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Should Online Video Look More like Wikipedia or TV?

A clutch of people concerned with the future of online video, including Center director Pat Aufderheide, met at Yale on October 31 to talk about what it would take to make creating an online video look a little more like, say, creating a text document to share on the Internet. Turns out that online video faces serious challenges, if it’s to become a tool for participatory public media rather than just more TV.

Most online video software and related programs (such as editing programs) have been developed by companies as proprietary products for specific purposes, rather than in the open-ended, open source way that the original Internet was developed. Online video is hard for low-bandwidth folks to deal with. Editing tools such as FinalCutPro are expensive and there aren’t good open-source and freeware alternatives. Makers don’t understand their Fair Use rights to create new culture using existing culture; the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video is only at the beginning of its educational career, and international makers (many of whom lack the legal option of Fair Use) need copyright reform. Nicholas Revell of the Participatory Culture Foundation, creator of Miro (your open source platform for tomorrow’s TV) and a convenor of the conference along with open-source video developer Kaltura , challenged participants to think about how to create a truly open, public online video environment. Fred Graber of the engaging project Remix America noted the need for most people to understand that there even is a problem, given the seeming abundance of Internet video. The conferees all agreed that a world where it was as easy to upload, view and edit a video as it is to do all those things with text in Wikipedia would be the ideal. But there’s plenty of coding and learning to do before we see that reality. The conferees brainstormed the idea of an Open Video Alliance conference; look for the announcement of that conference here!