Radio Berkman 225: Can you copyright a joke?

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With 316 million users posting 500 million tweets a day, someone is bound to write an unoriginal tweet now and then.

But there are some Twitter users whose entire existence relies completely on plagiarizing tiny jokes and relatable observations created by other Twitter users. Many plagiarizing accounts have follower numbers ranging from the thousands to the millions. Meaning their exposure can lead to career opportunities and sponsorships built on the creativity of others who are just getting started in their writing careers.

So it was not without excitement that Twitter users found out last week that they can report plagiarizing accounts to Twitter under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and have these copied tweets removed.

But now we’re forced to ask the question: are jokes protected under copyright?

We asked Andy Sellars of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic to weigh in.

Flickr photo courtesy of wwworks

Music from Podington Bear “Bright White

Reference Section:
How many tweets could there be?
Twitter is deleting stolen jokes
@olgalexell responds
Check out the Chilling Effects database

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Radio Berkman 224: Reddit – Community? Or Business?

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Reddit is sometimes called “the frontpage of the Internet.” 170 million people a month help upload, curate, and make viral the cat photos, prank videos, and topical discussions that help fuel our neverending thirst for content.

But recent moves by Reddit management to tighten up their content policy have threatened what is seen as the fundamentally “free speech” culture at Reddit.

David Weinberger and Adrienne Debigare recently wrote about Reddit’s crossroads for the Harvard Business Review.

They joined us this week to talk about the culture of Reddit, free speech, and just who gets to make these decisions anyway?

Credits:
Flickr photo courtesy of fibonacciblue
Music from Neurowaxx and Timo Timonen

Reference Section:
How Reddit the Business Lost Touch With Reddit the Culture
Reddit’s community responds to the changes
Internet Monitor’s roundup of highlights from the controversy

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Radio Berkman 223: Fiber City

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Why are over 450 towns in the US building their own high speed Internet networks?

Let’s look at the example of the small town of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

A few years back the town’s mayor asked if the local cable or telephone companies wanted to build a fiber network to serve local schools and municipal buildings. The companies declined. The project was turned over to the local gas and electric utility, HG&E. Eighteen years later, HG&E have expanded this network to serve local businesses, and even other towns in the area. And it turns out this investment has more than paid for itself.

On this week’s episode we talk about what happens when municipal utilities and companies compete to provide local Internet services.

Credits:
Music by Morgantj “Fresh Doughnuts”

Reference Section:
The report: Holyoke: A Massachusetts Municipal Light Plant Seizes Internet Access Business Opportunities
A terrific map of the 450+ communities deploying their own broadband

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This week’s episode written and produced by Elizabeth Gillis, with Daniel Dennis Jones.

Olivier Sylvain on Network Equality

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One of the few clear priorities of the federal Communications Act is to ensure that all Americans have reasonably comparable access to the Internet without respect to whom or where they are. Yet, in spite of this, the main focus of policymakers and legal scholars in Internet policy today has been on promoting innovation, a concept that Congress barely invokes in the statute.

In this talk, Olivier Sylvain — Associate Professor at Fordham Law School — will critique this prevailing approach to Internet regulation, anbd suggest that the singular focus on innovation could starkly exacerbate existing racial, ethnic, and class disparities because the quality of users Internet connections refract through those persistent demographic variables.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Olivier Sylvain on Network Equality [AUDIO]

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One of the few clear priorities of the federal Communications Act is to ensure that all Americans have reasonably comparable access to the Internet without respect to whom or where they are. Yet, in spite of this, the main focus of policymakers and legal scholars in Internet policy today has been on promoting innovation, a concept that Congress barely invokes in the statute.

In this talk, Olivier Sylvain — Associate Professor at Fordham Law School — will critique this prevailing approach to Internet regulation, anbd suggest that the singular focus on innovation could starkly exacerbate existing racial, ethnic, and class disparities because the quality of users Internet connections refract through those persistent demographic variables.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 222: Going Public

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Public spaces function based on a varying give-and-take relationship with community members. Publicly supported media — whether it be college radio, a local NPR station, cable access, or PBS — shares the word “public,” but traditionally doesn’t have the same relationship with members as other “public” institutions, for examples parks and libraries.

On this episode of Radio Berkman we speak with Nieman Fellow Melody Kramer who is researching what it means to be a member of a public or community radio station. Kramer pulls from examples at stations all over the country of people supporting their public radio stations in non-financial ways, including code and story ideas.

You can see some of what she’s uncovered on her github.

Credits:
Music by Alialujah Choir “Building a Nation”
Photo by Hey Paul Studios

Reference Section:
Melody’s github, where you can fork her code!
Video of her recent talk at the Berkman Center
More about Melody’s work

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis and Daniel Dennis Jones.

Justin Reich on The Web We Want & The Ed We Want

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The past decade has seen a dramatic decline in user agency all across the Web, but especially in education. The Aughts saw the budding of a golden age of user-produced media on the Web. But these buds never fully flowered, over-shadowed by the development of proprietary platforms like Facebook in the social sector and learning management systems in the educational sector. Thinkers like Anil Dash have lamented “The Web We Lost,” and groups like the Indieweb movement and the Reclaim Innovation movements are working to revitalize a user-owned and user-produced Web.

In this talk, Justin Reich — Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow, Berkman Fellow, and co-founder of EdTechTeacher — highlights some of the exciting innovations within education that seek to put students and learners in charge of their online lives.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Justin Reich on The Web We Want & The Ed We Want [AUDIO]

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The past decade has seen a dramatic decline in user agency all across the Web, but especially in education. The Aughts saw the budding of a golden age of user-produced media on the Web. But these buds never fully flowered, over-shadowed by the development of proprietary platforms like Facebook in the social sector and learning management systems in the educational sector. Thinkers like Anil Dash have lamented “The Web We Lost,” and groups like the Indieweb movement and the Reclaim Innovation movements are working to revitalize a user-owned and user-produced Web.

In this talk, Justin Reich — Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow, Berkman Fellow, and co-founder of EdTechTeacher — highlights some of the exciting innovations within education that seek to put students and learners in charge of their online lives.

Download the MP3

…or download the OGG audio format!

More info on this event here.

Radio Berkman 221: How to Stop Traffic

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The International Labour Organization estimates that between forced labor and the commercial sex trade, more than 20 million men, women, and children are being trafficked internationally.

The web plays a huge role in keeping trafficking industries viable, but new technology is also contributing to the efforts to police and prevent human trafficking and the child exploitation that results from it.

As a PhD student in MIT’s HASTS program, Mitali Thakor is studying the problems associated with a tangled web of different institutions and companies trying to solve these problems. Thakor points to questions of surveillance and the rights of youth online in her discussion with Radio Berkman producer Elizabeth Gillis.

Reference Section:
More about Mitali Thakor’s work

Credits:
“The Last Man on Earth” by Neurowax

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis, with Daniel Dennis Jones.

Ali Hashmi on Ideology and Text: Classifying and Analyzing Discourse using Machine Learning

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We can use technology to uncover patterns in data. But it’s much harder to uncover an “ideology” embedded in text.

In this talk, Ali Hashmi — a researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media — discusses a tool he has created that uses data-driven approaches for classifying discourse in news media. Using an analysis of discourse on Islam in the mainstream media, the tool reveals how media coverage in several mainstream news sources tends to contextualize Muslims largely as a group embroiled in conflict at a disproportionately large level.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

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