ads from me, just because it is political?

I know I’m stretching right now with this examples and this is in no way how foreign governments handled this in the past, however I’m merely making a point that there is significant gray space and margin for error when it comes to handling cases like this.

Without proper guidelines or parameters when it comes to the reality of the internets and daily use, how can we properly regaulate any aspect of online social media when it comes to laws of the physical world?

Regulation

When thinking of the basic issue, which is how this happened or how a company like Facebook didn’t notice these transactions. We must look towards Facebook itself and their policies in order to understand what they’re doing, or could be doing better in order to prevent this from happening in the future.

I should mention however, The FEC (Federal Elections Commission), hasn’t updated its policy regarding online communications in elections since 2006, which as we know in the tech world is ancient. So Facebook isn’t entirely to blame when it comes to these issues.

However, Facebook is at least partly to blame. Although there is some gray area due to the rise of social media and the internet’s involvement with campaigning, as stated in the previous section the general law is pretty straightforward.

Was Facebook more aware of these issues than they led us to believe? Did Facebook executives allow this to happen in order to get more revenue?

Looking Ahead

I think what’s most important is having everyone at the same table, to hold the conversations about issues such as this one.

If we have a bunch of old school politicians running the FEC who know little to nothing about the inner workings of the internet and/or social media, how can we expect that government agency to be in line with the ever advancing status quo of the tech industry?

Further lets get diligent compliance officers at companies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google and make sure all of these companies are following the rules, even the broad ones, to their best extent.

Also I think its important that there be solid lines of communications on all fronts, and heightened transparency when it comes to foreign and governmental relations. Facebook, Twitter and Google alike have positioned themselves as front runners of the information technology age; with that position comes great responsibility. We must hold accountable all parties involved when it comes to the standards we have as American citizens and our duty to uphold the democratic process.

 

With the 2018 primaries coming up, which could very well be a pivotal moment for democrats; it is important that we focus on these issues and reach some sort of progress by the time elections come around.

Do you have any ways you think Facebook or other companies should be regulating? Do you think it should fall on them or organizations like the FEC? Further, do you think the user is just a much responsible as the content creator when it comes to verifying sources and determining validity?