Wednesday Night Links

Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching tonight over one last cup of coffee.

  • First, via BoingBoing, yet another political mashup, Presidential Idol. I can’t decide if this one’s clever or not. The connection between American Idol and the political process has been done before, and most of the clips of the various presidential candidates have been seen before, but I was a little surprised by the ending.
  • Second, via Liz Losh, news that YouTube will be creating web portals in seven different languages. Like her, I’m ambivalent about English’s dominance on the web, but like her, I’m also concerned about the effects of this segmentation, wondering whether–or how–that might change what is available on YouTube as it stands right now.
  • On a related note, a discussion in the New York Times of the ongoing difficulties in creating an effective system for distributing movies over the Internet. Most services still only have a few hundred movies available for download, and systems that allow you to create DVD copies remain poor in quality. Still, I think this article points to the increasing use of the computer as a site for viewing films (which is one of the points of my book) and the larger fantasy of having all of the history of cinema available at the click of a mouse.
  • Of course, there are plenty of films available on the web illegally. I’ve briefly mentioned the debates about the piracy of Michael Moore’s Sicko (in yesterday’s equally slapdash bullet-point entry), but apparently Lion’s Gate and the Weinstein Company have decided to address the piracy problem by releasing the movie one week early in a few select cities (Fayetteville, as you might imagine, is not one of them). But Mike Nizza points to a larger issue related to internet piracy. Apparently PirateBay is on its way to unveiling a YouTube-style streaming site, which would make it even easier to watch pirated movies.

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