May 3, 2007

the Digg HD-DVD revolt visualized

via Information Aesthetics: “the movie shows the different visualization techniques from digg labs, showing how diggers disappear along with the stories as Digg deletes them.”

Also see my post from yesterday on the topic.

May 2, 2007

Cyber-revolt: Digg, Wikipedia, Slashdot

Andrew Lih’s got the scoop on the cyber-revolt over censorship of the new HD-DVD hack that came out yesterday.

And then I saw the elements align perfectly for this disaster:

* The issue: copyright of movies and video
* The technology: encryption key of HD-DVD discovered
* The community: users who posted the key
* The conflict: “censorship? of the key by higher ups
* The villain: the MPAA, RIAA and the Advanced Access Content System
* The co-conspirator:

What happened was an all-out cyber-revolt, with the three most visible and popular usergen sites in the crosshairs —, Slashdot and Wikipedia. It shows both the power and the danger of crowdsourcing, and the fickle balance between the mob and the operators.

After an incredible protest, Digg agreed to keep the data posted.

This is quite unprecedented — you basically have a multi-million dollar enterprise intimidated by its mob community into taking a stance that is rather clearly against the law.

It’s even more fascinating if you realize the amounts of money being considered here. Business Week had a front cover story about Digg, where they said,

So far, Digg is breaking even on an estimated $3 million annually in revenues. Nonetheless, people in the know say Digg is easily worth $200 million.

This hundred million dollar company has decided to follow its crowd, and face the music (and movie industry). It shows that this Web 2.0 has a dynamic very distinct from the original dot-com boom of the 1990s.

Read the whole thing here.

May 1, 2007

Writing Your Own Stuff, Then Keeping It

Hi everyone: Here is an article that touches on two subjects we have explored in this course, Second Life and to a greater extent, the recording industry. Thanks for the excellent Courtney Love article about the piracy of record companies, Krista, and for pointing out that it was an earlier version of her that wrote it. A corner of me is still pulling for her, though she kind of scares me.

Two of my favorite recording artists Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, are married, and co-created United Musicians, which helps musicians retain copyright to their own work, and to sell and distribute it themselved. Both had rocky histories with the record industry during their solo careers. This YouTube slice talks about the artistic problems one can encounter.

Net Neutrality

Be a supporter!

April 30, 2007

Intellectual property for Viacom or Google?

Viacom is pursuing a $1bn lawsuit against Google and YouTube for infringement on intellectual property. This is a few weeks after the chapter in the course but I think it will be an interesting battle without any clear winners.

Here is the article from Reuters today.


UPDATE 1-Google says Viacom lawsuit threat to Internet use
Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:59 PM ET

(Adds Google attorney interview, Viacom response, byline)

By Eric Auchard

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 30 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc.'s copyright infringement suit against Google Inc. and its YouTube video-sharing unit strikes at the heart of how the Internet works, Google argued on Monday in a U.S. federal court filing.

Responding in the filing to Viacom's more-than-$1 billion lawsuit, the Web search leader denied virtually all the claims, including that the popular video-watching site was engaged in "massive intentional copyright infringement."

"By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression," Google said in answer to Viacom's March 13 suit.

Google demands a jury trial to respond to allegations in the media conglomerate's lawsuit, according to legal papers filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and provided to reporters by the company.

Philip Beck of law firm Bartlit Beck, who argued President George W. Bush's side in the Florida vote-counting case following the 2000 election, is one of the attorneys from two outside firms named to represent Google. The Chicago-based attorney also defended Merck in the Vioxx drug case.

Wilson Sonsini, Silicon Valley's best-known law firm, and a frequent outside counsel for Google, is also joining the team.


As expected, Google's defense against allegations of failing to prevent YouTube users from pirating hundreds of thousands of clips from Viacom programming hinges on legal protections afforded by a 1998 copyright protection law.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) limits liability for Internet service providers that act quickly to block access to pirated online materials, once the copyright holder notifies a Web site of specific acts of infringement.

Viacom's suit challenges the "careful balance established by Congress," Google responded. "The DMCA balances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the Internet."

During its controversial nine-year history, the DMCA has acted as the legal standard defining U.S. copyright law in the digital age, offering a defense widely relied upon by Internet companies to protect themselves against copyright actions.

"Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA, but go well above and beyond what the law requires," Google's legal response states.

But a Viacom spokesman countered: "This response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA."

Michael Kwun, Google's managing counsel for litigation, said in an interview at its Silicon Valley headquarters that the company already offers copyright holders several technologies to identify pirated video. But he declined to specify a timeline for when Google will make so-called "video fingerprinting" technologies available to media rights owners.

Google's filing takes a technical approach to questions raised by the lawsuit, leaving aside questions of precedent or indications of eventual legal strategy for later proceedings. Motions for summary judgment and other legal moves would only occur at a later stage, Kwun said.

However, Kwun told reporters that Google intends to cite a series of decisions in favor of Inc. and eBay Inc. which have upheld the DMCA's "safe harbor" protections for Internet services hosting third-party content.

The next round will be a case management hearing in the Manhattan court of Judge Louis Stanton on July 27, he said.

In public forums over the past month, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has repeatedly labeled Viacom's suit as a "negotiating tactic."

Kwun said high-level contacts between the two sides' legal teams had taken place in recent weeks, but he denied the companies have held settlement talks since the suit was filed.

"This is a lawsuit we think should never have been brought," Kwun said. "We think Viacom will conclude the same thing."

April 26, 2007

$100 Laptop ends up costing more

Looks like the original story ended up being false, as the laptops are going to be almost twice as much as originally thought.

Sorry for so much posting by me, I didn't just go searching for this, it came to me on my Google Desktop's news. I thought some of the people with strong arguments for a laptop for everyone would see that it's just too early to do something like this so inexpensively. In a lot of countries $175 could be a good sized investment on a small business, I wish I could find a website to back me up on this, but I'm pretty with relative GDPs and PPPs, $175 can go a really long way.

Update on DRM from Jobs... Renting?

Related to our discussion from a few weeks ago from CNN:
Jobs: Apple customers not into renting music

April 24, 2007

So Sue Me!

If anyone is doing their project on patents/copyright, this story might help. Sounds a little ridiculous to me. Hmmm, well Apple had screens on their monitors first, Gateway, Dell and everyone else should be sued! Oh, pens that come to a point??? BIC needs some money or a lawsuit is coming. Ridiculous, really.

April 19, 2007

Web 2.0 is a bust?

I came across this article in Reuters about the success of Web 2.0. In the article it states that only 0.16 percent of visitors to YouTube are there to upload video and .02%, (two-tenths of one percent) of visitors to Flickr are there to upload photos.

The rest of us are just there to be couch potatoes and browse.

Here is the article:

Participation on Web 2.0 sites remains weak
Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:55PM EDT
By Eric Auchard
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Web 2.0, a catchphrase for the latest generation of Web sites where users contribute their own text, pictures and video content, is far less participatory than commonly assumed, a study showed on Tuesday.
A tiny 0.16 percent of visits to Google's top video-sharing site, YouTube, are by users seeking to upload video for others to watch, according to a study of online surfing data by Bill Tancer, an analyst with Web audience measurement firm Hitwise.
Similarly, only two-tenths of one percent of visits to Flickr, a popular photo-editing site owned by Yahoo Inc., are to upload new photos, the Hitwise study found.
The vast majority of visitors are the Internet equivalent of the television generation's couch potatoes -- voyeurs who like to watch rather than create, Tancer's statistics show.
Wikipedia, the anyone-can-edit online encyclopedia, is the one exception cited in the Hitwise study: 4.6 percent of all visits to Wikipedia pages are to edit entries on the site.
But despite relatively low-user involvement, visits to Web 2.0-style sites have spiked 668 percent in two years, Tancer said.
"Web 2.0 and participatory sites (are) really gaining traction," he told an audience of roughly 3,000 Internet entrepreneurs, developers and financiers attending the Web 2.0 Expo industry conference in San Francisco this week.
Web 2.0, a phrase popularized by conference organizer Tim O'Reilly, refers to the current generation of Web sites that seek to turn viewers into contributors by giving them tools to write, post, comment and upload their own creative work.
Besides Wikipedia, other well-known Web 2.0 destinations are social network sites like News Corp.'s MySpace and Facebook and photo-sharing site Photobucket.
Visits by Web users to the category of participatory Web 2.0 sites account for 12 percent of U.S. Web activity, up from only 2 percent two years ago, the study showed.
Web 2.0 photo-sharing sites now account for 56 percent of visits to all online photo sites. Of that, Photobucket alone accounts for 41 percent of the traffic, Hitwise data shows.
An older, first generation of sites, now in the minority, are photo-finishing sites that give users the ability to store, share and print photos.
© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

April 16, 2007

Survey Question #2

Scam Question #2

Have you ever viewed a potential Internet scam?
(i.e. pop-ups, emails, 'free iPod' banners on your browser)


April 12, 2007

The Second Life of Geeks

Here is something you probably do already know about, but I thought it was worth mentioning as we are looking for paper topics. The Geek Squad via Best Buy has planted a flag in Second Life.

Will they actually give advice? What will they charge? Will your computer need an avatar to be fixed?


Internet Scam Survey


1. Have you ever been a victim of internet crime?


Next >>

Current Results

April 11, 2007


Has anyone heard of Mute software? It's free software that "that provides easy search-and-download functionality while also protecting your privacy." It protects you from getting 'found out'. Read how:

I came across this website by doing a search on my favorite band, Metallica-which is funny to me since they were the biggest voice to oppose Napster (but now have changed their minds and are available to download on iTunes, yeah!).

The Web 2.0

Explained in a video :

Check that out, I like the conclusion.

April 8, 2007

Casting Calls via PodCast?

I was reading through one of my magazines and noticed that "casting calls" aren't necessarily done via face-to-face auditions or mailed in videos (way too old fashioned I guess). This particular ad from Lifefitness calls participants via a pod Interesting and most likely less time- and money-consuming for Lifefitness. Is this new or am I just late noticing?

April 6, 2007

random relevant news items

The MPAA names its Top 25 movie piracy schools. UMN didn’t make the list.

Creative Commons charts the growth of CC licensing on Flickr over the last eleven months. Up. Way up.

An extensive piece in New York Magazine about the Viacom v. Google suit.

The “first” iPod virus has been spotted. Most of you don’t need to worry about this, since it only affects Linux machines. And secondly, this is not the first iPod virus. A number of video iPods shipped with a factory-loaded Windows virus last September.

March 28, 2007

ABC "Repositioning"

The continued blurring of the lines in media has extended even further into television. This is a notice from ABC to their affiliates about the episodes available for viewing online. Pretty soon the computer and television will be one in the same....


March 27, 2007
Dear ABC Affiliate,
For your reference, please see below an updated list (last update issued 3/19/07 via ACS # 32) of our new, upcoming and current offerings available on the video player.
Please note, new additions are noted in bold and episodes that have been removed are noted with a line through it.
Upcoming/New Offerings:
•Dancing with the Stars The Results Show: - All telecasts will be added as they air.
•The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman - All episodes will be added as they air.
•The Great American Dream Vote - All episodes will be added as they air.
Current Offerings:
•According to Jim - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Brothers and Sisters - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air.
•Dancing with the Stars - All telecasts will be added as they air.
•Daybreak - All episodes from current season are available.
•Desperate Housewives - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Grey’s Anatomy - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Knights of Prosperity - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air.
•Lost -
?The four (4) most current episodes.
?The Lost Survival Guide - Half-hour Affiliate special has been added
?Sneak Peek - Added
?Lost Survivor Guide - Added
•Men in Trees - The pilot as well as the current episode (1) is available and will be swapped out once the next episode airs.
•October Road - All episodes will be added as they air.
•Six Degrees - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Ugly Betty -
The pilot as well as the four (4) most current episodes.
The Beauty of Ugly Betty - Half-hour Affiliate special
•What About Brian - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air

March 25, 2007


Looks like ex-Wiki Larry Sanger is creating a new free encyclopedia called Citizedium, but this time 'experts in given fields will be asked to check articles for accuracy.'

We'll see if these so-called experts can keep up with the contributors, and if it will have the same success rate as it's competitor Wikipedia.

March 21, 2007

How To Hack MySpace

Faux or not... interesting tid bit related to our MySpace and privacy discussions.

How To Hack MySpace

March 19, 2007

regarding privacy and crime

March 5, 2007

Interesting Article

This article is similar to what we've discussed in this week's blog about 'tweaking' and 'yellow journalism'.

US Representative Michelle Bachman (MN) claimed to have inside information on partition of Iran and Iraq.
She said this in a statement to the St. Cloud Times. My friend forwarded it on the Drudge Report ( and within seconds Bachman's people were frantically trying to remove it from the site. The Drudge Report incited Rush Limbaugh to talk about it on his radio show- and the snowball effect kept rolling for Bachman from there.

Welcome to the world of blogs and internet collaborators-no one, especially politicians, are safe.

February 26, 2007

Ellen Goodman Article on Privacy and New Media

Hi: Here is an article by Ellen Goodman which expresses what I was trying to say in my post this week much better than I did.
In essence, are we allowed to have checkered pasts or youthful indiscretions now that the internet has such a long memory and such thing can be broadcast immediately (witness The Smoking Gun)

Or given that the reality is the same for all of us, maybe we can know the information is out there and cut one another some slack on occasion.

February 25, 2007

computing award goes to female for first time

(AP) -- One of the most prestigious prizes in computing, the $100,000 Turing Award, went to a woman Wednesday for the first time in the award's 40-year history.

Frances E. Allen, 74, was honored for her work at IBM Corp. on techniques for optimizing the performance of compilers, the programs that translate one computer language into another.

This process is required to turn programming code into the binary zeros and ones actually read by a computer's colossal array of minuscule switches."

February 23, 2007

Internet social problem

I don't know if I would call this random cool's more like uncool stuff.

In today's Star Tribune, there was an article about the "grave social problem" in China with the internet. A survey found that nearly 14% of Chinese teenagers are vunerable to internet addiction. The Chinese government has launched a nationwide campaign to stamp out this social problem that threatens the nation. They have created a law that bans youth from going into internet cafes and they have created software that will kick people off of the internet after 5 hours of game playing.

The government is helping to fund 8 inpatient rehabilitation clinics across the country. The clinics use a "tough love" approach using counseling, military discipline, drugs, hypnosis and mild electric shock. One of the clinic leaders near Shangai, Guo Tiejun believes that the root of the problem is loneliness. He states "the kids who get addicted to the internet have some kind of disability or weakness. They can't make friends, can't fulfill their desire of social communication so they go online".

Parents who force their children into the clinics are paying upwards of $1,300 per month for the treatment (about 10 times the average salary in China).

I knew that the Chinese government had been censoring the internet for some time but I think they have gone a little bit too far.

Very uncool.


February 21, 2007

Flaming Article

Here is an article on flaming and psychology from the New York Times, that was kind of interesting. Also reference some journals and authors that may be useful in various papers folks are working on.

Best regards,

February 20, 2007

Hello All, I figured I"d shout out to all you [new] music lovers out there

If anyone here is interested in sampling some 'fresh' tunes from all over the world, I highly recommend that you check out It is a great site, I use it all the time. If you really like the song, just right click on the link to "save link as" and open the new tune in your music app. Better do it quick though, because most likely it will be taken down.

Good luck.


February 8, 2007


I don't know if this would constitute "cool stuff" but I sell television commercial time to advertising agencies here in town. Five years ago the only thing I was selling was television time.

As television stations are trying to find ways to squeeze more money out of advertising, they have begun to aggressively sell their station's web site. The numbers of eyeballs are enough to justify taking some of the client's budget. It used to be just a few tiles or banners and that was it. Now we are selling pre-rolls before streaming video of news stories and commercials inside of the streaming episodes (VOD) of Lost, Greys and Desperate. The newest platform I have been selling has been mobile. We are selling clients logos on the cell phone's streaming videos from the television station. What will they think of next. It sure keeps my job fresh.

I commented on a blog earlier wondering if they allow advertising in Second Life? If it can generate revenue for SL, it won't be long before they sell out to cell phone, computers and ISP's. Are there virtual billboards in MUD's. We see that in many of the popular video games now.


February 4, 2007

The Machine is Us/ing Us

I so wish this had been uploaded a few weeks earlier. Next semester, I'm using it as the introduction to this class.