Most Cubans have terrible access to the Internet -- estimates suggest only 5-25% of the populace can regularly get online. The government made it a bit easier in recent years with paid wifi hotspots, but they require dough, and they're super slow.
So Cubans have instead, in the last decade, evolved a complex, massive sneakernet. It's called "El Paquete Semanal", or "The Weekly Package" -- in which a loosely-connected group of Cubans assemble a bunch of files (video, audio, web pages, texts) and distribute them around the country via external hard drives, CDs and USB sticks. It's pretty stunning: A weekly curated version of the best of the global Internet, mixed with a ton of locally-produced Cuban content, too. The upshot is a population that is fully conversant in contemporary global TVs, movie and music, except they get it all via USB port and DVD drive.
A group of academics did a deep dive into how El Paquete works, and their paper is free online. They met with "Los Maestros" -- the folks who download and compile the material, relying on their own crowdsourced networks of Cubans who get files off the creaky public wifi, or, in the case of bigger files, from contributors who have fatter bandwidth at their government or university jobs. The Maestros also act as promoters of local content, finding Cuban music and video and putting that in El Paquete.
The next step in the chain is Los Paqueteros -- "The Packagers" -- who are the distributors: They buy the weekly package from the Maestros, and sell files to everyday customers. Read the rest
The wonderful Copy Me project (previously) has revealed the first installment in its new three-part series on The Creativity Delusion, which takes aim at the "myth of genius," which picks a small subsection of creators, scientists and entrepreneurs and declares them to be "original" by ignoring all the work they plundered to create their own and erasing all the creators whose shoulders they stand upon.
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Alex from Copy-Me writes, "We've just released its fourth episode, called 'Pirates Are The Best Customers' - which talks about piracy and artists." Read the rest
Alex writes, "It features censorship, hangings, dissent and criticism, a whole bunch of state and church control, angry queens, sad Stationers, and, of course, our terrible culprit: the printing press." Read the rest
Copy Me is a new webseries (here's its Indiegogo fundraiser) constituting a series of short animations presenting accessible, informative, concise information about copyright, copying and culture. It's marvellously promising, and, as Mike Masnick points out, it's a much-needed addition to a canon that includes such brilliant material as Nina Paley's Copying is Not Theft and Kirby Ferguson's Everything is a Remix. I donated.
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Tom Chance, the co-organizer of the remarkable Remix Reading event, sez,
After an extremely successful launch event, we're running a remix competition. Over the next month, we want to see who can create the best remix of a piece of work already on the website.
There will be four winners, one in each category (audio, image, text, video). They will each receive the following great prizes:
* Your work on a LOCA Records compilation CD (if LOCA like it enough)
* A Creative Commons t-shirt
* A DVD full of great Creative Commons videos
* A copy me / remix me compilation CD
* A copy of the Wired CD and that issue of the Wired magazine
* A CD from LOCA Records
* Stickers, badges and fake tattoos
We really want to see some cross-genre mixing (e.g. a punk version of some electronica) and cross-medium mixing (e.g. a video to accompany music or a poem based on a photo).
(Thanks, Tom!) Read the rest