Sunday, July 27, 2008

Death by Accordian

Judgment is being passed on the ruthless regime of Radovan Karadžić now that he has been taken into custody for his role as head of nationalist Serbs in Kosovo in the ethnic cleansing of Muslim citizens of the former Yugoslavia. Karadžić's party, Srpska Radikalna Stranka, still maintains an official-looking web presence, although nationalist websites like this one are largely dead.

On online video sites, the pro-Serb song from official state occasions "Oj Kosovo, Kosovo uzivo" has been pulled from sites such as AOL video and YouTube for "terms of use" violations that are assumed to be related to their status as hate speech. Nonetheless, amateur video versions of the song like this one, shot at what seems to be an auditorium with singing schoolgirls in ethnic garb, or this one with a montage of patriotic images and scenic landscape shots persist. This militantly anti-Islamic rap has a quarter of a million views.

From researching the pull-downs of the Kosovo videos, I also learned about MIT's YouTomb project, which examines how copyright claims are often used to police certain forms of free speech. It records information about Internet traffic, popularity, and time on the site. As an FAQ explains, "The goal of the project is to identify how YouTube recognizes potential copyright violations as well as to aggregate mistakes made by the algorithm."

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