Free music causes more problems?

How many of you have a lot of free songs which are downloaded from the internet? Do you purchase music these days? In the modern society, there are less and less people who take the trouble to borrow some CDs at the shop or to purchase the album of Taylor Swift. This is just because we can freely download music from the internet, which is pretty convenient for us.

From the reading this week, however, I am wondering how the musician could subsist on their lives while many of us enjoy the benefits of being able to freely download music from the internet. This has something to do with copyrights and intellectual property right. In the first place, why is discussing copyrights or intellectual property right important? The reason for this is because we are now online using the internet, resulting in the fact that we need to be regulated in some ways to avoid illegal uses of new goods originally produced by the creators’ effort.

It is certain that there seemingly should be those rights when we think like above. However, the life without them might be able to bring us more benefits. Why? Firstly, we can expect that making the existing sources freely available to all producers leads to promoting further innovation. In other words, based on the original goods, all producers can then create and mix many different things or ideas to produce more convenient goods for people. Secondly, in terms of economics, no rights can improve the economic effects. One of the economists, Adam Smith, strongly explained how monopolies make less available at higher price. For example, production of music: when the creator of music applies the monopoly for his music, no further songs can exist, making less money.

From the above, the issue of copyrights or intellectual property right can be really controversial. Yet, what we simply need to be careful is not to abuse goods produced by the creators without authorization for making money. The good example of this situation is ‘fake Disneyland’ which is an amusement park in China, where they open the park without getting permission to use characters. I do not think this should be allowed in the world. Therefore, whether or not these rights have to be applied is a never ending problem.

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Switch On or Off

We as a world citizen are currently existing with technologies as if we were a cyborg. It is not an exaggeration that we would not able to survive without technologies in this network society. This is what we call “Netizen.”

Technology that we often use is surely an internet. It has been getting cheaper, faster and more widespread than a decade, resulting in a gradual increase in the number of net users in the world. Especially, the number of social networking service users has positively increased within a few years. We use social network for interpersonal communication such as chatting with our friends or exchanging songs etc online.

Additionally, we should not neglect that social networking platforms is not just used for having fun for individuals, but also for business. For example, I heard that some people open a web shop to sell clothes for people in the world using hot social networking service. Also, recently one of six people who successfully found their job have accessed to social networking service. In particular, Facebook provides them with a useful information related to jobs, therefore, it has an advantage for both companies and people looking for a job.

However, such social networking services do not necessarily provide us a good way to use. This is because workers using the service cannot easily switch on or off from their work as they can always access to network. In other words, work emails connect to our personal life and possibly disturb it. For example, my father who is a teacher in a junior high school always checks his mobile or emails to see if anything wrong happens to his workplace. I am wondering if he can really be released from work.

Can we insist that social network really gives such workers freedom?

Free Cyberspace

It can be an ideal environment for cyber speakers to be a person who expresses themselves without taking a risk. They capture, so to speak, “the space that makes them a hero.” The reason why they intend to show the excessive worship towards the social media is because they feel envy and jealousy for others except oneself becoming “a seen person” by using the media. Being a sender of information means to be an existence to be seen by indefinite others as well as to satisfy greed to famous life.

On the internet, there are a lot of systems which can allow us to freely speak out in the public space and to chat with different people in real time. On a mailing list using e-mail services, we can perform our speech using broadcast communications to the participants and moreover, the participants can receive an argument against the speech.

Some studies strongly mention that with an example of wrestling, the most important thing is how many audiences are watching the argument around the ringside. In addition, the argument itself does not employ a particular rule, therefore, even those who have not spoken out suddenly cut in their inappropriate opinions which ignore a point of the argument. It is just like the audiences suddenly intrude inside the ring during the wrestling game. Then, the argument can spread to the public as a disorder state steadily. In this situation, can the argument based on so-called electronic democracy and a civil society really be established?

It can be clear that the argument certainly produce the greed which never happens in the real communication while anonymity is permitted and being aware of “being seen by someone.”

Social Media Revolution?

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On January 4th, 2011, the democratic political movement called ‘Arab Spring’ was triggered by the action of Mohamed Bouazizi who died at only the age of 26. He burned himself to death for the protest to the government who stole his food for living on December 17th 2010.

His brother Ali Bouazizi exposed the photos of the incident on the Internet straight away. With his action as a start, the movement spread to the entire Tunisia, resulting in collapse of the long-term government. The movement continued to spread to each Arab country. As anti-government demonstration organisation kept contacting each other by using Facebook and Twitter, it is clear that the Internet or social media were profoundly involved with Arab Spring from its beginning to its end.

At this point, however, I got a question come up with. Why has confusion in Arab countries been still continuing even though the movement had achieved the aim for overthrowing the long-term government? Moreover, the most doubtful question is why social media which successfully contributed to the revolution did not contribute to use of democratisation government?

It is certain that social media gives people a way to speak out. In other word, it helps them bunch up together and make a move to accomplish their final goal. But, what exactly does it mean? Would we encounter more and more revolutions in the future? Or, would the speed of the media get faster and be easily transmitted to outside? It is considered that social media is only a tool that boosts a current condition so the beginning of an action can always be triggered by people and their feelings.

Social Networks and Globalisation

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Social Networks are amazing.

It is not an exaggeration that If they did not exist in the present age, some social structures could probably been underdeveloped. People in the world, no matter which ethnic group they belong to or no matter how poor or rich they are, can possibly be connected each other. This idea is explained by this week’s reading written by Castells (2004, p222) mentioning that networks have no boundaries.

When we call the name ‘social networks’, first things come up in our mind are Twitter which we have started using in our DIGC202 class and also Facebook that many of university students play in the middle of their study time. Since the globalisation of Twitter and Facebook, the number of the users have gradually been increasing (as you can see the picture above).

But, why are they addicted to use it that much? The reason for this is because it is comparatively easy for anyone to use it: usability. Even though Twitter apparently looks complicated to use, it can steadily get people into the Twitter world since they get used it. Just like my situation. When I first started it, I did not completely understand how to use it. After several times of attempts, however, I often tweet the feelings I have at the moment.

With one word I tweeted as a start, I would be able to connect with someone who I do not ever have a chance to talk and become a good friend. Moreover, when a serious topic on the politics etc is posted, those who are interested in that exchange their opinions, resulting in Twitter or Facebook space suddenly changing to a debating society.

Therefore, it is necessary for us living in network society to coexist with social networks which have an advantage that they allow all users to equally access to them in all countries.

 

Reference

Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world?, pp. 221-224.