Friday, September 30, 2005

Traditional Media vs New Media

Check out this interesting example of collaborative writing vs traditional one person journalism on Wikipedia!
Wiki editors and contributors have edited a Esquire article!! Which will then be printed in Esquire magazine....for more info go and have a look :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Group Outing

No i'm not talking about THAT kind of outing, unless we all want to come out and claim ourselves to be members of participatory culture!!! :P *hahaha ok that wasn't that funny*

Anyway...since everyone is keen on having a group movie thingy of Serenity, and since Tama has hinted heavily that it may appear in our last seminar...what do people think about October the 11th, (a tuesday for cheap tix)
Location: Innalloo
Time: evening session of choice?

Just thought I would get the organisational ball rolling...any suggestions?


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Somebody Help Me!

Finished! (above)

Ok, Andrew/Gwen, I'm looking at you guys!! Please for the love of participatory culture will you help me figure out this Cube game!!!!! *cries* I was peacefully doing uniwork, until I was caught unawares by this game and it is driving me insane since I cant complete it!!!
Below is a picture of how far I managed to above for some reason the picture loaded there!
Help! My sanity hangs in the balance!

Participatory Culture Eat Your Heart OUT!!!

Can I believe this? Could it get ANY better?
Yes it could....but this is nevertheless fantastic and related to TWO of our seminar topics!
Yes, Adam Curry is knocking out two birds with one stone, making his DSC Podcast shownotes A WIKI!!!!!!!! (its like my two fav's have come together *sigh's contentedly*)

So, not only do we now have participatory culture in terms of the show being a Podcast, but, its actual shownotes are being written and updated by the listeners, who are posting interesting links or thoughts on some of Adam's topics (which he admits on occasion he has little knowledge about).

I could of exploded with complete amazement when he mentioned the idea of wiki shownotes on DSC #244.... simply because it fitted in so well with what we have been discussing.
It's so satisfying to be talking about these things on our blog and in discussion's in our seminar's and then to actually witness people within a specific aspect of 'participatory culture', actually do something that brings a number of our interests together!

Anyway my fellow blogger's, why don't you have a look here at the Wiki... it's only just been born, so don't be too harsh in your judgements....

As Big Kev would say, "I'm excited!"

EDIT 29/09/05 : They now have set up an alternative Wiki that is based on Wikipedia using wikimedia's wiki template. This appears to be the one being used, just thought I would tell you since this new one is easier to understand/navigate etc....not that ANYBODY appears to have been interested in this post! :P

Friday, September 23, 2005

Noob Alert

Given our penchant for supporting the online participation of enterprising young citizens, I thought I'd share this unique site with you all:

If you do watch some of the clips I highly recommend you go in chronological order... It will probably make most sense to obsessive gamers, but even 'noobs' (innocent and inept new gamers) can appreciate the humour. Good stuff.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Few Things ...

[1] Don't forget your peer reviews of each other's Critical Evaulations are due to be posted as a comment to the respective person's Critical Evaluation you were assigned before 5pm, Friday September 30th.
[2] Please download and test Audacity before out meeting on October 5th ... if you have questions about setup or how it works that session will be the ideal time. The more you've tried, the more you'll know it you've got questions/problems.
[3] The session on October 5th will be held in the Collaborative Learning Studio (2.31). Half the time will be looking at Audacity (hopefully guided by your questions); in the other half, you're pitching your idea for your Research Podcasts (please have thought through your idea before the class ... you'll get the most out of the session if you've already thought through the immediately obvious issues!). Also, don't forget to have a listen to my prototype podcast to get an idea of the background to podcasting and some ideas for your own.
[4] I think the idea of you all heading to Serenity is a great one (obviously it's not a requirement for the course, but I think you'll all enjoy the film if you get a chance ... and don't forget to think about how the "You Can't Stop the Signal" ethos relates to the course!).

Finally, have a great break! I'm overseas until October 4th, so any emails sent during the break may not get a response until then. Have fun!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Critical Evaluation - Darknet

Technology, in many ways has always been an important determinant in shaping the mechanics of the society – how it functions. From the invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison to the current i-pod[1] by Macintosh, they have revolutionised the lifestyles of many. All in all, these inventions sought to ease and improve various aspects of a person’s life, such as enhancing one’s work productivity, leisure time, and allowing them to expand on their potentials and interests. Technologies are opening a gateway for them to create, share and produce materials[2] that are beforehand restricted only to big major companies and conglomerates. The public are no longer passive consumers, but strive to reinvent existing and contributing to future materials.

This emerging participatory culture[3] is blurring[4] the lines of work between the public and the private domain. Some had even questioned the relevance of some companies’ existence.[5] In retaliation to these unknown threats, big companies safeguard their interests by pushing for copyright laws that will control and impede public’s work. Consequently this also generated a number of people, associations[6] and websites that opposes such actions. Darknet[7] is one such website. It is the aim of this exercise to evaluate Darknet blog in term of its position, contribution and relation to participatory culture and digital communication.

Darknet is a term meaning “a collection of networks and technologies used to share digital content”.[8] They are the mediums or tools for sending and receiving files from one to another and the function to make copies of the files. This includes peer to peer sharing (p2p) and burning[9] of CD and DVD respectively; hence allowing quick and easy dissemination of digital files. Examples includes Napster[10], Kazaa[11], Grokster[12] and the newly Bittorent[13]. These services have been subjected to many copyright lawsuits, on the grounds that they are encouraging illegal copyrighted file sharing. This has dire implications on the big companies because as mentioned above, “companies take such a hard line over p2p distribution is because a more level, or democratic, playing field calls into question the legitimacy of their own stated reasons for existence.”[14]Consequently this causes closure of Napster in 2001[15], and multiple court cases for Kazaa[16] and Grokster.[17]

During the period when Napster was shutting down, there was the appearance of a number of counterparts with similar features to Napster on the web.[18]This defiance and the sense of neglect to the copyright laws is part of the constant battle for sharing and participation rights against the major companies. Hence the Darknet blog serves as a source for readers to find out more about the on-going struggle between Darknet and the opposing companies. The continuous updates on any matters in relation to Darknet, from new softwares, debates, interviews and court ruling outcome serves as supports; and maintaining the hype around Darknet. Thus the position of the blog was evident and clear. It wholly promotes Darknet, and is apparent by reading the blog posts. More often then not, interviews and court ruling that favours the big companies are generally criticised.[19]

The position of the Darknet blog can be traced by examining the author. This blog is written and maintained by J.D Lasica. He is “one of the world's leading authorities on grassroots media and the personal media revolution.”[20] He is the current head of[21], and has given numerous lectures and speeches on digital technologies. Ultimately his intention was to voice his concern over the threats on digital culture.[22] These threats involve strict copyright rules that will ‘lock-down’ public’s freedom to share and create, and consequently obstructing their creativity. He discusses the steps taken by these big companies that will eventually result in a total control of public’s work. Simply speaking, rules have been tweaked to favour the big over small.[23] Therefore it is the Darknet blog and his aim to create awareness on such matters. The objective is twofold. Firstly it is to inspire public to fight against these laws and secondly to change the mentality of these companies. The war between them will only disadvantage both parties, as Lasica argued that “recent excesses in law and private industry have created a new imbalance in the public’s digital freedoms that threatens to shackle creative culture.”[24] and also “they (big companies) attempt to lock down content with digital armor in a way that eviscerates traditional fair use rights, they are alienating customers —and pursuing business practices contrary to their long-term interests.”[25]

The Darknet blog has also contribute in forming an online community, with multiple links to other websites and weblogs with similar ideas and arguments. Linking to weblogs of the likes of people like Dan Gillmor[26] and Lawrence Lessig[27] has strengthened their bond, generating greater hype and a stronger voice to copyright matters. Moreover these linked sites have also links to Darknet and to others, further reinforcing their bond and the sense of community. Indeed “links to related sites create new expansions of communities and connections to other informational and organizational resources, which might itself constitute a new branch in online activism theory.”[28] Additionally this has allows relevant information to be gathered in a single body of links, resulting in quick updates and notifications and ease of archiving for the visitors and authors themselves. The commonly used of quotes on excerpts and comments[29] taken from other weblogs also allows opportunities for further discussions and examination, thus re-energising the topics and hype.

Darknet as a blog have also differentiated itself from other media forms such as static websites, television and radio. In many ways it is perhaps the most suitable medium to discuss free sharing and copyright issues. Firstly, copyright laws on the internet are still rather vague, and thus blogging serves as a wonderful means of experimenting with this issue. Secondly is the ability for visitors to comment on the blog post. This has an attribute of the participatory culture, whereby readers can carry on the discussion; notify the author of errors or new updates and so on. Blog therefore are good ‘feedback system’.[30]Thirdly blogs have the reputation to surpass traditional news media in the speed of response to latest news and issues.[31] They are also flexible in changing their contents to improve accuracy. Such speed and fluidity of bloggings have enlisted them as one of the more popular source for the latest information. Lastly the links to other weblogs widen the accountability of the posted information, as readers can examine other weblogs to see if there is relativity in similar posts.

In conclusion, the Darknet blog sought to support the public’s battle against major companies from imposing strict copyright laws that will impede creativity and innovation. The intention of the blog is to create an awareness of such matters, rallying and creating interests in the public to oppose such changes. It is also the intention of the author to try and change the mentality of these companies. The Darknet blog itself has participated and contribute to being part of an online community with similar cause and ideals. The links to similar weblogs strengthen their bond, amplifying their existence. The medium of Darknet as a blog have several advantages over traditional forms of media such as television and radio.

[1] I-pod is a portable hardware that allows the user to store computer files and to play mp3
[2] Materials is defined as intangible digital goods such as videos, games, fan-fictions, music
[3] An era whereby consumers are also producers
[4] Sam Howard-Spink, "Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash-up of Music and Politics." First Monday 9.10 (2004),
[5] Emerging popularity of online journalism has questioned the viability of big news company. For further information visit
[6] Associations such as Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) , Music for America (MfA)
[7] Visit
[8] Peter Biddle, Paul England, Marcus Peinado, Bryan Williams, “Darknet and the future of content distribution” ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management (2002),
[9] Burning is a computer term meaning writing or storing information onto the disc.
[10] Visit
[11] Visit
[12] Visit
[13] Visit
[14] Sam Howard-Spink, "Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash-up of Music and Politics." (2004)
[15] Napster is a p2p music sharing service. Wikipedia, “Napster”,
[16] Wayne Arnold, “Australian Court rules Kazaa has violated copyrights”, New York Times (2005),

[17] Wikipedia, “MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd”,
[18] Jeremy Shermak, “Global Napster usage plummets, but new file-sharing alternatives gaining ground, reports Jupiter Media Metrix”, ComScore Networks, (2001)
[19] JD Lasica, “Lessig on the ‘rotten’ Grokster ruling”, Darknet (2005),, JD Lasica, “Courts on DMCA: You can’t improve products”, Darknet (2005),
[20] “About JD Lasica”,
[21] is the global home for grassroots media. Visit
[22] JD Lasica, “Darknet mini-book: introduction”, Darknet (2005),
[23] Dan Gilmor, 'From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond' from We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, 2004, pp. 4
[24] JD Lasica, “Darknet mini-book: introduction”, (2005)
[25] JD Lasica, “Darknet mini-book: introduction”, (2005)
[26] Visit
[27] Lessig is another well known author that has written articles and books on free culture and creative commons. Visit
[28] Sam Howard-Spink, "Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash-up of Music and Politics." (2004)
[29] Examples of excerpts taken from Lessig and posted on Darknet blog. JD Lasica, “Lessig on the imperilled public domain”, Darknet, (2005),
[30] Dan Gilmor, 'From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond', (2004), pp. 1-22
[31] Tama Leaver, “The Mediascape and the London bombing”, Ponderance (2005),

Awesome Audio

In light of Fox's release and their rating in the Top 100 Podcasts on iTunes, I would just like to say The Simpsons podcast and Family Guy podcast, are undoubtedly the worse use of audio ever!
How NOT to do a Podcast.

In comparison, check out this awesome use of audio.....

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Critical Evaluation Exercise

This discussion will be evaluating The Signal, a podcast established by fans of the soon to be released film Serenity, and assessing its role in relation to digital communication and online fan participation. *

Podcasting is a new form of digital communication which links directly to the growth of what Henry Jenkins terms "participatory culture." This movement is a result of new technologies which break down barriers between producers and consumers, and allow "average citizens" to enter into the media marketplace (Jenkins). The reduction of costs, the expansion of choice, and the increased freedom to create and share are all part of this new technological environment, "a new style of consumerism" in which everyday people are actively involved in the "annotation, appropriation, transformation, and recirculation of media content" (Jenkins). Where a listener of traditional radio can only listen to content programmed by others, usually including commercial advertising, podcasting allows the home audience to mold their own individual audio program and share it on the internet. Virginia Heffernan explains podcasts as "... little radio shows that people create on the cheap; you can download them at no cost from the Web, and listen to them whenever you want." The individual at home needs only a connection to the Web, a microphone and basic software to create their own podcast, while the online audience can pick and choose exactly what they want from a wide variety of programs. It is all made even easier by the use of the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) system, which can be used to locate and update your favourite podcasts automatically from the Web onto the computer.

The Signal is a podcast created by a group of fans for the unabashed promotion of the television series Firefly and its upcoming feature film Serenity. The creators' aim is to make online converts while explicitly calling on existing fans to spread the word about the series and the film. The podcasts are a combination of audio clips, music from the series, interviews with stars, comic features, and updates of Serenity related news, separated at intervals by the hosts' enthusiastic discussion of the material. An interactive element is added by hosts reading out and discussing e-mail responses from fellow online fans, as well as the provision of shownotes and links with each episode.

This podcast is part of a much larger community of fans whose passionate involvement with the 2001 television series Firefly was the reason Universal Pictures agreed to join creator Joss Whedon in making the feature film Serenity. Neva Chonin, claims that "'Serenity's' existence is a testimonial to the tenacity of fans and the power of the Internet, where [fans] have spent the past three years inspiring converts, drafting petitions and even kibitzing with the 'Firefly' cast on bulletin boards." Now that the movie is nearing release, fans are engaging in a 'guerrilla marketing' campaign to ensure its commercial success. During the fourth podcast of The Signal a segment devoted to 'guerilla marketing' techniques was premiered, with details on how fans can manipulate the International Movie data Base's (IMDB) ratings system in order to get Serenity in the top ten list after its release. The segment is framed in terms of Serenity fans being involved in an "underdog story" emphasising the need to "keep talking," to spread the word to all their friends and lend out DVD's of the canceled series. The podcast creators show a clear self awareness of fan influence, as well as a critical understanding of the systems of power which operate within the film industry.

This particular case of fan involvement is an example of the changing relationship between fans and media producers. Rather than pursuing the usual million dollar advertising campaign to promote their movie, Universal Pictures and creator Joss Whedon turned to their fan base for support. Given that the television series was not on screen for long, and not a significant main stream success at the time, the commercial success of the movie depends on moving beyond the already established fan community (Chonin, 2005). Whedon is very conscious of the power of grass-roots promotion, and is "actively recruiting [fans] as guerrilla publicists" (Chonin). The official Serenity fan website, Browncoats, gives members points and prizes for the creation of advertising materials and the recruiting of new fans. Whedon explains, "It's a viral thing, encouraging them to encourage other people to see it... 'Serenity' doesn't have Tom Cruise... or any of the other things marketing people latch onto" (Chonin). Jenkins agrees that this emerging recognition of the inter-dependance of fans and media products, has resulted in "cult" material being "consciously produced, designed to provoke fan interactions" (2002). While it remains to be seen if Whedon and Universal's approach will lead to success for Serenity, it has already proven successful in the sales of Firefly DVD's.

It can be argued that the extent to which fans are willing to invest in an online project, such as The Signal podcast, depends on their sense of being a part of something larger, a collective, in which their contribution has value and is appreciated. The web facilitates a much greater level of personal involvement from fans than previously offered in print forms such as fanzines. Anita Blanchard's discussion of how a "sense of community" may be present in virtual space highlights four important characteristics, including: feelings of membership; influence; integration; and emotional connection. All of these aspects are present within The Signal, and are often explicitly discussed. The concept of membership is associated here with a shared experience of Firefly fandom, something which bonds individuals together regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geography. The influence of individual fans within the community depends only on their willingness to get involved, as the hosts' often reiterate that any contribution to the cause of Firefly or Serenity is appreciated. Integration is achieved through a network of associated feedback systems between online fan projects: fans visit each other's sites; post comments; share information; email; and join in on message boards. The emotional investment within the community is an area where Whedon and the actors involved are closely linked with fans. Unlike many public figures Whedon has cultivated a personal relationship with fans which has created a sense that he is more a cult hero than corporate media producer. The Signal plays interviews and speeches by Whedon and his actors in which they profess a great sentiment, not only towards the cast, but towards the fans who support them, sometimes to the point of tearful breakdown. After chatting with one of the actors for a podcast, host Kari Haley claimed that watching her DVD felt inexplicably "different" as a result, a measure of the significance she placed on the personal interaction.

A controversial aspect of podcasting, which remains unclear at the present time, is the extent to which copyright laws will apply to the everyday podcaster in the future. The Signal not only plays pieces of music and audio from the Firefly series, but clips from the unreleased movie, as well as full film trailers. Given Whedon and Universal's genial attitude to fans this is unlikely to ever cause a problem, but the future of unauthorised audio use by the increasing number of podcasting individuals world wide is less secure. Ernest Miller comments that "... when people are doing their own little radio shows... they’re going to quote from a sound clip from a favourite TV show or from another radio show... it’ll become a question of whether or not using these small quotations of sound are going to be fair use". John Buckman, owner of an online record company, says "my fear is that podcasters will be seen as broadcasters and will be clamped down on in the same way internet radio was". Similar to file sharing, which was unregulated at first, podcasting appears destined to face off with copyright law as it builds a greater following. Carly Didden, from Collegiate Broadcasters, Inc., concedes that "copyright law has yet to catch up with the technology of podcasting". Didden suggests that as the existing quality and quantity of podcasts increase, so will the licensing requirements, "today podcasts are free to download, may be commercial-free, and are unregulated, in the future, at the risk of turning away listeners, podcasters may add commercials or charge fees in order to pay for bandwith or copyright licenses" It remains to be seen whether fan podcasts such as The Signal will be able to continue, as is, in subsequent years, or whether they will be forced to curtail their content.

The Signal podcast is part of an online community which is making use of new technologies in ways which develop social ties and support common interests. Through the creation of their own model of promotion these individuals are involved in the reconfiguring of popular culture from the world of big business into the more emotive networks of human discourse. Both the individuals involved and the larger media economy is served by such fan involvement, although this developing relationship may be challenged in the future by copyright restrictions.


  1. Blanchard, A. Blogs as Virtual Communities: Identifying a Sense of Community
    in the Julie/Julia Project, Into the Blogosphere. Ed. Smiljana Antonijevic, Laura Gurak, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman, 2004. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)

  2. Browncoats: Official Serenity Fan Site, Universal Studies, 2005. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  3. Chonin, N. When Fox Canceled 'Firefly,' it Ignited an Internet Fan Base Whose Burning Desire for More led to 'Serenity', San Francisco Chronicle Online, 2005. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  4. Correy S. Music of the Blogospheres, Radio National Background Briefing, 2004. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  5. Didden, C. Podcasting Legal Issues, Collegiate Broadcasters Inc., 2005. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)

  6. Guerilla Marketing – Serenity Discussion Boards,, 2005. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  7. Haley, K. and Les Howard (hosts), The Signal #4, Serenity Fan Community Podcast, 2005.
    Episode released: 27/7/05. Shownotes found at <>
    (Accessed 12/9/05)
  8. Heffernan, V. The Podcast as a New Podium, New York Times, 2005. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  9. Jenkins, H. Interactive Audiences?: The 'Collective Intelligence' of Media Fans,
    Henry Jenkins Publications, 2002.
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  10. Jenkins, H. Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture, Henry Jenkins Publications. <>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)

  11. The Signal, Serenity Fan Community Podcast, 2005.
    Creators: Les Howard, Kari Haley, J. D. Ravatt, Kevin Bachelder, Jill Arroway,
    Carolyn Parkinson, Miranda Thomas, Rich Adams, Clay McClure and Jeremy Neish.
    (Accessed 10/9/05)
  12. Young, K. One Man Band, Guardian Unlimited Online, 2005. <,3605,1532392,00.html>
    (Accessed 10/9/05)

Daily Source Code Evaluation.....

iGeneration Critical Evaluation: The Daily Source Code – Adam Curry

Patterns of media consumption have been profoundly altered by a succession of new media technologies which enable average citizens to participate in the archiving, annotation, appropriation, transformation, and recirculation of media content. Participatory culture refers to the new style of consumerism that emerges in this environment. – Henry Jenkins[1]

Adam Curry hosts and produces The Daily Source Code (DSC) podcast, the first of its kind, which began in August 2004[2]. Podcasting is a new form of audio broadcasting[3] that was developed in 2003 by Adam Curry and Dave Winer[4]. Podcasts are syndicated digital audio shows similar in style to traditional radio broadcasts, but with a few notable exceptions: you can listen to them anywhere and anytime on your portable music device; they can be produced by anyone with access to a computer, microphone and internet access. The core technology behind podcasting is syndicated feeds built using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and aggregators in the form of Curry’s original iPodder, and more recently Apple’s iTunes. In 2003, Curry was dissatisfied with audio streaming due to the high cost of bandwidth usage that it involved, it restricts you to sitting at the computer, and you can’t save streaming audio for when you want to listen to it[5]. Curry thought about the delivery of audio files and spoke to Dave Winer about RSS feeds, which led to Winer developing RSS Enclosures[6]. With the technology available to deliver subscription style mp3s, Curry went about trying to create an ‘aggregator’, (i.e. a “…standalone application that would download these mp3 files and automatically store them on my iPod”), and using the basic programming tool Applescript he developed the first podcast aggregator iPodder[7]. From this The Daily Source Code was born, initially as a “…proof of concept for iPodder[8] but also as a way to attract developers and encourage them to make iPodder better[9]. Curry, once a famous MTV host and radio DJ, is still the most notable celebrity behind the podcasting ‘revolution’[10]. Although some have become bitter due to Curry’s enthusiasm for taking all the limelight and credit at times[11]. Nevertheless, his Daily Source Code explores issues relating to its development and future, promotes other podcasts, as well as functioning as a lifestyle show, even discussing his family’s hilarious forays in day to day life.

Curry’s DSC is one of the central forces behind podcasting. His show highlights what podcasting is all about, as well as debating some of the larger issues and new innovations required to take the podcasting medium further into the future. Curry makes it quite obvious in every show that the DSC is not produced from a studio, but simply through his laptop and portable workstation. As Annalee Newitz of Wired Magazine witnessed firsthand, podcasting can be done anywhere, even by Curry in his car[12].

One of the major potentials of podcasting as a medium is its development as a ‘grassroots’ media phenomenon. Prior to podcasting, blogs took advantage of syndication and everyday citizens with access to computers began to take on the role of ‘grassroots journalism’ or reporting. Now, podcasting is the next logical step, focusing not on text but audio[13]. As Tod Maffin, a producer of CBC radio states on his blog,

They are podcasters: citizen broadcasters who arm themselves with rudimentary recording tools, free software, and a speedy internet connection. And like the bloggers before them, they are changing the nature of the medium. Podcasters may indeed revitalize the art of radio itself[14].

Podcasting is all about consumers becoming producers; as Henry Jenkins has argued, “…The Net opened up new space for public discussions of media content and the Web became an important showcase for grassroots cultural production”[15]. Traditional radio producers did not take full advantage of the digital revolution and opportunities created by the internet. Curry notes in DSC episode 217 that radio’s only venture into the online domain was simply audio streaming of their broadcast station[16]. This failed due to the amount of bandwidth required to stream audio, and also the essential pleasure of radio, which is that you do not listen to it in front of the computer, but in your car or by portable device. Curry picked up on this, making use of new technology such as Apple’s iPod to bring radio back to life, with new and innovative content related to today’s online society; the DSC’s introduction calls podcasting “The next generation of radio content in my ear[17]. Podcasting’s major offering is also its ability to be listened to at anytime, many have described it as ‘TiVo’ for audio, and this has opened up a range of possibilities for audio and video to be mixed as well[18]. This has enabled audio content to be used in conjunction with other media in a previously impossible way, such as the Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Gallactica episodic podcast commentaries which have been a great success[19]. While many attempts by TV to take advantage audio have failed, such as CBS simulcast of David Letterman, and the notorious failed Family Guy podcasts, new possibilities for audio are occurring through podcasting[20].

Curry’s DSC often contains musical segments from the PodsafeMusicNetwork, a collection of copyright free musical tracks produced by unknown or ‘garage’ type bands, set up by Curry and the fellow creators of As Curry notes, amateur music is often very ‘professional’ sounding, with grassroots bands using the same recording tools as professional recorders. However, mainstream radio rarely promotes new talent, while podcasts on the other hand have a reciprocal type arrangement with new artists; once they have their music in the ‘Podsafe’ any Podcast producer can use it, increasing their audience and fan base, and prompting CD sales. This benefits new musical talent, but also the Podcast producers, as Annalee Newitz notes:

…Partly in political protest and partly out of legal necessity, podcast music tends to favour songs that aren’t policed by the Recording Industry Association of America. Because listeners download each show, producers aren’t eligible for the kinds of broadcast license available to radio stations and webcasters[21].

However, due to the nature of podcasting in that it is a private download that can be archived by the user, Podcast producers can operate outside the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations[22]. Curry often makes allusions to this such as in DSC, number 217[23]. This allows Podcasts to act as a medium through which consumers, turned producers, can listen and produce content which would not be allowed on traditional radio. Curry can talk about pornography and openly badmouth Virgin Atlantic (e.g. in DSC 237) while other podcasts such as Whole Wheat’s Kloss contain repeated swearing in their comedic discussions and others can even discuss the latest sex tips[24]. Furthermore, Curry often features ‘Mashups’ from in his DSC, something that traditional radio would be unable to due to Copyright Law, notably illustrated in the notorious Grey Album’ incident[25]. However there are still many obstacles and concerns raised about podcasting and music; some producers see it as currently impossible to turn their shows into podcasts due to the legal issues regarding copyright of mainstream music, and furthermore the fear that podcast show music may be pirated leading to another ‘Napster’ instance[26]. Curry’s invention and the DSC ‘proof of concept’ podcasts act as an instance through which many of the problems in participatory culture online can be challenged, and provides a space for new cultural products which traditional media cannot deliver due to outdated or overtly restrictive laws and attitudes.

Adam Curry’s DSC while being a ‘grassroots’ type production still maintains an air of professionalism lacking form many of the current podcasts. Podcasting is noticeable for its informal style of talk, as Stephan Baker suggests, “most [podcasters] lack the technical expertise of radio vets, and they have no pressure to race along”[27]. In both Curry’s DSC 217 and 237, the phone rings in the background and Curry apologises and either ignores or answers[28]. This informality is something unheard of on traditional radio, but often adds to the charm of podcasting and Curry can get away with it far easier than others due to his previous professional experience at MTV and traditional radio. Curry’s podcasting evangelism and professional background are key factors in getting podcasting support added to Apple’s iTunes 4.9 release in June 2005, helping to take ‘podcasting mainstream’[29]. However, as many have noticed iTunes gives preference to the new ‘commercial podcasts’ that have resulted from Apple’s connections and deals with traditional media producers[30]. Curry and his DSC come to podcasting’s aid once more in episode 217, where Curry discusses bandwidth problems for independent or ‘indie’ podcasters[31]. Curry often promotes other podcasters on his DSC, but the downside is that, after a promo is played the promoted podcast tends to get flooded with new users who take up bandwidth[32]. Adam realises that for podcasters the expense of bandwidth and the limits of severs and internet providers could run indie podcasters out of business as podcast popularity grows. In DSC 217 he discusses the idea of podcasts supported by an advertisement or promotion at the beginning or end of the show, but understandably Curry wonders if this commercialisation will sit well with indie podcast producers[33]. He suggests that if the popularity of podcasting grows, the podcaster may even get a cut of the advertising if his show is successful. This idea appears to be directly linked to the recently developed site, which Curry has co-created and is designed to be an informative and useful tool for not only podcast listeners but also producers. While iTunes did a lot to bring the world of podcasting into mainstream awareness, it did not however educate or provide much help for the ‘indie’ podcasters or those new to the ‘Podcast Revolution’. Curry it seems is once again, through his DSC and his other internet projects working in support of podcasting, helping to overcome the remaining obstacles preventing podcasting reaching every possible online user.

Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code is perhaps the ‘holy grail’ of the podcasting world, it was the original ‘proof of concept’ podcast, and today functions as a central discussion area for almost everything related to the world and politics of podcasting. Podcasting is still in its infancy, and some have criticised it for not trying to be more than simply ‘radio’, but I think it is trying to do more than that, and as a medium has far more potential than ‘traditional radio’[34]. Curry is the most notable celebrity of podcasting, it’s ‘pin-up boy’ and hero, and he is still there promoting his fellow podcasters, increasing the medium’s popularity, and aiding its continued growth through such future initiatives as and it affiliates.

By Hilary Wheaton

[1] Henry Jenkins, "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence and Participatory Culture," in David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins (eds.) Rethinking Media Change (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003) found at (last accessed 11.09.05)

[2] “Adam Curry”, Wikipedia, and Adam Curry, Daily Source Code, (last accessed 10.09.05)

[3] Broadcasting is not technically the correct way to describe podcasting, the term ‘norrowcasting’ is some times used since podcasts aren’t transmitted via airwaves, but via internet connection in specific downloads. However, for the purposes of explaining the basics of podcasting I find it easier to go with an already known term, especially since it reminds the reader of previous audio in the form of traditional radio.

[4] Adam Curry, “History”,, (2004) found at (last accessed 11.09.05)

[5] Podcasting has not overcome this problem yet, but as I mention later in my evaluation, Curry is interested in overcoming the bandwidth restrictions that podcasting faces, and urges other podcasters to try and think of solutions.

[6] Adam Curry, “History”, An explanation of RSS is available from Wikipedia, “…The technology behind RSS allows you to subscribe to websites that have provided RSS feeds, these are typically sites that change or add content regularly [i.e. blogs]. To use this technology you need to set up some type of aggregation service. Think of this aggregation service as your personal mailbox. You then have to subscribe to the sites that you want to get updates on. Unlike typical subscriptions to pulp-based newspapers and magazines, your RSS subscriptions are free, but they typically only give you a line or two of each article or post along with a link to the full article or post.” From “Rss File Format”, Wikipedia, (2005), at (last accessed 13.09.05)

[7] Adam Curry, “History”,

[8] Annalee Newitz, “Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star”, Wired Magazine, 13.03, (2005) found at (last accessed 11.09.05)

[9] Adam Curry, “History”,

[10] Annalee Newitz, Wired Magazine

[11] For information on Curry’s own self promotion, an example interview causing problems is Xeni Jardin ,“Audience With the Podfather”, Wired News, (2005) at,1284,67525,00.html (last accessed 13.09.05) and Charles Cooper, “Who invented podcasting? Who cares?”, CNET, 2005 at

[12] Annalee Newitz, Wired Magazine

[13] BusinessWeek Online notes: “…The heart of the podcasting movement is in the world of blogs…in a blogsphere that has grown largely on the written word, podcasts add a soundtrack…what’s special about podcasts is that they’re dispatched directly to users who ask for them” Stephan Baker, “The Lowdown on Podcasting”, BusinessWeek Online, (2005) found at (last accessed 11.09.05)

[14] Tod Maffin,, “How Podcasting Will Save Radio”, (2004) found at (last accessed 11.09.05) Emphasis added in quote.

[15] Henry Jenkins, "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence and Participatory Culture,"

[16] Adam Curry, Daily Source Code for July 29th 2005 #217, at, mp3 download at: (last accessed 10.09.05)

[17] Adam Curry, DSC 217.

[18] Daniel Terdiman, “Podcasts: New Twist on Net Audio”, Wired News, (2004) found at,1412,65237,00.html (last accessed 11.09.05) TiVo famously allowed consumers to record television shows in a digital format and then skip advertisements, watch shows whenever they wanted, and to archive TV shows in a digital format which could be shared with others online.

[19] Randy Dotinga, “TV Tries Shaky Hand at Podcasting”, Wired News, (2005) found at,1412,68503,00.html (last accessed 11.09.05). The Battlestar Gallactica podcast commentaries are released online at the same time each episode is aired, so consumers can listen to the commentary hours after the show is broadcast, rather than waiting months for a DVD released version. See (last accessed 13.09.05)

[20] Randy Dotinga, “TV Tries Shaky Hand at Podcasting”

[21] Annalee Newitz, Wired Magazine

[22] Annalee Newitz, Wired Magazine. We also have similar conditions for Australian produced podcasts.

[23] Adam Curry, DSC 217

[24] Annalee Newitz, Wired Magazine and Adam Curry, Daily Source Code for Thursday September the 8th 2005 # 237, at, mp3 download at: (last accessed 10.09.05)

[25] Mash-ups are remixes of more than one song, mixed together to form a new tune. The most famous Mash-up example is DJ Danger Mouse’s “The Grey Album” in which he remixed the music from the Beatles “White Album” and Jay-Z’s “Black Album”. The album was branded illegal due to copyright, and this led to the notorious Grey Tuesday, on which ‘participating Web sites and blogs offered Danger Mouse’s mash-up for download in defiance of EMI’s legal threats’. See, Sam Howard-Spink, “Grey Tuesday, online cultural activism and the mash-up of music and politics”, First Monday, 9.10, (2004) at (last accessed 13.09.05). Since then, Mash-ups have occupied a grey area in copyright law, and therefore don’t appear on traditional radio. However, Curry often features them on his podcasts. Curry however is becoming increasingly aware of the problems with copyright associated with music, and in his DSC episode 231, he discusses the problems with licensing, and highlights possible loopholes in the legal restrictions. He also notes that Mash-ups have, at least on his show, led to sales on iTunes of the un-mixed versions of the songs. See Adam Curry, Daily Source Code for Tuesday August the 30th 2005 #231 at mp3 download at: (last accessed 13.09.05)

[26] Michelle Kessler, “Storm clouds gather over podcasting”,, (2005), (last accessed 13.09.05) Kessler’s article notes in reference to a specific radio station: “Podcasting is a great way for KEXP to reach thousands of new listeners, especially those outside of Seattle, Richards says. But the station can't podcast programs such as John in the Morning — Richards' variety mix of independent and mainstream music — because record companies haven't provided an easy, affordable way for podcasters to license songs. That's why most podcasts today are talk radio.”

[27] Stephan Baker, BusinessWeek Online

[28] Adam Curry, DSC 217 and 237

[29] “First Look: Apple iTunes 4.9 Podcast Support”, Podcasting News, (2005) found at (last accessed 11.09.05). The iTunes music software and its one-click links to the Apple Music Store have ensured that iTunes is the single most popular music management software in the world. Thus, the addition of a podcast directory in iTunes greatly increased public awareness of podcasts, although not necessarily increasing their understanding of the medium.

[30] “First Look: Apple iTunes 4.9 Podcast Support”, Podcasting News

[31] Adam Curry, DSC 217

[32] This is a problem since many podcasters pay for the amount of ‘traffic’ which results from their files being downloaded. If a promotion of the DSC increases the amount of listeners by ten-fold, the resulting bandwidth cost for the show’s producers also increase ten-fold etc.

[33] Adam Curry, DSC 217

[34] Adrian Miles, “Podcasting and Vogcasting”, vlog 3.0, (2004) found at (last accessed 13.09.05) I think Adrian is being too judgmental of a technology still in its infancy, and if we look at how such podcasting activists as Curry are working within the medium, there is no doubt that within a few years links, video and other media will no doubt be added. Not only this, but podcasts as we have seen in this evaluation can be used in conjunction with other media, such a TV shows, something previously unaccomplished by traditional radio.

Please Request if you want bibliography......
and no, dont worry, I wont do this in PINK!!!

Critical Evaluation Exercise


As new technologies rapidly continue to develop, digital communication theorists have come to perceive a shifting divide between the products of 'personal media' and 'big media,'[2] which has thrown the implications of traditional copyright laws into confusion. Readily available media software now gives former consumers the ability to copy, borrow, manipulate and build upon 'big media' products and take them into new narrative spheres in which the original creators do not have agency. This transferral of power has raised questions about the scope of intellectual property law in cyberspace, with commentators such as Lawrence Lessig viewing the larger entertainment industries as championing a body of increasingly protective laws which serve to 'lock down culture and control creativity.' [3] In the midst of what has been perceived as a 'culture war,'[4] Lessig and others identified a need for "balance, compromise and moderation"[5] and in 2001 a US-based, non-profit corporation[6] called Creative Commons was founded on this premise. The mandate of the Creative Commons organisation is "to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules."[7]
By evaluating the organisation's blog through the lens of this mission statement, taking into account the interactive nature of the blog structure itself as well as its content, we can attempt to evaluate the way the Creative Commons blog[8] can be situated into debates surrounding participatory culture and digital communication.
Blogs can be thought of as dynamic web pages which are being continually updated by either a single author or group of authors. They contain written text, pictures and links to other blogs, web sites and places of interest in cyberspace. A blog (which is a shortening of the term 'web log') is generally presided over by the person who created it, often the primary author.[9] In terms of understanding the relevance of blogs to the ever-changing realm of participatory culture, digital media theorist Henry Jenkins identifies a positive influence arising in the form of blog-users:
"At a time when many dot coms have failed, blogging is on the rise. We're in a lull between waves of commercialization in digital media, and bloggers are seizing the moment, potentially increasing cultural diversity and lowering barriers to cultural participation."[10]
By incorporating this type of interactive site into their organisation, Creative Commons are implicitly reinforcing an advocacy of knowledge-sharing in cyberspace.[11]
The postings on the blog pertain to examples of culture and technology that exist under Creative Commons licensing as well as providing the methodology behind it. The contributors provide a mix of instructional and promotional material as well as immediate updates on developments within this sphere. As an example of the blog's structure, the July 2005[12] posts are made up of twelve entries by three main authors. The authors themselves may change but this pattern of a small number of trained staff producing many articles recurs throughout the archives. As one of the main criticisms of information accessed via the internet often relates to the reliability and original source of the material in question, the ability to access the name of the author and follow links to professional profiles of some of them makes this blog distinctive. Unlike many blogs, it is intended for public consumption and promotes accountability, if not consistent interactivity.
Housed at Stanford University, this organisation produces an instance of digital communication that is bound by academic aspirations, yet must also balance these standards with the level of content accessibility required to spread the word about Creative Commons licensing effectively. Lawrence Lessig, as a member of its Board of Directors, outlines:
"Our aim is to build a movement of consumers and producers of content (…) who help build the public domain and, by their work, demonstrate the importance of the public domain to other creativity."[13]
In terms of how the content and authorship structure of the Creative Commons blog operates in this context, it provides information on how 'Some Rights Reserved' licensing sits as a balancing force between the two extremes of hyper-protective 'All Rights Reserved' clauses and the rather unrealistic 'No Rights Reserved' practices.[14] It does this in an immediate way that uses the potential of new technology: incorporating academic accountability with an accessible use of language that would not be tenable in published print form. The content acts to promote free access to and reasonable use of creative products and relies on links to guide readers to these objects, so they can be viewed alongside the written article. The immediacy and interconnectedness between the content and what it points to are unique to digital media, as is the component of this particular blog which allows the user the ability to access information on Creative Commons jurisdiction and media products that are tailored to his or her specific nationality.
In Darknet, commentator J.D Lasica states that, in the digital media revolution
"The future of movies, music, television, computer games and the Internet are all on the line in the clash between the irresistible force of technological innovation and the immovable object of the entertainment media powers."[15]
If the position of the Creative Commons blog can be interpreted as attempting to provide a moderate middle ground in this clash through creating a new concept of intellectual property protection, the contribution it makes is through showing how this idea can be applied in practice. The organisation has adopted a free-access blog, which makes available the tools for protecting creative work without locking it down. It promotes the growing possibilities of participatory culture through its advertisement of free-access technologies and media products that can be engaged with in a manner which empowers digital media users. The frontlines in the battles of 'big media' and 'personal media' are always shifting and the immediacy of the blog form allows for the Creative Commons staff who maintain it to actively point out new developments. Perhaps taking up the idea that the best way to lead is through example, the blog provides a massive array of links to digital media items which, through the adoption of Creative Commons licensing, become a positive demonstration of the potential fluidity and beneficial exchange of information in an age where copyright laws are becoming increasingly extreme. The growing success of the US-based movement is apparent in the way twenty-three countries have now taken up the project in bodies known as 'iCommons.'[16] As old copyright laws continue to groan under the strain of being stretched, prodded and poked into directions they were never conceived to cover, media commentators like Lasica declare, "we need new rules for the digital age."[17] The Creative Commons blog provides a touchstone for that which the movement advocates: the democratisation of participatory culture through the provision of easy-to-use intellectual property practices which empower digital media users to freely exchange information, while retaining ownership of their creations.

[1] LESSIG, L. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York, 2004. ("Afterward") p. 282.
[2] LASICA, J.D. Darknet Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. 2005. Darknet mini-book:
[3] LESSIG, L. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York, 2004.
[4] LASICA, J.D. Darknet Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. 2005. Darknet mini-book:
[5] As stated in "'Some Rights Reserved': Building a Layer of Reasonable Copyright." From the Creative Commons website.
[6] LESSIG, L. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. 2004. p. 283.
[7] As stated in "'Some Rights Reserved': Building a Layer of Reasonable Copyright." From the Creative Commons website.

[8]Creative Commons Blog
[9] BLANCHARD, A. "Blogs as Virtual Communities: Identifying a Sense of Community in the Julie/Julia Project." Into the Blogosphere. Ed. Smiljana Antonijevic, Laura Gurak, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman, 2004,
[10] JENKINS, H. "Blog This!" Technology March, 2002.
[11]A negative aspect however could lie in the inability to add comments at the present (September 2005). 'Comments will be re-enabled soon' is tagged at the bottom of each post, although looking through the archive it is clear that comments were once more frequent. For example, the post titled "Raymond vanderWoning's Photos" received five additional comments: August 2003
[12]GARLICK, M., LINKSVAYER, M., YERGLER, N. Creative Commons Blog, July 2005.
[13] LESSIG, L. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. 2004. pp. 283-284.
[14] Ibid. "Afterword." p. 285.
[15] LASICA, J.D. Darknet Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. 2005. Darknet mini-book:

[16] As noted in iCommons.AU: Creative Commons Australia 2005.
[17] LASICA, J.D. Darknet Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. 2005. Darknet mini-book:
BLANCHARD, A. "Blogs as Virtual Communities: Identifying a Sense of Community in the Julie/Julia Project." Into the Blogosphere. Ed. Smiljana Antonijevic, Laura Gurak, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman, 2004,
GARLICK,M., LINKSVAYER,M., YERGLER,N. et al Creative Commons Blog, 2005.

JENKINS, H. "Blog This." Technology March, 2002.

LESSIG, L. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York, 2004.

LASICA, J.D. Darknet Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. 2005. Darknet mini-book:

"'Some Rights Reserved': Building a Layer of Reasonable Copyright." Creative Commons. 2005.

iCommons.AU: Creative Commons Australia. 2005.