Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rhode Island Pub Owner Faces Suit Over Music Copyrights

Thought this was an interesting example of what we had discussed in class:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In February, some patrons at Patrick’s Pub, which sees as many politicians as any government building, cobbled together a band. Their gig was unmemorable — until it sparked a lawsuit that could shut the bar down.

The bar’s owner, Patrick Griffin, is being sued by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or Ascap. The organization says the bar violated federal copyright law during the show and is seeking up to $120,000 in damages.

The lawsuit is hanging over this bar, which serves as a virtual annex to the nearby State House. Patrons, who are just about everyone who is anyone in Providence, are flocking to the defense of Mr. Griffin, a native of Ireland who opened the bar in 1992. He works at City Hall, approving all paychecks, and organizes the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“He came from Ireland, and the first thing he did as a good Irish immigrant, and he’s a friend of mine, was get a city job and open a pub,” said Vincent A. Cianci, the former mayor of Providence who spent five years in prison for corruption. Mr. Cianci, who is known as Buddy and now is the host of a radio show, invited Mr. Griffin and an Ascap lawyer onto his program two weeks ago to “bring them together,” he said.

Mr. Cianci is a fixture at the bar’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, where the beer flows freely and chivalry abounds — both bathrooms are reserved for women that day, while men are relegated to a portable toilet out back. It also holds a number of political fund-raisers.

Still, Mr. Cianci said, the bar “isn’t breaking any records in terms of attendance.” Mr. Griffin said Ascap offered to settle the case for $17,000, but he does not have the money, and he said he could not get a bank loan.

“We don’t have enough liquid cash in the business,” he said. “Right now we’re lucky to have the doors open.”

According to Ascap’s complaint, it made numerous efforts by mail and other communications over many years to inform Mr. Griffin of copyright violations. “Defendants have continued to perform copyrighted music without permission, abetting the public performance of such compositions in any such place or otherwise,” the complaint said. A lawyer for Ascap did not return repeated calls.

Mr. Griffin acknowledged that he ignored some of the letters and calls and said that he did not understand the point of others. He said he thought performers had to pay for copyright licenses.

To play live or recorded music in their establishments, business owners typically pay a licensing fee to three agencies — Ascap, BMI and Sesac — that represent millions of songwriters.

Mr. Griffin’s lawyer said an Ascap agent was at the bar in February. According to the complaint, four licensed songs were played — “Friend of the Devil” made famous by the Grateful Dead, “The Waiting” by Tom Petty, “Is This Love” by Bob Marley and “Ventura Highway” by America.

Mr. Griffin said he did not remember the show. He has stopped live entertainment and said he understood the need to protect artists. “I do believe that artists and songwriters deserve their share of royalties,” he said. “It’s the method by which they’re collected that’s a scam. It’s been a big education.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'd be willing to put up with "Igloo Tycoon" or "Moose Rider"

Here's an interesting article about the representation of the "global" in the supposedly globalized stories of some video games. They appear to be still plagued by stereotype and often, simply neglect of the complexity of the rest of the world.

Facebook Defeats Terrorism; State Department to hold event

Matt Armstrong ponders the possibility of facebook defeating terrorism:

Maybe. From Gutenberg to pre-Revolutionary pamphleteers to the Internet, increasing the access to information has been a catalyst for change. Yesterday, Steve Corman looked at this question and noted that

[w]hile Facebook played an important role in the development of the protest march, it can be better described as a catalyst than a cause.

The media, formal and informal, new and old, is the oxygen both terrorist and counter-terrorist movements require to exist and thrive. The advantage of the latter over the former is truth, transparency, and promising futures. New Media’s ability to engage, mobilize, and empower transcends geography and time. It simultaneously reaches locally and globally, providing instant and “time-shifted” access to text, pictures, and videos. It also fosters trusting peer relationships that add credibility to messages and the movement itself.

He then notes a upcoming State Department event:

Facebook, Google, YouTube, MTV, Howcast, Columbia Law School and the U.S. Department of State Convene the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit.

More here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cars, Balloons and too much spare time.

So, these links I find fascinating. It’s an alternative example of the merging of different medias. The blurring between news and marketing. Basically, in New Zealand, Ford was broadcasting an advert depicting cars tied to balloons floating away, clearly computer generated. A short while later, the second link was found on youtube, of Kiwi students apparently successfully mimicking the Ford advertisement. It looked like a home made video of 'Kiwi ingenuity'

In response to this, one of NZ’s main news shows, TV3 News, picked up on the story and aired a prime time report investigating the authenticity of the stunt. They proved it was also computer altered imagery (in reality there’s a crane lifting the car) commissioned by Ford using paid actors. See link three. The youtube video and news coverage was a publicity stunt that generated a huge amount of press for Ford.

Original Ad



I couldn’t find the original news story online but in searching for it I came across several newspaper articles, blogs etc on the story.

It also reflects transnationalism in the media, many of the blogs on the story are American, Australian or British.

It may also reflect the need for NZ to find some real news...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown's vinagrette"

As I mentioned earlier, Alton Brown, who I am obsessed with, has his own version of Chuck Norris quotes - apparently, there is also a version of these for Vin Diesel, Mr. T, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Brasky (?)and Jack Bauer. For the sake of adding some relevance of this to our class discussion, I'll say that it's interesting how the internet helps create these kind of internet phenomenon, where you might not even know who someone like Chuck Norris is and then he becomes so ubiquitous and such a cult legend to the point that he enters pop culture as we know it. And now even this style of joke has entered our popular consciousness for a whole number of random people.
So here's the first 10 Alton Brown facts, you can see the rest here:

#1. Alton Brown grinds his own peppercorns. With his teeth.

#2. Alton Brown's chili cheese fries are healthier than raw carrots. Even after he adds the bacon and lard.

#3. Alton Brown brushes his teeth with wasabi and gargles with pickle brine. But still his breath smells like lemon merengue.

#4. Alton Brown can boil a three-minute egg in thirty-seven seconds.

#5. When Alton Brown was born, he collected the hospital slop they'd left for his mother and made it into an zesty, appetizing goulash. The dish fed the entire maternity ward for a week.

#6. In the first, as-yet-unaired episode of Iron Chef America, Alton Brown single-handedly defeated an all-star team of Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Hiroyuki Sakai. The secret ingredient was 'whimsy'.

#7. Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces. He demoralizes sauces.

#8. Alton Brown prepares his fugu blindfolded, with one chopstick and a plastic spork. Alton Brown ain't afraid of no chump neurotoxin.

#9. Alton Brown's blender has four speeds: 'stir', 'mix', 'frappe', and 'plasmify'.

#10. Alton Brown can split a pineapple in half using only his pinkies. For coconuts, though, he has to use his thumbs.

One more thing - today we talked about different kinds of networks, and I watched a repeat of last night's Colbert Report where he brought us another one. To the list of social, economic, financial, etc, we can also add: Fried Cheese Network.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's Victory

Obama's Victory

When I read his book 5 months ago, I knew that Obama was different. People talk about Obama with their hope and their belief. For the first time, I see something in their eyes when they talk about Obama. As an outsider, I came to a middle ground by not to look at his policy but by listening to what he said, to understand who he is and to watch his steps. Most Vietnamese are skeptical about the election results. Some do not believe in someone who has such charisma. Some do not believe in a former soldier who will try everything to bring down one of the 3 socialist countries in the world. Some said they like a lawyer. Some doubt ...

Personally, as with other students in AU, I believe that Obama will bring change to this nation. America is waiting for so long for such a president. As it is said by his opponent, are you ready for an inexperienced to lead? When white votes for black, I believe they are ready. Politics is dirty, basically speaking. For a person to go that far, change is what lies ahead.

This is a belief I hardly to explain in words, I just know it as people always say: change and hope is what they believe in the new President of the United States.

Discussing about US Foreign Policies with Vietnam?

Obama is a lawyer on human rights which might be an obstacle for the relation between Vietnam and US. In addition to that, he might not support free trade, increase protectionism ... However, many Vietnamese are still very optimistic about relation between two countries in the coming future. In Obama's administration, there are many experts on Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific and Vietnam. Not to mention that there is a rumor that the new Foreign Minister is John Kerry, a former soldier in Vietnam who actively supports the improvement of the relationship between the two countries.
Comment on Obama's internet campaign:

I was surprised by the article discussing the campaign of Obama by Ogilvy agency. As a former employer of Ogilvy Agency, I was shocked by what they discussed that honestly about their strategy to PR Obama in public, not to mention that he is going to be the new president in January. Personally, I think it is a mistake. Professionally, it's a good PR for Ogilvy.

Too dramatic???

Congratulations to all the Americans!!!
Whoever you support, I think it is great to have a fresh air in the politics!!!

I was shocked by how an American media showed International crowds reacted to the result of election. Of course their whole purpose was to show how happy everybody in the world was. However, it just seemed to me "festivals" throughout the world, which do not reflect exactly how people thought about it. I think "the world" has more things to say.

We all know how major part of the world has always been pro-Obama. This election definitely proved the US's privileged position in the world. The world witnessed the result.
However, it does not necessarily mean that the world celebrated the result as Americans did.

What I saw yesterday was scenes of celebrating people from Chicago, Washington to Indonesia, Kenya and Japan, Obama city... I saw the image of citizens in "Obama city (name of a city in Japan)" dancing and singing to celebrate the victory. Yes, they did. They were happy to see some connections (well, in this case they have common name!). However, media reported as if the entire Japanese population were having celebrating parties, which I had a little problem with.

Now there is a mixed feeling in Japan. Public opinion is getting through uncertainty, doubt and hope for the future of US-Japan alliance. The article on the Japan Times reflects it. Japanese media now tend to congratulate progressive decision American public made and try to figure out how this decision will affect us, Japan.

In our class, we talked about how the media sometimes portray only a part of story to make it dramatic. And I thought it was the case in this election report as well.