Thursday, October 4, 2007 Turns Your VoIP Calls Into Ad-Serving keywords

The Associated Press reports on the beta website, which is offering users "free" voice over IP (VoIP) calls, with an invasive catch -- it uses voice-recognition software to serve you ads based on the conversation you're having.

Perhaps the most chilling implication of this "service" is its potential impact on your constitutional right to privacy in your phone calls. Fourth Amendment protections against government eavesdropping rely on your having a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in your calls, something you'll arguably be trading away by using's VoIP service.

The government can and likely will argue -- as it has argued when it comes to your Gmail in the case of U.S. v. Warshak -- that allowing a company to scan your communications for ad-serving purposes eliminates any Fourth Amendment privacy protections in those communications. Far from being "free," you may be paying for's service with your constitutional rights.

For the AP report, "New Service Eavesdrops on Internet Calls":

Read EFF Activist Richard Esguerra's complete post:

Cultural Borrowings: Appropriation, Reworking and Transformation - Call for Papers

Cultural Borrowings: A Study Day on Appropriation, Reworking and Transformation

University of Nottingham, UK
Wednesday March 19th, 2008

Plenary Speakers will include Professor Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow) and Professor David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds).

Throughout history, artists have appropriated, sampled or borrowed elements from pre-existing work for use in new cultural texts. When hip-hop artist Dangermouse mixed samples from The Beatles White Album with Jay-Z's Black Album to produce The Grey Album; or when Todd Haynes paid homage to the works of Douglas Sirk in the film Far From Heaven (2002); or when Jean Rhys reworked Jane Eyre to tell the story of the creole Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea, they were all appropriating elements from prior cultural texts for use in the creation of new works.

This one day conference, in association with the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, seeks to interrogate the nature of such cultural borrowings, looking at how we can draw together insights from across the disciplines in order to further develop academic models of appropriation, reworking and transformation.

Submissions will be welcomed from both research students and interested academics working in the fields of film and television studies, cultural studies, literature, media anthropology, history, music, new media and sociology.

Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

- Remakes and Reworkings
- New media/Convergence culture
- Globalisation and cultural/regional crossings
- Rethinking postmodernism/postcolonialism
- Fandom (fan films/slash fiction)
- Borrowings between high and low culture
- Sampling and remixing in music
- Appropriation in the visual arts
- The Politics of Pastiche/Parody/Camp
- Culture Jamming/Adbusters
- Fair Use and intellectual property

Please submit an abstract of 200-300 words along with a short biographical note to:
Iain Robert Smith:

Iain Robert Smith, Cultural Borrowings Conference
School of American and Canadian Studies
University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD

Deadline for abstracts is 30 November 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MySpace with wrinkles / Starbucks does itunes

2 interesting and content related news bits I thought.

Starbucks and Apple have announced a new wireless iTunes music service. The partnership will allow users of Apple's iPhone and iPod to download songs playing in a Starbucks shop directly to their portable devices.
>>> click here for video report

Social networking sites usually target teenagers and 20-somethings. But a new batch of start-up sites are going after their parents and grandparents.
>>> click here for video report

ICA Pre-conference on "Bridging Scholar/Activist Divides in the Field of Communications" May 22, 2008, Montreal

Bridging Scholar/Activist Divides in the Field of Communications

ICA Half-Day Pre-Conference Call for Participants
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association
Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
Montreal, Canada

Organized by:
Becky Lentz, Visiting Scholar, New York University and Senior Ford Foundation Fellow
Philip M. Napoli, Director, Donald McGannon Communication Research Center
Milton Mueller, Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
Joe Karaganis, Social Science Research Council and Director of the Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Sphere Program

Deadline for submissions: 5pm EST on November 1st

"Communicating social impacts" requires deliberate attention to the role that scholarship plays in affecting social change. This pre-conference for the annual meeting of the International Communication Association addresses divides between research and advocacy in the field of communications in issue areas such as public health, media diversity, communications policy, global communications and Internet governance, journalism, technology usage and diffusion, and political communication.

When it comes to connecting research and advocacy, the field of communications often seems riven by contradictory impulses. On the one hand, the field has long lamented its historically marginalized position in the academy and in policymaking relative to economics, sociology, political science, and other established disciplines. Yet communications scholars often share a hesitancy to engage with policymakers or policy advocates out of fear of sacrificing academic objectivity, or out of a desire to avoid "applied" scholarship, though foundational scholars in the field, ranging from Harold Lasswell to James Carey, have consistently advocated more public engagement by communications researchers - particularly in relation to policy issues. And in
communications policy, the size and diversity of the issue advocacy community in the U.S. and internationally has increased considerably in recent years, as have the needs of this community for high quality research to ground their claims for a more democratic and just media.

The intensification of activism around communication-information policy issues suggests that scholars conducting research on those issues have exciting opportunities to link up with advocacy communities or to directly engage with journalists, government and industry policymakers with research that proposes or supports particular policy solutions. There are, however, a range of practical and institutional impediments that prevent such linkages and discourage scholars from advocating policy positions derived from their work. These impediments include institutional disincentives within academia (particularly within the social sciences) for "applied" or "engaged" scholarship; a dearth of fora and communication channels linking advocacy and academic communities; and sometimes divergent perspectives among scholars, advocates, and policymakers, on the appropriate role and function of research in policymaking.

This pre-conference -- which is part of the annual meeting of the International Communication Association in Montreal ( -- seeks to build upon recent successes forging tighter linkages between researchers and advocates (see, for example, Robert McChesney's work via Free Press; the National Consortium for Media Policy Studies [COMPASS], the Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere project at the Social Science Research Council; the Global Internet Governance Academic Network, or GigaNet; the Collective Behavior and Social Movements division of the American Sociological Association; Sociologists Without Borders, the Civil Society Practitioner Program at the Oxford Internet Institute, the post-graduate diploma in Media Advocacy being offered by the Centre for Culture, Media and Governance in New Delhi, and other organized forms of engaged scholarship), with an eye toward developing concrete solutions that could contribute to an environment in which researchers and advocates are better able to engage in mutually beneficial collaborations, and in which, ideally, the traditional distinctions that have existed between scholars and advocates can be diminished.

We encourage participation from individuals or groups in academe, journalism, industry, government, and civil society who are engaged with advocacy issues or conducting research on those issues. The goal is to coalesce a set of concrete proposals for institutional change that can lead to tighter linkages between research and issue advocacy.

The tentative plan is for the meeting to be organized along three tracks:

Track 1: Bridging Organizational Cultures
What aspects of the cultures of advocacy groups and academic researchers inhibit stronger linkages between research and advocacy? What specific institutional changes are needed to facilitate changes in these organizational cultures? Are there lessons to be derived from specific disciplines, or from specific national contexts, that can illuminate possible approaches to bridging research and advocacy? Can the overlaps and distinctions between "applied," "engaged," and "public" scholarship as they relate to communications research be clarified in ways that could reduce scholars' inhibitions related to engaging in advocacy-related work? Can graduate programs be implemented in ways that better incentivize and acculturate researchers on how their research can have social impact? Are there other forms of training/certification that could be implemented to nurture scholar/advocate hybrids? Findings from the SSRC's Collaborative Grants project and other systematic efforts at bridging research and advocacy will be shared.

Track 2: Mapping Research Needed for Social Impacts
What are the key policy questions (local, national, regional, global) being addressed by advocates and movement leaders that would be helped by research attention? What mechanisms currently in place have successfully facilitated the kind of information exchanges, networking and coordination that would create a strategic complementarity between research scholars and advocacy communities? When has this relationship failed to work properly and why? Are there new types of bridging organizations that are - or that should be - in place to facilitate this exchange?

Track 3: Engaging in Public Scholarship: Communicating Social Impacts
What strategies and tactics can best move the results of scholarship out of the academy and into the hands of decision makers? What are the key barriers to communicating scholarship to various constituencies (the press, policymakers, NGOs, industry, funders/donors, the specific constituencies, etc.) that need to be overcome? Are there particular exemplars in terms of institutional structures or programs that can inform and guide efforts in the communications research field?

* * * *

Those interested in participating in this pre-conference are asked to submit an abstract of no more than 500 words addressing one of the three tracks outlined above that includes how the participant intends to address one or more of the questions outlined in one of the three track descriptions. Included with this abstract should be a background statement of no more than 300 words about the participant that includes a brief summary of any recent or ongoing activities /research by the participant that address the subject matter of the relevant track.
Scholars researching social movements in the field of communications are encouraged to submit abstracts.

This half-day pre-conference will take a workshop format, with selected participants asked to give very brief, informal presentations that trigger active conversation and informed discussion related both to their presentation and to the presentations of the other conference participants across all three tracks.

Participants will also be asked to contribute to a process of issue mapping and sharing of models and ideas ahead of the meeting, via a wiki and/or other tools such as the SSRC's Media Research Hub ( This will be hosted by the SSRC, as part of its 'Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere' program. If there is independent interest in continuing these conversations, these services can be maintained (or spun off).

Deadline for submission is 5pm EST on November 1st. Abstracts should be submitted electronically (as a Word attachment) to Jessica Crowell of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University at Please include "ICA Pre-Conference Submission" in the subject line.

* * * *

About the Pre-Conference Organizers
Becky Lentz is a Visiting Scholar at New York University and a Senior Ford Foundation Fellow. She was the founding program officer of the Ford Foundation's Electronic Media Policy portfolio, which has sought to forge tighter linkages between researchers and advocates in the communications policy arena. (

Philip M. Napoli is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Director of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University. The McGannon Center has long-served as a research partner and resource for the public interest and advocacy communities. (

Joe Karaganis is a Program Officer in the Social Science Research Council and Director of the Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere program, which is dedicated to enhancing the role that research plays in a wide range of issue areas related to communications, culture, and the democratic process. (

Milton Mueller is a Professor in the School of Information and Co-Director and Founder of the Convergence Center at Syracuse University. He is a partner in the Internet Governance Project, an interdisciplinary consortium of academics that conducts research and advocacy work in the areas of international governance and Internet policy. (

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

VII World Congress of Computer Law

VII World Congress of Computer LawWhen: 3-7 December 2007
Where: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Steering Committee: University of Puerto Rico
Association / Inter American University of Puerto Rico / Alfa-Redi

About Congress:
The Puerto Rico Bar Association, the School Of Law of University of Puerto Rico, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and Alfa-Redi, cordially invite you to the VII World Congress on Cyber Law to be held from December 3 to December 7 in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The VII World Congress on Cyber Law is a continuation of the worldwide congresses held in the cities of Quito (Ecuador), Madrid (Spain), Havana (Cuba), Cusco (Peru), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) y Edinburgh (United Kingdom).

These congresses have been the starting point of new proposals, the development of laws adopted in several countries, and laws that were welcomed as guidelines by different decision-making public and private organizations involved in the area of new technologies and the development of the information society. These international events are directed towards academic, regional and international stakeholders, government employees, and individuals representing organizations from the Civil Society involved in the processes related to Policies and Regulatory Framework of the Information Society at a regional and international level.

These spaces of dialogue are evoked to promote encounter, discussion and proposal developing in diverse topics of the Information Society, as can be shown in the different Web pages of past Congresses.

The subjects raised for this congress are:
1. Privacy and Personal Data Protection
2. E-Governance
3. Information and Communication Technologies in the Information Society
4. E-Commerce and Cyber-banking
5. Virtual Worlds
6. Copyrights and Intellectual Property
7. E-gaming

Given the global, international and transforming nature of the thematic relationship among policies and the regulatory framework of the information society, we consider of utmost importance the participation of international experts to provide a perspective to the participants of the event who will be able to make comparisons with their own experience, emphasizing on the harmonization processes that have been promoted by diverse international organizations.

This Congress will include workshops which will be imparted by international organizations interested in delivering lectures on specific subjects. These workshops will have a duration of one to two hours, being held during the first two days of the Congress, concerning issues such as Privacy and eGovernment, FTAs and Information Society, Licensing models of contents, Playing games in the net and E-commerce, realities and perspectives. If your organization is interested in delivering a lecture on any of the above mentioned subjects, please contact us.

More Information:

Forecast: Search and Video to Drive Internet Ad Spend

Internet advertising spend is expected to grow year-over-year an average of 23 percent between 2007 and 2009.


The Internet ad spend is expected to climb from $25.9 billion in 2006 to $48.1 billion in 2009, an 85 percent increase, according to a forecast released yesterday by U.K.-based ZenithOptimedia a unit of Publicis Group. The forecast attributes the hike in Internet advertising primarily to online video and local search.

Online represents the fastest-growing category within the overall ad spend, though ZenithOptimedia expects the growth rate will slow in coming years . In 2006, spending on the Internet increased by 34.9 percent over the previous year. The forecast projects year-over-year growth of 29.9 percent for 2007, 23.5 percent in 2008, and 15.6 percent in 2009, or an annual average of 23 percent.

The forecast is in line with findings from a TNS Media Intelligence report on advertising spending for the first half of 2007.

Internet still surpasses television advertising, which is expected to go from $161.7 billion in 2006 to $192.2 billion in 2009, a total increase of 18.8 percent.

As the size of the Internet ad spend gets larger, it takes more dollars to show an increase in percentage points.

"The very rough growth of the Internet is creating a huge amount of inventory," said Jonathan Barnard, head of publications at Zenith Optimedia. Added inventory, particularly rich media and video units, can be attractive to advertisers used to making media buys on television.

Online video and local search are cited as two drivers of Internet growth now and in coming years. The two categories are responsible, in part, for taking dollars from other media. Though in many cases, the cross-channel publisher retains money from advertisers as it cross to other media.

"Networks seem to be at the forefront of the development of online video, helping to offset some of their losses to the Internet," said Barnard. In some cases television networks are creating multiple distribution channels for shows and content. The NBC and News Corp joint venture Hulu slated to launch later this month will initially stream content from both networks, while NBC recently announced NBC Direct where consumers can download limited playback of the network's TV content.

"At this stage nobody really knows what the successful model of the future will be," said Barnard. "There is a lot of experimenting."

Newspapers continue to see dollars shift from offline to online. "Newspapers are losing directly to the Internet, either to other classifieds, search, or auction sites," Barnard said. "Their Web sites tend to be quite large and get advertising, but unfortunately they are not making enough to offset offline."

Not all new search dollars come directly from newspapers. "It's the fact that it's opening up the Internet to other types of advertisers that only have a small market in which they sell," said Barnard. "A national or international ad on a large search engine wouldn't have been cost effective, but now they're able to localize their results, and are able to draw in small advertisers."

The overall ad spend is expected to increase by 18.3 percent between 2006 and 2009. Television will likely see a peak of 7.3 percent growth in 2008, due to heightened advertising activity during the Olympics.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Adapting the Nineteenth Century - Call for Papers



'The past is never dead. It's not even past'
- William Faulkner

An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Wales Lampeter on August 22 - 24 2008

The nineteenth century continues to preoccupy modern thought, exerting its influence upon contemporary film, art and literature, and the fascination with the period shows no signs of diminishing. This conference seeks to address the ongoing interest in and engagement with the history, culture, literature and art of the nineteenth century, asking how our proclivity for adapting the past impacts not only upon modern perspectives of this period, but also upon the production of contemporary works.

Possible topics for papers/panels might include, but are not limited to:

• Television/stage/film adaptations of 19th century literary classics
• Hollywood and the literary film
• Audiences and adaptation
• Theories of adaptation/theorising adaptation
• Adaptation: commodification and commercialism
• New media and the nineteenth century
• The historical novel
• Neo-Victorian art/architecture/fiction
• Adapting women of the nineteenth century
• The nineteenth-century heritage industry
• The nineteenth century in popular culture: Dickensian Christmas; Dickens World; Austen as self-help; the mythology of the nineteenth-century monster etc.
• The influence of and contemporary response to nineteenth-century thought: Darwinism; imperialism; spiritualism; feminism etc.

To express an interest in this event, ask to be placed on the mailing list, or to submit an abstract, email:

For further details, visit the conference website:

Abstracts should be 300-500 words, and should be accompanied by a short biographical note.

Deadline for abstracts: 15th March 2008
Conference Organisers: Alexia Bowler, Jessica Cox

'Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA PGN

The MeCCSA Postgraduate Network are very proud to announce the launch of our new e-journal, 'Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA PGN.'

Edited and produced by postgraduates in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, the journal shall publish selected papers from our conferences and regional events.

The first issue, 'Minding the Gap: Reflections on Media Practice & Theory' collects together papers from our recent event at the Reuters Institute in Oxford.

Visit the page at: