Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hacking, Artists' Earnings & Copyright

Two Interesting articles in this and next month's issue of First Monday:

1)This month: Artists’ earnings and copyright: A review of British and German music industry data in the context of digital technologies by Martin Kretschmer.
Here's the abstract:
Digital technologies are often said (1) to enable a qualitatively new engagement with already existing cultural materials (for example through sampling and adaptation); and, (2) to offer a new disintermediated distribution channel to the creator. A review of secondary data on music artists’ earnings and eight in–depth interviews conducted in 2003–04 in Britain and Germany indicate that both ambitions have remained largely unfulfilled. The article discusses to what extent the structure of copyright law is to blame, and sets out a research agenda.

2) Next month: The media's portrayal of hacking, hackers and hacktivism before and after September 11 by Sandor Vegh
Here's the abstract:
This paper provides a thorough analysis of the mainstream media representation of hackers, hacking, hacktivism, and cyberterrorism. The intensified U.S. debate on the security of cyberspace after September 11, 2001, has negatively influenced the movement of online political activism, which is now forced to defend itself against being labeled by the authorities as a form of cyberterrorism. However, these socially or politically progressive activities often remain unknown to the public, or if reported, they are presented in a negative light in the mass media.

In support of that claim, I analyze five major U.S. newspapers in a one–year period with 9–11 in the middle. I argue that certain online activities are appropriated for the goals of the political and corporate elite with the help of the mass media under their control to serve as pretext for interventions to preserve the status quo. Thus, the media portrayal of hacking becomes part of the elite’s hegemony to form a popular consensus in a way that supports the elite’s crusade under different pretexts to eradicate hacking, an activity that may potentially threaten the dominant order.

And part of the conclusion:

  • The discourse is shifting from hackers as criminals to hackers as cyberterrorists.
  • There is a larger focus on cyberterrorism now, even if it has not yet happened.
  • The language of the media blurs the differences between hacktivism and cyberterrorism.
  • Motivations are not discussed in news articles about hacking, except when the article is about profiling hackers.
  • Articles on hackers and hacking increasingly use sensationalist tone and language.


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