Discussion Question 15

Over the past semester, what did you find most interesting, and what was least interesting, about the course?

Austin M.

Over the past semester I would say the discussions about Unit 4: Media Rights and Responsibilities was probably the most interesting to me. I like looking into laws and regulations and doing so for the media was neat. My stepdad works in the radio business so he would tell me about different copyright laws and infringements. He once told me a copyright infringement that I would have never noticed, and I don’t know if many people really do notice. I think maybe that fact that this unit was more recent, and that I had a debate upon it, makes it more interesting to me. I enjoyed the debate and seeing both sides of the struggle. Regulation of the media can be a hard and tricky thing to do. It was also interesting to see how media has the protected speech to post some things that it wants. Court cases seem to uphold free speech pretty well, but then there are cases also restricting it. Over the past semester my least interesting topic was probably Unit 1: Communication Studies. Nothing against the teaching of the topic but I guess I was amazed at how many different scenarios and theories are out there for different communication. I guess trying to learn all of them was the least interesting to me. But I cannot say that to all of the theories because some of them were interesting and common knowledge. I guess they caught my attention. Overall I can say I learned some things from this class. I learned about different theories, mass media rights, public relations, how much I use media, how influential media can be in our lives and more, I bet. Thinking of the public relations topic, I seem to have enjoyed that one too. Must be something about these debate topics. I seem to like both of those sections. Maybe there is controversy and I like watching and evaluating the controversy or events.

Discussion Question 14

What rights and responsibilities do you have to protect your privacy on the Internet?

Austin M.

When I am on the Internet I have specific rights and responsibilities to protect my information. The way I see it though is that I have the right to, or not to, give the information across the Internet. I do not have to put my birthday, social security number, etc. on to the Internet if I decide not too. These numbers or sensitive data may be required for certain access to services on the Internet but I am not being forced to release that information. I can hold back that information and not use those Internet services. That is where my responsibility comes into play. I can protect my privacy by being more conservative in my use. If I share something on the Internet, I am responsible for it. If somebody posts something of me on the Internet, I have responsibilities and consequences stemming from that. I remember a Criminal Justice professor was saying to no get caught with pictures of underage drinking or suspicious activity on the Internet. The reason being is that employers may look at social networks to find information about you. If you are applying for a government job, those pictures will hurt your chances. I should be responsible for those postings or information. So in terms of privacy, if I do not want everybody to see my profile or sensitive information, I could set my privacy measures to certain degrees to restrict access from unwanted users. I also could protect my privacy from not even posting those images, statuses, or information. When it comes to typing important information into the Internet, it is my right to choose to do so and my responsibility to trust the website to keep it secure. I should look at the security measures they take, or read the terms and agreement page they give me to read. I just usually check those boxes without reading. So my responsibility is to deal with any possible consequences of releasing that information. I think that by using the Internet, we are playing on a different playground. I think we are willing to follow rules of that specific playground when it comes to terms of privacy. If you do not want yourself to be seen on that playground, than maybe use a more conservative approach or do not release the information. Not trying to be mean but I just mean that you voluntarily put the information on the Internet and it may be intercepted. Which is unfortunate if it was not supposed to be intercepted. The Internet can be a tricky but helpful resource.

Concept Week 13

Rights of property and ownership: copyright to protect media productions

 Austin Merritt

Copyright was made to protect the creator’s idea, material, or production. The book says it is to protect and promote the art, science and other expression of the creator. Critics of copyright think it is unfair because it stresses more about the financial potential for the creator than protection of the material for its art content. Media productions have been fighting to expand the copyright laws to protect their content. The DRM, the Digital Rights Management, protects the copyright of the material. With the media today it is easier to abuse the copyright laws of the creators. Major court cases, such as the Grokster decision or Sony v. Universal City Studios, have set major standards in copyrights for media protections. The Grokster decision said that if a company had material that allowed the user to violate copyrights of another company’s media, then it is illegal. This was very controversial because it was based of the “intent” of the company’s media. The book mentioned how hard it was to judge the “intent” of the company’s intent for their media. The debate continues on where and how copyright should protect the creator of the media. It is seems to be a gray area. Both sides seem to be able to compromise and allow for others to share. Recently, copyright laws are letting up allowing for television shows to be streamed, music to be shared and other content to be expressed more freely. The reason that creator’s are letting up on the strong copyright laws is that they get paid from a fee the networks or websites pay for the use of their content and the creator is collecting popularity and recognition from the use of their product. There seems to be more of an agreement or an easing between the two parties about copyrights. This allows for the consumer’s to have more media without the high costs of copyright laws.

My example, found on USA Today, talks about how Apple Inc. lost a copyright fight against Samsung in the United Kingdom. Apple accuses Samsung of “copycat” tactics when making their Galaxy tablet. Apple has gone on to sue companies for breaking copyright rules in other countries including America. America sided with Apple for a phone dispute, while other countries like Germany and the U.K. have gone on to deny Apple of their copyright infringement claims.

Discussion Week 13

Based on your media log, and the kind of media you use on a regular basis, what are your responsibilities in using media?

Austin M.

During the media log research my television usage was the highest. Second in the race was my Internet use. When I use both of the media I have to be responsible. My ethics kind of rule my responsibilities that I put on that media use, and myself but there are also different responsibilities that are not instituted by me. For example, the Internet has restrictions placed upon it. I cannot use the Internet to steal someone’s identity or look up ways to commit a murder. My responsibilities though rest upon government set rules and my ethics. In television, my most used media, my responsibility is to be literate and understand that television shows or networks may have biases to their news. I may not be getting the full picture so I may have to look for another network for the other side. My other responsibility when watching television is not to watch television too long for health concerns. If I sit in front of a television for too long, without physical activity, I will see an effect upon my body. I also may become lazy and unprofitable to society. The same goes to the Internet, my second largest media usage. If I were to sit on the computer and Internet all day, I can grow carpel tunnel syndrome and become tired. I also have to be careful on the Internet when it comes to research. I cannot use someone’s work and claim it as mine. I have committed plagiarism. Media has a fair share of responsibilities but I believe that my responsibility is to be literate in that category, and apply my ethics and intelligence when using those mediums. If not I can see legal troubles, physical troubles, or lack of knowledge (biases) start to grow in my life. It is good to see things from both sides and to be able to manage the media to benefit and not hurt you.

Discussion Week 12

To what extent have your CJ105 concept definitions relied on copying definitions from Wikipedia and other Internet sources – is that plagiarism?

By Austin M.

When completing the concept definitions for our class I would look online and in the book for different ideas, and suggestions, but I always try to word it the best I can in my own words. I always feel bad when I have to use a few of the source’s words in a consecutive manner because if I re-worded the phrase the meaning would be lost in translation. Plagiarism is when you take someone’s words, pictures, ideas, etc. and do not give them credit for the information. If I were to take a quote that a college professor said and label them as if they were my words, than plagiarism has occurred. You can still use someone’s work word for word in your own work but the catch is that you have to specifically clarify that that is not of your own work but borrowed from someone else. I try not to plagiarize but after coming to college I found out that I plagiarize when posting pictures from others and not citing where I got them. When it comes to the concepts, I believe I tried my best not to plagiarize but to use my own words to express the same idea that I was learning from them. I always try to keep in mind not to plagiarize. It can really back fire too in terms of legal action and school action. I remember my teachers telling us that they know of websites where they can put words from our paper into a search and check to make sure we did not plagiarize. The skill of interpretation is really nice to have when you can decode someone’s message and encode it into a message all of your own to portray to a different audience. This way you can avoid plagiarism and define things in your own words to the audience.

Concept Week 11/12

Right to free speech: Difference between protections for political vs. commercial speech

By Austin Merritt

Free speech can be a wonderful thing. It can inform a citizen, let a citizen be heard, but it can also bring about major controversies. Men and women have given their lives for us to keep this privilege. Free speech, granted to us in the first amendment, does not mean that we have absolute free speech though. If my speech brings about a threat, stirs up violence, or invokes a violent revolt against the organized government, I do not have protection for my speech. If my political speech were to threaten the national security or destroy someone’s reputation with false information, I do not have protected speech. Different protections on speech are present in the status quo today. Commercial speech is speech used that obtains a profit through publications. For example, commercial speech could be newspapers, or advertisements. Political speech may pertain to anything based upon government. It can be seen in elections to everyday functions, such as the military. Commercial speech does not allow libel (slander) to be expressed so that it defames or destroys the reputation of another person. But in political speech we see that all the time. Look at the election last year. Romney and Obama were not portrayed to be the same person as they see themselves when they look in the mirror every morning. As long as there is a hint of the truth in the statement, it is allowed to remain. Commercial speech has a lot of protection in terms of copyrights, regulations and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The FCC regulates what can be said through commercial and political speech for that matter. For example, certain words cannot be used across mass communication. People have been in trouble for using certain cuss words. Again other protections may be for more political reasons. Recently seven SEALs were in trouble for disclosing classified information to a video game. The reason that political freedom does not exist in this situation is that it can put our national security at risk. If I were to sum up the regulations on freedom of speech for political speech and commercial speech it would be this: Freedom for political speech is protected if it does not bring risks to national security, does not undermine the government and is not false. Freedom for commercial speech has to be true in nature, meet FCC standards, not inflict harm upon others, and not stir up a revolt against the government.

My example that I found on USA Today is about how seven Navy seals are being punished for their involvement with disclosing personal information to a video game company. There is also an example of a former SEAL who writes about the raid that occurred in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The SEALS involved with the video game are being reprimanded because they have disclosed personal information that they promised they would not give out. True that in the military, you have certain guidelines, but this goes to show you that the government does have the power to limit what you can disclose but they can’t control what you say 100%.

Discussion Week 11

How is political speech expressed in social media?

By Austin Merritt

Political speech can easily be found on the walls of Facebook the week of the elections. I remember looking at my Facebook and seeing why I should “Vote No” to Minnesota amendments or vote for Romney or Obama. I believe social media is a fast and easy way for candidates to get their name out there. I also see it as free advertising for them. Anyone can make a page on Facebook without any start-up costs. With this capability I think politics found a way to shift their strategies to utilizing social media effectively. There are pages supporting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for president. They had information or just kind sayings to the supporters. They held pictures of the candidates on the page and allowed for people to comment on the content. Look at Obama’s administration; they won most of the younger vote. It would be highly beneficial to them to target social media sites where the young vote are more to be found. That is not to say that older citizens do not use social media, but I mean to say that the younger generation can be found on social media. I also remember looking at the side of Facebook and seeing the advertisements. There was another advertisement saying, “Vote No.” This is political to me, as a Minnesotan, as we were voting upon Minnesota constitutional amendments this election cycle.  I remember one of my Facebook friends was analyzing and reporting the Electoral College count via Facebook to his friends on Facebook. He would have frequent Facebook updates. Facebook was just littered with political speech last week. I remember after the election there was also many postings about the election. Not to say anyone is wrong in doing so, just that there was a lot of media wrapped around the election. I hardly check my Twitter so I was unable to give any information about Twitter in this response.