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April 28, 2008

“Web celebs?” [7:28 am]

Web celebs consider their role (pdf)

“This conference was an idea waiting to happen,” said David Weinberger, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. He kicked off the confab with a keynote speech examining the Web’s new brand of celebrity, where popularity frequently bubbles up through truly populist channels, such as word of mouth or e-mail recommendations, rather than by paparazzi.

That sort of celebrity dominated the conference - an ever-expanding cast of people who look ordinary - even nerdy - but were welcomed by adoring fans for creating Internet “memes,” cultural building blocks that are the equivalent of genes.

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The Right Tool For the Job? [7:11 am]

And, what *is* the job, anyway? Cartoons of a Racist Past Lurk on YouTube

A representative for Warner wrote in an e-mail message that “Warner Brothers has rights to the titles” in question and that “we vigorously protect all our copyrights. We do not make distinctions based on content.”

The cartoons, known as the “Censored 11,” have been unavailable to the public for 40 years. Postings no longer appear if YouTube is searched for “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs,” a parody of “Snow White” and the most famous of the cartoons. But a search for “Coal Black” does find the cartoon.

These cartoons were controversial when first released; the N.A.A.C.P. unsuccessfully protested “Coal Black” before it was shown in 1943. Richard McIntire, the director of communications for the N.A.A.C.P., wrote in an e-mail message that “the cartoons are despicable. We encourage the films’ owners to maintain them as they are — that is, locked away in their vaults.”

WMAV01, a YouTube user who posted some of the cartoons and preferred not to give his name, wrote in an e-mail message that “these cartoons were never officially ‘banned’ by any law” and added that the cartoons had “historical value.” [...]

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New Business Models [7:09 am]

It’s not all about relying upon copyright, exactly. At least, not the more draconian notions of control: Golden Years of Television Find New Life on the Web

In putting old episodes online, broadcasters are tapping into the “long tail” of niche content that the Internet has monetized. While executives are reticent about the costs involved, and while syndicated and DVD sales remain dominant sources of revenue, the repurposing of long-dead shows is creating another new revenue stream for distributors.

The online re-creation of the WB — a network that disappeared in 2006 when it merged with UPN to become the CW — will represent another step in that direction. While Warner Brothers would not confirm the plans, preferring to wait until a press conference on Monday, Bruce Rosenblum, the president of the company’s television group, said in an interview last week that “premium ad-supported digital destinations that are demographic-specific” are a key part of its strategy going forward.

Advertising-supported TV streaming sites like Hulu, Veoh and Joost are forming a time tunnel to 50 years of television — to shows like “Bewitched” and “Seinfeld” and even 26 episodes of the 1966 drama “The Time Tunnel”.

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