CMS News Archives
If you haven't already experienced the thousand reasons why it's great to be a part of Comparative Media Studies, here's the latest, courtesy of Abe Stein:
Continue reading "GAMBIT Game of the Week teaser...Phil Collins edition" »
Sasha Costanza-Chock is a scholar and mediamaker who works in areas including: social movements and ICTs; participatory technology design and community based participatory research; the transnational movement for media justice and communication rights; comunicación populár; mobile phones and social change; digital literacies and digital inclusion; race, class, and gender in digital space, the transformation of public media systems; the political economy of communication; and information and communications policy. He holds a PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and is also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Sasha presently lives in Los Angeles, where he works with community-based organizations to develop critical digital literacies (for example, see http://vozmob.net). More information about Sasha's work can be found at http://schock.cc.
Costanza-Chock's presentation slides: Prezi.
Continue reading "Podcast: Sasha Costanza-Chock, "Se Ve, Se Siente: Transmedia Mobilization in the Los Angeles Immigrant Rights Movement"" »
Trained as an anthropologist, Gabriella (Biella) Coleman examines the ethics of online collaboration/institutions as well as the role of the law and digital media in sustaining various forms of political activism. Between 2001-2003 she conducted ethnographic research on computer hackers primarily in San Francisco, the Netherlands, as well as those hackers who work on the largest free software project, Debian. She is completing a book manuscript "Coding Freedom: Hacker Pleasure and the Ethics of Free and Open Source Software."
Photo by Trebor Scholz.
Continue reading "Podcast: Gabriella Coleman, "'I did it for the Lulz! but I stayed for the outrage:' Anonymous, the Politics of Spectacle, and Geek Protests against the Church of Scientology"" »
A quick update: due to the upcoming long weekend and the lingering uncertainty of mail delivery following the recent blizzard, we will be extending the application deadline for the CMS graduate program to Tuesday, January 18.
But be warned! This is a hard-and-fast deadline; the extension is just enough to be sure applicants aren't penalized for the deadline happening to fall near a storm, a Sunday, and a holiday.
Full info on the application process and requirements.
R2-D2 USPS mailbox image from Zeetz Jones on Flickr.
Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow and Lecturer with the Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT. His ongoing research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of arts interventions in contested spaces and participatory media with marginalized youth. Nitin completed his doctoral work at the MIT Media Lab where he conducted research on open design collaboration and DIY cultures in the context of sustainable development, as well as wearable and responsive community media interfaces in transitional spaces.
In 2008-2009 he served as a Visionary Fellow with the Jerusalem 2050 project, sponsored by the Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning and the Center for International Studies at MIT, conducting research on urban renewal and civic engagement through the media arts in divided cities such as Belfast and Jerusalem. Nitin co-founded the "Department of Play", a research collaborative at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, focused on designing participatory technologies and pedagogical approaches to facilitate civic empowerment among marginalized children and youth.
Over the past few years he has been conducting a digital storytelling and youth media program in the West Bank and Gaza, while developing a longitudinal research study on the role of participatory media for resilience and civic agency among youth in conditions of conflict and crisis. Nitin is currently working on a feature-length documentary film, Flying Paper, about the culture of kite making and flying in the Gaza Strip.
Continue reading "Podcast: Nitin Sawhney, "Media and Resilience: Creative DIY Cultures and Civic Agency among Marginalized Youth"" »
The Mediabistro AgencySpy blog breaks the news:
Big Spaceship director of strategy, Ivan Askwith, has left the Brooklyn-based digital shop for a position at Lucasfilm (a BS client, actually). Askwith had spent three-and-a-half years at BS, moving up the ranks from senior strategist to his aforementioned post. For now, the strategy team at Big Spaceship is reporting directly to CEO, Michael Lebowitz. An MIT alum, Askwith spearheaded strategic efforts and project launches for clients including Wrigley (Skittles, Starburst, Altoids, Life Savers and Orbit) as well as Google, USA, A&E, Adobe and Corona during his time at BS.
Askwith, who wrote his thesis on "Turning Television into an Engagement Medium", graduated from our master's program in 2007.
by Abigail De Kosnik (UC Berkeley)
Consulting Researcher for the Convergence Culture Consortium
Download the executive summary or the entire research memo.
Why do consumers pirate television shows? Rather than watching TV productions via legitimate media, such as broadcast/cable television (including on-demand viewing), authorized websites (Hulu, iTunes, and proprietary network sites), and purchased or rented DVD or Blu-Ray disks, millions of Internet users use peer-to-peer protocols to illegally download episodes. A common misconception is that digital pirates are motivated by economic reasons; pirated copies of media are free, while cable television subscriptions, iTunes purchases, and disks cost money. However, pirates also prefer file-sharing to Hulu, network websites, and other free legal options.
This paper will argue that online piracy is the preferred means of acquiring television for large numbers of people not because it is free, but because it is the best means currently available of consuming TV.
If studios hope to combat piracy by striking deals with Internet portals that offer television content online legally, then they will have to create business and distribution models that incorporate TV pirates' best practices. These include:
- A persistent television archive. The frustration of fans who miss one or more episodes of a TV show's season, the enduring affection for the television programs of one's youth, and TV-philes' interest in discovering older, "classic" or "lost" series, mean that there is always a demand for non-current TV content. Pirates operating over a distributed network have successfully "kept alive" TV torrents that would have been otherwise long dead, and in doing so, have proven that large segments of the television audience desire TV to be less ephemeral.
- The facilitation of high resolution, easily stored, portable personal television archives. TV programming proved to be highly popular as an object of collection as soon as the means for home recording (VCRs and DVRs) became available to consumers. Viewers enjoy archiving their favorite shows so that they can review episodes at their leisure, months or years after the original airings. Hulu and other streaming sites do not allow shows to be collected and permanently archived by the home user; YouTube videos are typically low-resolution; iTunes downloads can only be stored on one machine (and its assigned mobile devices), and are not transferable files; DVRs have a maximum storage capacity; disks are subject to breakage and require shelf space. Online pirates have overcome all of these limitations on personal television archiving.
- Access to global content. It is well known that English-speaking countries outside the U.S. are host to a significant number of TV pirates, who, annoyed by the delay of U.S. programs' export (a delay mandated by the economics of global syndication), download U.S. shows immediately after their broadcasts. However, piracy of foreign television programs is multidirectional: U.S. pirates consume a great deal of international content, either because shows produced in Britain, Japan, India and so on are difficult to obtain legally outside their countries of origin, or because they are members of a diaspora that stays connected with their home country and culture through viewing that nation's TV series. Piracy has created a "television without borders."
Many business challenges will arise if and when the media industries decide to incorporate some of the advantages of online television piracy into legitimate distribution models. This paper will not attempt to solve all of these issues (though it will propose some possible resolutions), but it will argue that industry cannot ignore the model constructed by pirates forever. Internet piracy has given rise to a form of television consumption so superior to existing legal forms that industry must, sooner or later, consider launching premium online TV services -- perhaps charging premium prices for them -- based on the discoveries and innovations of pirates.
Abigail De Kosnik is Assistant Professor at Berkeley Center for New Media and Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley. She has two books forthcoming: The Survival of Soap Opera: Strategies for a New Media Era (essay collection, co-edited with Sam Ford and C. Lee Harrington) from the University Press of Mississippi and Illegitimate Media: Minority Discourse and the Censorship of Digital Remix Culture from the University of Georgia Press. She testified in May 2009 before the U.S. Copyright Office at their hearings regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in favor of an exemption to the DMCA's ban on the circumvention of digital copyright technologies that would allow non-Film Studies college professors to rip DVDs for the purpose of screening clips of film and television in their courses. She is organizing a conference (currently scheduled for February 2010) on Open Source and the Humanities, sponsored by the Berkeley Center for New Media. She can be reached at email@example.com.
One of MIT's greatest points of pride arrives each January: Independent Activities Period.
Many university staffs use January to rest up for the coming semester. But MIT doubles down on its need for caffeine with IAP, allowing anyone associated with MIT to teach or take any class they want, so long as it has a department sponsor and can fit, time-wise, within the month.
This gives CMS staff in particular a chance to show off their passions.
For example, our own Mike Rapa launches "The Life and Death of John Carpenter" tonight, featuring the Carpenter film Dark Star, and continues a couple evenings each week through the month. It's your chance to sit with fellow fans and watch Carpenter flicks like Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China.
Meanwhile, Generoso Fierro will teach a one-evening course next Monday on "checking levels, making a segue, cueing vinyl (vinyl-what's that?)" -- all the basics an MIT student needs to be a DJ for WMBR. Not much of a fan of rest, Gene will also host a three-night film series featuring the work of young Japanese director Nobuhiro Yamashita.
Other CMS-sponsored IAP classes include ones on video games -- from making audio-only games as an intro to game design, to learning how to be a game master for an alternate reality game.
For the full listing of CMS Independent Activities Period events, check out our IAP page at http://student.mit.edu/iap/nscms.html.