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Tuesday, 24 June - link

The Kids are Alight

When I have a chance to hang out with some teenagers, I see a kind of electronic fluency that I only aspire to. They swim in a media soup.

I asked my fourteen year old nephew, when you sleep over at your friend's house, what do you guys do? We hang out, play with music software. You play with it? Actually my friend does. So my nephew Gideon watches his buddy lay down tracks with Reason, a virtual music studio program (the kid saved up to buy a copy). That's pretty advanced stuff! It's the 21st century equivalent of a couple of dudes sitting around with a guitar and a four-track, copying licks from Led Zeppelin or even better, Hot Rats, and gradually making up their own stuff.

rheingoldinI was hanging out with Howard's daughter Mamie, she's eighteen now I think. He has a digital still camera, and she's been burning up the memory card making short videos. I have had a digital camera for years, and that camera has always had the capacity to make short videos. I have made exactly three. I think I'm spoiled by experience - I want to have a full featured video camera device to make videos on. But she doesn't care. She uses a small digital camera, and makes short videos. I didn't get to see them last time I was with her, but there were about six of her friends coming over, and they were going to watch Mamie's works.

These kids don't only play with media technology, they also share it between themselves. And this isn't just printed out poems and stories, like what I shared with most of my friends in high school. It's moving chirping downloadable media that can be shared with any other kid with a computer, who can then edit it and pass it back to you.

Watching all this exploding digital creativity these kids have has me hoping that things like "digital rights management" (DRM) don't slow them down. People who have large investments in old media are working to make sure that digital bits are as precious and hard to copy as illuminated manuscripts. So they're talking to the people who make the tools the kids use so that those tools will protect copyrights arbitrated by publishers. So Gideon's friend better not try to grab too many pieces of other songs to put together in his own song. Or Mamie couldn't add a soundtrack by a commercial artist to her short video clips.

These kids don't seem too preoccupied with all this - grades and the opposite sex are more pressing issues. In terms of media, they're just having fun and sharing with their friends. Let's hope it stays that way.

- Digital Rights Management and Fair Use
- Digital Rights Management and the Disabled
- Microsoft's next release of Windows will have DRM copy protection built-in
- Piracy is Progressive Taxation, an essay by publisher Tim O'Reilly

Posted on 24 June 2003 : 08:20 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.