Camera phones record fatal shooting of Oscar Grant

The availability of camera phones has made everyone a photographer and a movie producer. Now, we have a device that is with us 24/7, that can record just about anything. Sometimes, they record things we wish we couldn’t see with our own eyes.

On New Year’s eve in Oakland, 4 men were arrested by BART transit officers. BART officers are basically like CityRail officers in Sydney, Australia. Oscar Grant was one of the men that was put up against a wall and was sitting down. He has his hands up and is then forced to the ground, face first. One of the officers puts a knee against his head. Another officer jumps on top, pulls out his gun and then shoots him in the back.

Check out the footage below, in its raw form (there’s a long comment at 0.11 seconds).

That is just incredible footage of a man who was wrongly shot. He was not struggling, he was co-operating with the police and then he was shot for no apparent reason. There’s also another angle which has emerged from another girl who also shot it with her camera phone. I have no words to describe this, other than shocking. if you watch the officer he actually put his hands on his head as if thinking “What have I done?”.

The family is now suing for wrongful death and the BART officer in question has resigned.

I came across this incident via Flickr. I subscribe to the Flickr blog which highlights interesting photos. In the aftermath of the shooting, there was a memorial service and a protest against police brutality (sidenote: BART officers are not police officers). The protest then turned into a riot ala the Rodney King beatings which happened like 2 decades ago, and this was captured by a Flickr user who has uploaded the photos.

A colleague of mine suggested using the search engine Mahalo, so I thought I would give it a whirl. It gives you blended search results with a mixture of wikipedia style facts, video, and results from google, yahoo, live, flickr and youtube. One of the video’s I came across was a personal account of the riots, which show how dangerous it was and also the frustration of the youths at the end.

The availability of camera phones, the internet, the various platforms from flickr, youtube, and google, have made news so much more viral. It also allows us to see things from a different perspective. Without camera phones, we would not have visual evidence of what happened, other than the oral accounts of eye witnesses. User generated content now plays an important role in the dissemination of news items and to provide greater depth, angles, and storylines which we previously never had.

The camera phone recordings will also be crucial in the legal proceedings in finding justice for the family and perhaps to prevent incidents like this occurring in the future.

I’m out like the riots in Oakland,

Matthew Ho.

http://www.inspiredworlds.wordpress.com

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Jay Z v Radiohead mashup = Jaydio

Mashups are some of my favourite music. Essentially, a  mashup is a remix which puts together two or more styles of music. DJ’s mix the music in ways you never even thought of, making an old song sound totally different by mixing it with another style.

One mashup that has been sweeping the internet is Jaydiohead, a mashup of Jay Z & Radiohead by DJ Minty Fresh Beats. It’s growing on me. I probably like it because it’s a Jay-Z mashup, and I’m a huge Jay-Z fan.

Jay Z v Radiohead

Jay Z v Radiohead

Mashups have become really popular in the last couple of years. Dangermouse’s Grey Album, a mix of Jay Z’s “Black” album and the Beatles “white” album is one of the more famous & controversial ones.  Mashups have become so viral because of the internet – they spread so fast now as they can be downloaded and shared on peer to peer networks. DJ Minty Fresh Beats and his website has gotten publicity on Digg, Delicious (where I originally found it), MTV, and the Carson Daly Show (see below).

But don’t just listen to Carson & me hyping it up, check it out here and download the torrent for free!

Mashups –  The law and opportunities

Mashups are changing the way we consume music. We are hearing sounds which the original artists and the record companies did not even fatom. Their are legal issues as well, because the DJ’s are using music belonging to other artists, which the music labels would probably never clear. But, the music labels and the artists – they should be embracing it as the music is being introduced to new fans and markets. For example, I don’t even listen to Radiohead, but I might get their albums now.

Record labels and artists should be encouraging mashups, and letting them be downloaded for free. It is innovative, creative and the public love it.

Change of the music industry business model

The music industry itself has been turned upside down with the internet. It’s totally changed their business model.  I watched a video on the American Express forums where the Editor for Wired stated that “we are growing up in a generation of free”. We are able to download what we want for free. Some artists are embracing it, while some music companies take their official videos down from youtube.

I found it a bit strange that a rap artist I saw on the weekend, MURS, actually had his album available for as a free download. That’s awesome. He gave his album out for free before he signed with a major record label, to encourage and spread his music. The effect is so that he could draw more people to his concerts and it allows his fans to connect with him in a deeper way as they have access to more of his music. It will be interesting to see how the music industry and the artists also respond to Apple iTunes giving up the DRM (digital rights management). These are topics for another post.

I’m out like Jay-Z v Radiohead,

Matthew Ho

p.s. Check out this track by Jay-Z & Santos Gold “Brooklyn We Go Hard” from the Notorious B.I.G soundtrack. I’m feelin it 🙂

Google on Public Policy

I read about 5 – 6 different Google Blogs such as the Official Google Blog, Adwords Agency Blog, Adsense and the Gmail Blog. It’s necessary for me to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Google. The great thing about Google is that they have a lot of different departments blogging and keeping the dialogue open with the general community at large. They’ve got 100’s of blogs and I think it’s great. As soon as something new happens, these guys blog about it and it’s really setting the standard for other organisations.

One of the more interesting blogs I have come across is the Google Public Policy Blog. It’s probably not as well read as the other blogs but I would argue that its just as important. An indicator of how popular a blog is the feedburner counter (i.e. how many people subscribe). It’s only at 5,475 compared with 529,000 on the official Google Blog.

Its important to hear about Google’s views on public policy and government. As an organisation, it has really become monolothic and huge like almost overnight – its only really a decade old. Compare this with other other organisations of similar size which probably took decades to build  i.e. 30 – 100 years . It is a very influential organisation which interacts with millions of people on a daily basis through search, email, video, RSS, advertising, maps and so on.

Google is so dominant in the field of search it is without peer. Hence, when they tried to do a business deal with Yahoo to display ads, people were jumping up and down like mad. It has to deal with a lot of issues such as its monopolistic practices, anti-trust,  influence on the U.S government through lobbying on access to more bandwidth access for the community, net neutrality, green energy, etc..

The blog could be no more than a mouthpiece for Google’s lobbying efforts to Washington. But from what I have read, it has a lot of interesting information on its views and thought policies. I probably find this more interesting than most people as well, since I’m a qualified lawyer who now works in digital marketing.

On a related note, the interaction between law and the internet continues to evolve. One of the big issues at the moment are the legal issues around user generated content (UGC). I’m probably in a unique position because I’m one of the few people that subscribe and regularly read the Law Society and other legal publications and also marketing publications such as B&T. I can see that its attracting a lot of attention because the talk is heating up in these magazines and on the web. UGC is stuff that users of social media generate, e.g. facebook and youtube videos, flickr photos, etc… The legal issues are around ownership, copyright, defamation, privacy and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I’m out like a decade,

Matthew Ho.