Lecture 10: The Net Model of Media Freedom

Net Model of Media Freedom video

Net = media freedom for everyone.

Article 19 of 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights = anti-fascist synthesis of liberal and socialist models of media freedom: formal right of all individuals -> substantive right of whole society.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s 1922 liberation theology: building heaven on earth = geosphere -> biosphere -> noosphere.
Vannevar Bush’s 1945 New Deal modernism: Memex technology = mass production of information v. fragmentation of knowledge and enforced scarcity.
Aksel Berg: 1917-1937 Left Bolshevik engineer -> 1937-40 Gulag prisoner -> 1953-7 USSR Deputy Defence Minister: bureaucratic Stalinism -> proletarian democracy = industrial socialism -> cybernetic communism.
1964 American Cybernetics Society: USA v. USSR ‘cybernetics gap’ -> 1968 JCR Licklider’s ‘Galactic Network’ -> 1969 ARPANET.
Cold War McLuhanism: USA = prefiguring imaginary future of the information society in present.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man.
Vannevar Bush, As We May Think.
Radovan Richta, Civilisation at the Crossroads.

1950s-2010s evolution of Net: military scientists-> academics -> hobbyists -> civil servants -> small businesses -> corporations -> everyone.
Cold War American and Russian computer networks = command and control systems for fighting nuclear war.
IBM = military-industrial complex of US computing: 1955 SAGE -> 1964 SABRE.
1962 Paul Baran of USAF’s RAND: On Distributed Communications = hierarchical centralised phone system -> horizontal decentralised Net.
1967 packet-switching -> 1969 ARPANET in USA -> 1973 Britain and Norway on Net -> 1973 Community Memory at Berkeley -> 1974 Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib -> 1979 Usenet -> 1979 MUDs at Essex University -> 1982 TCP/IP -> 1983 domain names -> 1983 Xanadu Project -> 1984 FidoNet -> 1986 NSFNet -> 1990 MILNET -> 1990 Tim Berners-Lee at CERN -> 1992 CERN browser-editor -> 1993 NCSA at University of Illinois’ Mosaic browser -> 1994 Netscape Navigator -> 1995 Netscape IPO -> 1995 Amazon and eBay -> 1996 Internet Explorer.
1993-2001 Bill Clinton = social liberal New Democrat US president.
1992 Al Gore speech: $120 billion ‘information superhighway’ = post-modern McLuhanist infrastructure for electronic marketplace of post-industrial future.
1994 Communications Act -> 1998 DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) = corporate media freedom imposed on Net.
1995 Bill Gates: Windows ’95 on PC -> interactive television of information superhighway.
Microsoft Net = virtual shopping mall selling proprietary software and media.

Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, Where Wizards Stay Up Late: the origins of the Internet.
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead.
Edward Herman and Robert McChesney, The Global Media: The New Missionaries of Corporate Capitalism.

Californian ideology = 1960s New Left electronic agora -> 1980s neo-liberal electronic marketplace.
Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly: 1968 Whole Earth Catalog -> 1974 CoEvolution Quarterly -> 1985 WELL -> 1993 Wired -> 1996 John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace: ‘Jeffersonian democracy’ = hippie neo-liberalism.
New Left + New Right McLuhanism = anti-statism of anarchist activists -> market fundamentalism of dotcom entrepreneurs.
Old media = one-way passivity -> new media = two-way interactivity.
The new class of the new = making new things in new ways with new technology: knowledge workers; hackers; symbolic analysts; netizens; digerati; immaterial labourers; digital citizens; swarm capitalists; bobos, and the creative class.
Newt Gingrich, Nicholas Negroponte, George Gilder and Thomas Friedman: rapid spread of Net = inevitable triumph of US-dominated neo-liberal globalisation.
Electronic marketplace in information: political media freedom = economic copyright censorship.

Old Media/New Media diagram

Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The Californian Ideology.
Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture.
Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital.
Peter Leyden, Peter Schwartz and Joel Hyatt, The Long Boom.

1991-2000: 107 months of economic growth = longest boom in US history.
New information technologies = lowering inflation and raising productivity.
Creative destruction of disruptive Net technology: ‘friction-free’ global electronic marketplace = perfect information for producers and consumers.
B2B disintermedisation: GM TradeXchange = tyre prices down 10% and hoses 40%. Overhead costs for ticket from travel agent = $8 -> $1 on Net.
Post-Fordist Net: just-in-time production, flexible labour and zero stocks.
Amazon and eBay: e-commerce = first-mover advantage -> natural monopoly.
Dotcom bubble = 1990s Net version of 1840s railway mania and 1920s radio speculation.
1998 irrational exuberance of Wall Street: Net stocks up 225% while Dow up 17%.
2000 AOL’s $164 billion take over of Time-Warner: old media -> new media.
1994-98 New Paradigm of Netscape = ‘free but not free’ -> ‘market share now, revenue later.’
Competing on Internet time = Darwinian competition of technological innovation.
1995 Netscape = 90% of browsers -> 1998 Internet Explorer = 50% of browsers. 1997-2001 rise and fall of eToys.com: $80 -> 9¢.
Implosion of dotcom bubble: cool idea -> VC funding -> media hype -> IPO -> ‘pump & dump’ -> fuckedcompany.com.

Geoffrey Moore, Inside the Tornado.
Esther Dyson, Release 2.0: a design for living in the digital age.
Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy.
Jonas Ridderstråle and Kjell Nordström, Funky Business: talent makes capital dance.

‘At the height of the Cold War, the US military created the only working model of communism in human history: the Net.’ – Richard Barbrook.
Academic gift economy = presenting a paper and giving a journal article -> peer review = collective scientific progress by sharing research findings.
Open standards and open architecture of Net = overcoming technical and economic barriers to communal knowledge -> ‘information wants to be free’.
Scientists built Net by creating Net: emails, mailing lists and discussion groups.
1985 Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation v. corporate proprietary software: ‘free as in free speech not free beer.’
New Left Net: hacker ethic; IndyMedia; Anonymous; network communities and flash mobs.
Third Way Net = Open Source Movement: 1991 Linux -> 1996 Apache -> 1998 Mozilla Foundation -> 2004 Firefox -> 2012 Firefox = 25% of browsers.

Steven Levy, Hackers.
Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community.
Eric Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Richard Barbrook, Cyber-communism.

Michael Dertouzos of MIT Computer Science: media = 5% v. office work = 60% of US GNP in 1997.
Kevin Kelly’s 7th new rule of new economy for swarm capitalists: ‘follow the free’.
Hi-tech gift economy of Net = e-mail, websites, blogs, newsgroups and chatrooms -> decommodification of mass media.
1999 Napster = music piracy -> 2000 LimeWire = movie piracy -> 2001 BitTorrent = 40%-70% of Net traffic in 2009.
Practical communism of Net: information abundance = sharing gifts not exchanging commodities.
Participatory democracy of Net: user-generated content = DIY culture not media spectacle.
Web 2.0: mixed economy of 2000s social media = corporate capitalist infrastructure for mass creativity.
1997 smart phones -> 500 million users in 2012.
2003 Skype -> 600 million users in 2012.
2004 Facebook -> 1 billion users 2012.
2006 Twitter -> 500 million users 2012.
Hyper-reality of the Net: LOL cats; TMZ.com; Angry Birds; YouTube.
‘Slacktivism’ = slacker + activism of alter-globalisation Net protests.
Virtual politics = post-modern passivity of 21st century youth.
2001 Pirate Bay = file-sharing website -> 2006 Pirate Party in Sweden and Germany -> 2009 EU parliament elections = 7% in Sweden -> 2011 Berlin elections -> 2011 Czech Senate elections.
2006 Wikileaks = whistle-blowing website -> 2010 Afghanistan and Iraq wars logs -> 2010-2 court cases v. Julian Assange and Bradley Manning -> 2013-4 Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA surveillance = total information awareness.
2011 Arab Spring and Occupy movements = Twitter and Facebook revolutions ->
self-organising majoritarian politics of 99% v. 1% global neo-liberal elite.
Net media freedom = competitive collaboration of corporations + states + communities.

Net Media Freedom diagram

Paolo Gerbaudo, Tweets and the Streets.
Evgeny Morozov, Net Delusion.
Paul Mason, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions.
David Leigh and Luke Harding, Wikileaks: inside Julian Assange’s war on secrecy.

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