Posted by: carolbcarolb | October 10, 2011

Consumer created media

Those of you of a certain age, surely remember how important the “mix-tape” was back in the day. My cassette recorder and tapes were the favorites of my early teenage years and we all spent many hours recording music for ourselves and to give away to our friends. We made these compilation tapes for every possible mood and reason whether it be a road trip, a date night, or a breakup. We were taping and trading and giving away music like crazy. We used to buy boxes of blank tapes to make our creations. It’s interesting to think now, that the music industry surely knew of all the taping going on but I can’t remember it seriously being discussed as an illegal activity. We didn’t have the internet back then, my generation of tape makers wasn’t really in the public eye. Switch this activity to the internet and all of a sudden music sharing couldn’t be ignored by the music industry any more. I remember when the Napster wars began, and feeling terrible for the teenagers tangled up in that lawsuit. Things had changed greatly from the time of mix-tapes, they were sharing music yes, but the changes in technology allowed them to reach such a large audience, that a whole different set of concerns and complex legal ramifications now applied.

Ability to reach a huge audience plays into fan fiction too. I’m not sure how I felt after reading about all the fan fiction published surrounding Harry Potter. I can see how the fans want to have the freedom to create and publish their Potter inspired works on the internet, but I can also see how writing stories using the characters and worlds created and owned by another person causes so much grief to the copyright owners. Much like the tapes we used to make, when it was just passed between us, and home movies, when they were only seen in the home, it seemed to be ok, but when it is put on the internet, with the possibility of thousands of people reading, using, consuming these creations, it rises to a different level of use and protection concerns.

Thinking about popular culture and politics, I remember when I become a fan of the Daily Show and then the Colbert Report. It didn’t occur to me that people would watch these programs as their primary source of news. It makes sense though that the younger generation would look to Stewart and Colbert as their way of hearing about what is going on in politics more so than traditional newscasts. I watch these guys for their comedic brilliance, they are so different than the normal news and bring to light different aspects of political situations, I find their shows both hysterically funny and informative, but I also get political information from traditional news. Do you think that because Stewart and Colbert deliver political news and opinion in a sarcastic, comedic, some might say irreverent, way that it is good, bad (or neutral) for young people to hear, considering that this may be their only exposure to political news? Do you think that Stewart and Colbert are legitimate political pundits?

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