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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Sound of Silence

The two-minute silence observed today at noon was a very eerie moment for me. I was at home at the time, but I felt in touch with all those who like me, to some degree or other, have had their life altered directly by terrorist attacks since September 2001. I don't refer to those people who have lost loved ones in the attacks. Nor do I mean anyone who was physically injured or lost personal property. Those are the people who were unlucky enough to be hit directly by the attacks, but there are others...and we are not afraid.

Refusing to give in to the mildest sense of terror I chose to focus on something trivial in my previous blog entry. To my surprise the topic raised a number of comments about file-sharing. This is a subject I've been interested in for a number of years, as much for the thrill of P2P technology as for the joy of observing the topic discussed in academic circles.

I want my response to remain soft, at least for now. So rather than engage head-on with the comments my readers left on my blog over the past few days, I prefer to turn my attention to audio-blogging. I do this in direct response to five things that crossed my computer screen this week.

(1) From The recent emergence of Web sites that encourage the public to upload copies of their own video and audio content is highlighting the difficulties of controlling the illicit spread of copyrighted material. The new sites are coming online at a time when technology is making it increasingly easy for ordinary people to copy, record, edit and upload video and audio content to the Web.

(2) From The Independent: The BBC has been lambasted by classical music labels for making all nine of Beethoven's symphonies available for free download over the Internet. This week the BBC announced there have been more than a million downloads of the symphonies during the month-long scheme. But the initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition.

(3) From USA Today: Podcasts from ESPN, CNN and ABC News now constitute some of the most popular iTunes downloads, replacing the low-cost productions that until recently ruled the radio genre. Podcasting "went from underground to mainstream overnight," says Ted Schadler, digital media analyst at Forrester Research, and a showdown between big and small podcasters is expected as interest in advertising and subscription fees increases.

(4) From Wired News: Video blogs, featuring content as widely varied as that of cable-access programming, are turning media consumers into media creators. Also known as vlogs, the forum allows users to create and distribute a program without relying on TV or mainstream media.

(5) The Maltese blogger formerly known as Archibald revealed his true identity, offering his first audio blog. I enjoyed it thoroughly on various levels, not least because it raises issues related directly with the item from I mentioned above.

How fitting that some of my thoughts on Web 2.0 appeared in the Technology section of The Times today. I really need to get cracking my plans to do more audio-blogging and get to vlogging, since I've already mentioned the people behind ANT on my blog twice.

Blogger Antoine Cassar said...

A very, very interesting post, Ton. Grazzi hafna. 

4:12 AM, July 15, 2005
Blogger Arcibald said...

The copyright issue is really interesting. How much of a song can one use in an edit for it to still remain legal? 10% like when photocopying books? Nothing, meaning that one second only is enough to make it unusable without being illegal?

Another thing - editing and using it for short features (such as audioblogs) is in my opinion totally different from downloading as such. Downloading is the illegal acquirment of songs - I own most of the song in their original format as much as radios do (without having much free promos as they do).

Anyway it's a really interesting topic - one which will surely need years to settle down - nonetheless because our legislators do not seem to grasp the latest concepts into question. 

8:44 AM, July 15, 2005

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