Selected Commentary to Media Tank Posts

Senate bill bans P2P networks
By Declan McCullagh, CNET, 6/23/04
Popular file-trading networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus would be outlawed under a new bill that enjoys broad support from top Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Their legislation says “whoever intentionally induces any violation” of copyright law would be legally liable for those violations, a prohibition that would effectively ban file-swapping networks and could also imperil some consumer electronics devices.

If we think P2P will remain as an open system, this clearly begs the question. Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy), Lawrence Lessig, and Siva Vaidhyanathan all have written on these corporate and regulartory trends.

Media companies take wireless route to consumers
By Sinead Carew, Reuters, 6/23/04
Time Warner Inc. and Walt Disney Co. already ply their wares in cinemas, on television and over the Internet. Now they’re reaching into the mobile phone in your pocket. Some phones can already display pictures and replay video clips, but as networks get faster, it will be possible to watch live newscasts or even a whole movie on wireless gadgets. With such advancements, at least half a dozen media companies are looking at new ways they can use wireless to boost their profits and extend the reach of their brands.

Clearly the corporate sector is eyeing the currently unregulated 802.11 WiFi spectrum. If community activists are not careful, this public resource will go the way of other spectrum resources.

Should Comcast get tax break? Not without public-access TV By Dan Berger, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/21/04 As the state Senate considers a proposal for establishing a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone in downtown Philadelphia for Comcast Corp., it bears noting that Comcast has not been a good corporate citizen for the residents of Philadelphia on several issues, including the establishment of public-access cable television. Philadelphia, Comcast’s flagship city, remains the only large city in the nation without this community-based form of communication. It’s time for the cable giant to live up to promises it made to Philadelphia in 1983.

Philadelphia has had an incredible group of media activists working over the last couple of years to confront these sorts of control.

. . . begin

In 2003, I drafted a brief piece on community technology and its relationship to public discourse. This piece can be found at: Community Technology and Public Discourse.

I have just reread this work. It is interesting to see where my thinking on this has progressed. In the last year, infrastructure development at LTC has progressed dramatically. The Community Software Lab continues to expand its tools and activiites and with the recent re-launch of the MVHub plans are in place for a community web portal. The tools are there, the challenge now is to harness them for further community development. [Dan MacNeil, David Seigal, and Eric Milosevic] should be appauled for their work in pushing these activities forward.

Also during the last year, LTC has launched the Digital Bicycle as a means explore methods for sharing and distributing media content via the Internet. Initiated by Daniell Krawczyk, this work was prompted by the need to more efficiently share youth media generated at the various Youth Channel members (the Youth Channel is a group of communtiy media centers working to create a youth media culture within these centers). One of the first concrete projects prompted by the Digital Bicycle is a BitTorrent project initiated in collaboration with the Commonwealth Broadband Collabortive.

To date the CBC has used Internet distribution to share three of its “First Tuesday” programs. In addition to BitTorrent, FTP access has also been used. At the CBC, Nettrice Gaskins, Saul Baizman, and James Fishwick have been critically engaged. Ginny Berkowitz and Jim Youll at Cambridge Community Television have also actively worked to think through these mechanisms.

I hope to use this space to continue exploring (and sharing) my thoughts on new opportunities for what I am currently calling Community Communications.