6.4

Yesterday was the 22th anniversary of the 6/4 Tiananmen incident. Many pro-democracy activists have posted their feelings on social networking sites. Of course these sites don’t include the ones in China. Most of these activists are living outside China so they have the freedom to access western websites.

It is ironic to think that even though internet is a free world, there are still information that people cannot have access to. In China, the 4th of June is always a “sensitive” day. People don’t talk about it, especially on the internet, anything that contains 6/4 would be excluded/deleted instantly. So while people in foreign countries are mourning for the terrible incident, China himself has blocked all the information and pretended that nothing has ever happened. In a way, this is very scary. No matter how influential the internet is, China seems to have the power to suppress it.

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Ipad worth more than kidney??

Read this article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13639934

A Chinese teenager sold his kidney to the black market in order to buy an Ipad. How crazy is this? Technology advances and the whole internet world are supposed to do us good. But in this case, this innocent teenager harmed himself, before he could use the newest technology device to explore the world. This reminds us how important education is.

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“official” language?

The other day, a Brazilian friend of mine tagged me in a photo on Facebook.That day, I received tons of comment notifications. The problem was that all the comments were in Portuguese, and I do NOT understand Portuguese. So I thought, perhaps there should be an “official”/universal language on these social networking sites (I know this is silly). But it really doesn’t feel good when you receive comments about your photos that you do not understand. Or alternatively, facebook should introduce a new translation function?

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too much information?

Did you notice something?

Yes, there are two same posts! If you are familiar or a user of these two social networking sites (facebook on the left and twitter on the right) then you are probably familiar with this situation. Same information posted on different websites. Is this a bit too much? I know the easiest way to avoid this is simply delete this page from one of my social networking account. But since social networking sites are becoming one of the most important resources of information, do you think using more than 1 social networking sites is necessary?

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LAN house in Brazil

Here’s an article about the LAN houses in Brazil.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/11/2212931/brazils-lan-houses-help-bridge.html

It is shocking to know that “Only about 39 percent of the Brazilians population has access to the Internet and many only do because of the LAN houses”

In my home country, almost every household has their own internet. And to be frank, I cannot live without internet.

Although internet is quite popularized in my home country, there are many internet cafes, just like the LAN houses in Brazil.

Researcher says that “High prices for media goods, low incomes and cheap digital technologies are the main ingredients of global media piracy.”

(Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/11/2212931_p2/brazils-lan-houses-help-bridge.html#ixzz1MtR2BysH)

Nowadays, information and news are shared and spread out online, without the internet,  it’s harder (but not impossible) for people to receive information. While we are using internet for free at university, on the other side of the world, there are people who hardly have the chance to go on the internet. (In a sense, this is quite unfair.) This problem led to a further problem of using pirated software etc. While people are advocating anti-piracy, has anyone thought about what they can do for those people who cannot afford internet?

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Week 11-Piracy as a cultural goods

B) Medosch argues that: “piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions” (Reader, page 318).

Discuss ONE of these arguments while giving an example online.

Fist of all, I would like to share a video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCkX0KcNwrI&feature=related

English singer and song-writer Joss Stone stated, “Music should be shared.” “I don’t care how you hear it (her music), as long as you hear it, and you come to my show and have a great time…I don’t mind.”

I don’t want to judge whether piracy is ethically right or wrong, or whether it’s a good or bad thing. But one should face the reality that not every one can afford copyrighted goods, and under this circumstance, like Medosch stated “It (piracy) gives people access to information and cultural goods they had otherwise no chance of obtaining.” (Medosch 2008:81)

Everyone has their right and freedom to listen or watch whatever they want. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do so. This is when piracy comes in. People who cannot afford or have access to these goods, they rely on piracy, because piracy is always cheaper and easier to obtain.

In China, only 20 foreign movies are allowed into theatres each year. (David Pierson 2011) This restriction has kept local Chinese people from all other great foreign films. The easiest way they could get access to these films is through internet, and most likely, they will choose those pirated version with Chinese subtitles.

http://movie.douban.com/ is a very popular Chinese movie forum. In this forum, people are encouraged to rate and give a review of films they have watched, and these films include not only Chinese films but also foreign films. In here, I would (bravely) assume that people who gave comment/review on the films, mostly likely watched those movies through “illegal” access, or in other words, the pirated movies. (Of course, there are Chinese people who lives overseas, therefore can easily watch foreign movies in foreign countries and then comment on the forum.)

Pirated movies have several advantages that attract Chinese people. Firstly, it is free. Although China’s economy is strong, there are still a large number of people who cannot afford buying copyrighted movies. Even if they are able to, they don’t have access, since a lot of the foreign websites are blocked by the Chinese government. Secondly, a vast majority of Chinese people do not know a second language. Although English is very strongly promoted in China’s education system, there is still a gap between Chinese students’ English level and the level of being able to understand an English-language film (no need to mention other languages). So even if Chinese people buy a copyrighted movie from foreign websites, they will not be able to understand because there will be no Chinese subtitles.

In fact, there are many Chinese students who use these pirated movies which has subtitles as a material to learn English. In this case, piracy, does “fulfills culturally important functions” (Medosch 2008:81) By watching pirated movies, and sharing their thoughts on the “Douban” forum, Chinese people are engaged in cultural discussions about art and film. Without those pirated movies, the movie forum in China will only have 20 foreign movies to update each year, and very likely these movie forums will not be very popular because there won’t be a lot of updates and exciting discussion.

References:

Armin Medosch, ‘Paid in Full: Copyright, Piracy and the Real Currency of Cultural Production’, in Deptforth. TV Diaries II: Pirate Strategies, London: Deptforth TV, 2008, pp.73-97.

David Pierson, ‘China still restricting foreign media, U.S. complains’ Accessed on 14 May, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/22/business/la-fi-china-wto-20110322

 

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Beautiful remix video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA-tDkujEQY&feature=related

This beautiful video consists of the “winter” violin concerto composed by Vivaldi, and some amazing pictures of the winter scenes. These pictures are in fact animated, one can see the movements of the stars and clouds. A perfect example of remixing pictures and music.

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