Ourmedia.org, a free global repository for grassroots media, allows anyone to upload, store and share digital works. The site will accept home movies, music videos, original music, audio interviews, photos, art, documentaries, grassroots political ads, animations, books, student films, software — any work in digital form.
The site is open to all kinds of works but will focus on videoblogs, podcasts and other emerging types of media that are just beginning to catch the public’s attention. A videoblog is a homemade video about politics, culture or any subject that appears on a Web journal. A podcast is simply a voice recording, similar to a radio broadcast, that listeners can download and enjoy at their convenience. A digital story is a combination of images and video overlaid with a narrator’s voice.
“We’re living in a time of fundamental change in the media landscape,” said Lasica, a blogger and author of an upcoming book on the personal media revolution. “We’ve been taught that only a trained professional elite can create media. But people are now realizing that there are alternatives to top-down, passive consumer culture.
The effort, begun last June, has been largely accomplished as an open-source effort, with no income, no expenses and a central group of 50 volunteers working in a public wiki (or collaborative online work space) to build the site. Ourmedia, which will soon become a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), has partnered with the Internet Archive and Creative Commons, both non-profit outfits in San Francisco, and Bryght, an open-source content publishing company in Vancouver, Canada.
“The biggest hurdle people face today after creating a really cool movie or taking some really amazing photos is: What now? Where do I put it? How do I share it?” Lasica said. “We say: Put it here and we’ll store it, safeguard it, and let you show it off. Free. Forever.”
Ourmedia agrees to host such works as long as the authors or artists are willing to share their works with the global community. Podcasters and videobloggers like the service because they can upload their media without being hit by hundreds of dollars in bandwidth bills, as sometimes happens when a file they host becomes widely popular.
Ourmedia will also test the boundaries of fair use, permitting inventive or educational mash-ups or “remix” works that contain small snippets of copyrighted work — but drawing the line against infringement and illegal misappropriation of others’ content. Advisors include Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University professor and chairman of Creative Commons; James Boyle, co-director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School; David Bollier, co-founder of the public interest group Public Knowledge; Angela Beesley of Wikipedia; authors Howard Rheingold and Dan Gillmor, and 10 others.
Ourmedia will take advantage of the latest publishing technologies to offer RSS feeds that let anyone subscribe to a channel, such as music videos or animations; peer-to-peer technologies such as BitTorrent, which allows people to easily and legally share their own creations; and search tools that will allow anyone to legally remix or build upon others’ works.
Auf jeden Fall eine spannende Sache!