Category Archives: cyberspace

Culture, Inc.

From your syllabus reading for Mach 30, reading Kim McLeod’s “Freedom of Expression,” Chapter 4 (Culture, Inc), share your thoughts on the following snippets extracted from the chapter. Provide the arguments made by the chapter for each point in a sentence or two, the examples the author chooses, then either support or argue against these in your own claim and providing examples of your own (about 5–7  sentences of your thoughts worth for each point below):

  1. Missy’s work is “akin to a hyper-hyperlinked Web page that sends you zooming from one clickable reference to the next…” (p. 172)
  2. Joyce used literature like a library, periodically checking out and inserting into his writing, ideas, and sentences that interested him…the irony [is that Joyce, beneficiary of his grampa’s] copyrights, regularly uses copyright to prevent his ancestor’s words from being quoted in films, plays, and scholarly works.
  3. Hip-hop broadcasts its message far and wide, but in code” (p. 175).
  4. Referencing pop culture helps define our identities and cultural preferences. It also provides us with a kind of grammar and syntax that structures our everyday talk. (p. 178, last para).
  5. Companies want us to feel comfortable with their intellectual properties and their brands, for them to feel like our “friends.” But they are extremely needy, attention-seeking, and money-draining friends.” (p. 180, 3rd para). Debate referencing the arguments on p. 179.
  6. When simply wearing a competitor’s logo to a corporate-sanctioned school event is considered a subversive act, it’s much harder for freedom of expression to be a tenable concept. (p. 182).
  7. Companies such as Nike want fans to use their trademarks, but in approved ways. As soon as critically minded citizens subvert those uses, the corporations lash back in the form of cease-and-desist letters. (p. 183, bottom para).
  8. The few places where biting satire is safe from the threat of intellectual-property litigation are areas…like The Daily Show… and The Onion, a fake newspaper (both of which, interestingly, tend to be more influential and pointed than many legitimate news sources). (p. 184, top para)
  9. Most of us associate satire with…freedom of expression; genuine satire doesn’t require permission from trademark lawyers. (p. 190).
  10. Product placement in films and video games? (p. 194). Has their use ever been subverted for other purposes?
  11. Media piracy doesn’t always have to express an overtly political or high-minded statement; it needs only to be a creative act, even of the most trivial kind. (p. 205, bottom para).
  12. By threatening ISPs and search engines, intellectual-property owners can simply make you disappear if they do not like what you have to say, something that was much more difficult in a nondigital world. (p. 213, bottom para).
  13. Under the DMCA, the decision about what is fair use is shifted to intellectual-property owners, and they aren’t necessarily fair and balanced. (p. 214, second last para)
  14. Search engines are potentially liable under the law for simply linking users to web sites, though they, too, can avoid lawsuits if they cave in to the demands of overzealous copyright bozos. (p. 215, last para).
  15. Even when it works against their particular interests, intellectual-property activists acknowledge the importance of cultivating open flows of information. (p. 222, middle para).

Democracy and Dissent

Wilheim asks a productive question in his essay on democratization of new media. For this post, share your thoughts on what does “democratization of new media” mean? What is the new frontier of civil rights? what is the key thesis underlying Wilheim’s argument on inequality (pg. 59–62)? In what sense is education central to the issue (p. 62–62)? What are the challenges and what role can internet voting and e-government play?

Cyberspace and Identity

In his chapter “Who will we be in cyberspace,” Winner raises some interesting questions. He encourages us to think about how our identity as American’s has shaped our unquestioning embrace of technology and cautions us about being vigilant about how technological artifacts shape our material practices.

In about a 100 words for each question, address the questions below paying attention to (a) Winner’s key argument, and (b) your informed stance based on the principles of self-expression, consent of the governed, the need for virtual communities, and what these should look like, and how do we achieve the principles of a democratic society in a virtual community.

1. What key factors shaped the American identity? How are these relevant today?

2. What are some key questions Winner encourages use to consider? Would you add any to the list? Why? Would any of those questions be redundant today in your opinion? How so?

3. What are the implications of the digital transformation of our society for different groups of people/ occupations/ ways of living? Can you add any groups or aspects that have been omitted or have become salient since Winner’s writing of the book?

4. What are some issues that we as informed consumers/critical producers of technology should be aware of? Why is it important for us to be aware of these issues?

5. What is Winner’s key thesis? To what extent do you agree? How would your argument on this issue look like?