Communication Ethics book part for New model. (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)
in Communication Ethics
In the new model, we have the following parts:
- Concrete parts: This is the pool of concrete parts that will be used to assemble the message. The Author may contribute new parts into the pool for the purposes of a single message, but conceptually, any concrete part can conceivably be used in any number of messages. You can see this directly on the Web, where any page can include an image from any server on the Internet. There's no technical reason that this can't be taken even further and applied to things other then images, too.
- Sender: The sender is whoever is driving the final assembly of the message. In the case of CNN, it is the CNN corporation, no matter what parts may have gone into the message. You can always find one entity (or one specific group of entities) that has final say over what goes into the message, and this group bears no particular relationship to who owns the concrete parts making up the message. (For instance, while CNN has final say over what their website contains, they may allow users to comment on the news, which their web servers will show to other people. While CNN didn't author the comments, which are themselves concrete parts, they ultimately have responsibility for whether their web servers show it.)
It is the Sender who ultimately has responsibility for making sure they have the rights to use the concrete parts as they intend to use them.
Note that I'm basically defining the Sender as the entity or group entity that has final say over what goes into the message. Given the number of concrete parts which can go into a message ("as many as you want"), each of which can have entirely seperate authors, this is the only definition that makes sense. There is always such an entity; if you're in a situation where you think there might be multiple such entities, there's actually several independent messages. For instance, you might be in a chat room with multiple participants, and it might look like all of the participants are responsible for the final participation. But in reality, each participant is sending seperate messages, which happens to be interleaved on the screen. This matches reality; if one participant says something insulting, we do not blame the others, because they have no control over the message the insulting participant is sending.
- Assembler: The assembler is a machine or process that takes the various parts and creates a coherent message out of them. The author accomplishes the sending of a message by manipulating the assembler somehow. It may be software, in the case of a web server, or be entirely physical, as in an old-style printing press, but either way, it is a device being operated by a human and as such has no ethical standing on its own. Either the human uses it ethically or not (or conceivably there is no ethical way to use a given assembler), but the assembler never has responsibility for anything. Analysing the assembler and how it is used is our key to understanding dynamic messages.
Now, the creator of the assembler (software author, machine manufacturor) may bear some responsibility for what is output if they build the assembler in such a way that it always includes, excludes, or modifies content in an unethical way. But ultimately it is still the Author's responsibility, because if there is no way to ethically send a message, they still have the option of not sending any message at all, so we need not concern ourselves too much with this possibility.
- Message: This is a message as in our original communication model, where the Author is the sender, it is traveling over some potentially complicated medium, inheriting from the communication model all the ethical consequences of people tampering with the medium, and eventually arriving at the receiver.
- Decoder: For the communication model, it was not necessary to consider a decoder. It's important to break it out for the new copyright model for two reasons: One, it allows us to definatively show where the (practical) human-received message is, and two, unlike assembler tampering, tampering with the decoder is out of the control of the Author, and as such may require special treatment.
- Receiver: Finally, we get to the human-experienced message which is delivered to the receiver, who subsequently experiences it in a manner appropriate to the medium.
Simplicity is important, and it's a strike against this model that it has more parts then the expression model. However, it's also important to capture the dynamics of what is going on, and the expression model critically oversimplifies things, which makes for the confusion you can see all around you. Thus, it's worth the additional parts for the additional accuracy we get from this model.