Monday, September 22, 2014

Cuba's sneaker net

Yaima Pardo, 34, in her home in Cuba as she describes her project PaSA
(Paquete Semanal Autnomo), an independent weekly digital-media package for Cuba
A recent article (English or Spanish) describes the black market distribution of music, soap operas, TV programs, movies, magazines, Web sites, etc. on flash drives.

There is a tiered distribution system. A terabyte drive arrives each week in Havana and is replicated for distributors and eventually sold to end users on the street or delivered to homes. While the material is generally sold to the end user, ads are starting to pop up on distributions. The article does not say whether there are competing distribution networks or how material is selected for inclusion. A detailed description of the process would be most interesting.

The distributions contain no political messages or pornography. The article quotes one person as speculating that Cuban authorities might tolerate the weekly “packages.” It is not clear to me whether the master packages are downloaded or brought in on portable drives, but the authorities turning a blind eye would facilitate either means.

The article also describes PaSA (Paquete Semanal Autonomo) a project of film maker Yaima Pardo. Pardo and her colleagues hope to produce an independent, weekly digital-media package that will be open to more controversial content and distributed for free.

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