Sunday, June 21, 2009

Television's Influence

Since the birth of television, the industry has been creating multiple shows and movies to keep us Americans entertained while doing nothing but sitting on our comfortable couch and observing a box. These shows and movies consist anywhere from children education programs to comedy with a little science fiction. Today, many Americans are raising issues saying that television is a waste of time and is too graphic. Are we being realistic? Are we to tell artists to stop painting too graphic and that it’s a waste of time? Television is like art, it is never ending.

Each American pursues their own taste and style. Television is where we visually see the different varieties of style. Whether someone wants to watch a horror film or “Entertainment Tonight” is his or her choice. Through one’s perception, television may be observed as a positive influence.

Television may posses a positive influence in a matter of enhancing our personal status. Our personal appearance is one of the most important traits. Judging an individual by their appearance can tell a lot about a person’s character. When we watch television, we notice that every person’s appearance is perfect. For some of us, we pay attention to the big movie stars.

The first words that come to mind when I think of movie stars are “famous and beautiful.” The clothes are always expensive looking and very classy. Their face always has perfect skin complexion with no acme whatsoever. They each have their own unique hairstyle that someday we dream of having. We admire these movie stars so much that we try to look like them, dress like them, and even talk like them. I remember watching “Conan the Barbarian” when I was younger. Arnold Schwartzenegger had a body like a tank. His appearance was one of no other, pure barbaric. I wanted to be just like Arnold, having the same physical physique. Arnold’s presence provided me with so much motivation that I joined a gym near my house and started training instantly. To this day, I am still training due to the appearance of Arnold Schwartzenegger. Advertisements may have a positive effect on our personal status as well. Observing all the expensive cars and real estate ads advertised on television might get you thinking twice about saving your money. Ever been to Hawaii? Well watch a commercial for a trip to Hawaii and you are destined to go there. Advertisements get your mind thinking positive and help us budget our money. The fact is we look up to people on television and their possessions. We want what they want. Television provides us with modeled images we dream of resembling someday.

Stories from movies and shows on television alone have a positive effect on our actions and behavior. Writers have created imaginative stories where we can escape into the writer’s own constructed world. A perfect example is the movie “Rudy.” The movie is based on a typical teenager who, since a child, had always wanted to play football for Notre Dame. His friends and family told him that he was too stupid and that he couldn’t even get into college, let alone play football. Rudy took all the negative energy and used it to work even harder. To make it short and sweet, Rudy ended up inviting his friends and family to his first appearance in a Notre Dame football game. After watching the movie, a feeling of pride overwhelmed my soul. Knowing that this movie was based on a true story almost left me in tears. From a personal standpoint, the story line in the movie “Rudy” captured a lot of what growing up was like for me. I had a lot of people around telling me that I couldn’t make it, just like in Rudy’s case. I felt myself falling into the shoes of the character, sharing the same traits. Many stories that are told on television can be related to real situations we come across daily. Another example is the sitcom “Seinfeld.” The sitcom is about nothing and it’s hilarious. It’s watching your average person and his friends doing nothing. Is that weird? Well no. The show contains your everyday problems like your friends bugging you, or waiting a half-hour to get a table at a Chinese restaurant. We are entertained by watching others deal with the same situations we come across. It makes us laugh when the Soup Nazi says, “No soup for you,” or Kramer comes stumbling into Jerry’s apartment acting like a klutz. Television provides us with stories that have a positive impact on our daily life.

Children programs on television portray a positive attitude and expand a child’s horizons. The benefit of television for children is endless. From advertisements to cartoons, a child’s imagination can run wild. Children love to see different advertisements ranging from GI-Joe figures to fast cars. They are always interested in what’s out, what’s coming out, and if they can have it. What do children really love the most? Children love cartoons. Cartoons are the gateway to the imagination for a child. I remember when I was a child, all I wanted to do was watch cartoons and then draw cartoons. Television provided me with the imagination that I could create anything. I could draw a chair and make it have a face and dance. I could draw a monkey and dress him as a businessman. There were no ends to the possibilities. Television can be very educational for children too. If your child is getting ready to go into Kindergarden, the television provides many programs and ads that will prepare your child for school. Programs such as “Sesame Street” and “Hooked on Phonix” have proved to help enhance a child’s ability to learn. Television provides continuous education and entertainment for children.

Television is like an artist’s canvas, anything can come to mind. When we try to put limits on graphics and behavior, we are generally stopping our imagination at work, resulting in boredom. As Americans, we are always constantly wanting to change for the better. Television portrays every kind of positive image that we would like to model someday. We have the choice to watch whatever show or movie we’d like on television. Those choices may have a positive effect, or they may have a negative effect. It’s whether we want to posses a positive outlook that makes the difference.

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File Sharing

Have you ever taped music off your favorite radio station? That's the old way you would do if you can't afford the albums. Today people are doing a similar thing, downloading music from the Internet. Downloading music off the Internet is such a convenient way to get your music. It is such a great opportunity for those who are willing to takes their chances, and chances are, they would not get sued by the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America). I, as a peer who does share and download files off the Internet, believe that file-sharing should be legal even if it seems that the majority is of those against it. File-sharing is a technology that is just a step ahead and industries as of the RIAA should start to deal with it.

File-sharers use softwares called P2P (Peer to Peer) networks. These networks (programs) are free to download from the Internet and you donТt need to sign up or join in to use it. Popular networks are Kazaa, WinMX , Limewire, Morpheus, Grokster and many more. Peers would then set up these P2P programs to share whatever files they want to share. Most would start out with nothing. They would have a good chance to find the kind of music they are interested in. Not only peers can download music, they could download pictures, movies, softwares and any other kind of computer files. When peers download, they don't all download from one place. Millions of peers around the world are connected and they download files off each other's computer. Peers who choose not to share their files may have their rights taken to download from other people who share. It makes sense because if peers arenТt sharing, there would be no downloads. For peers, it gets better and better the more they use it, they get happy to know that technology had really advanced.

If you have bought a music album recently, or even a software for your computer, you might regret how much you paid for it later. If you have downloaded a file using a P2P program, it gets addicting. You don't have to drive to the store; just press a few buttons and then you get what you want. Sometimes in the stores, they don't even have what you want. If you were to find rare music files like the remix of Overture, bootlegs of Nirvana, or promos (promotion music) from DJ's, you could get it in the P2P networks. If you like other foreign music, you would also have good chances looking for it because peers all around the world is sharing and downloading. Downloading files is free, but many people are confused that it would be stealing. The RIAA had announced that it is stealing, but people won't stop. Peers know that P2P programs still exist and they keep on trading, sharing and downloading.

"Music Industry Officials estimate that they have lost more than $300 million worth of CD sales due to free Internet trading". For this, they say trading MP3's (music files) is stealing. If you had remembered the notorious Napster in the year 2000, it was the one P2P network that got other P2P networks started. The RIAA had sued the Napster Network, won, and shut it down. Napster was only one of a kind before, now there are more P2P networks than there are music industries. "The RIAA earlier this year tried to get the networks shut down in court, but a federal judge in April ruled that the services are legal. It plans instead to sue hundreds of individual file sharers."

Before Napster was shut down, people were enjoying the fact that they are exposed to music that was new to them. Artist like Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit who supports file-sharing networks says, "We happen to be of the school of thoughts that it is nice to have more fans, not less." Hank Barry who used to own Napster said, "Napster is helping and not hurting the record industries and artists. More access to music leads to more interest in music and more music sales." The RIAA, who doesn't seem to believe in that, sued 261 file sharers recently. They are targeting those who share substantial amount of MP3's. The rate of people downloading had dropped a little since the RIAA had sued those 261 peers, but then, not even good enough to begin ending it. The RIAA is scared, they canТt handle it yet, having copyrights don't even scare all of the file-sharers.

According to a survey released in July by the American and Internet Life Project, "among the 35 million adults who its survey indicated download music, 23 million say they do not much care about the copyright on the files they copy onto their computers. Among the 26 million who make files available for others to copy, 17 million said they did not care much about whether they were copyrighted." Peers and those who own P2P networks are saying that they don't make money off of the copyrighted music, they are sharing them. But there is another way people could help music artists with their profit and still get their music conveniently.

If you heard of I-Tunes, it is a network that sells music to people and which is convenient as downloading. Mostly each song would cost 99 cents to download. Napster, which was reopen in October 29, is doing what I-Tunes is doing. But who would download from them if downloading free from P2P networks is still around? Not many, because you can only download music using I-Tunes or Napster. Files called piracy such as movies, softwares and other computer files can't be downloaded. Plus, if you were to use the legitimate I-tunes or Napster today, you won't be able to find the rare music. Hopefully they should advance sooner or later. But should the money that I-tunes or Napster make be shared to the RIAA or straight to the music artists? The RIAA shouldn't even be the main enemy to P2P networks. It's the music artists' choices to share their music anyway they want to the world. The RIAA is making their profit with the money that people spend on music albums. They get more than the artists themselves. Therefore the RIAA should find another way of making their profit instead of wasting their time suing peers who share music.

To this day, the RIAA and some P2P networks are trying to negotiate with what music technology is going to be like in the future. File sharing was yet a step ahead in technology. No peers had been sued for sharing piracy (movies, softwares, etc.) yet. P2P networks do expose us to music we had not heard. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to thrive in the new free-copy environment. The two main ones are focusing on those things that are not easily copy able like live concerts, big-screen experiences, deluxe album packaging or secondly reducing prices so that it makes more sense to pay than to pirate and download. You should remember what Spiderman's Uncle Ben told him, "With great strengths, comes great responsibility." To me, file-sharing is a good technological tool but should be used responsibly. It's more likely to be used in the future, that's why I'm with it.

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