Media Literacy and Old Media’s Attack on YouTube

Media literacy is something I’ve been interested in as far back as I can remember.
Back in grade 11 (which is more than half my life ago at this point) I took my first “English Media” course, In addition to the regular English Class. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, English Media is like regular English class, only instead of analyzing books, students study albums, photographs, painting, movies, television, etc.

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I try to avoid talking about politics here, but to me, this feels important.

You know those “damn emails” of Hillary’s that we were all saying were “no big deal?”

Maybe we should have looked at those a little closer…

You know those damn emails of Hillary's that we were all saying were no big deal? Maybe we should have looked at those a little closer...

Random Galleries Requesting Portfolio Interviews

I’m starting to get a flood of unsolicited emails from galleries who are so interested in my work, they want to offer me the privilege of paying them for a portfolio interview for the privilege of being allowed to pay them┬áto show my work in some gallery I’ve never heard of.

Um…no.

If you’re that interest in my work, maybe you should check my facebook, google+, tumblr, twitter, YouTube, blog, or website, and see that I already have a show coming up in a gallery that I have┬áheard of; one that doesn’t charge for portfolio interviews, and doesn’t charge me to show my work.

*facepalm*

At least the emails from crappy vanity galleries in New York have slowed down…

Why I’ve Taken This Side in the Copyright Debate

A lot of our projects (like Take a Picture and DRM Box) poke fun at intellectual property. We do things to challenge, subvert or outright mock copyright and content protection.

Why do we take this side of the copyfight? Aren’t we artists? Don’t we benefit from these things?

I take the stance I do because of stories like this: Guy Gets Bogus YouTube Copyright Claim… On Birds Singing In The Background | TechDirt

Companies like Rumblefish claim copyright ownership of birds chirping in the background, and profit off of ads that are placed on these videos, depriving the actual content creator of income. And this isn’t a one off mistake. TechDirt has talked about this same company doing the same thing back in 2009.

Rumblefish has a long history of making false copyright claims against people.

They do seem to eventually drop their false claims after getting a ton of bad press, and being mocked publicly on BoingBoing, Reddit, TechDirt, Google’s own help forums, and Slashdot for several days, but the problem remains: Companies with long histories of profiting by abusing artists and creators go unpunished. And while the issues are being resolved, they are profiting from work they have falsely claimed as their own. This is not a minor mistake on their part; This is mass-piracy for commercial purposes.

According to American law, making a false copyright claim is supposed to be punishable by perjury.

So where are the charges?

As an artist, it absolutely disgusts me that companies push for laws that not only enable censorship and erode our right to free expression, but they also make it harder for me to create. Then they demand ownership of my ideas, strip me of my ability to make a living, try their damnedest to avoid paying me, and claim to be doing all this in my name.

No.
You do not speak for me.
You do not represent my interests.
You threaten everything I stand for and believe in.

That’s why I’ve taken this side of the Copyright debate.

DRM BOX: Bugs in the Project

A random rant about something that pisses me off about the art world: concept being used to justify incompetence.

Art dealing with difficult or complex concepts doesn’t bother me, art should be a balance of aesthetics and idea; but what happens when these complex ideas are just a cover for artistic failure, or technical limitations, or incompetence? How can the audience tell the difference between a genuine concept being tacked by an art work and a concept tacked on after the fact?

Is the artist dealing with ideas that are over my head, or is it impenetrable and vague by design?

Don’t Let Yourself Become Some Company’s Bitch

Google recently announced that it will be closing down 10 services that get little use. I don’t have a problem with that. Google is a company, they can do what they want. There are people, however, who rely on these services, and are about to have them swept out from under their feet. If you find yourself in that situation, or if you fear that something similar could happen to you one day, it is because you’ve allowed yourself to become some company’s bitch. Building your business on their platform is like building your house on someone else’s land: sure, it’s easier and cheaper, but you just never know when they will come by and force you to leave.

Control of social media seems to be concentrating into the hands of a small number of big players. Twitter, Facebook, Google plus one, etc.

I used to participate in a number of online message boards. But not so much any more. It’s not from a lack of interest on my part, but a lack of replies coming from everyone else as the number of active users dwindles.
Some message boards have closed down, while others have slowly faded away as the majority of users migrate towards facebook groups. I imagine convenience is a primary motivator here, as facebook represents a one-stop solution for email, texting, message-boarding, posting ideas, ranting, and sharing links. The old way involved navigating between multiple websites, each with a different layout or design to figure out and navigate. This does seem to take more mental energy. Facebook made it far easier to do all of these things, and do them all in one place.

I fear that people forget that with the increase in convenience comes a loss of control. When a page, or a group is created on one of these third party services, you are agreeing to play by their rules. They could shut down your group, or close ‘groups’ in general. The whole company could collapse, close, be sold off, and you’ve lost everything.

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