Your Fortune Reads: Don’t Touch Other People’s Stuff!

“Hello, can you hear me?”

That was an “interesting” class we’ve had this week; from the topic to its execution. Unfortunately, our professor, Dr. Zamora, was absent (speed recovery!). Therefore, we’ve had an online-based sort of… lesson? Presentation? I don’t really know what to call it. It felt like an online-class that was conducted in an actual class; the best of both worlds, I guess. Our class consultant, and second-in-command instructor, Mr. Levine (too formal?), carried out the entire lesson for us.

The topic of the lesson was… GIFs! A great follow-up to Memes, if I must say. It’s actually surprising to observe the possibility of conducting an entire lesson based on these stuff. I guess, when you examine the hidden meaning behind creating a GIF, it’s possible to discover some subtle complexities that could fill up a whole lesson. Our studio visitor for the week, Brian Lamb, briefly talked about what GIFs represented online; a culmination of feelings/expressions conveyed through an (often humorous) animation. In other words, they contain certain messages underneath their visual appeal that could prove difficult to transfer otherwise. Also, they’re very small in terms of file size and easier to share with other users in comparison to videos.

I was originally planing on talking about the recent developments that occurred in relation to sharing materials, specifically visual ones such as GIFs or Memes. However, I did not wish to write another “dark” blog post, especially now that we attempt to move into a much lighter aspect of the NetNarr course. So, I figured that it might be interesting to go a little experimental with this one. The expectation is probably for me to fill it up with GIFs but I prefer to be little different. Thus, I’ll be presenting a dialogue-based (short?) story instead, that hopefully captures my thoughts on the issue at hand. What issue? I’m sure that you’ll find out once you read it. Each segment contains different set of anonymous characters, save for the first and the last one. If you were wondering about that picture of fortune cookies, well, it’s related to the story below. It’s a subtle story… but hopefully not too subtle. Enjoy!

***

[T minus 734 days]

“So… Have you made your decision, yet?”

“Not really. I’m still playing around with some ideas.”

“Have you ever heard of ‘time is of the essence’? You are not alone in this world… Others might come up with the same ideas as you do if you wait too long.”

“Perhaps… I have confidence in my fortune though.”

“Speaking of… Why don’t you check to see what is in your fortune cookie?”

“It’s probably some ‘lucky’ number for the lottery.”

“You never know…”

“All right, let me see… It’s…”

“What is it?”

“A date, I think…”

“A date?”

“It just says 2031.”

“Hey, maybe that’s the year that you finally get to publish your book.”

“Very funny. Anyways… I need to take off.”

“Got tired of me already?”

“I need to get something for my father’s birthday. It’s tomorrow.”

“Tell him happy birthday for me.”

“Sure thing.”

“What have you got in mind for the gift?”

“I don’t know… I’ll probably get him a Johnny Cash CD. He loves his music.”

“CD? Are they still making those?”

“It’s the closest thing that my dad would know how to operate.”

“You might be underestimating him…”

“Maybe… Anyways, I’m off.”

“Take good care!”

[T minus 22995 days]

“Honey…”

“Yes, dear?”

“Have you seen this?…”

“What is it?”

“On the newspaper… It claims that Cash might’ve copied his song from Jenkins.”

“What? Which song?”

“Apparently, Folsom Prison Blues…”

“Isn’t that your new favorite one?”

“Yea…”

“I’m certain it’s only a misunderstanding, dear.”

“I sure hope so…”

[T minus 20075 days]

“… the Congress has approved the new Copyright Act, which is expected to become effective as of January 1st, 1978. The new Act is claimed to be a substantial improvement over 1909…”

“Can you please shut that off? I’m getting a headache just by listening to it.”

“Fine…”

[T minus 7300 days]

“Man, these Hope poster clones are everywhere. Check this one out…”

“What is… Oh, it’s the Mona Lisa. Very funny.”

“Maybe I should create one of my own… How about Alf?”

“No, thank you grandpa.”

“What? I’m sure people would recognize him.”

“Very doubtful… By the way, have you heard about the lawsuit?”

“What lawsuit?”

“Well, it turns out the template for that Hope poster is plagiarized.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep. Some guy named Mannie Garcia was apparently the one who created it first. Then, Fairey stole it. He claims it’s fair use…”

“Wait, didn’t he make money out of it?”

“Oh, yea…”

“Wow.”

“I’m curious to see how everything turns out.”

[T minus 4745 days]

“What are you watching?”

“What do you think? My favorite YouTuber, of course…”

“You know, you spend way too much time on that website.”

“It’s called YouTube.”

“What?”

“Never mind… She says that she’s got another strike.”

“Strike?”

“It’s a copyright claim… It’s been a big problem on the website for a while.”

“I thought it was called YouTube…”

“…”

“I’m just messing around… So, what happens when you get a strike?”

“I think you lose ad revenue. And, if you get three strikes, your channel shuts down… I don’t want her channel to shut down!”

“Wow. They’re really upping the restriction-game, aren’t they?”

“It’s too much! What happened to the fair-use?”

“Fair-use of what? The content?”

“Yea…”

“The big cooperations obviously do not wish to pass up on potential profit.”

“There is even an attempt to kill the net neutrality now, which she was talking about in her previous video…”

“What is that?”

“You’ve never heard of it?”

“Nope.”

“Well, I could explain it but… Oh, s**t!”

“What happened?”

“Restoring Internet Freedom bill…”

“Huh?”

“It’s passed…”

“So… what is that mean exactly?”

“…”

[T minus 4380 days]

“Memes and GIFs are copyrighted in EU now? What is this world coming to?”

“Tell me about it…”

“Article 13? What a name. Good thing we’re safe over here.”

“At least for now. I’m quite certain that it’ll have a ripple effect around the world… It’s only a matter of time.”

“Whatever. Do you know when is it actually going to be implemented?”

“Last I heard, it was 2021. The funny thing is… Some meme-based subreddits already started to ban people from Europe.”

“It sucks to be them, I guess.”

[T minus Zero]

“…and so, your book, which is titled ‘An Essay of Animated Emotions Online’, exhibits images of copyrighted materials. As you have failed to prove official permits for these specific images, you are indebted to minimum $500,000 in ‘damages’, and further production of the book is going to be delayed indefinitely. Do you have any questions at this time?”

“Yea… Uhh… Do you know if there is a good noodle shop around here?”

“…”

“I might as well spend my last buck on some good food… that I can afford.”

[The End]

***

Well? Although I am tempted to explain every single thing in it, I’d like to leave “the meaning” of the story to the reader. Some might think that it’s a bit pretentious but… a little subtlety goes a long way. Before I end this post, I wish to bring up the “say cheese” prediction that I had previously. It turns out, not a single person has used that phrase in their blog posts from last week—come on people, be more s̶i̶l̶l̶y̶ creative! I suppose that it’s a good thing I didn’t choose to become an oracle, or a predictor of some sort professionally. It reminded me though… Are we ever going to examine online challenges in this class? That famous, and very “sophisticated”, cheese challenge really took off… for some reason. Worth a look?

Also, I have to post at least one GIF, so…

5cfff3935dde280fa72a01a1e47af4bd

(Something that I found on Pinterest… Don’t sue me!)

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