Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 1 Post 4 - A breath of fresh air!

 As an educator who teaches in a highly technical industry, sometimes I find it difficult to get companies on board with the fact that the students in my classes are the future of the industry, and their future customers. Maybe I'm biased, but if I were a company in a highly competitive, yet somewhat small field, such as entertainment design, I would be wooing future customers in any way possible. Yet, many times over the past 10 years I have been ignored when discussing the need for industry support in education.

Well, that seemed to change this weekend. I'm not sure what spurred on the change, but I will gladly accept the outcome. I had the opportunity to attend the annual Live Design International event, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This event is a week long set of conferences, round table discussions, and expo floor where manufacturers show off their latest and greatest equipment for use in the show production industry.

I was truly shocked at the interest that manufacturers showed in education this year. When I approached different booths, I was actually greeted with open arms this year, instead of closed doors as has been my experience in the past. As an educator, I'm usually on a mission at this show to gather assets that can be used in my classroom, whether it's something simple such as pictures or equipment manuals, or more complex media such as dvd's showing footage of productions. Companies always seemed very unwilling to allow this content to find its way into the hands of education and students, but this year was different. I had multiple companies giving me access to media, and three different companies actually gave me password access to their website that is usually reserved for their distributors and employees, allowing me to use any and all graphics and manuals for classroom use.

So what changed? Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe the economy has had such an impact that large companies are willing to do anything to get new customers. Or maybe these companies finally realized what I've been telling them for years: that my students are the future of their business. But whatever it was, I'm pretty excited about the openness shown by many companies to assist me in teaching my students.

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Week 1 Comment on Chuck's Blog



Week 1 Reading Copyright Issues Information Overload

I found this week’s “reading” to be extremely interesting.  Copyright laws are something that I know little about.  I found the documentary “Good Copy/Bad Copy” to be eye opening for a number of reasons.

There has been such uproar over file sharing in the music industry and the mass production of knock-off movies. 

I believe the entertainment industry needs to embrace the use of the Internet as a distribution point for the media.  I do not believe in downloading music or movies that I have not paid for.  Having said that, I collect concert DVD’s and every once in a while someone will ask me for my Cheap Trick at Budokan DVD.  No, I do not give that out.  I would however make a copy to give out… 

I guess my point is, I understand why people need to have copyright protection, and I understand that when I buy media it is mine to use as I see fit, as long as I do not make a profit or display it in a way that it is not intended.

During the movie they discussed the digital movie making industry in Nigeria.  As someone who has some ability to produce video digitally I thought this was awesome.  I can, with little equipment, produce a video, post it on the web, have millions of people see it, and still make no money.  I can also use the Internet to introduce myself to the world. 

I am careful when making video for home.  I would love to put some of my favorite songs to a homemade video to enhance the viewing.  I won’t.  I have paid for all of the music in my iTunes and I respect the artists who have given me pleasure my whole life.  If everyone in the world did not pay for the music they listen to, no one will make music.  And that, my friend, would be a sad, sad day!

Shawn McKeown said...
One of the biggest issues concerning pirating of music and movies, in my opinion, is the relative ease of doing so. This does not make it right, or legal, but the movie studios and record labels really need to try and update their distribution methods to make legal purchases more readily available to the public. iTunes has done so much to simplify distribution channels, yet there are still companies out there that do not want to partner with iTunes to make this possible, but most have finally seen the light. I think the newest frontier in the copyright battle has to do with Ebooks. Like movies and music a few years ago, the book publishing companies have been extremely reluctant to use widespread electronic distribution methods, and books have been the latest media to be broadly pirated. I feel that not only does the distribution need to be streamlined, but the pricing structure must be changed in order for media companies to succeed.

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Week 1 Comment on Michelle's Blog

From Michelle Brillouet's Blog Found In Translation  

Wk 1 Reading: Copyright Issues pt.1-3: What's it all for?

Welcome to my first blog post for the Media Asset Creation course. In this post I will discuss copyrighting issues in this day and age. I watched a few different videos and read a few different articles. What I was surprised to notice was that there was little to no mention of the issue of moral rights in the USA. According to The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (UK) there are a number of different rights associated with work creations. Moral rights, which is one of them, is the right to object to the derogatory use of works. For example, if a piece of music was is in a pornographic movie, the owner can contest the use of the material on moral grounds. Though there are in fact many differences between UK and US rights, I’m afraid that it may take days to comb through them.

Why is it that more often than not it is these giant companies that want to sue the smaller party over copyright infringements. Have they really paid their dues? How many legendary jazz artists were just paid as session musicians? These musicians who never see pennies worth of royalties . . . I ponder. As the Swedish gentlemen said in the documentary Good Copy Bad Copy, what gives the big US Corporations the right to enforce their ideals and laws on other territories yet so unabashedly disregard those of other territories?

We are in an age where the World is at our fingertips. Even though the USA is the biggest exporter of popular culture it is by no means the ruler of the world. More and more we are expanding, experimenting, creating and remixing. And so the beauty of Creative Commons licensing allows us to safely share our creations without the big bad wolf coming after us. I just hope that great works of art, film and music do not become lost in the memory of days gone by because of licensing. A funny point here was that the company I worked for actually tried to get copyright permission to use the MLK speech in the course books but couldn’t get permission. Why would they deny the use for educational purposes? Should we then think about where the priorities lie for these licensers? Is it to better society or better their profits?

If you want to know a bit more about UK IP issues please follow the link below.

Shawn McKeown's Comments: 

The topic of intended use is pretty broad, and while most of us, as educators, look at usage for education as morally correct, I can also understand why people do not see it the same way. As a teacher, I think everything should be available for use, as it serves the greater good. But, from a copyright holder, I can also see the negative side, thinking that the more my work is out in the open, the more chances that it will be infringed upon. It's a tough topic to debate, but I agree that creative commons can open up more possibilities for us as educators.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week 1 Reading Reflection

Copyright is a topic that hits close to home for me, as I teach a course called Concert Media Design, and visuals for productions are the main focus of this course. While much of what I focus on is the technical aspects of the gear, such as media servers, display devices, etc, a designer must also be focused on creating content for concert productions. One of the topics that I stress to my students is that "right clicking and save as" does NOT make the content yours, even though it's now on you computer. For years, copyright on visuals is something that was not a big issue in concerts, as most of the visual look was provided by the lighting. (Although, there are some cases where lighting designs and set designs for broadway productions have been copyrighted, and court cases have arisen when those productions went to off-Broadway tours, and the designs were basically re-used by other production companies)

With the advent of media servers, devices that allow real time rendering of visual content to be displayed on stage, copyright has become a large issue. There are cases of visual designers being sued because they have used somebody elses visuals without proper permission. To me, this is very much like the Girl Talk situation, although it focuses on visuals instead of music sampling. My goal in teaching about visuals in my course is to stress that my students need to create their own visuals in order to be absolutely sure that they are not infringing on protected works. Yet even in the process of creating their own visuals, it is possible that they could still be in violation. One example that I use is if a student takes a digital picture with their camera, they can use it as their own content. But, if the picture is of the McDonald's golden arches, then they could still be in violation of the law, and can not use that in any way they deem fit.

In January, I conducted an interview with Bob Bonniol, a creative designer and media producer for live performances. Bob's company, Mode Studios, creates content and supplies technical work for everything from ballet to rock and roll concerts to architectural installations. I feel that his take on copyright is very good, yet even he has some "grey area" in his own interpretation.

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