March 19, 2009

A 4iP take on Media Literacy: EU Commission's Media Literacy Conference, Prague

Prague in Snow I'm in a snowy Prague at the European Union Commission's Media Literacy and Copyright Conference, where the strange but predictable and slightly 20th Century juxtaposition of copyright, piracy and our 'literacy' with media is reflected in the media packs provided by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

It includes gems such as Online Games from the Standpoint of Media and Copyright Law (pdf) which makes a point of comparing video games to film, and applies the 'logic' that their copyright and distribution be controlled in the same way. Unfortunately, it fails to apply the logic in the other direction, that one where openness and free distribution bring success and riches to the likes of Playfish, a London-based social games company whose five games in Facebook's Top 10 have helped the company generate millions of dollars in revenue and funding, or to iMob, the current iPhone social game that turns over around $1m a month from its subscribers.

Other hits in store include Searching for Audiovisual Content with its openner on the "dangers of search". Anyone from social app developers to filmmakers should be hungry for open, wide and free search to their stuff. CBS worked that out halfway through the production of their video on demand website Innertube, realising that the site should probably have been called YouTube, not Innertube, is where their audiences hang out, where their public comment on, mashup and make more engaging (for them) the content. Above all, it's where they search for it.

During the conference itself I'll be challenging these more traditional views that there is greater worth in ownership of 'stuff' in an age of digital media rather than making it easier for people to find, alter and republish.

It's in the unhandily titled Media Literacy panel, a phrase that is open to even more (mis)interpretation with 34 more nations in the room than normal. It's also up against panels on Copyright and Piracy, so a lot of the folk that would maybe benefit from a jolt of reality are likely to be having their 1999 preconceptions of media confirmed. Oh well, at least I can send them the link to my blog post of the talk. And, if they're not of the blog persuasion, they can just go and read Jeff's new book for starters, the oeuvre that's currently infecting every bit of dialogue I have on the question of what it means to be media literate.

Pic: CC of Charles Bridge, Prague


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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