Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CopyRight and Politcs - Blog # 5

The average citizen being prosecuted for copyrighting?  The hard working artist loosing money from pirating of their work? Can government policies really help?

Expanding my weekly blog posts #4 and 5 on this topic.

Part 2

Just what exactly is a copyright, and how does it fit into democratic societies' doctrines? An individual's intellectual property and work is for the most part subject to copyright. You cannot plagiarize others' writing, steal their music, or copy their artwork--for profits. After all, it is the American dream to work hard and be happy; enjoying your liberties as long as they do not harm the liberties of others.

Copyright Philosophizing

But how much of this work can be measured and how would it infringe liberties? Mika LaVaque-Manty an Associate Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Michigan tackles this question by speculating on the opinions from "The Father of Liberalism" Himself, John Locke. Any undergrad taking the core requirement of a political science course (such myself) knows John Locke's philosophies on Human Rights and government interventions. Our noble nation of America was founded on these theories.


LaVague-Manty ponders on how Locke's philosophy about people having rights over their hard labor--and being compensated for violations of that labor--fit with the internet and copyrights. As an American this is most intriguing. To specify Copyrights, Simon Whaley details how, as soon as you write something or create an artwork, it is yours and copyrighted to do as you please. He points out how confusing this can get.

 Copyrighting Organizations

Creative Commons preaches on how they build a network of instructors and students to share and edit learning materials and copyright them, Open Education Resources, (OER) as it were. Along with CK-12 and other organizations, they have indeed limit the cost of Textbooks to schools Kinder through 12 grade, and made extraordinary use of the internet.

Aside from that positivity, Creative Commons is not all that wonderful. One most develop opinions through research. For serious writers meaning to profit from their creative work, Creative Commons is a back fire. Tony Lawrence (PCUnix) warns us how CC jeopardizes our--in accordance with Simon Whaley--already copyrighted work.

He explains how sticking Creative Commons into your copyrighted-for profit-work, you are telling the whole world it is OK to "Copy and Remix" your original work.
Proceed with Caution.

 Laws Hampering Creativity

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bill that pushes laws to punish those profiting from pirating others' work and copyrighted material, thus ending piracy. They preach:
"To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." —H.R. 3261
Basically, they are protecting the work of the big companies such as Disney, Universal, and 21st Century fox, along with the big record label companies, from being exploited by foreign nations hosting Bit Torrent servers, which ironically get downloaded by us Americans.

For these big companies, it works quite well. They get to keep all the profit they make from selling their artists work. But do SOPA laws really promote creativity and innovation into entrepreneurship?
Let's refer back to LaVague-Manty's speculation on human philosophies. Thinking outside the box on Politics: There are certain levels of rights an individual is entitled to.

We The People...Die For Freedom.
Starting at the basic level, there are Human Rights under UN charter. Next comes some idealistic American rights to liberty, which Americans continue to value and fight for. What comes after that? Should the Government guarantee their citizens Employment? Guaranteed Medical benefits? Guarantee most amenities that require hard work and planning?

The answers to those questions can be answered by the Billionaire who limits his decedents their inheritance, down to the bare necessities, rather than having them born into riches, thus spoiling their would-be accomplishments. This is because, by human nature, if we are given everything, we do not develop our talents or work our minds into their fullest potential; since there is no immediate need. After all, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention."


So if we develop our best through immediate motivation, does a copyright on intangible goods we create really helps us grow? The most intriguing article I have read that my professor has provided me in this Cyberspace in Society class, has got to be David Bradly's "What's wrong with copyright" article. He definitely presents empirical evidence from outside the box.

His writing should really be read and considered. He begins stating that it's well-known that the big labels have made a lot of money and hardly compensating their artist, in the past. After criticizing the music charts, he expands on Denis Borges Barbosa's critique of the state of copyright in the world of music. The Brazilian musician looks back at the 18th century publishing of music. He accounts Mozart's, Vivaldi's, Telemann's, and their contemporaries' numerous master pieces.

Back then, there were not such copyright laws guaranteeing the artists patent sales of their work. Therefore, the artists kept motivated and inspired to continue working hard and creating their best, while their previous work was being recomposed by others. In theory, these others did not possess the talent, and would never produce at the level of the original composer. Ergo; The brilliant composers would continue publishing and staying on top. The genius of all these composers can surely be heard and felt through their gorgeous master pieces. 

Samuel Barber, contemporary genius
Artists post-twentieth century have had copyright laws guaranteeing them sole benefits from their creations. Barbosa points out how this is what has limited contemporary artists' work. Three Symphonies and two operas will suffice the successful career of a modern composer; juxtaposed to the hundreds  and thousands of concertos and symphonies from the enlightenment period. Copyright laws have certainly hampered our current artists full potential, and cheated human culture out of possible masterpieces.

If Samuel Barber made such a remarkable classic as "Adagio for Strings," why isn't his other work as potent and famous? It's as if Mozart would only have his 40th symphony, no 21st, 25th, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Rondo Alla Turca, and certainly no Requiem.
Only aficionados would know the rest of Samuel Barber's work. It's this Copyrighting that, in theory according to Barbosa, has hindered contemporary artists from becoming workaholics of what they enjoy and are good at.

Governing humans has never been an easy task, and the internet certainly doesn't help. However, it is a tool that helps us grow to our potential--if used properly. If an artist's work is truly great, why would there be a need for a record company and copyrighting? Surely money; However, how much is humanity loosing to greed?

Final Questions Regarding Copyright and Politics:

1. When is a person's work subject to copyright?
a) After signing in with a record deal
b) After petitioning for a patent
c) As soon as the work is created.
d) After the FBI confirms it is an original work.
Answer: C

2. What does Creative Commons do?
a) Copy other peoples work and makes it available to the common public
b) Pays people for copyrights to their work to distribute it for everyone in the Internet
c) By individuals' consent, builds a network of shared work in the internet which others can use and edit as long as is not for commercial profit
d) Allows people to copy others' work as long as it's for commercial profit in the internet.
Answer: C

CopyRight and Politcs - Blog # 4

The average citizen being prosecuted for copyrighting?  The hard working artist loosing money from pirating of their work? Can government policies really help?

Expanding my weekly blog posts #4 and 5 on this topic.

Part 1

One must certainly appreciate the power of the internet. Through the spread of information and media which may very well benefit all of society; it has challenged our established constitutions, legal systems and international relations. It's always forcing us to recall what a revolutionary change it has brought to all of humanity as we had known it.

By it's ground-breaking spread of ideas, events, and media; America begins to question what form "Freedom of Speech" actually takes, the definitive form of intellectual property, and sets new laws constantly and dynamically as the internet continues to rapid grow and improve.

Media in the Internet

The media topic has been at the essence of much debate. The biggest being the spread of music, since there is so much of it, in such small and easily sharable files. Next comes motion pictures, movies, as they have been Americas immediate form of entertainment after the radio. Lastly, comes other forms of art, such as writing and visual art.

Big companies are loosing money as the internet feasibly compresses this media and rapidly shares it around the world. They are loosing money and desperately want this to stop; as they lobby and push their will onto politics, and laws get passed. Now anyone, by the click of a mouse, might be accused of pirating other peoples work.

Of course, as these laws evolve, people begin to panic and interject without fully understanding what this laws mean, as Catherine Fitzpatrick enlightens us in her article.
But now, in understanding that the average individual would not be so prosecuted, what about the mediums that serve this sharing purpose?

Sharing of the Media, Through internet mediums.

With big names such as LimeWire shut down for good, and MiniNova rendered useless by the courts; this companies are affective in politics.  Still such sites find loopholes at sharing this media. The ones who had been in under the scanner since early 2000's were the BitTorrent sites. Most Popularly, The Pirate Bay was the biggest torrent hosting site in the world.

This sites don't practically share the copyrighted media in their servers, but Torrents; mere shells of a movie or ebook being uploaded by others. Therefore exploiting the nature of the internet and intangibly engaging in illegal sharing of intellectual work.

That's the main reason why the individual cannot be so prosecuted for posting a link of a link of a link that links to a server with copyrighted material, in a sense.

Google, in all its hypocrisy, has definitely set  restrictions and limits on it's searches to such sites as Google no longer yields suggestions and search results when typing up this sites on the search bar, until the full word is typed.

Laws, Restrictions, and Adapting

The American public certainly and surely do not take restrictions on their freedom lightly. The sound of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) causes mass panic amongst internet users. A group of lobbyist have come up with Demand Progress, which it's founders have been battling internet restrictions and raising awareness online, and the founders have even been arrested for it. Although a bit on the extremest liberal side, their urgency has proved effective in elongating and stopping bills all together.

So It's there hope? Apparently, yes. Any Armed Forces service member is aware of OPSEC. As a newly made United States Marine, we all take instructional courses on how to keep the Department of Defense free of Phishing, Malware, but most of all for the warriors fighting wars, to not give out any military intelligence over Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube while on deployments.

The use of computers was monitored and restricted to only contacting family through approved internet protocols, however that's now changing for the better.

LCpl. San Sim (RIP, Brother) enjoying some electronics in Country
My last year in the Marine Corps was 2010. Back in that summer, I remember a big movement happening. The internet was opened to us! As an Non-commissioned Officer I was a liaison to get the word out to "Tell the Marine Corps Story." That's right. We all know how the news makes us the bad guys and doesn't ever publish the good we did in country. Now we were taking it into our own hands.

We were getting our story out there. I had to do "Periods of Instruction" on how exactly to do this, to our newer Marines. Mainly because I was the Training NCO working in the offices, as it was my last year with the company--and active duty.

Purple Heart recipient, Cpl. Marcus Chischilly approves of this.
We could now use Youtube to post our videos and make Facebook pages of our company and the good we were doing. America and the world would now see our side and the good things we do.

If the strict, held-to-higher-standards Marines can adapt to the changes in cyber society, so can other policies.

Final Questions regarding Politics and Copyright:

1. What does SOPA Stand for?

a) Start Operating Protocols Act
b) Stop Occupying Places Act
c) Stop Online Piracy Act
d) It stands for people's rights to download media freely on the Internet.
Answer: C

2. How does Google stop the spread of Piracy sites and Bit torrent usage?

a) By not showing any results for searches on Torrents.
b) By reporting those who search for these to the authorities.
c) By yielding no suggestions and search results before typing the full word.
d) By directing searches on Torrents and Pirate sites to proxies in different countries that allow such usage of the internet.

Answer: C

The Big Hip Hop!

Another assignment submitted by Tim Owens in ds106 is The Big Hip Hop where he says to:
"Take any photo from The Big Picture and overlay it with lyrics from a Top 100 song."
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA, greatly influenced by Hip Hop and Rap music; so I just HAD to do this assignment!
I quickly found the perfect picture from The Boston Globe of a Libyan Rebel holding a gun, acknowledging the people in victory. Here it is:


The lyrics are actually featured in two of my favorite rap songs, which both made the top 100s. The Original song is by Grand Master Flash and the Furious five, "The Message." It's such a good song with great lyrics and a good beat. It goes:
"Can't walk through the park cuz is crazy after dark/
Keep my hand on my gun cuz they got me on the run."

The second Top 100 song that featured those lyrics is Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dog's "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" which embodies the West Coast gangster rap culture:

I grew up listening to a lot of this music and have always found it funny to place hardcore gangster rap lyrics in everyday things. I've said this quote when ever I got a gun in my hand! Tim Owens seems to share the same sense of humor!

Leadership Troll Attack!

This one might be a tough one...

One of the most intriguing memes on the internet is the "Trollquote" which involves:
  • A clearly recognizable person or character
  • A clearly recognizable quote or statement
  • A clearly recognizable name that the quote is attributed for
As a ds106 assignment that Darth Ba'al submitted, tells us to:
"The assignment is to take a photo, a quote from a different character than the one in the picture, and a name from a third character different from the other two, place the quote in the picture, and "sign" it with the third person's name. The three characters are to be from three different, but similar in genre, series."
As I kept on seeing Troll quotes with Capt. Picard all over the internet, I kept on associating his leadership character with others. He is my favorite Star Trek captain, and he reminds me a lot of my First Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, First Sgt. Carson.

This guy was a real Clint Eastwood, come to life! He was a bad ass in every way, but most importantly, a fatherly role model for "Suicide Charley," C. Company of 1st Battalion 7th Marines. He motivated us through every misery during training and in combat. He had some damn motivational speeches, as though we were in a movie. Imagine watching a bunch of warriors ready for war after one of his speeches.

Anyways, he always used to say "Don't think you are, know you are," Which is a famous quote from a movie featuring a leader motivating his team. Can you guess the movie quote?
Here's the finished work:

The picture is a well-known mentor/master from a well-known movie series.

What all these three guys have in common is that they are all fictional Leaders and Mentors in their universes. I think the quote will be the hardest one to figure out.

My Spubble! - I look DRUNK!

Your very own Spubble is a ds106 assignment in which you take a picture of yourself with an eccentric body expression and add a speech bubble to it. The assignment was submitted by Jim Groom, as he states:
"Learn to love yourself, grab a picture of yourself in which your body language, actions, gestures, etc. suggest one thing and then play off that using a speech bubble. Ideally the result would make people laugh..."
So I found one of the silliest of my pictures, and added a bubble and quote accordingly:

When I first saw this picture after the party I cracked the hell up! I looked so drunk and ridiculous, when in fact I was the sober one! I was the bartender for my friend's party. I hadn't drank at all when they called me over to take a group picture. Every body looks so decent, yet I look like a drunk retard! It's freaking hilarious!

It was easy work. I downloaded this picture from my friend's Facebook, then I uploaded it on Picnik. Picnik is quick and extremely easy to use. There I added the frame for effect, and spubble. Justin warned me to first add the text bubble, and afterwards the text. That's all it took!

I hope you guys found it entertaining!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

English Teacher in Tokyo - Blackout Poetry

For Native English Speakers Teaching in Japan.

Black out Poems are a contemporary form of  poetry, lead by Austin Kleon who is the creator, I'm sure. I fell in love with the work I've seen at ds106 and their creative Blackout poetry assignments. I just had to do one!
I ran a quick Google search hoping to find a detailed Wikipedia entry, which to my demise wasn't there. However, shortly after Austin Kleon's search result, I found Kevin Harrell's work: Creative Destruction which deserves a good look! I love the power in his words. He's at the tip of the spear in Blackout Poetry.

The ds106 assignment was submitted by Tim Owens and states to:
"Grab a marker and today's morning edition and start blacking out sections to create a new story. It could be a poem, a picture, or a novella, all drawn from the words of the latest news." 
I work at the Temple University Japan Campus library, so it was easy to grab a copy of the Daily Yomiuri. I found an article by Takamasa Sakurai, in which he describes his newly published book: Let's Talk in English! (Eigo de hanso! 英語で話そう! ) He tells how Japan is connected to the world through social media. It was a great article!

After taking joy in reading it, I decided to make a Blackout Poem about this, conveying my feelings as an English Teacher in Japan; I think any English teaching foreigner will agree. However the words didn't come out quite right. Following Otto Paertz's advice on linking words; I put some digital art to work. Good ol' Paint helped me guide my thoughts. Here it is:
Not having the artistic capabilities held by Giulia Forsythe--who drew out images in her digital black out poem, or Stephanie Hughes who made some hand-drawn interpretations of her dream--All I did was circle the picture of two Japanese high school students in the cover of Sakurai's book. This is the second reason why I included his name in my work, the first being that I really liked his article. 
Sans the lack of eloquence, my poem conveys the feeling of being an English teacher in Japan. We come here because we really like Japan, the young Asian students are the most zealous about learning English, and we both form friendships while doing it. It's an immensely delightful feeling.

As for the work, it was far more appealing to do the Blackout by hand. It was relatively simple.

And here's the original work by Takamasa Sakurai. As I said, it's most interesting. Please notice the last paragraph, where he mentions keeping worldly relationships with from Japan through social media.

I've taught this last semester of preparatory English to Japanese high school students through the AEP program at my school, Temple University Japan. As the curriculum involves English conversation, we chat for the first 30 minutes of class. I find myself constantly telling them that phrase in both in Japanese and English "Let's Talk in English!" As they soon start chatting in Japanese.

Here in Japan, teaching English is were the money is at. Straight talk, but for my American readers who haven't lived in Japan before, my following words might be enigmatic. 

As soon as I came to Japan I was working as a freelance conversation partner. I'm also a Chat Host at Com'Inn English Cafe (sorry, only Japanese page for this one!) Where I get paid to drink coffee and talk to people, and drink and Party! As an extroverted American, this comes naturally and I do it all the time back home, but here I'm getting paid for it!

I've learned so much about Japanese people there. Demographics range from Businessmen and Office Ladies, to International artists and doctors. I love my work at Com'Inn, and the owner and co-workers are my distant family. It was featured in a Japanese show (sorry, no English subtitles):

I love working there SO MUCH, but I've found the greatest joy in working with Japanese high school students.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Skip Barber Treacherous Trip! Google Maps Story

 From The Desert to The Snow in California!

ds106 has a web assignment called Google Maps Story and it was submitted by David (Mr. Thimble). I think this assignment is extremely fun and enjoyable, to my surprise, mainly because Google Maps website is pretty advanced an updated now. The directions to get started on the assignment are:

  • Use Google Maps to tell a story! It can be the story of a trip you took, a trip you would like to take, a strange occurrence, a war, anything you like!
  • The only rules are that you have to use Google Maps proper in order to tell your story.
This assignment enticed me because I have been on a great many epic trips, some of them international! I could picture them in my head, as I was motivated by David's well-depicted story. I also thought it would be awesome to explain a detailed historic battle marked in a map of our current world! (That will be saved for when I have the time, though. And I also wanted to tell the story of my 1st deployment to Iraq, which was exiting and full of different missions around Iraq...but that would bee against OPSEC so I can't.) Surprisingly, the more I read on Google Maps Stories, the more I found comments on how they are underrated. I also couldn't find any archived examples from ds106 :-/ must be the lack of proper tagging. I'm guessing it's because Google maps USED to be a pain to navigate still might be on somethings, but it's FUN!

FEAR NO MORE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Google Maps website is all updated, it even has rich text html! At every point in your map, you can add pictures to colorful and highlighted text! I kept mine at default text font, size, and color, but certainly added picture!

It's super easy to use! Just write the title of your story, add some description, and use the tools to mark your first check point. There, a bubble will pop up; which you can edit just like a word document, or a blog! Add links and pictures! A story can actually be SO detailed, if you add a picture of the event, and a link to a wikipedia page or blog with more pictures and description! There are great possibilities!

I've done plenty of epic trips across America and internationally! But for this story I chose one that I will always remember, mainly because it was actually pretty dangerous. I've always been an automobile enthusiast, but I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. Unlike the Midwestern boys, I never had a chance to become a good driver, only driving freeways and such. (Eventually I traveled to the Midwest with my Marine Corps brethren, and the car scene was unparalleled!) My friends an I raced, but I wasn't good. After I totaled one of my cars before my second deployment to Iraq, I told myself that was enough. (If you're my friend on Facebook, you can see more pics of this event, here.)

Back then, I was 22 years old and invincible. Shortly after I came back from Iraq, I bought my dream car--a 530i back and sexy BMW, all by my own! Knowing I was a bad driver, I had been researching Skip Barber Racing School and their programs. I waited for the Christmas 30% off discount back then, and paid under a grand to drive high performance vehicles for 2 days!

As an Infantry Marine, I was stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA which is in the Mojave Desert. The base is the only thing keeping that desert town alive. There is nothing around, and the weather is deadly HOT. There isn't much different between 2-9 (as we called it) and Iraq. Many adventurers have died from heat there. However, it's peculiar weather also throws storms and blizzards at you on winter. You will find the roads dilapidated with "Subject to flooding" signs around. This is what made my trip treacherous.

I was used to pulling trips on a 48hr weekend "libo." Except this time, a blizzard randomly showed up, as I decided to take the less traveled back-roads instead of highways. The suspense entails....

View Skip Barber Treacherous Trip! in a larger map

As for the assignment, I had to dig through old emails between my best friend, Justin, who was in Afghanistan at the time, as I told him the story. I also had radical pics from that trip, but they were all left back home before I came to Japan :( So I had to google some. Fortunately, most of them are from the same place and time. ALSO, Google Maps has this awesome feature, where you grab this one dude from the zoom bar, and drop him on a road to get a street view! This reminded me where things happened in the 550 miles stretch that I drove!

I also googled the weather at that time, and read up to refresh my mind of the whole trip. I should have seriously written it down back then!
Any ways, Here it is! My Skip Barber Treacherous Trip! Hope you enjoy!

Final Blog Post.

Final blog post assignment: "Choose two or more articles from the four Scoop It channels . I’ve set up that are related to a simila...