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Berkman Buzz, week of June 30, 2006

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations. If you'd like to receive this by email, just sign up here.

What’s going on…take your pick here or browse below.

* Rebecca MacKinnon decries China's ban of breaking news reports.
* David Weinberger shares new library mashup technology.
* Derek Bambauer inspects challenges to rating/restricting websites.
* Derek Slater wonders about Hollywood's copyright obsession.
* StopBadware disapproves of rewarding company's bad behavior.
* John Palfrey and Jonathan Zittrain provide collective action solution to badware.
* Urs Gasser releases new paper on copyright and the digital age.
* Paul Hemp defines challenge of avatar-marketing as identifying the "who."

The full buzz.

"Let's hope that enough people in the Chinese government recognize that if the media is prevented from reporting breaking news without approval, China will become even more ungovernable than it already is. Killing journalism is bad for China's economy. It's bad for investment, which requires reliable and fast information from credible sources (not just rumors from anonymous sources in Chinese chatrooms). It will not be good for Chinese social stability, public health, disaster, response or anything else. Muzzling the media as the legislation proposes will send local corruption even further out of control. Journalists won't stop trying, though. They will just be driven even further underground, and onto the Internet BBS forums and blogs. It will be even harder for the public to get access to reliable information for which the author is able to take responsibility, because they'll have no alternative to an online rumor mill. Public panic in the face of disasters will thus be more likely..."
Rebecca MacKinnon, "Chinese journalists say enough is enough"

"Liz Lawley has come forward with what she's been working on: A library mashup called "personal ubiquitous library project" (PULP...yay for good acronyms!) that harnesses Microsoft Research's AURA project to make it easy to scan in your books. There's lots lots more to it. Sounds great..."
David Weinberger"Liz's Pulp"


"The other direction is to use labels to enhance supervision - parents might check what sites their kids are visiting (maybe combining logging with searches or ratings?) or could peer at the screen to look for the scarlet letters (NC-17 or such). Possible, but time-intensive and, in the first case, requiring some tech savvy. Labelling works poorly for the Web: there's too much content, it changes too rapidly, labels are limited and inherently subjective, and key intermediaries (browser makers, ISPs, content providers) simply can't agree on a set of rules or standards..."
Derek Bambauer"Is this post PG-13? Helpful Bureaucracy and Web Content Labels"

"Last week, Congress held yet another hearing about "plugging the analog hole." Why is Hollywood so bent on making all analog-to-digital technologies obey copyright holders' commands? Because in an age of DRM on digital media, the analog hole is often the last refuge for fair use and for innovators trying to build new gadgets to take your rights into the digital age..."
Derek Slater"Another Endangered Gizmo: Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 and the Analog Hole"

"We question whether a company like Ernst & Young should be rewarding the "entrepreneurial" efforts of a company like By our badware guidelines, the company's screensavers are still badware, and any business model that relies on deceiving consumers should not be applauded. We feel that was the wrong company to receive this award...""Badware Company Receives Award"

"It's our view that the best solution to badware is to draw upon the wisdom and behavior of the Internet community. We believe that tens of millions of computer users, facilitated to collective action by some of the very tools found within spyware, can create a more accountable Internet. It's also very hard to get the definitions right, separating legitimate advertising practices from deceptive or harmful practices of badware providers. Without careful consideration, broad legislation aimed at curbing badware could also inhibit the openness of the Internet..."
John Palfrey  and Jonathan Zittrain"Deploying the wisdom of the crowds against badware"

"The Internet has changed the ways in which we create, disseminate, access, and re-use information, knowledge, and entertainment. In many respects, digital media has enabled us to become more creative and interactive, to write and publish our own stories without owning a printing press (weblogs), to broadcast our own radio shows without requiring access to a broadcast studio (podcasts), to make and distribute songs or video clips without depending on recording studios or big Hollywood In this short essay, we first provide several examples to demonstrate that the law - especially copyright law - has not kept pace with the unfolding creative revolution of cyberspace. We then argue that the law should strike a new balance between the divergent interests of various stakeholders in order to foster participatory culture. Finally, we outline some approaches and proposals that might contribute to such an endeavor..."
Urs Gasser"From Shakespeare to DJ Danger Mouse: A Quick Look at Copyright and User Creativity in the Digital Age"

"... Virtual worlds and games represent an unexplored opportunity for marketers of RL companies, and two, that avatars are in some way distinct consumers from their creators. That is, we're not just talking about the "where" of a new marketing frontier, but the "who"..."
Paul Hemp of Harvard Business Review , "Avatar-based Marketing: What's the Future of Real-Life Companies Marketing to Second Life Avatars?"