Skip to the main content

Berkman Buzz, week of July 7, 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.

* Derek Slater seconds Anderson's (of Wired) view of the future.
* John Palfrey highlights ongoing online debate about generativity.
* Ethan Zuckerman looks at newest wiki insubstantiation.
* Open Net Initiative issues bulletin on internet filtering in China.
* Public Radio Exchange showcases people on the edge.
* John Clippinger argues for persistent online identity.
* Bill McGeveran reflects on relationship between IP protection and gender.

The full buzz.

"But many other authors have started from macro-trends and then tried to deduce particular effects on our society. In contrast, Anderson generally builds out from particular cases (e.g., Amazon, Netflix, and Rhapsody) to a theory of how business and culture as a whole will change. More than naked anecdotes, he presents the most in-depth look at these companies' sales stats yet.  Anderson's not just talking about some far off future world -- he's describing our world as it exists today and tomorrow.  In that way, he's closing the loop on earlier futurists' visions; at the very least, he's helped put to bed once and for all many myths built around the mass media world and "hit-ism."..."
Derek Slater, "Review: The Long Tail, now in Book Form"

"Mr. Carr concludes, about JZ’s conclusions: “Zittrain concludes that the best course is to ‘try to maintain the fundamental generativity of the existing grid while taking seriously the problems that fuel enemies of the Internet free-for-all. It requires charting an intermediate course to make the grid more secure — and to make some activities to which regulators object more regulable — in order to continue to enable the rapid deployment of the sort of amateur programming that has made the Internet such a stunning success.’ It’s not a question, in other words, of whether there will be limits. There will be. It’s a question of where those limits will be imposed and who will impose them.” Carr points to the fabulous Ethan Zuckerman’s must-read review of JZ’s piece as his pointer and inspiration. A cool example of dialogue about serious scholarship happening in public, online..."
John Palfrey, "Nicholas Carr review of JZ's Generative Internet Piece"

"Jimmy’s hope is that new media - especially blogs and wikis - can encourage an examination of issues that’s more substantive and engaged than we see in broadcast media. Rather than forcing candidates into shaping sound bytes and images for television broadcast, will campaigns share more information and policy ideas with engaged individuals discussing and debating these issues online? (Or is this the failed Dean Dream revived in another medium?) Wikipedia - at its best - invites people with divergent political opinions to agree on a common set of facts. This doesn’t always work well - the list of controversial issues on wikipedia suggests that the sorts of issues that get debated all the time in political campaigns are those that are difficult to write a neutral Wikipedia article on. (The wikipedia definition of a controversial issue is a wonderful one: “A controversial issue is one where its related articles are constantly being re-edited in a circular manner, or is otherwise the locus of edit warring.”)..."
Ethan Zuckerman, "Beyond Broadcast politics: the Dean Dream redux, or a new approach to politics?"

"The sweeping language and vague terms used in the regulations make predicting their long-term effects difficult. The regulations will, however, support China's continued efforts to police and censor the Internet. The extent to which the regulations will alter China's Internet depend principally on how China enforces the regulations. Given the considerable personnel and resources China devotes to monitoring the Internet, stringent enforcement would be unsurprising. According to the Asia Media Forum, at least three Web sites have been forced to close since China instituted the new regulations: a Web forum hosting debate on a village election recall, a Mongolian student forum criticizing a Chinese television cartoon that made fun of Genghis Khan, and a law firm site encouraging visitors to protest the same cartoon by writing to Chinese authorities.(46) The law firm site has since reopened after pledging not to post separatist content...."
Open Net Initiative, "Open Net Initiative: Bulletin 012"

"I was sick and tired of the talk show shouting matches and us vs. them put-downs, and began to think in terms of a show in which I could showcase visionaries: people living, working and thinking outside the mainstream. I wanted the show to be intelligent and creative and I knew my theme would allow me to talk to many artists, activists, singer/songwriters, educators, etc. I came up with the name “Out of Bounds,” cut a demo and began going around to regional stations, both AM and FM, trying to get the show a place on the air. After almost three years, I was finally given the go-ahead by the wonderfully forward-thinking and communit- friendly WEOS-FM..."
Tish Pearlman featured by Public Radio Exchange, Station Showcase with Public Radio Exchange

"One of the reasons I came to the Berkman Center was to work on how to develop peer based social governance mechanisms. This began as project at the Aspen Institute on how to create an “accountable net” that was self governing. One of the the things that became apparent to me from the beginning was that in order to have accountability you first had to have some form of persistent identity. This was a very unpopular position at the time among some several Berkman Fellows – who deplored the notion of any form of identity layer or accountability. Yet thorough conversations, it became apparent to me that some form of authenticated anonymity was necessary and possible.
John Clippinger, Featured Fellow Post

"I have just discovered Counterfeit Chic, a great blog by Susan Scafidi, the author of the book Who Owns Culture?, which argues for greater IP protection of cultural products. (The discovery came via my friend Jessica Silbey of the LawCulture blog, who just posted some very interesting thoughts on Scafidi’s book). One of Scafidi’s recent posts caught my eye — or, perhaps, my nostril. Apparently recent court decisions in France and the Netherlands have extended copyright protection to the formulation of perfumes. My initial reaction was: that stinks. In an environment with so much tendency toward excessive protection, the very idea of extending copyright to whole new classes of works makes me wrinkle my nose in distaste (okay, I’ll stop now). After a little reflection, I am not quite so sure. Scafidi (and Silbey) both anticipate this obvious reaction, and they both point out a few things. One of the most thought-provoking is the observation that the areas they see as potentially under-protected are often those oriented toward or perpetuated by women: fashion, cooking, folklore.
Bill McGeveran, "Copyrights for Perfumes?"