Week 8 Information Economics
Review Notes
What is the internet?
A networks of networks
Socio-technological
o Networks, computers, people, content, application
Principles of the Internet
Decentralized network structure
Distributed computing power through nodes of the network
Redundancy of functions
Multi-layered networks
Open communication protocols
Internet as a Cultural Creation
Product of different cultural foundations
o Big Science
o Military Research
o Culture of Freedom
End of Internet as frontier?
Computer as a tool without a clear set of goals
Computer as an appliance?
Differences?
Need for greater control and security on the Internet? Why or Why not?
Effects of writing
Importance and authority of written word
Priveleging rational, linear thought
Creating class of literate elites
Writing as a ritual
Writing and record keeping
Effects of printing
A relationship between information technology and cultural change
Information artifacts take on new roles (rise of social documents)
Rise of new literacies
Standardization (of typeface, title pages, bibliographic matter, publishers mark)
Fixity of text (ad of meaning?)
Rise of textual communities, imagined communities
Mass communication
Reading as an individual act
Ways to think about information
Info as a
o Process
o Knowledge
o Thing
o Processing
The modern contrsuction of information
Information and an independent entity
Information as a social force and idealogy (ex. “information age/society
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Bits, quantifiable, uniform
Objectivity and Autonomy
Public Sphere Institutions
Mass Media
o Public Broadcasting
Museums and art galleries
Libraries
Newspapers
Corruption of the Public Sphere?
Mass Media consolidation
Advertising
Propaganda
Misinformation
Is more information better for democracy?
Fenbergs Three Models of Internet
Information
Consumption
Community
Information Economy
Information vs Information Good
Public goods
o Nonrival in consumption
One persons use does not deplete anothers
o Non-excludable
Difficult to prevent others from enjoying benefits
Private goods
o Excludability
o Rivalry in consumption
How are information goods different?
Information as a commodity
o Commodity- resource/good produced for the market, associated with price
Information
o Not just any commodity?
o A fundamental source of growth for the market system as a whole?
o Examples?
Can be viewed in terms of expansion of global capitalism
The information economy
o Copyright and patents “intellectual property
o Knowledge management
o Database design and creation
o Publishing industries
o Financial services
o Entertainment industries
o Information technology economy
o Biotechnology
Information Society
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Dimensions of an information society (Webster)
o Technical innovation/diffusion
o Occupational change
o Economic value
o Information flows
o Expansion of symbols and signs
o Dominance of theoretical knowledge/info
Critique of information society
o What is the criteria for defining an information society?
o Imprecise use of the term info
o Unsustainable claim that quantitative increases in information lead to qualitative social
change
New type of society? Same underlying economic and political structures?
What is copyright?
Importance of copyright issues regard to culture and democracy
Processes and interpretations surrounding the law
Economic interests
Balance between users and producers
Regulating copies and reproductions of works
What is work?
o Literary work (books computer programs)
o Dramatic work
o Musical work
o Artistic work
o Not ideas of facts
Fixity of work
Limited in time
Copyright in Context
Digital environment creating new challenges and opportunities
o Opportunity for enhances creative expression
o Mass reproducibility of digital works
o What is an original? What is a copy?
Placing old economic and profit models on new technogical landscaps?
Reduced costs of producing info in the digital world
Digital Environment
Mass copying
Owners with new means of control beyond point of sale
Old business models that rely on scarcity and high entry costs are challenged
No built in exclusion mechanisms
Widespread tools for creative expression
When are we infringing?
Limits to copyright
Fair dealing (Canada); fair use
Copyright expires and work enter public domain
Nnon-copyrighable elements (ie data facts)
Idea/expression dichotomy
Certain acts of educational institutions, libraries, archives, and museums
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