A series on digital media, copyright and creative commons – Part 1: Media.

Where is digital media?

This is an introduction to a series of blog posts focusing on contemporary issues relating to media, copyright law and creative commons. Comments are encouraged by all. 

Photo adapted from mkhmarketing: http://bit.ly/1gjceKu
Photo adapted from mkhmarketing: http://bit.ly/1gjceKu

There is no doubt today’s society and culture is media rich. Videos, music, and interactive multimedia are now available as forms of digital media across the Internet. For example, YouTube and Vimeo offer digital videos all over the web. Services like Spotify and Google Music now offer subscription-based consumption of digital music in the online environment. Instagram and Flickr too offer capacity to create, store and view images. And blogging platforms like WordPress allow users to create text. In short, there is limitless potential as to what can be accessed on the Internet. However, these forms of media are sidelines with the introduction of a new type of media known as social media and the capacity it brings to share. That is not to reduce the value of non social media like videos and audio – instead, their value is doubled, tripled or even quadrupled when turned social. A video on a cassette does not have the same reach as the same content on YouTube. The users’ ability to comment on a YouTube video, and then share it across a variety of social network sites means wider exposure. Furthermore this exposure is no longer limited to the traditional desktop computer.

Recent advances in mobile technology have drastically increased the use of the Internet. In Australia, mobile internet usage began to grow exponentially during 2010 with no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. Mobile media apps like YouTube, Spotify and Instagram have brought the capacity to push media into the mobile arena. A recent report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed that:

Mobility was an increasing feature of online participation with 7.5 million Australians using the internet via their mobile phone during June 2013, an increase of 33 per cent (or ten percentage points) compared to June 2012 and a telling 510 per cent since June 2008.

A large portion of this growth in mobile Internet use was given to media consumption. In the same report, the ACMA said;

The rapid take-up of online content services has been a major contributor to this growth in data usage, with 7.86 million people using professional content services such as catch-up TV, video on demand and IPTV in the six months to May 2013, an increase of 52 per cent compared to May last year

Ubiquitous use of mobile media consumption is helping to drive the digital economy in Australia. Our media rich society is beginning to come to terms with legal issues and ramifications for sharing content, for example, copyright, which will be discussed in the next post in this series.

Right about now you might be thinking; so what? Who cares? What does all this mean? Well it means a great deal – for instance, think about the implications this has for the media that academics use in their teaching. What other questions are on your mind when you think about media in your units? Do you give any thought to what media you put into your units and where you source it?

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