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Berkman Buzz, week of August 25

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 or browse below.

* Charles Nesson's CyberOne: a course in the real and virtual worlds
* Urs Gasser weighs in on the Swiss DRM-Protection Bill
* Center for Citizen Media uses technology to improve disaster relief capabilities 
* Jonathan Zittrain and Laura Frieder find a profitable relationship between spam and stock market activity
* Derek Slater discusses online DRM and possible reasons for the recent emergence of decryption tools
* Tim Armstrong considers a recent Department of Defense report recommending open-source 
* Global Voices talks about China's most recent moves to censor blogs and online video

The full Buzz

"... we will be studying many different media technologies to understand how their inherent characteristics and modes of distribution affect the arguments that are made using them. Students will be immersed in this study through project-based assignments in which they will be using these technologies to make their own arguments."
Charles Nesson, CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion

"It doesn’t come as a surprise that the bill is hotly debated among different stakeholders, and the committee members confirmed that they have received many letters and e-mails in the run-up to the hearing. Right after a presentation by Apple’s iTMS Switzerland Managing Director, I testified about alternative business models for the distribution of digital content that don’t (primarily) rely on DRM protection. Of course, I was also talking about the Berkman Center’s Digital Media Exchange Project. After the presentations, the committee members asked a series of excellent questions about technological, economic, and legal aspects of DRM..."
Urs Gasser, "Testifying on Swiss DRM-Protection Bill" 

"In my line of sight from my table are experiments/demonstrations with Web video conferencing; Google Earth’s folks pulling massive data sets into coherent maps; a Microsoft team helping transfer data seamlessly among sites and software applications (a fairly un-Microsoft-like process based on not so distant history), military contractors working on various projects; NGOs wondering how they can work more efficiently with other responders; and much, much more..."

Center for Citizen Media, "Strong Angel: Lab for Center for Citizen Media and Much More"

"...stocks experience a significantly positive return on days when they are heavily touted via spam, and on the day preceding such touting. Volume of trading also responds positively and significantly to heavy touting. Indeed, on a day when no tout has been detected in our database, the likelihood of a touted stock being the most actively traded stock that day is only 6%. On the other hand, on days when there is touting activity, the probability of a touted stock being the single most actively traded stock is 81%." 

Jonathan Zittrain and Laura Frieder"Spam Works: Evidence from Stock Touts and Corresponding Market Activity"

"... the recent though meager growth of Movielink, Cinemanow, Rhapsody Unlimited, Rhapsody-to-Go, and similar services created a matching recent though proportionately meager increase in incentives to create decryption tools. All the content on those services remains readily-accessible on P2P. But burning and re-ripping is not possible, and, for movies, using the analog hole is a little bit more difficult. So, with those alternative avenues slightly cut off, that was enough to kickstart a little renewed interest in creating an actual decryption tool."

Derek Slater, "Windows Media DRM Apparently Cracked, And No One Cares"

" will be a big step and, I’m inclined to expect, a positive one, if DoD takes its new report’s recommendations to heart and begins to rely seriously on open-source alternatives. A major agency’s adoption of any open-source product (even as a complement to, rather than substitute for, a propriety product) would also have ripple effects on vendors and suppliers (and, in turn, /their/ vendors and suppliers) far beyond DoD itself. This is a very interesting development with potentially far-ranging implications."

Tim Armstrong, "DoD backs Open-Source"

"Earlier this week [, a website "bringing together... the leading liberal and intelligent bloggers around"] was shut down pending the site’s registration with the relevant authorities.

Around the same time, China’s State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced a new set of regulations aimed at strictly controlling video posted online which, if observed, will effectively cripple the latest trend in the Chinese blogsphere, the creation and posting of video spoofs of cultural, historical and social images."

Global Voices, "China: Censors vs. video, culture, innovation, humor, pretty much the entire Chinese blogosphere"