Entries Tagged as 'Media'

Viacom says that local blogger infringed on his own copyright

Christopher Knight, one of our own.
It seems like Viacom’s legal staff didn’t do due diligence, at least in my opinion. So long story short, Chris made a commercial for a Education Board position last year, that Viacom got a hold of (without permission) and made fun of it on one of their shows. Chris got a clip of the show that made fun of his commercial and posted it. Well apparently, he got served up a copyright infringement notice for content that was pretty much his own commercial?! Interesting.
I’m no attorney, but it sounds like a huge boo boo on behalf of Viacom. On top of that, The Knight Shift got Slashdotted. Heh. Gotta love the Internet.
Talk about a big oops.
Update (4:58PM): BoingBoing picked it up too. There is some commentary on how “fair use” should be used. This is where an attorney’s interpretation would come in since you can’t direct post other people’s copyrighted materials but with enough critique, it would have been probably okay. Many have pointed a finger saying that Knight should have done what other YouTubers have done in the past (which is critique the Web Junk 2.0 bit). Whatever happens, it’s still interesting that our little bit of the world is getting noticed on a bigger scale for a split second.

Who needs facts when there’s a story to tell?

stack-of-papers.jpg It’s practically everyday that you hear about journalists misquoting. In fact, there are many people that refuse to do phone interviews anymore. I personally now refuse to do a phone interview with a certain local publication due to a misquote a long time ago. You screw it up, you don’t get a second chance in my book. Especially after I even emailed about the correction.
Bitter? Definitely. But after reading Penelope Trunk’s “story telling” of journalism, it made me even more annoyed. I agree that journalists tell a story from whatever perspective they’ve already thought up. That’s the way history is written. That’s the way news has always been. If you don’t like it, don’t grant the interview. But get the facts straight! Total idiocy is the title given to those that don’t fact-check before dumping out a story for a deadline.
Obviously the Wall Street Journal has another opinion on narratives. In fact, it hits closer to home than we realize with the Nifong/Duke rape case where everyone jumped on the media bandwagon to tell the disturbing story, only to find out that their facts were off. What’s the point of a juicy story if it’s wrong? It’s damning to your reputation as a news source and even more if you turn a respectable medium into a tabloid. Scary how there are tabloids out there that actually fact-check which makes them better than you too. Very scary.
So regardless of the story you already had in mind, or what not. Be forewarned when being a journalist: Fact-check, fact-check, fact-check. If you misquote, and corrected, it might be worthwhile to actually print a “oops” section. Or lose the chance of actually getting to phone interview ever again and have everything done via email. Worst thing that could happen would be that your reputation gets dragged through the mud and it’ll be difficult for you to do big-time news if you can’t get the facts right.
Total ick when it comes having had the short end of this stick before.

NC communications bill needs lots of work

ncgov.jpg I figured that I would weigh in now that Mark Binker (News & Record) has got his article in after he spoke to me at some length about it and I gave him my opinions on the subject matter. While I’m not an attorney by any means, but a lot of the legalese had a ringing of… well.. let’s just say it wasn’t bulletproof for either side.
I’ll further disclaimer to say that as a professional having dealt in the telecommunications arena for almost a decade, I firmly believe that government should never interfere with businesses unless it’s by a few exceptions. Government is always a governing force of the laws, and being such, you cannot and should not compete against private industry when you have two things on your side: taxes, and enforcement of law. In that regards, government that do enter into this competitive nature should immediately be held at a higher ground. It’s basically the typical, who enforces the enforcer type or rule. If a police officer speeds, who gives the officer a ticket? In all technicality, it’s a law that is broken. In the same instance, government should be held in that higher plane.
Below, I’ll make my notes in italics.
HB1587 discusses a bill that is proposed where the industry has been wanting more restriction on government if and when they enter into the industry. Government must provide two public hearings (§ 160A‑329.2) and give the areas where private industry is covering or not covering.
Issue here? Most of the requirements are based on what type of network is provided, who is served, and what the terms of the service are. There is nothing designating if government would be entering a market that is already served by private industry (eg. major competitors). The bill just speaks of general availability, which is a ridiculous thought since that’s totally subjective.
The bond part basically says that you can have a bond passed to help set it up. Whoopiedeedoo.
Then comes another juicy tidbit. General Operating Limitations (§ 160A‑329.4). This basically means that governance of this utility will be under the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Government cannot subsidize this service from other funding such as other utilities and cannot go under cost. They should keep separate financials for this service and for the most part, follow pretty much everything that pertains to most telecommunications corporations.
Okay, I particular love the (7) part where it talks about first come, first serve on poles and what not since I could totally see government renting out space to private industry, and then taking off their antennas to be replaced with their locally owned and operated ones. It happens, a lot. Protection for private businesses. (8) The financials are pretty amusing too since (9) the independent audit would make sure there was no funny money business which seems to get lost a lot in the whole government money swirl. Things always cost more for some odd reason.
Since I haven’t asked Mark’s permission to reveal some of the things shown to me, I can tell you that there is a lot of truth in SOME of the arguments from the other side but that’s about it. The part where broadband is needed in the article by Greensboro’s assistant city attorney is indeed correct. It’s needed for a multitude of things including helping high school kids pass their computer literacy exam. I don’t know of any school that doesn’t require typed reports either. Heck, they required those when I was in school. That’s a whole bunch of FUD underlying a lot of the arguments from both sides. If Mark allows me to go through that file in detail, then I’ll do some more in-depth analysis of it but I can tell you right now that I was not pleased with what I read coming from the government. At all. Made me even less confident that they should be without restriction in fact.
So in the end, what happens? This bill is in favor of the private sector (well duh, companies lobbied for it). Truthfully, I don’t see anything wrong and it should be more stringent in my opinion. Based on the facts above on how government enforces laws and gets to collect taxes. Taxation as a revenue source usually means that you can’t just go out and run a business on that money. Doesn’t work that way. And if you do, you should be under some tough guidelines just like insider trading rules. I’m very disappointed with the governments also for not stepping up to the plate in a quicker fashion. Most of the conversation resulted around WiFi and other broadband services.
I can tell you right now that having been around promoting wireless technology since 2004 and there has been little interest in the South. This is for a technology that is a decade old. Now governments want the “option” to help? Where were you at the inception of e-NC? Why aren’t you more involved? I know of two different digital divide projects going on in Greensboro currently done by private nonprofits. What’s your take? There isn’t any. That’s the problem. A lot of talk against the bill, but no action at all. The whole profit thing is amusing also since was a lot of talk against it. Yet, people fail to realize that Blue Cross/Blue Shield doesn’t make any “profit”.
Last of all, here’s the key kicker of this bill that bugs me. Seriously. The definition of communications. While all of the talk has been about broadband, the definition also covers other types of communications. So in essence, the government under this bill could basically start their own cellular service. Or anything else in that mannerism. That’s pretty scary in itself. The comments about how Reidsville has free WiFi doesn’t have any relevance since that was done on a public/private network for public safety. If Greensboro wanted to do that, they also could even though they decided a long time ago that it wasn’t safe to do such a thing (and I agree). In that fashion, the “free” network doesn’t apply. If you use DHS funding though for it, then it’s a whole other ugly ballgame.
Sorry Pricey, I don’t agree it’s anti-consumer or anti-competitive. Again, back to the governing body goes into business. From a bigger perspective, another analogy would be like if the SEC decides that it’s going to go up on the NYSE as a stock. Uhh, no.
When you come right down to it, this is just a really really ugly bill. Both sides has tremendous holes in their arguments and didn’t bother to patch it up before taking it to the House. I’m assuming the people sponsoring the bill don’t know much about the technologies behind it or else these questions should have been covered within the bill itself. This could be a draft, but imho, it doesn’t even look like a final that is worth taxpayer money.
Last of all, if you still haven’t figured out my stance in this, then I probably lost you around the second or third paragraph. Don’t worry, there’s a whole other snoring crowd over there too.

MacOSX Dashboard Widget: RabbitRadio

RabbitRadio is another MacOSX dashboard widget that allows you to listen to different NPR (National Public Radio) stations. It works with multiple stations and listens to their Internet streams the same way you probably would with say…. iTunes. Except this is from a widget.

The pressure of being first

It’s tough being first on breaking news. Sometimes it really hurts your reputation too when you report something that you find out later on to be a hoax. That’s what happened to Engadget yesterday. Here’s Ryan Block’s post apologizing to the readers.
Apple’s stock tanked yesterday on this news as investors got wind of this. I’d be curious to know if someone has launched any investigation on people shorting Apple. With this elaborate scheme, there’s bound to be someone that had money tied to it. Apple’s stock came back later in the day and is back on its normal track.
But lesson to be learned here? Being the first to report isn’t always a good thing. It’s all about the content behind the post itself. A buddy of mine taught me that. Engadget did a great recovery and they have always been on the up-and-up when it comes to the news they report. I doubt this would sour their reputation that much if any. They’re the juggernaut that just happened to stumble on a pebble.
But it also goes to show that first to show doesn’t necessarily mean as much. It sure doesn’t mean as much in television anymore. In fact, you’ll find that people are much more interested in investigative reporting than “breaking news”. Probably because “breaking news” is just too common across the stations. Same thing happens with group blogs and news sites.
And when it comes down to it. You really don’t have to be first. Just have good content that your readers would want to read. They truly care about quality over quantity. As with many in the tech world, Engadget has our support too, especially after the very cool and collected save by Ryan Block.
One last thing. Didn’t your mother ever teach you the little lesson of taking everything with a grain of salt? I’m surprised that investors and analysts alike didn’t actually do some fact-checking right away from reading it (the post) before going ballistic. Ahh well.

MacOSX Dashboard Widget: BBC Radio

BBC Radio is a great little widget for your dashboard that allows you to listen to all sixty BBC radio streams. Just another widget for your MacOSX box that you got to have if listening to international perspectives (outside looking in) is your ball of wax.

< PhantomGorilla

Asian student arrested for making mod maps of school

This is where it gets very annoying when a tragic thing such as the VT shootings occur. Because the shooter was Korean, the Korean community came under scrutiny. The media kept pointing out the fact that he was Korean, like it had anything to do with it. No… whackos are whackos.
Now a Fort Bend high school senior, who happens to be chinese, has been arrested and for creating a mod of his school for a video game. What’s interesting is that mods have been around since first person shooters have been available. Mods of all sorts of places have been made but this whole “scare” so let’s arrest people is ridiculous.
I personally feel that the backlash of media scrutiny on the race of the shooter is finally bubbling up. You almost want to say that it’s a race based “security” issue. If the shooter was Caucasian, would there have been this incident in Fort Bend? I almost want to say “no”. Columbine is a great example. There wasn’t arrests of other kids that happened to be white because they wrote some level for some video game. Even more ridiculous is this:

FBISD officials declined to comment on the matter Monday. “Our challenge is, people in the community have freedom of speech and can say what they want, but we have laws” covering privacy issues, especially involving minors, that the district has to respect, said spokeswoman Nancy Porter.

I’m sorry, but it’s not a matter of freedom of speech. The guy didn’t do anything! He wrote a level in a game, after a place he spends his time most. So if someone was a gamer and worked at the National Monument, and created a Counter Strike level of the National Monument, would you also arrest them too? How about the movies that depict scenes of famous places? Oh no. They were showing the San Francisco trolley! Arrest them! They must be terrorists!
As you can see, there is no logic behind these “security” arrests. It’s all FUD. At least the Chinese community is rallying behind this boy. In the end, this sums it up the best:

The Asian community “faces new pressures” as a result of the shootings, William Sun told board members. “We urge the school and community not to label our Asian students as terrorists.”

Update (5/3): Joystiq has provided links to the actual Counter Strike maps and pictures. I hate to say it, but perhaps this is also a problem of the whole “all asians look alike” syndrome. It doesn’t make anyone look good in this regard. I personally am really glad that there are sites such as Joystiq and others that have taken up the call to show how shameful the process is in just randomly using the word “terrorist” to label anything that someone doesn’t like. Better be careful… there might be some that will start calling “apples” that since they don’t like it. You know that apple seeds can kill ya right?
Joystiq < FortBendNow

Media misses key points in Virginia Tech tragedy

To those lives taken, and those afflicted families, the nation is shaken by your tragedy.
To the media, for shame. It makes you wonder what exactly goes on through people’s heads when it comes to public relations and how much common sense it takes to figure out some pretty basic things.

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Nation takes notice of Google Lenoir server farm

It’s just another day in the news…. or is it?
The New York Times takes notice of Google’s server farm build-out in Lenoir, NC where it hopes to increase the workforce by over two hundred. While this isn’t a new story by any means, it’s interesting that national media is paying attention to this, especially a server farm build.
It just goes to show that there are some companies that are coming up in the world, and if you didn’t know it, and you denied the 400+ stock price, then this should at least open your eyes a little. There are some industries that are leaving the South, but it seems that high tech is looking to move right in.
From an economic growth perspective? Thank goodness for that.

News rivers and how MSM will take a while to get it

It’s amusing that Dave Winer has started the “newsrivers feeds where it’s basically a dumbed down version of html stripper and provides only links and text. Almost like a combination of a rss feed with the lynx browser.
It’s all about disseminating the information and how to do it. What’s even more funny is that I canned a project back in 1999 back in the dot-com boom that did the same via xml for mobile devices for a health care project.

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