SCT13: The Digital Rights Movement

In episode 13 of Social Change Technology Burcu Bakioglu (Postdoctoral Fellow in New Media at Lawrence University) returns to talks to Hector Postigo about his new book The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright. Hector is Associate Professor in the Department of Broadcasting, Telecommunications, and Mass Media in the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University. In the podcast Burcu and Hector discuss the complex relationships between technology, law and emergent social movements such as what became known as the digital rights movement.

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Hector Postigo phd
Hector’s research focuses on new digital media and cultural production both large and small.  His endeavors  have centered on 2 areas of inquiry within cultural production.  The first interrogates notions of value, participation, and “free” labor on the internet. I have looked at a number of “sites” as case studies to ask: what kinds of value does the work of fan communities, volunteers and others add to commercial enterprises?  What are their (industry and user) norms, practices and values? And how do they engage with technologies/laws/policies that afford or frustrate participation?   He was one of the first researchers to study video game fan communities that make valuable modifications to popular PC games (modders), for example, and  has written on the history of AOL volunteer communities and their labor disputes.Hector’s second line of research focuses on technologically mediated activism.  He interrogates this topic generally by asking how technological resistance structures activism in social movements? He is concerned with how ICTs, hacks, workarounds and other circumvention and organization measures might impact the role of individuals and organizations bent on social change.  His own contributions in that vein have centered on the digital rights or free culture movement and their use of technological measures as a form of activism.  Source:
The movement against restrictive digital copyright protection arose largely in response to the excesses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. In The Digital Rights Movement, Hector Postigo shows that what began as an assertion of consumer rights to digital content has become something broader: a movement concerned not just with consumers and gadgets but with cultural ownership. Increasingly stringent laws and technological measures are more than incoveniences; they lock up access to our “cultural commons.” Postigo describes the legislative history of the DMCA and how policy “blind spots” produced a law at odds with existing and emerging consumer practices. Yet the DMCA established a political and legal rationale brought to bear on digital media, the Internet, and other new technologies. Drawing on social movement theory and science and technology studies, Postigo presents case studies of resistance to increased control over digital media, describing a host of tactics that range from hacking to lobbying. Postigo discusses the movement’s new, user-centered conception of “fair use” that seeks to legitimize noncommercial personal and creative uses such as copying legitimately purchased content and remixing music and video tracks. He introduces the concept of technological resistance–when hackers and users design and deploy technologies that allows access to digital content despite technological protection mechanisms–as the flip side to the technological enforcement represented by digital copy protection and a crucial tactic for the movement.s. Source: Publisher
Dr Burcu Bakioglu

Burcu is a researcher examining the social, cultural, and economic variables that affect the production of cross-media experiences. Burcu’s research adopts a broader understanding of virtual spaces that includes not only 3D environments but also printed works and social media, as ultimately, these platforms generate virtual spaces in which users can produce and share various visual representations and experiences. As such, the collaborative storytelling initiatives that are taking place through these platforms facilitate the online performances of any given work, thereby enabling it to come alive, albeit within slightly different contexts. Burcu is Postdoctoral Fellow in New Media at Lawrence University.

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The Ethics of ARGs
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Podcast music: “For the Horde” kindly provided by 100 Robots.

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