Media futures: A review essay on'The Future of Reputation','TV Futures', and'The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It'

Rimmer, Matthew (2009) Media futures: A review essay on'The Future of Reputation','TV Futures', and'The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It'. Prometheus (Abingdon), 23(3), pp. 267-279.

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In his 1987 book, The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT, Stewart Brand provides an insight into the visions of the future of the media in the 1970s and 1980s. 1 He notes that Nicolas Negroponte made a compelling case for the foundation of a media laboratory at MIT with diagrams detailing the convergence of three sectors of the media—the broadcast and motion picture industry; the print and publishing industry; and the computer industry. Stewart Brand commented: ‘If Negroponte was right and communications technologies really are converging, you would look for signs that technological homogenisation was dissolving old boundaries out of existence, and you would expect an explosion of new media where those boundaries used to be’.

Two decades later, technology developers, media analysts and lawyers have become excited about the latest phase of media convergence. In 2006, the faddish Time Magazine heralded the arrival of various Web 2.0 social networking services: You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy‐strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television. And we didn’t just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open‐source software. America loves its solitary geniuses—its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses—but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user‐created Linux. We’re looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it’s just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.

The magazine announced that Time’s Person of the Year was ‘You’, the everyman and everywoman consumer ‘for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game’.

This review essay considers three recent books, which have explored the legal dimensions of new media. In contrast to the unbridled exuberance of Time Magazine, this series of legal works displays an anxious trepidation about the legal ramifications associated with the rise of social networking services. In his tour de force, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet, Daniel Solove considers the implications of social networking services, such as Facebook and YouTube, for the legal protection of reputation under privacy law and defamation law. Andrew Kenyon’s edited collection, TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia, explores the intersection between media law and copyright law in the regulation of digital television and Internet videos. In The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, Jonathan Zittrain explores the impact of ‘generative’ technologies and ‘tethered applications’—considering everything from the Apple Mac and the iPhone to the One Laptop per Child programme.

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ID Code: 86830
Item Type: Review
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group
DOI: 10.1080/08109020903174556
ISSN: 0810-9028
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 11 Nov 2015 01:15
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2015 01:15

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