Week 2: Copyright and Copyleft

September 6

GirlTalk, featured prominently in the RIP Manifesto, is from Pittsburgh (yeah!) and took his name from this abomination of a 1980s board game.

The “Let’s go crazy” Youtube baby dancing case, in which it was decided that Youtube needed to consider the possibility of fair use exception prior to taking down media: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenz_v._Universal_Music_Corp.

Here’s the cute baby video.

September 8

These go to 11. (This is Spinal Tap, 1984)

Free Software

GNU is important for the Linux (or GNU/Linux) operating system and what we now generally know as open source software (although see Stallman’s comment in the manifesto about how much he despises the corruption of Free Software by Open Source).

Connection to the music industry model?

Restricting copying is not the only basis for business in software. It is the most common basis(7) because it brings in the most money. If it were prohibited, or rejected by the customer, software business would move to other bases of organization which are now used less often. There are always numerous ways to organize any kind of business.

This section is relevant to our discussion on 9/6 about copyrights and patents and incentivizing creation:

“Don’t people have a right to control how their creativity is used?”

Stallman proposes alternative business models, some of which are in operation now.

Creative Commons


Lessig talk

Is this the way kids write today? Is this a generational battle?

The long 20th century broadcast era, read-only culture. Here’s the 1984 Mac ad that Lessig showcases.

Intro to Markdown

Go to Dillinger.

Week 3: Text technologies: Markdown as a markup language

September 13

What is markup?

We do it with paragraphs and punctuation, a way to give context to the content of words. We’re using descriptive markup with Markdown. Just symbols to describe how certain elements of a document should be categorized and rendered.

Separation of form & content or structure and content. Types of markup.

Note: There are lots of different versions of Markdown, which add features to Gruber’s original specs. Because computer people like jargon, they call these “flavors” of Markdown. We’ll mostly be using Github-flavored Markdown, or GFM.

Advantages of markup?

Stolley’s Lo-Fi Manifesto

  • Separation of structure (form) and content means multiple stylings available easily & different visibility of document elements (hide all quotes, e.g.)
  • Avoiding inconsistencies in style (which enhances legibility)
  • Enable better, more accurate reading by computers (SEO, typesetting, different kinds of document processing, etc)
  • Plaintext readability for humans (for after the software apocalypse)
  • Document portability & consistency
  • Good for collaborating with people across platforms
  • Single-sourcing with multiple output forms possible (slides, notes, pdf, doc, etc)
  • Making documents more accessible to people without word processors like MS Word. See this rant, “Stop sending me your shitty Word docs

Doing stuff

Together: Look at the structure of the schedule.

Play around with markup by turning our schedule into markup on Dillinger and on StackEdit (more on StackEdit’s features). If that’s a breeze for you, try synchronizing your StackEdit document onto your Google drive or Dropbox account. Or add some YAML front matter tags and synch to CouchDB.

GFM supports tables (which the original spec didn’t). Learn more about how to format tables in GFM here.

September 15

More Markdown

Follow along with me! We’ll have time for you to work on your Markdown, and put these concepts into practice.

At the end of class, I’ll do a little intro to git and Github, to give you some context for your homework for Tuesday. We’ll talk about collaboration, coordination, and look at an example of a large collaborative project.

Some important concepts about composing digital media that will be illustrated in our work with git:

    • collaboration and coordination
    • branching / merging
    • local / remote copies of files

history and versioning

You’ll have to touch the command line (Terminal on a Mac) in order to work with git. Don’t be afraid!

September 20

Github and some history of computing stuff.

We’ll work with this GitHub repo in class.

You might find the GitHub Hello World tutorial helpful.

I’m going to do a swipe.to presentation to structure discussion and workshop:


September 22


Workshop your Fair Use Markdown assignment in class. Show each other the video/remix that you’ve based your discussion on, then describe the ways you’ve considered possible fair use defenses for it. When reading each others’ work (which you can do on the lab computers), consider: Can you help them with any additional ideas about fair use?

  • Are they using fair use defenses in productive and legally plausible ways?
  • Is the style clear, comprehensive and concise?
  • Is the document structure and Markdown formatting working well?
  • Anything else to help them out?

With the extra time we have, we will play around with accessing GitHub through the command line. Bring your computer if you’d like to set it up to work there.

Practice with GitHub and the terminal.

  1. Initialize a repo on Github.
  2. Go to the Terminal
  3. ls and cd until you get to where you want to clone your repo.
  4. git clone your repo: git clone https://github.com/anetv/CDM2016_PracticeGitHub (you may be prompted to update xcode to access git tools, so do that)
  5. cd then ls
  6. touch practice.md
  7. nano practice.md and edit
  8. git status
  9. git add .
  10. git commit -m “add practice.md”
  11. git push origin master
  12. enter your credentials (you won’t be able to see them as you type)
  13. git status and also check on GitHub
  14. edit on GitHub gui
  15. Go back to terminal and git pull https://github.com/anetv/CDM2016_PracticeGitHub
  16. nano practice.md (you should see the edits you made on GitHub)
  17. open the file in Sublime, a text editor. Make more edits and save.
  18. Go back to terminal. git status (should show your practice.md is modified)
  19. git add . (stages the changes)
  20. git commit -m “add practice.md edited in Sublime”
  21. git push origin master
  22. Go back to GitHub to see if you updated your doc. Also check out history and versions.

September 27

Let’s go over some slight changes to the syllabus:

  1. I’m making you post 3 of your 6 remaining blog posts by the end of Oct, in order to help you budget your time for the semester.
  2. I’ll give you an official assignment sheet for the Tiny Corner of Pitt(sburgh) Website on Thurs, but for now, know that you’ll have to put something on the web about Pitt(sburgh) by 10/20. Originally, both the text (Fair Use Markdown Assignment) and web assignments were due 10/7, but I’ve decided to break them up and give you more time for the web assignment.

In class:

  1. What’s the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?
  • Early connections: telegraph (1844), telephone (1876), check out these crazy telephone/telegraph lines from the late 19th century. The telegraph is sometimes called “The Victorian Internet” (Computer History Museum).
  • Early 1960’s: packet-switching; late 1960s: ARPANET. Lots of dissimilar networks.
  • Then 1970s TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) and the Internet Van (seriously). In 1983, ARPANET adopted TCP/IP and the Internet was born (CHM).
  • HTTP, SMTP, Telnet and FTP all run on top of TCP/IP.
  • HTTP: The World Wide Web! Tim Berners-Lee began working on it in 1989, and wrote HTTP, HTML and URL tech by 1990 (WebFoundation.org).
  • How does the Web work? We type in URLs to locate files, and DNS directs us to the right servers and locations, to the right IP addresses. DNS is also for resources not associated with the Web, and it connects server names to specific IPs. Read more here and here.
  1. Play around with HTML/CSS.

  2. In the last 15min of class, Digital Media Lab Director Matt Lavin will come talk to us about GitHub, and GitHub pages.

September 29

We’ll spend one more day on HTML/CSS on Tuesday, and start the Image unit (Photoshop) on Thurs.

Today: Licklider & Taylor 1968, “The Computer as Communication Device.” A little background on Licklider. Communication models and the potential of the computer and networks for communication, as well as the then-current challenges.

With a partner: what’s the sentence(s) in this article that is most

  • prescient
  • surprising
  • and relevant to our Web unit?

Assign Tiny Corner Of Pitt(sburgh) Website.

Introduce you to Sublime for writing HTML.

A few pointers on organizing your HTML/CSS files

October 4

Last day with HTML/CSS & getting stuff on the web.

We’ll go through the Github tutorial we ran out of time for on Sept 22.

Digital Media Lab Director Matt Lavin will show us more about GitHub Pages.

You can go through the process of putting a website up on Pitt: http://technology.pitt.edu/support/creating-your-own-web-site Note that you’ll need an SFTP program like Filezilla or Fetch (mac, available on software downloads for Pitt) or WinSCP. Follow the directions on the Pitt website to configure your file transfer.

Work time: please ask questions if you have them about HTML/CSS and getting stuff online!

October 6

Welcome to the images unit!


Here’s a link to a folder with pictures of my dog. You may want them for our photoshop tutorial today.

here’s the tutorial

October 11

More work with Photoshop today!

Dan Kubis will visit from the Humanities Center to mention an internship opportunity.

I’ll introduce the Image Editing Assignment.

Maya will do a Photoshop tutorial.

October 13

Workshop websites in your groups in class.

Tutorial on photoshopping faces. Here’s a face image to work on if you don’t have one. We’ll go over clone stamp, blur/smudge, color balance, selection.

October 20

We’ll discuss Lupton and Miller in class, then have free time to work on your projects.

In groups of two or three, discuss the following trends in design, as described by Lupton and Miller:

  • illustration vs. photography
  • relationship of image and type
  • design’s relationship to technology
  • politics of/in design
  • design as a reflection of culture
  • representation of “others” in design (women, Native Americans, African Americans)

Discuss at least three of these topics, and for each, find at least three specific examples to illustrate the relationship.

October 25

Workshop your Image Editing Assignment in class, in your workshop groups (Rikki, Maya, Sydney; Kelsey, Olivia, Chris F.; Tyler, Steph, Amy, Arielle; Tiffany, Wendy, Eric; Emery, Chris O, Hina; Jen, Adam, Valerie).

Introduce audio unit, what Audacity is.

Look at Audacity Cheat Sheet for help.

Note that you can check out audio tech from the basement of Alumni Hall. I have to send them an email to authorize you, so just let me know and I’ll do it. I think the PZM microphones will suit your needs best.

Listen together to 2012 story about Claressa Shields. (You can hear an updated story here.)

October 27

Talk about the Audio Project Assignment.

Discuss what makes good audio stories. Listen to stories from StoryCorps where a 21yo woman interviews her 86yo grandfather in Iowa, and where a 9yo interviews his dad in Mississippi and a son and granddaughter interview a grandmother in NYC weeks before she passed away. Also see this animation of a steelworker’s interview.

Intro to working with Audacity (bring your computer with Audacity installed or use a lab computer and a flash drive). Work with your own audio clip:

Cut your clip down to about 20-30sec of good material. Work on noise removal or amplification or anything that might improve the quality of the audio. Add some music, say by searching Jamendo through Creative Commons. Also look for any relevant sound effects. Work on timeshifting or splitting the audio to add these effects. Also for reference, keyboard shortcuts.

November 3

Please check out this course survey on Google docs.

Work on Audacity projects.

November 8

Peer review Audacity projects and workshop time

November 10

Should we cut the group project? Since we agreed we’re cutting the online discussion portion, it would mean that all of your individual grades would be bumped up to 12.5% of your grade. Option: revise and regrade for one project. Final expanded revised project would be different, a bigger/smoother/better version of a composition in one of the modes we’ve done.

Intro to Adobe AfterEffects. Assign Animation project.


Use Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening as mp3 to begin working with.

November 15

Announce Digital Media showcase, Fri, Dec 2, 11-2pm in 501 CL. We have to submit entries by Nov 28. From the organizer: “It’s a great opportunity for students to present their work, practice talking to others about it, and see what their peers are doing in other English classes. Plus, it’s a nice line on their resumes. The showcase is also a great opportunity for instructors to celebrate the digital media work already happening at Pitt and share ideas for future assignments or courses. The event format will be an open-house style, allowing for participants and attendees to drop in and explore a wide range of student projects throughout the day.”

Work on more AfterEffects tools and concepts


Tutorial covering type, anchor points, null objects, 3D, lights and shadow, layer masks.
(Thanks, Wendy for finding it!) Here’s the link to the Pitt Box files for this tutorial, if you want to see what it looks like when it’s done.

Note that lab hours for 1-4 today are canceled because another class is using the room.

November 17

Matt Lavin comes to talk about Advanced Composing Digital Media course

Get in groups to discuss kinetic typography project

Free work time

Don’t forget to turn in your audio project tonight! Have a great break!

November 29

Assign final revision project.

Talk about Digital Media showcase and how projects will be presented next week.

Offer regrading option: you can optionally turn in one of your projects to be regraded by 12/15. This is very different from the revision project. Regrading simply allows me to revise the grade I already gave you. This is optional.

Final day to post blog posts is 12/9.

December 6

12/5 Animation project due in Pitt Box at 11:59pm. We’ll talk about these in class briefly, and your experience completing them.

12/6 Revised projects draft due for peer review. Prof. Vee will come around to talk to you about yours, and we’ll talk about how to give feedback to each other. Have questions ready, if you’d like feedback.

We’ll also do a quick review of the digital media principles we worked on in class.

Prof. Vee will make a pitch to fill out your OMETs.

December 8

Presentation of revised projects. Have your project loaded up on your personal or your lab machine; everyone will go around and experience the projects and leave written feedback, and we’ll talk about the projects. We’ll take into account that the projects will still be in draft state, since they aren’t due until 12/15.

Finals week

No class, but work is due.

12/9: Final day to turn in blog posts online (11:59pm)

12/15: Revised project due (11:59pm on Box); Final day to turn in projects for optional regrading (11:59pm on Box; send me an email with a link to let me know it’s there)