Final: Get Riley V. California onto Wikipedia

The Final • COM 200

10:10-11:05 section


The final concludes at 5:15 p.m.


We spent much of the semester talking about the ways digital technology confound existing laws and ethical frameworks. Technology always evolves faster than law and ethics. The legal case that will be the subject of your Wikipedia article provides a good example of this.

The Article

Riley v. California (Mission accomplished)

Your job is to collaboratively create a thorough Wikipedia page on this case, which was recently being argued in the Supreme Court.


Your article should resemble other Supreme Court cases on Wikipedia in terms of format. But since 20 of you are putting it together, I would expect it to be fantastically good. I would, at a minimum, expect it to meet the “good” article criteria.

How you do this is up to you. It is a collaborative assignment, so you should come up with the work flow collaboratively. You should probably decide on a management structure – assign teams, etc. Again, your call.

I will remain in the classroom during the final to observe. I can answer some basic questions.


80 percent of your grade will be based on the article’s:


Did you create a larger context for the article? Did you illustrate its importance? Did you provide ample detail on this case and related cases to help establish context and relevance? Is the article’s text properly linked?

Formatting and design

Does your article look like a Wikipedia article and not just a giant block of text? Do you include images, tables, etc. that are properly formatted? Do you have section headings? A contents box?


Wikipedia articles are written in a “neutral point of view” – NPOV for short. That means articles have a certain voice.


Source citation is what Wikipedia is all about. When in doubt cite. Are your citations properly formatted? Links are also citations of sorts does your article include links in the text to other Wikipedia articles on topics that you mention, for example “Supreme Court.”

Obviously, citations must be paraphrased or sparsely quoted from, not copied directly into the text.

The remaining 20 percent of your grade will be based on your individual effort as determined during my observation. This does not mean that you will necessarily do better if you are a project manager, for example. My assessment is based on your performance of the task at hand.




Beyoncé, S’mores and Happy take the first COMmies


Thanks to Dave Parry for 3D printing this year’s COMmies.

The results of the First Annual COMmie Awards for Mash-Ups are in and after long and sometimes heated deliberations the Beyoncé mash-up by Carly McGowan took the coveted red COMmie. The clever “S’mores” by Megan Thompson captured green and Brendan Roberts will take home orange with a remix of “Happy.”

The three winners emerged after a thorough vetting of all the works produced for two sections of COM 201, Communication Ethics. The assignment was to take at least two copyrighted digital works and produce something new with them. Some great work resulted. Unfortunately we (Dave Parry that is) only printed three trophies because there are several other pieces that deserved recognition.

“The Beyoncé video best captured the spirit of remix,” said one of the three judges drawn from the COM Department.

The trophies themselves are mash-ups – the head of Vladimir Lenin (A commie if there ever was one) and a robot’s “body” – a subtle commentary on just how silly awards can be sometimes.

Here they are:

Beyoncé by Carly McGowan


S’mores by Megan Thompson

Happy by Brendan Robert

The judges asked that I recognize a few others that were right near the top. These include:

Tiesto and Coldplay in Pompeii (this was a terrific mashup that is by far the winner in terms of views on YouTube) by Alli Murray

Near Perfection by Matt Mosca

Home Alone 4: The Neighbor by Paula Wiszowaty

Diamonds by CC Andrews


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Mash-Up Assignment

(300-word proposal on your google doc by class on April, 14)

The Mash-up Assignment

Due: Monday, April 28 (everyone will present Monday or Wednesday). Your mash-up should be uploaded to YouTube (even if it’s a song, just find an image(s) and turn it into a movie file). That YouTube url should be posted on your reading notes under a bolded title so I can find it. Make sure you have an accessible copy as well (on your computer, a thumb drive) in case YouTube takes your video down.


One of the key concepts we are interrogating this semester is the impact of digital media on culture and law. Copyright and user-generated content are important parts of this discussion. The objective of the mash-up assignment is to make something that helps illustrate this discussion.

The idea is to take cultural artifacts that already exist – like songs and movies – and make them into something new. You aren’t supposed to know how to do this already, so part of this assignment may entail learning new skills (how to edit video or audio, how to rip content from the Web and combine them in i-Movie, etc.)

Your finished product should be 2 to 4 minutes long.

The style or genre is up to you. Here are some options (you can also come up with your own):

• A Girl Talk style “music collage” that combines pieces of several songs to create a new song.

• Bad Lip Reading. Substitute your own dialogue for dialogue from a movie or television show clip.

• PSA-style or (“The Point”) Mash-up


• Movie trailer.

You may need to pull video or audio off of YouTube. Here are a couple of converters:

For video clips on YouTube etc.:

Extracting audio from a YouTube video:

Places to get help:

• You can make an appointment at The Writing Center to get help with Audacity, i-Movie, etc. Go here.


• Your final product must be in a shareable form (for example, uploaded on YouTube or Vimeo) and must acknowledge in the notes of your YouTube or Vimeo post where you got the content you are using. You should also make a brief argument for fair use in the notes.

The final product is up to you. Discovering and creating new forms is what this is about, so you can model your mash up on something current (like Bad Lip Reading’s, Honest Trailer’s “Frozen” or a Girl Talk song) or come up with a new idea.

We will assess your piece based on:


• Did you create something new out of things that already existed?

• Is your piece a coherent whole with a beginning middle and an end (rather than just a bunch of clips thrown together)?

Technical competence

• Does your piece show some mastery of digital tools?

• How are your transitions?

• Is the audio and video clear?


• Do you have bumpers? (text in the beginning and end with a title, credits etc. The credits at the end should tell us what you used. So if you are using a piece of Cinderella, gove credit to Disney.)

• Did you make an argument (briefly) for fair use in your YouTube post.


The Commies

The top three mash-ups in both of my 201 classes combined (as voted on by you in the class) will be awarded with the prestigious COMmie, an award that would spruce up anyone’s resumé.


So we have spent much of this week discussing read/write culture, remix, mashups and copyright. Most of our conversation has focused on ideas raised in RIP: A Remix Manifesto, a documentary that, although released in 2008, is still my go-to text when it comes to copyright.

Here it is if you want to watch or refer to it again:

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The Cluetrain Manifesto

During the second half of the semester we will start to look at specific concepts through the lens that we built in the first semester based on Postman, cover187-cluetrain-10th-0465018653 Shirky and others. How does this massive change in the media and communications landscape we keep hearing about impact things like creative expression (copyright), privacy and our relationships with businesses and political institutions.

We will start with business by looking at the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Postman, Shirky and the mid-term

Here is the prezi I used to review for the mid-term. It is really just a bunch of words that I used to help flesh out the arguments of Neil Postman and Clay Shirky. The mid-term will be one question that asks you to spell out and evaluate their visions of the main media of their time – Postman on television and Shirky on the Internet and digital technology.

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The Netflix-Comcast deal and Net Neutrality


On Monday we begin to talk in Ethics about the Internet was built and operates – both its structure and spirit. That discussion provides the background for many discussions in future weeks on things like Net Neutrality and freedom of expression online. But given the announcement over the weekend of Comcast’s deal to give Netflix direct access to its ISP residential customers, it looks like those discussions will begin in earnest tomorrow.


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