Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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Lawrence Lessig on creativity, new technology, and the law

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Today in class I went off on a little digression (thanks, “Charlie bit me”) about the phenomenon of viral videos.  What is it about certain videos of babies, cats, and other trivial things that cause them to be viewed millions of times?  Can we document and analyze some traits of videos that go “viral” (advertisers and marketers are hard at work on discovering these secrets, as they toy with all kinds of buzz marketing strategies)? What can we say about the secondary phenomenon of instant, often hilarious parodies, remixes, mash-ups, and other kinds of user-generated media?

There are a lot of issues to think about here, from the impact of Youtube and other video sites on traditional broadcast media (how many viewers now spend more time looking at online videos than watching TV?) to the part played by copyright laws in encouraging or squelching this global movement.

Lawrence Lessig is a law professor who has written and talked a lot about these issues.  Here’s his TED talk on the topic of how current intellectual property laws (devised before the internet came along) may strangle what he calls the new, yet somehow old, “read-write culture.”  Along the way there’s a couple more funny videos along the lines of what I showed today in class, too.

And seriously, when you can, take the time to sample some more of the TED talks – they’re fabulous brain food on all sorts of subjects by brilliant and thoughtful people, relatively short at just 15 minutes each, and all free.  Good stuff.


Written by michaelhkoch

December 9, 2009 at 2:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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