Collaboration[edit | edit source]
The Wikipedia is a very good example for collaboration. Although the edits are done by individuals, the result is a team effort, a collaboration. Today we will learn about group sizes and team building.
Group Sizes[edit | edit source]
Usually, small groups are considered to be of the size of 3 to 20 individuals  . Generally one should distinguish between groups
- with 5 or less individuals (primary group)
- with 6 to 20 individuals (secondary group)
The tiny groups are not really groups. They are basically individuals teaming up in pairs. Their advantage is, that their structure becomes clear very fast and they can start performing in a very short period of time.
Stages of Group Development[edit | edit source]
For small groups with 6 or more individuals, things get a little more complicated. Before those groups can perform, they have to go through several stages of group development :
- "The Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, who maintained that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results. "
This model has become widely accepted and is the basis for subsequent models.
Some teams reach the Performing phase very quickly, some never. In such cases the Interaktionsprozessanalysis  maybe helpful.
Activity:[edit | edit source]
Take a quick look at reference  to learn what is meant by forming, by storming, by norming and by performing. Later on you should be able to observe how your team goes through those different stages.
Group Members[edit | edit source]
Another interesting thing to observe about teams is the role types a team allows for. Every member of a team can belong to one or more of the following role types :
- der positiv eingestellte Teilnehmer
- der Redselige
- der Dickfellige
- der Streitsüchtige
- der Alleswisser
- der Ablehnende
- der Erhabene
- der Ausfragende
- der Vielredner
- der Blocker
- der Zurückhaltende
- der Clown
By allowing or disallowing some of the above role types, the team communicates in which state it currently is. For instance, a team that is in the performing phase, will not allow for a blocker, but since it is in the performing phase has no issue with allowing for the clown.
Hierarchy in Groups[edit | edit source]
Raoul Schindler  made a couple of interesting observations about groups, which led him to an interesting theory . Assume a group has a certain goal ’G’. This may be climbing a montain, for instance. Then the group members quite often take on certain roles, as Schindler calls them: Alpha, Gamma, Omega and Beta:
- Alpha: is the leader, the one wanting to climb the mountain the most, representing the group against the outside ’enemy’
- Gamma: are the team members that support the goal of the leader, interesting however, is that the Gammas are the decision makers
- Omega: he or she is not really interested in climbing the mountain, i.e. usually objects to the goal of the group, sometimes sympathizes with the ’enemy’
- Beta: they are the experts of the group, e.g. experienced mountaineers, a group does not always have Betas
A group always has an Alpha, and always has an Omega. Further, even more interesting is that as the goal of the group changes, an Alpha may turn into an Omega and vice versa .
Teambuilding[edit | edit source]
With what you have learned so far, it now is time to get a little more practical and personally experience some group dynamics. As part of this course you will have to write a chapter in our wikibook. For this you need to form teams of 4 to 5 students per team.
Activity:[edit | edit source]
Think of possible ways to form teams such that all topics are covered, and none of the teams are larger than 5 students, and no two teams cover the same topic.
Activity:[edit | edit source]
Follow your ideas and form teams. Experience shows that mixed teams (in terms of gender, age, nationality, etc) tend to have a little more difficulty in the beginning, but have overall better performances [source needed].
Team Building Activities[edit | edit source]
The following activities help your new team to get to know each other, and experience some group dynamics in action.
Activity: Marshmallow Challenge [edit | edit source]
Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.
If you want to know how other teams did on the marshmallow challenge, watch the TED video by Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team, (www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/tom_wujec_build_a_tower.html)
Activity: Tower Building[edit | edit source]
Reference  also has a very nice team building actvity. In groups of 6-7 students you build a tower out of sheets of paper.
Activity: Sin Obelisk[edit | edit source]
In reference  is more of a detective work, in which the team members have only partial information about an ancient tower.
Tools for Collaboration and Communication[edit | edit source]
There are many tools for collaborating. Especially creating documents and managing projects. Tools that have shown to work are:
- Google Docs: creating documents together.
- Teamlab: (http://www.teamlab.com/): is geared towards project management.
- Zoho: (http://www.zoho.com/collaboration-apps.html): take a look at their collaboration apps.
Activity:[edit | edit source]
In your team create a common document on Google Docs. Have different members of your team edit it. What happens if two members edit the same document simultaneously?
Wikis[edit | edit source]
Wikis are a crazy idea, the first one was started by Ward Cunningham . The most popular wiki is the Wikipedia. Basically it is an online collaboration tool for creating documentation.
- "A wiki is a website whose users can add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor." 
For our class project we will write a Wikibook, which is using the same software as Wikipedia (and also using the same logins).
Activity:[edit | edit source]
Check out our Wikibook: ’Social Web’ (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Social_Web). As you can see there is still lots of work to be done. To get started:
- get a login for Wikibooks or Wikipedia, which is the same. (See the HowTo for details)
- learn how to use Wikibooks: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Using_Wikibooks
- identify the topics which you and your team are responsible for
- get started with filling contents
Everything you enter into Wikibooks or Wikipedia must be under the Creative Commons license . If you like to see how such a wikibook looks like after a semester, take a look at the book that a previous class created: ’Game Creation with XNA’ (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Game_Creation_with_XNA).
Be aware of copyright issues - do never copy and paste! Every article you write can be tracked back to you. If you violate somebody else's copyright, you can be certain that you get their lawyer’s call and that will not be cheap!
Assignments[edit | edit source]
Ex.1: Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing[edit | edit source]
Read the Wikipedia article on Tuckman’s stages of group development . Make sure that you identify this phases also in your own experiences with groups. Write about this in your blog.
Ex.2: Group Dynamics[edit | edit source]
Read the article ’Grundlagen der Gruppendynamik’ by M. Burger . In your team can you identify the Alpha, Gamma, Omega and Beta? Write about what you think of this theory in your blog.
Ex.3: Team Building[edit | edit source]
Take a look at the Teampedia  and the Sandstone  websites. Read through some of the activities. Pick a couple that you feel interesting. In your group then decide on one that seems fun for everyone and go ahead and do it. Again tell us about your experience in your blog.
Ex.4: Creative Commons[edit | edit source]
Learn about the creative commons license and rephrase it in your own words. Write what you have learned in your blog.
Ex.5: The new Power of Collaboration[edit | edit source]
Watch Howard Rheingold TED talk ’The new power of collaboration’ (www.ted.com/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html).
Coworking[edit | edit source]
Definition of Coworking[edit | edit source]
Coworking is a concept that describes a new style of work coming up all over the world. As you might already mentioned, the term coworking means working together, but it signifies more than just this. Coworking is a new trend that involves a shared working environment, a so-called working space, comparable to an office. In distinction from a typical office environment, coworkers are usually not employed by the same company. Quite often, they don’t even practise in the same professional field. The term coworking was first characterised by Bernie DeKoven, an American game designer in 1999 to describe computer-supported collaborative work. Six years later in 2005 Brad Neuberg, a software engineer focused on web technologies, used this term to describe a physical space, which he called “9 to 5 group” before than.
History of Coworking[edit | edit source]
It cannot be clearly said, where exactly coworking has its origin. Some say the whole coworking movement started in New York. Because of the horrendous rents there, many people weren’t able to afford these for an own office. So they weren’t able to rent an office, and they also weren’t able to work at home because of various reasons, i.e. they just didn’t have enough place to work efficiently or they had their kids at home and couldn’t concentrate with all that noise or maybe they just don’t want to be at home all day. What to do now? So these people began to think about alternatives of an own office and home office. They recognized that quite a few people had the same problem and they realised that there is only one way for a solution. Like persons who live together in a living community to save money, they wanted to create an office community to save money too.
Others say that it all began in California, more precisely in San Francisco. Brad Neuberg, we already get to know him, organized the first coworking loft with the name “Hat Factory” in the middle of San Francisco. It was a live-work loft and home to three technology workers. During the day it was open to everyone who wants to work in. He was also one of the founders of “Citizen Space”, the first “work only” coworking space.
The Coworker's profile[edit | edit source]
What kind of people participate in coworking? In 2011 deskmag.com presented the results of the 2nd Global Coworking Survey (661 participants of 24 countries). Here are the most interesting facts:
- Most coworkers are in the mid twenties to late thirties.
- The average age is 34 years.
- Nearly two-third of them are men and one-third women.
- More than half of all coworkers are Freelancers.
- Four of five coworkers began their career with a university degree.
- The majority work in the field of creative industries and new media. Most of them are web developer, programmers, web designer and/or graphic designer. The boundary between these jobs is fluid.
- Other professional fields of coworkers that are mentioned in the survey are journalism, writing, architecture, marketing and PR.
- More than 40% of all coworkers are interested in the concept of Coworking Visa. That allows them to visit working spaces in other cities. One in five already worked at least once in another working space.
Coworking and Web 2.0[edit | edit source]
So what is Coworking concerned with Web 2.0? Well, theoretically nothing. Practically everything. Coworkers need a working space to work. If they have one, they are happy. No need of Web 2.0 so far. But most of them work in a team and that team is not in-house. So if they want to collaborate with their teammates, they have to use a medium. And the only one, which is qualified for this, is the Internet with its Web 2.0 features. A famous collaboration tool is Google Docs. With Google Docs you are able to write and edit together same documents in real time with others. Another interesting online service for collaboration is teamlab.com. This service can much more than Google Docs. It gives you the possibility of working together on documents, managing projects, creating blogs and wikis, using an integrated calendar and sending emails directly on the portal. But the best webpage, I think, is zoho.com. It combines all the abovementioned tools and applications and provides even still more to the user, like a chat function, a comment box, a meeting function and a lot more. More than 6 million people are using zoho and the number increases. So if you consider to join the coworking movement keep zoho in mind. You won’t regret it.
Related Links[edit | edit source]
http://www.coworking.de/ Here is a list of all 72 German working spaces.
http://www.coworking-news.de/ Here you can find current news about the European coworking scene
http://www.coworking-nuernberg.de/ Website of the local working space in Nuremberg
Creative Commons Licence (johannes kiesel)[edit | edit source]
Chances are at some point or another one has seen this license on works of some kind on the web. Creative Commons is a non-profit developed out of the collaboration movement on the internet. Since 2001 it has strengthened in numbers reaching a couple hundred million projects/works that are licensed Creative Common. Since it is a non-profit organization, they are not a editor or anyhow commercially involved in their license-holders works. The basic idea behind the CC license is that it replaces the “All Rights Reserved” label, each individual has on their intellectual property. By doing so , people can choose which rights they want to keep and which they are willing to give up in order to create a more voluminous creative mass on the internet. It stands under the Motto to give back from where you took. Everybody can create new out of old and change new to make better.
Lawrence Lessig from the Stanford Law School is said to be the founding head behind the CC spreading a revolutionary idea which was honored by the Prix Ars Electronica for the category “Net Vision”.
Originally only available in the United States it has quickly managed to spread all over the world. There are six specific licenses protecting works internationally. Attribution CC BY: This license allows people to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work for personal and commercial use as long as they Credit you in their creation. This is the most common license issued by the CC. Here is a list of the other Licenses issued. For detail visit: creativecommons.
Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA
Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND
If there is a need for specifications due to individual legal issues in certain countries, the CC has developed additions to these six in order to accommodate legal issues that might still be outstanding.
Originally there have been other licenses apart from these six; however, they have either come under fire and have been dropped or they were not used and were therefore abandoned. When licensed by CC one can always give special permissions to individuals using their work under otherwise prohibited conditions. One cannot however, add more CC licensing after they been used by others in order to restrict them due to special interests.
In 2004 the Creative Commons license has entered Germany and fighting a hard battle against the notoriously conservative GEMA, which just recently commented that it will not accept CC licensing for their members. Besides the obvious effect the GEMA has on the web and its content, they also suppress up and coming creatives and musicians that rely on self- marketing and the viral properties of the world wide web. The CC's “Music Sharing license” is nothing else but the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. It's their most restrictive license which basically only allows the downloading and sharing of the works, but restricts any commercial use or change to the existing peace.
Besides the obvious advantage to small time creatives and common internet users, big industry entities have started to incorporate the CC licensing to share their work and also be able to rely on the work of others. Probably one of the most well known non-profit of modern time, Wikipedia, have changed their GNU license to a Creative Commons one in 2009. Wikipedia fully relies on collaboration on the internet and with its business plan created the most voluminous encyclopedia of modern time. With the help of the mass, articles are kept organized and prove read making it a very reliable source. The Encyclopedia Britannica, most popular one over the past 244 years, was replaced by Wikipedia and has stopped printing as of 2012 and is only available in the 2010 paper form.
Besides Wikipedia, big names such as MIT-OpenCourseWare, Al Jazeera, Google, Flickr and many others have utilized the potential of the Creative Commons license. Even though governments are usually rather conservative and slow on the draw using modern media and their concepts, Whitehouse.gov, the internet presentation of the United States government, have issued photos, press-releases and other documentation with the CC license. More recently William Noel an ancient book curator has revealed the lost Codex of Archimedes. A very important manuscript written by ancient mathematician Archimedes. To make the text readable he and his team spend countless man-hours and used the Stanford particle accelerator. Once the text was readable and they were able to translate and interpret it, he put in online for free under a CC license to be used for any commercial purpose. This adds tremendous value to modern culture. More to the story at: Ted Talks In order to let the internet reach its full potential, it is important that the idea of free collaboration is supported and developed heavily over the next few decades. The Creative Commons have started different projects in multiple categories such as Culture, Education, Science and Government. The hope is that the efforts in each category can improve in content, efficiency and transparency. The economical growth that can come from this is enormous and well worth pursuing.
As the internet is spreading and developing into a huge pool of information it is important to organize and mark your work in a way to gain the most out of your own work and the work of others. All rights reserved is not always the most lucrative way to spread your ideas nor is giving it away without being mentioned or credited. With the CC label one has the ability to customize the rights they would like to reserve. Your idea might just be the initial spark to something bigger on which you can then add to if you so choose to. Professionals, dilettantes, amateurs, corporations, governments, non-profits and any other group of people or entities can maximize their personal profits using online collaboration.
Social collaboration at the office (Christian Siemer)[edit | edit source]
Today Social media is one of the top words in the commercial departments. Every big company talks about Social Media and tries to be a part of it. The budget for using Social Media grows exorbitant, but only few companies know the power of Social Media for the office.
Social Media has an enormous potential for the office which can be used in a lot of ways. Over the years, the main problem at the company is the existing information overload. Just by adding another information channel, will not bring you the answer. Social Media could be much more than only an information channel, which in addition has to be checked by employees every day. This could provoke a stress situation and have an effect on the work habits.
For instance, not having internet in Norway for Christmas is quite relaxing to me. Not checking or answering my mails, not posting on facebook or other Social platforms, is stress relieving and soothing.
But there are not only risks. Social Media has the power to revolutionize the collaboration. The integration of Social Technology is not only making the It-infrastructure available. There is much more strategy and organization to it. It`s inescapable to change how the work is done, to use this technology efficiently. This is a long procedure which needs an integration of Social Technology in the operating process. The problem of the first generation social tools was decoupling the workflow. When the first curiosity was over, the interest of the employees sank immediately. But when the tools were integrated in the process, application and data, the Social technology became an important instrument with four main criteria, as followed.
- Integration with mission-critical applications
- Organization and maintenance of content
- IT management functionality to comply with governance and compliance
- Social analysis
One really powerful application is Wiki, a corporate online collaboration tool.
[edit | edit source]
At the beginning of this topic, we heard a lot about general group phases and group roles. Now, the question arises as to what extent these models can be applied to groups in social networks. I chose the model below to analyze our course Facebook group.
Groups go through various stages of development which have a crucial influence on each group situation Depending on the group phase, specific behaviors, actions and interests can be expected. These again co-determine the success of group programs in coordination with the group phase. (cf B. Langmaack)
Phase 1: Arriving – Orientating – making contacts
- Keeping distance and search proximity
- Wishing to remain anonymous and showing yourself
- Looking for guidance, safety and structure
Phase 2: fermentation and clarification
- Developing a social hierarchy (own position is clarified, potential for conflict rises)
- Looking for rules and standards
Phase 3: Passion for work and productivity
- Recognizing similarities
- Effective and energetic work
- Climate of mutual "giving" and "taking "
- Well developed group structure with an established expectation of modes of conduct and secure interpersonal relationships
Phase 4: transfer, graduation and farewell
- Complete the substantive work
- Foreign interests increase
- Review and evaluation
For the Facebook group "Meida Engineering":
The group was founded by first semester students on October 11, 2010, shortly after the beginning of the semester.
Phase 1: Arrive – Orientation - making contacts
There is not yet any clear group goal. For now, efforts are made to call together all the students and discuss a cover image. At first, everyone writes a comment regarding their membership number. For example: "20! I would have found it heaps cooler to be number 21, since that’s how old I turned some days ago =)" Basically, everyone introduces themselves to the group. Simultaneously, the same thing happens in class in real life. A joint meeting is the first practical use of the Facebook group. An initial conversation with a total of 35 comments from 10 different individuals begins. The roles, the individual participants are taking, are just as varied and complex as in real life. There are those who say “yes” to everything and subscribe to the previous speaker’s opinion. On Facebook this is simply done by clicking on "like". Others try to press forward by making comments like: "the only question is when and where" ... "Beautiful weather, ‘whörder meadow’, crate of beer?" Then there are those who have a generally negative attitude "it is getting colder and colder though. How about doing it next week?” And finally there are those who try to mediate “That’s a good idea although I can imagine it to be quite cold :)" The only thing missing in a conversation online are facial expressions and gestures. The smileys that are used cannot replace them. They are rather used to underline fundamental attitudes towards the topic. "I share this opinion :-)" In other cases the smileys imply that the comment is not meant to be taken too seriously, "The word ‘lazy’ seems to be perfect for you guys ;-)".
Phase 2: fermentation and clarification
The joint meeting was never successfully organised. Even passing around a piece of paper during class did not work out. So even in real life planning a meeting failed. The first organisational success took place when the Facebook group started to disseminate information such as "According to an email, the PS-course DOES take place" or "Registration for the Exams starts today, do not forget". The closer to exams time the students get, the more comments like this are written: "I still don’t understand the exercise for programming... can anyone help me with it tomorrow?" However, instead of making an appointment, there are usually just explanations or solutions attached as comments. That way, all the others that have the same problem can also benefit. Just like in the real world, different characters and personalities with different talents evolve. Some are experts in certain subjects like programming and share their knowledge by posting summaries and solutions, while others take care of organising parties, or keeping an eye on administrative matters such as enrollments and exam registrations. Others make entertaining the group their aim.
Phase 3: passion for work and productivity
Already during the first period of exams, an effective system of cooperation has emerged within the group. Approximately 20 people are actively involved in answering the questions that arise concerning the examination subjects and ask their own questions.
The 4th phase "transfer, graduation and farewell" has not yet begun. It is expected to begin at the end of the course.
The addition of new members is of interest. After the first year of the Facebook group, students from the lower or upper semesters also joined. Overall, the group has a current total of 87 members. However most of them do not actively take part in group events. They are either silent observers or still in the first group stage "Arrive - orientating – making contacts".
A social group within the Internet works in the same way as in "real" life. Groups that meet both on the Internet and in real life become a community much faster than solely virtual groups. In both kinds of groups there will always be outsiders and observers. New members always have to find their own position within the group first and the closer the group already is the more difficult it is for new members.
How to use wikis as online team document collaborations[edit | edit source]
Defining a wiki[edit | edit source]
A wiki is a web page where users can modify or delete the online content. Anyone can participate, which is both fun and scary. A wiki is different from a blog, because as the owner of this blog I control the content. A blog post is a compilation of thoughts and cannot be edited by anyone directly via the page. When it comes to a wiki anyone can edit or update posts, phrases, or information contained within the wiki.
Company wikis as project collaboration tools[edit | edit source]
Wikis are also a great way to share knowledge with a group of individuals in companies of organizations. For example, you can use wikis as project manager where the team can share, edit, and update information. Wikis offer a solution where you can invite your team to make proposed changes to a document as they see it. Once the changes are made, you can approve them or reject them, and even allow group consensus. Wiki is a really easy method to create a book, like documentations. You can collect information’s and impressions. It`s the same principle why we write this wiki. If everyone in your team writes some pages you have easily a full complex documentation in short time.
Document collaboration and sharing tools[edit | edit source]
When it comes to internal social networks and company collaboration, having an internal social network or wiki can be helpful to employees as well as work teams who are working from home. Often wikis are a piece of an internal social networking platform, where companies can chat, share files, use wikis, and post blogs using a platforms like SharePoint.
As you can see, this collaboration tool allows for multiple users to edit and make changes to a single document or page quickly and easily. Edited changes show on the wiki as yellow highlighted words.
Movies & Television[edit | edit source]
Internet Movie Databases[edit | edit source]
Movies and television are mass media. Therefore they are undoubtedly linked to the internet in quite some ways. Internet movie databases are huge databases that collect data about movies, television series, showtimes, entertainment news, actors, video games and more.
There are a lot of different movie databases online, the biggest one being IMDb.com which currently has an Alexa rank of 51. IMDb.com has 456 employees (12/15/2014) on LinkedIn. Their database offers more than 3 million movies, TV and entertainment programs and more than 6 million cast and crew members. The number of unique monthly visitors outreaches 200 million.
Most of these websites offer users not only the possibility to view their data but also be a part of it. This means that users can create accounts, edit entries, rate movies, write recommendations, comments, reviews and chat which each other. IMDb offers a lot of information on each entry, some of which is generated only by users. This collaboration includes a couple of interesting topics like: trivia, quotes, awards, release dates, credits and a frequently asked questions section. Other details are also shown, for instance the Box Office data - budget, opening weekend and gross revenues. A section that is nearly almost user generated is the „Parental Guide“ which takes a look at „Sex & Nudity“, „Violence & Gore“, „Profanity“, „Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking“ and „Frightening/Intense Scenes“ in a movie and ranks them in order to give a realistic evaluation. A community forum and message board is also embedded in the site. Moreover a IMDbPro version can be used to create profiles which can link to previous work as well as hold CVs - this can be used to find roles and stay connected. These aspects clearly place movie databases, of this kind, in the social web scope. It is even possible to talk about social networks in the movie genre, especially since the definition of social networks is rather blurry. Also all Web 2.0 characteristics are met which include user-generated content, virtual community, possible dialogs and more.
All these users and visitors produce plenty of data that can be channeled in different ways. There is the IMDb Top 250 list which is a listing of the 250 best rated movies of all time, based on user votes. This happens by users that rate movies between 1 and 10 with 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest vote. IMDb also publishes a top 10 stars of the year and a top 10 breakout stars of the year list which is determined by the actual page fews of the actors and actresses on their website.
If or if not IMDb and other movie databases have influence on the actual box office results or even movie makers is unknown. List ratings like the Top 250 on IMDb get also questioned for several reasons.
File sharing and economy[edit | edit source]
Since movies and television series are mass media and play a huge part in peoples lives, they also are a big part of social media. This includes social networks, forums and other websites. This is why the movie industry got hit by the same fate as the music industry a few years earlier. Due to illegal streaming services and file sharing the economical damage was calculated to be 156 million euros in 2010. Because of the expansion in broadband internet connections this number will most likely rise even further in the following years.
Prosecution authorities worldwide regularly press charges against website hosts and upload communities to counteract this development. Earlier in 2014, german police force searched more than 120 houses, flats and apartments in a countrywide raid against individuals linked to the Website Boerse.bz and Boerse.to - The society for the prosecution of copyright infringement later stated that these sites offered users illegal access to 11.231 e-Books, 61.776 movies, 13.560 TV-series and 15.866 documentations. A couple of years before that the attorney-generalship of Dresden initiated searches in several countries, bringing down the illegal streaming portal Kino.to - 13 of those responsible were taken in custody. Although all this effort solely serves the purpose of scaling down copyright infringements, usually these actions have almost none effect on digital piracy levels - On Monday, Dec. 9 2014 Swedish law-enforcement authorities took down the illegal link sharing website „The Pirate Bay“, confiscating servers and equipment . According to the anti-piracy firm Excipio the total number of IP addresses in peer-to-peer downloads of tracked content did not change after the site was taken down.This indicates that users just switch sites and do not really get disturbed with one being offline. Another problem is that these sites usually get hosted by multiple individuals, sometimes even on different continents. Because of this not even the arrest of one or two culprits has an impact on the scene. The website just goes online again after a couple of days, at times even hours. The address and server location has changed but the content stays the same. Backups and other material can easily be duplicated and spread over the whole world. This makes the fight against software pirates extremely difficult.
When it comes to the legal situation of individuals streaming content on the above mentioned sites, or other similar sites, the legal framework has not yet adapted to this fast paced internet phenomenon. According to different sources and court decisions the streaming of illegal content is not illegal if it is not clearly perceptible that this content has been brought online without permission - the streaming can be illegal though, if the individual was or is paying for the service and therefore supporting the illegal website or service. Clearly problematic is the process of downloading and saving pirated software, including movies and music. Even more if a BitTorrent client was used to download the copyrighted material because in the process of doing so the user also provided others with the material making him not only a user but also a supplier.
Online Streaming Services[edit | edit source]
Online streaming services give users access to movies, series and/or music in a legal way. This happens by streaming the content to the users device.
This concept is not only a new online business model but takes also a big role in fighting online piracy. The main reason that drives online piracy is the fact that content which users want is not available at a reasonable price or for a reasonable effort . Therefore and because individuals often download material only because it is free, the amount of illegally downloaded music and videos rose drastically at the beginning of the new century. Online streaming services offer users this content for a relatively small fee and therefore reduce the number of illegal downloads on the internet. The music services Spotify was even allegedly brought to life in order to fight piracy.
Generally there are 2 different types of streaming: „on-demand-streaming“ and „live-streaming“. The latter describing the process of a live event or show being broadcasted over the internet, while the former version builds on a rather big database from which users can watch content whenever they like. Since streaming depends on rather fast internet connections the video-on-demand services in Germany just started to have a thrive since 2013. Audio streaming requires about a two-digit kBits/s bandwidth while video can use up to a couple of MBit/s.
Worldwide there are a lot of video-on-demand services available. The biggest service by now is Netflix which exceeded 40 million subscribers in 2013. At peak times Netflix is responsible for almost one third of north americans internet traffic. Netflix started offering there service in Germany in September 2014. Other providers, which are available in Germany, are Amazon Instant Video, Watchever, Maxdome, Sky Snap, Apple TV/iTunes, Videoload, Videobuster and Sony Entertainment Network. All of these hosts differ in small details, for example Amazon offers their video-on-demand service together with their prime membership. Others offer some sort of trial versions or support a variety of devices. There are also basic differences in how subscriptions work. Some services like iTunes do not have to be subscribed at all in order to use - it is only mandatory to create an account. After that users pay per view, that means videos for instance, can be virtually lend in exchange for money. Other providers offer unlimited access to their databases but get paid by a monthly subscription fee.
Until now, online streaming services have no precise position in the business of music and movies. The process of adapting to the fast developing internet is not yet completed and the circumstances continue to adjust. Even though online streaming generates money by collecting subscription fees and advertising money, the situation remains complicated because movie rights sometimes have been already granted and cannot be changed that quickly or record labels, sometimes even artists, want more money from streaming hosts. November 2014 musician Taylor Swift not only did not release her new album „1989“ on Spotify she also pulled all her previous albums from the streaming service Spotify, bringing this discussion back into the online media world.
References[edit | edit source]
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