Two new books have just been published in the “Information Society Series” at MIT Press that I co-edit with Laura DeNardis. Congrats to Tijana Milosevic and James Meese on these great contributions!

Protecting Children Online? Cyberbullying Policies of Social Media Companies

By Tijana Milosevic
Foreword by Sonia Livingstone

Overview

High-profile cyberbullying cases often trigger exaggerated public concern about children’s use of social media. Large companies like Facebook respond by pointing to their existing anti-bullying mechanisms or coordinate with nongovernmental organizations to organize anti-cyberbullying efforts. Do these attempts at self-regulation work? In this book, Tijana Milosevic examines the effectiveness of efforts by social media companies—including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram—to rein in cyberbullying by young users. Milosevic analyzes the anti-bullying policies of fourteen major social media companies, as recorded in companies’ corporate documents, draws on interviews with company representatives and e-safety experts, and details the roles of nongovernmental organizations examining their ability to provide critical independent advice. She draws attention to lack of transparency in how companies handle bullying cases, emphasizing the need for a continuous independent evaluation of effectiveness of companies’ mechanisms, especially from children’s perspective. Milosevic argues that cyberbullying should be viewed in the context of children’s rights and as part of the larger social problem of the culture of humiliation.

Milosevic looks into five digital bullying cases related to suicides, examining the pressures on the social media companies involved, the nature of the public discussion, and subsequent government regulation that did not necessarily address the problem in a way that benefits children. She emphasizes the need not only for protection but also for participation and empowerment—for finding a way to protect the vulnerable while ensuring the child’s right to participate in digital spaces.

About the Author
Tijana Milosevic is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo.

 

Authors, Users, and Pirates: Copyright Law and Subjectivity

By James Meese

Overview

In current debates over copyright law, the author, the user, and the pirate are almost always invoked. Some in the creative industries call for more legal protection for authors; activists and academics promote user rights and user-generated content; and online pirates openly challenge the strict enforcement of copyright law. In this book, James Meese offers a new way to think about these three central subjects of copyright law, proposing a relational framework that encompasses all three. Meese views authors, users, and pirates as interconnected subjects, analyzing them as a relational triad. He argues that addressing the relationships among the three subjects will shed light on how the key conceptual underpinnings of copyright law are justified in practice.

Meese presents a series of historical and contemporary examples, from nineteenth-century cases of book abridgement to recent controversies over the reuse of Instagram photos. He not only considers the author, user, and pirate in terms of copyright law, but also explores the experiential element of subjectivity—how people understand and construct their own subjectivity in relation to these three subject positions. Meese maps the emergence of the author, user, and pirate over the first two centuries of copyright’s existence; describes how regulation and technological limitations turned people from creators to consumers; considers relational authorship; explores practices in sampling, music licensing, and contemporary art; examines provisions in copyright law for user-generated content; and reimagines the pirate as an innovator.

About the Author
James Meese is a Lecturer in the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney

 

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