July 7, 2010

Why Wikipedia insists on open video

Why Wikipedia supports open video from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaFrom time to time, Socialbrite explores the use of open source tools by change-makers and social benefit organizations — see below for our past coverage of open video and how open standards can benefit nonprofit tech.

The second annual Open Video conference returns to New York University on Oct. 1-2. If you can make it, it’s a must event for evangelists of open content. At last year’s event, I got to meet Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation and an early advisor to Ourmedia.org, who helped (via email from Berlin) steer us toward the right set of Creative Commons licenses.

In this video interview, Möller tells me why Wikipedia decided early on to support open standards for all video used on the online encyclopedia. “We’ve always had a commitment to open standards,” he said. The Wikimedia brain trust made a decision early on not to support Flash, MPEG-4 or any other proprietary format on Wikipedia when the formats are controlled by a single vendor or handful of vendors. “If [users] all have to get permission from one entity, we would never accept that kind of market power” in other mediums, like TV or radio.

Without question, it was the correct decision — and a vastly important one.

As a result, today Wikipedia has more than 30 million text articles — all available under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license — but only 3,000 videos. Erik hopes that changes. He encourages contributors to collaborate and publish “rich educational materials” through video, photo slide shows, animation and rich media on subjects like genetics or natural selection. “The potential is enormous,” he said.

Watch, download or embed the 6-minute video in Theora Ogg on Tinyvid.tv (and let us know if you can’t view it in your browser)

Watch, download or embed the 6-minute video on Vimeo

Watch or embed video on YouTube Continue reading

September 15, 2009

Toward a Web of open video

Toward open video on the Web from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaA few weeks ago, before and after the Open Video conference at NYU, I sketched out the proposition that open video is a requirement for an open Web in two posts: The promise of open source video and Boxee and the promise of open media.

By some estimates, 90 percent of the traffic on the Internet will be video by 2013, so this affects free and open discourse online. Above is a 7-minute interview I conducted with Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, who talks about how video is really separate from the rest of the Web in that it’s a much more closed system. “We need to look at how to make video a first-class citizen on the Web,” he said.

Surman said he hopes a concerted push toward open standards will “shift the market away from a black box video plug-in, where the video is separate from the rest of the page, to something where video can interact with Javascript” or other elements on a Web page.

Video today is locked up (technologically) and locked down (legally). In order for video to become part of the Web’s innovation ecosystem, Surman said, we need to be able to play, manipulate, transform and remix video in the same way we can with photos and data.

In the past two years, the vast majority of video hosting sites have settled on Adobe’s Flash as the format of choice because more than 95 percent of desktop computers and laptops can play them. But Flash isn’t an open source system, and video producers have been limited in how they can make video interact with other Web page elements.

“That may not sounds interesting to those who just watch videos, but it’ll be interesting first to video producers who can do all kinds of innovative things that we can’t even imagine now,” he said. Continue reading

July 30, 2009

Open source’s growing influence

Guest post by Renee Blodgett
CEO, Magic Sauce Media

At this week’s AlwaysOn Stanford Summit, the open source video company Kaltura organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel (SaaS as in Software as a Service).

In this video interview, Kaltura CEO Ron Yekutiel says open source is disruptive but on the rise, and it tears down those garden walls, giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco were the other companies joining Ron on the panel.

Renee Blodgett is the CEO of Magic Sauce Media, a strategic communications, social media and branding consultancy. This post originally appeared at Renee’s Down the Avenue and is republished with permission.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
June 29, 2009

NPtech + causes + open source + social media

JD LasicaAs part of our silo-busting effort at Socialbrite, we’ll be showcasing cool technologies that haven’t received enough attention in the nonprofit and social change worlds. So here’s a one-minute video, announcing the launch of Socialbrite, that I created last night on Animoto:

Introducing Socialbrite.org. Nonprofit tech + Causes + Open source + Social media.

We’re using it at the top of our Media Center.

Check out Animoto: They’re doing amazing things with a very small staff. You can try out a few remixes for free, and choose from music and images on their site; after that, it’s 3 bucks a video or $30 a year.

Continue reading

June 27, 2009

Boxee and the promise of open media

JD LasicaAt last weekend’s Open Video Conference, where 850 people turned out at NYU to discuss the future of open media, the standout open source project — at least for me — was Boxee. It’s not so much a company as a cause.

This is a big subject, so, first, a word about the conference, put on by the Participatory Culture Foundation, Yale Internet Society Project, Kaltura, iCommons and the Open Video Alliance. I wrote about the promise of open source video earlier this month, participated in the conference, and now have a much better understanding of the issues at stake.

Jenny Attiyeh, host and producer for Boston-based ThoughtCast, conducted interviews at the conference and produced this riveting 4-minute video (embedded above) that looks at the importance of open media for getting the word out about the demonstrations and government crackdown in Iran.

openvideoMark Surman of Mozilla, whom I interviewed (I’ll post the video in the coming weeks), gave a stirring talk and wrote this on his commonspace blog: “We love [the Web] because it’s all about transparency, remixability, participation. It’s about creativity and innovation. It’s open. And it’s wonderful.

“Sadly, we cannot say these things about online video today. To be sure, have seen a huge explosion of video creativity on the web. And web cams and phones have made video almost like an everyday language. Yet, the legal, distribution and technical underpinnings of online video remain much like television — opaque, immutable and centralized.”

Continue reading

June 3, 2009

The promise of open source video

JD LasicaOn June 19-20, 2009, I’ll be at New York University’s School of Law attending the Open Video Conference. To my surprise and delight, this is turning out to be quite a big event.

Socialbrite readers get 15 percent the registration fee (regularly $75 for individuals and nonprofits and $200 for companies). The event will be held June 19-20 at NYU.

Shay David of Kaltura

Shay David of Kaltura

The open source landscape has come quite a long way in the past few years, and its importance to the media landscape can hardly be overestimated, said Shay David — co-founder and CTO of Kaltura and a fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project — by phone as he sped to the airport for yet another trip abroad.

“If you want an open structure of media to guarantee that the future of media is not proprietary and locked down, then open is the only way to go,” he said. “If we care about democratized media, where citizens in their living rooms can access programming from more than just three or four media conglomerates, then we should care about open video.”

But David’s warning is not a call to arms against entrenched corporate interests. “Millions of lines of code have been written in the open video world without a lot of success,” he acknowledged.

Rather, it’s a call for reasoned partnerships: public and private, new and old, for-profit and nonprofit. We need to think beyond licenses and consider how to build real businesses that are built on open and democratic principles — and translate that into real economic value. In short, he argues that open video is not just about serving the interests of users. Open video is good for business, too.

Continue reading