Monday, November 16, 2009

On OurTube: “Open video” could beget the next great wave in web innovation - if it gets off the ground

On OurTube: “Open video” could beget the next great wave in web innovation - if it gets off the ground1

Earlier this semester, I read an article on remixing videos by Jonathan McIntosh. In the same issue of the Technology Review, David Talbot discusses the trials and tribulations of getting “open video” into the mainstream. It begins with the story of Michael Dale and Abram Stern, who decided to make video remixes using C-SPAN coverage of Senate floor speeches. They ran across difficulties due to copyright laws, but could not find a viable alternative source for the speeches, partly due to formatting issues. Open standards would accelerate the searching process, but it’s time for widespread implementation has not yet arrived.
Dale now works for the Wikimedia Foundation, which has just this goal in mind. They want to develop “open video” before there is a demand for it because they believe that, in general, the necessity of this sort of innovation is not obvious to the public. As Chris Blizzard of Mozilla states, “Open standards create low friction. Low friction creates innovation. Innovation makes people want to pick it up and use it. But it’s not something where we can guess what ‘it’ is. We just create the environment that lets ‘it’ emerge.”
HTML5 is part of this new approach. There are no plug-ins required because an open-source player is included in the browser. Creative Commons is also helping by creating precedent in the domain of copyright law, helping to establish open licensing.

Reference:
Talbot, David (2009) OurTUBE: “Open video” could beget the next great wave in web innovation - if it gets off the ground.Technology Review Vol. 112/No. 5