Radio Berkman 227: How Block Chain Will Change the World

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Bitcoin is having its 7th birthday, and its promise to change the way the world thinks about money is looking less and less hyperbolic.

For one, the block chain technology underlying Bitcoin – the public ledger that makes the exchange transparent and accountable – is now being used to clean up Wall Street. A block chain-inspired service announced recently could open up the practice of lending stocks, and help prevent the kind of out-of-control short selling that led to the crash of 2008.

But there are a lot people still don’t understand about Bitcoin and block chain. We spoke with incoming Berkman Fellow Patrick Murck of the Bitcoin Foundation to explain.

Flickr photo courtesy of btckeychain

Music from Artist of the Fortnight

Reference Section:
Block chain takes on Wall Street
The History of Bitcoin
The whitepaper that launched Bitcoin

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

Radio Berkman 226: Pay the Musician

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The market for recorded music has undergone at least three major reinventions since the dawn of the Internet. At the turn of the century illegal downloading ate away at the music industry’s bottom line. Then the iTunes music store made it easy to buy music again, albeit disaggregated from its album form.

Then along came streaming. The combination of ubiquitous Internet connectivity and bottomless consumer appetite for music has led to the success of applications like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio which allow users to access entire music catalogs from virtually anywhere for next to nothing.

Streaming has worked. In 2014 alone, at least 164 billion tracks were played across all streaming services according to Nielsen. And these streaming companies are raking in incredible amounts of cash from advertising and user subscription fees.

Where does the money go? A recent study from Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship showed that 20 to 50 percent of music revenues might never make it to their rightful owners. In some cases artists might get 20% or less of the already tiny dollar amounts coming in from streaming services.

But no one knows for sure. In a New York Times Op-Ed this week David Byrne asked the music industry to “open the black box,” and let everyone – the artists, the labels, the distributors, the listeners – know exactly where your money goes.

On this week’s episode of the podcast we try to find out if we can crack into the stream and figure out where the money is flowing.

Flickr photo courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm

Reference Section:
Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship’s study Transparency and Money Flows in the Digital Music Industry
David Byrne’s New York Times Op-Ed
Our full interview with Damon Krukowski

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This week’s episode produced by Elizabeth Gillis, Beatrice Igne-Bianchi, and Daniel Dennis Jones.

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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Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 1.41.47 PMListen:or download | …also in Ogg

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]

0

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.

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