OTW Fannews: Technology and Legal Matters

  • A piece in the New York Times examined how technology, and those creating it, are censoring the Internet. “The New Yorker found its Facebook page blocked for violating the site’s nudity and sex standards. Its offense: a cartoon of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve’s bared nipples failed Facebook’s decency test. That’s right — a venerable publication that still spells “re-elect” as “reëlect” is less puritan than a Californian start-up that wants to “make the world more open.”” The article cites numerous companies at fault, the most influential being Google. “Until recently, even the word “bisexual” wouldn’t autocomplete at Google.” While some cases are a matter of cultural conflict, others show corporate influence. “How do you teach the idea of “fair use” to an algorithm?”
  • The Daily Dot looked at just such a problem by investigating how Google’s automated search for copyright violations ends up being anything from a nuisance to censorship of people creating or using royalty-free content. “Miller’s saga…led him through the depths of EMI Music and Warner/Chappell Music, two labels that showed up as having management rights to the track. But when Miller made the necessary efforts to contact the labels, he learned that neither of the two actually held any rights to the song. In both cases, the two creators lost their ability to pull revenue from the ads that ran on their videos. Instead, those dollars—or pennies, as Mullins articulated—went to the purported rights holders of each composition—something that’s not technically fair, if at all ethical—until the channel owner’s able to straighten out the situation. That can sometimes take days, weeks, or in Mullins case with the guitar stringing videos, not happen at all.”
  • Knowledge at Wharton posted a video interview and transcript with information management professor Shawndra Hill on the topic of Social TV which is “the integration of social media and TV programming” designed to capture fan activity. “There are a number of [successful] social TV applications that have been developed by [several] businesses to allow people to basically show how big a fan they are of different TV shows…So networks in the U.S., at least, have ways for their viewers to interact with one another on the networks’ websites and in fact are trying to drive them to their own websites to do just that.”

If you have technology or legal stories relating to fandom, why not share them on Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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