Open source and open content are tendencies within new media that
build on structural features of digital technologies. The digital transcod-
ing of text, image, and sound, packet switching, speed of data transmis-
sion, ease of reproduction, the global reach of networks, relative cheap-
ness of computer technologyas a point of media production as compared
with broadcast systems—all of this suggests the possibilityof success for
the ‘‘open’’ movements with great consequences for culture and politics
(Galloway 2004). It just may be that the expansive hopes generated by
earlier media technologies will come to fruition in the digital domain.
Yet, as we have seen in relation to peer-to-peer file sharing, dominant
institutions, in this case the music industry, do not easily give up their
privileges or cede their positions to the promises of new technologies.
Great resistance is engendered against new media tendencies that offer
cultural directions that do not fit the model of the commodity charac-
teristic of modern society. In particular, the nation-state as a political
form and the corporation as an economic form already mount serious
attacks against networked computing. Fears of terrorism and uncon-
trolled speech, abhorrence of child pornography, and opposition to un-
constrained, costless exchanges of texts, images, and sounds are motive
enough for established forces to be wary.
Yet again, these same forces aspire to deploy networked computing to
extend their reach and elaborate their existing practices. They adapt the
networked computing by states and corporations is already so advanced
that, even if they wished, they could not destroy it. As hegemonic institu-
tions integrate the new media, so they disseminate it and enrich it.
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