Friday, February 9, 2007

Qotw4: Free riders/ sharers on forums

A gift is give- and- receive sort of thing. But in present forums and emails, lots of people can be both givers and receivers. A public good is indivisible and non excludable. The problem is how to get someone to contribute without being freeriders (Kollock, 1999). You can easily just lurk around the place without bothering to post anything. I frequent animal lover sites and read the message boards. One can also post on forums that talk about anime, another favorite subject! I visit this forum where everybody posts anime fanfiction. So far I haven’t had the time or motivation to write a story yet. I just upload it on . That's a place to do your writing and it is legal to discuss and wax about your favorite anime bishounens!

Kollock says: The second challenge is one of coordination: even if a group of individuals are motivated to contribute toward a public good, they will need to coordinate their efforts and this will involve its own set of difficulties and costs (1999).

"Commons are institutional spaces in which we are free of the constraints imposed by the requirements of markets." (Benkler 2003)

The Beauty of Free Gifts!

The pro is you make friends, and you are connected loosely. If you are sick, for example, you may come across a support group forum to help you get motivated. You are not alone although you are bedridden. Non- profit organizations don't have money to make beautiful advertising or maintain attractive websites and can turn to the gift economy. Information is shared worldwide and become pointers can be exchanged for free.

Linux And its specialty

By 1994 Linux had become a powerful and useful operating system and was officially released. This software is free to anyone who wants it and constantly being revised and improved through the volunteer labor of many programmers (Kollock 1999). From the effort of a private student, this is an example of collaboration with many people to produce a brainChild.

I got this image from here where you can download freeware.
Free software can also be shared, photoshop, beta versions of anti virus programs, firewalls. Students can benefit from these editions which are readily available for use. Buying the actual one is encouraged as you need updated versions each time.

When you make freeware, your invention can come under four kinds of freedom in license. I think the best one is Public domain software, because the author has abandoned all rights! Then you can move in (Wiki, 2007)

For less developed countries, free software is Good. This means that they can delve into new technologies which the poor would not dream of, unless they were rich like Britons. This is beneficial for Africa and Cambodia. Then the people can have access to Word or some programs to be educated(Daffara & González, 2000)

Cons-heavy costs!

It is hard to find resources that are not expensive. Anything online may be cheaply provided, but this cannot last if lower costs and cheaper processes can't be found(Benkler 2003).

Complete loyalty to a group is infinitely rare. People are nomadic. I have moved to another forum group this week, because the last one was all about ozone layers and sulphur. I did not realise that the members were scientists. I just could not relate to their content! They should post on an environmental page, their entries were simply long threads!

Why would somebody be so noble as to post a software free?

On a discussion in class, an expert on piracy told us that if you don't share your software with others your membership may be terminated. The clause is to download, Then share. Most people only want mutual benefits. If there was no money to be had, a user may just make a software and be obligated to make it shareware. For instance, he just wants to fix a glitch on his game and it may be noble of him to wish to share, but that's not his only aim in life.

My take:
I think that free riders number a majority of us. If they are obliged to share what they have learnt, this becomes a boon to the gift economies. Charity organizations and poor people actually benefit from the internet's gifts. Say you wish to talk to others regarding a hobby no one around you seems to have, friends abound online!


Benkler,Y. (2003) The Political Economy of Commons. Retrieved Feb9,2007 from

Daffara,C. and M. González,J. (2000). Free software/open source- Information Society Opportunities for Europe?.Retrieved Feb 9,2007 from

Kollock, P. (1999). The Economies of Online Cooperation: Gifts and Public Goods in Cyberspace.Retrieved Feb9,2007 from

Wikipedia(Feb3,2007). Free Software. Retrieved Feb9,2007 from

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Spirited Away-ghouls and cuties

I know this is an old anime, back in year 2000 but I just watched it on channel U. Done by Hiyao Miyazaki. Parents who are greedy consume the offerings at the shring and turn into huge pigs. You don’t want to eat like that after this movie. The girl is adorable and very determined and mature. Her only friend is Haku, translates as Bai Lung in Chinese. A White dragon, kind hearted and handsome! Looks like a girl, u know anime's transexual/gay connotations.

Haku tries to get Chihiro out of the underworld.

It's very funny, people are mostly ballooning individuals or they're awful looking. Controlled overall by this witch. The witch gives her a job in her inn, which mostly involves pouring hot water into baisins for guests. One of them's a faceless ghost who likes Chi and keeps helping her. According to their traditions,a ghost won't enter unless invited. She is horrified at the number of people he has eaten. A mute and kawaii no da boy in black. This ghost just wants a companion and the only way he knows how is to eat pple and produce gold. Isn't that close to our hearts? Some of us use money and deep down, the loneliness can never be replaced.

Faceless ghost

Pic of Haku and Chihiro, he has regained his human self.
Images courtesy of
The only way to leave is through Haku and he was trapped in this place because of his forgotten memories. The witch will make you forget your name. Chi becomes more clued to helping him regain them. The most tense part is when she found him in dragon form, collapsed and bleeding. Desiring to upgrade his level, Haku had eaten this plague which is deadly. Although Chi knows she may not get out alive, she agrees to go on a train journey with a ghost train ticket to find the witch's twin on the other side of the world.
A definite 10/10. In a nutshell, a very unusual anime who'll blow your mind away. There's a surprise at the end! Anime isn't just for kids.

Friday, February 2, 2007

“QotW3: Anti-piracy for music and other media”

Copyrights and piracy laws, what are they? Downloaders of illegal music have been prosecuted. A man was also caught for riding free on someone’s Wi-Fi network. I own many copies of CDs of my favorite singers Boa and Coco as well as a couple of novels. How amazed I am to learn of the corrected myths surrounding ownership of items like these! I thought the simple line of ‘prohibited sales, distribution and public performance of this work’ was just like that.

According to Brady S Kevin, owning a VD or CD entitles a person to limited rights, “all of the exclusive rights associated with that copyright” are the owner’s. (Brady 2007). It is not necessary to have the actual copyright notice on the work. Since 1989, creators are entitled to the rights of the works when they have made their stuff into a ‘tangible medium”, even if it is just a sculpture or a piece of recording.

The most prominent issue regarding disregard for copyright is that illegal downloaders of software are not buying the legal CD or work. The artistes do not gain from piracy at all( Felix Oberholzer-Gee Koleman Strumpf). They may even be out of job if piracy continues.

Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee (2005) have surveyed that “less than 1 percent of album sales have been displaced by filesharing”, but other evidence disputes this. German teenagers fileshare more during their holidays to their American counterparts. The professors compared the number of files downloaded and uploaded were the same during the festive season and holidays. But they concluded that filesharing was not the cause of low sales in albums.

Educating the public about all these laws and infringements is the best way to stop the flow of pirated files. Fines and jailing will deter offenders, but I know the majority of my friends still want to engage in filesharing and downloading free songs . People just want to get free music, instead of buying the albums. Users can save the effort of burning their discs and simply channel the files into their MP3s. Recording Industry Association of Singapore (RIAS) found out 25 new cases recently in October 2006( Channelnewsasia 2007).

Instead of getting pirated copies, log onto to listen to samples. I like to have music when I am working on an assignment. Pandora is a web radio that enables users to match listeners with their preferences and gives only a small preview of new titles in the market. This is a very good way of listening to new works without violation of copyrights. One limitation is “Only six skips per hour are allowed, including those resulting from a thumbs down response” (Wikipedia 2007). Of course free services will have disadvantages. I like to “Create new station” when I am bored with the selection of songs.

Even if you only infringe on one song, which seems harmless, under “section 504” of US law, the rightful owner can “collect statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 per work”(Brady 2007). The law that the entertainment industry is determined to go after illegal copiers seems very frightening.

The startling penalties are also implemented in Singapore. Some of them were the first to be arrested in February for having pirated music files. (Channelnewsasia 2007) The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore does not think arrest will warrant an end to piracy. These will only warn the public that it is possible to be caught.

Should information be free? Rebecca Martin (2007) has compiled some arguments pertaining to this. Coates states the CC license is the answer. It enables the creators to decide how much of their work can be open for free public use. This is a very good idea. The creators can share, albeit a small amount and users can have a little preview. Then we as users can benefit from free information if we cannot get in touch with the original authors! A winwin situation for the CC license. US laws presently have a lot of restrictions on everything, even a small paragraph or word can have a dire impact.

Most people on this blog agree that copyright does not stifle creativity, rather, it stops others from infringement. So far, Green Day has chosen not to pursue their rights any further (Martin 2007). Yes some information should be free, so that we can have a variety of arts circling the network and exchange pointers. These are also pretty useful for research purposes.

In conclusion all rights reserved are for the authors and artistes only, and we may be aspiring songwriters next time, so we should stop piracy now! If you do not want to pay the fee to have the album, just go to to listen to songs. Many shops are now following the Heeren in allowing listeners to hear songs at leisure.

The References!

Martin, Rebecca (2007) Remix culture, a rights nightmare Retrieved Feb 2, 2007 from

S Brady, Kevin (2007) Copyright FAQ: 25 common myths and misconceptions Retrieved Feb 2, 2007 from

Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee (2005) The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales An Empirical Analysis

Retrieved Feb 2, 2007 from

Wong, May (Oct 17,2006) 25 new cases of illegal music file-sharing handed over to police Retrieved Feb 2, 2007 from

Wikipedia: Pandora music service ( Feb 1, 2007) Retrieved Feb 2, 2007 From