Notes from the Open Video Conference, Day Two

Summary of a couple of panels on Day 2:

Automated DMCA Takedowns and Web Video: Scott Smitelli, a professional sound designer and editor, is the fellow who wrote Fun with YouTube’s Audio Content ID System, in which he tried to test out the limits of YouTube’s fingerprinting system for audio. Conclusions: the software is mainly interested in the first 30 seconds of a song, and can be thwarted by pitch or time alterations of over 6% (which may be unhelpful to the musically sensitive among us, but there you go.) Kevin Driscoll and others from YouTomb discussed the January Massacre: the massive increase of takedowns in December, 2008 and January, 2009. On a graph, it looks like takedowns have dropped off since then, but that may be deceptive: in fact, it seems like things are being detected so fast (within ten minutes) that YouTomb can’t keep track of them, or to put it another way: takedowns are low because stuff’s never getting UP in the first place. A suggestion: that it would be great if every takedown left a webpage with a card saying, “This has been taken down,” because in many cases, people are not aware of what they can’t have. Oliver Day, also from YouTomb, told a chilling story: the original filmmaker who shot the clouds that were used in the Anonymous anti-Scientology ads had his original footage taken down–not in deference to those ads, but in deference to a Huffington Post anti-Giuliani parody of those ads. As Day put it, “The power is with the powerful”: even though the original filmmaker’s footage was there first, it was assumed that he was infringing the Huffington Post, and not the other way around.

Who Owns Popular Culture? Remix and Fair Use in the Age of Corporate Mass Media: This was the panel hosted by Jonathan McIntosh and featuring animator Nina Paley (of Sita Sings The Blues, Neil Sieling from the Center for Social Media, political remixer Elisa Kreisigner, Karl Fogel from, and OTW Board Member Francesca Coppa. The panel largely discussed what the policing of online video and the over-enforcement of copyright means for artists, remixers, and those interested in free speech. Nina Paley answered the question literally, by providing a list of who owns popular culture–or in her case, literally, the songs, mostly from 1927-28, that she used in Sita Sings The Blues, while Elisa Kreisinger evoked many the important visual artists, from Duchamp to Koons to Kruger to Lichtenstein to Warhol, for whom remixing and recontextualizing pop culture was a key artistic move. (She also showed her remixes of the Queer Housewives of New York City.)

Notes from the Open Video Conference, Day One

Francesca Coppa, Naomi Novik, and head coder Elz spent the day at the Open Video Conference in NYC today. The conference is primarily about building architecture for online video as well as open source software more generally, so you can see why we were interested. (We’re keeping a close eye on the emerging technologies that might make a Vidding Archive Of Our Own more feasable and efficient.)

Some highlights from today’s programming:

Independent Video Platforms: Representatives from various independent video spaces, mostly dealing with issues of social justice or alternative media, showcased their sites. (My favorite was India’s, a beautifully designed digital archive designed to contextualize its footage and work in both high-bandwidth and low bandwidth situations.)

Emerging P2P Technologies: This was a glimpse into a wildly exciting and very near future: streaming from bitorrents. The guys at P2P Next are working on something called the Swarmplayer, which allows you to stream from torrents, which means that you can create a YouTube like video archive with none of the server or infrastructure costs. Imagine a video archive where you can stream or download or both, and where having a popular vid doesn’t kill your bandwidth, it increases your download speed. Imagine being able to watch anything currently being torrented through streaming, on-demand. (You can test Swarmplayer now, though you can only watch two videos; the researchers say we can expect a full version to be released in November, 2009.)

How to Make a Political Remix Video: Political remixer and friend of the OTW Jonathan McIntosh has been showcasing fan vids on his site, Now he’s made what he calls a vidding-influenced political remix video critiquing Twilight, Edward Meets Buffy (Twilight Remixed), which he premiered at the conference. Vidders, he’d love to hear what you think, so check out the video (embedded below, or linked on blip, which provides higher quality; vidders might check out blip as a replacement for YouTube or iMeem.)

Job Search: Experienced XHTML/CSS Coder

Job: Experienced XHTML/CSS Coder

Description: We’re now much further forward with the Archive, and we’re badly in need of some front end skillz! The illustrious lim wrote the main style sheets for the Archive, but now that those are in place, we have many other front end jobs. The lovely Flamebyrd has been doing sterling work on some of these, and we’re jazzed about the fact that Hope recently joined us to work on skins for the Archive, but there’s a lot of work to do and we’ve yet to perfect our cloning technology. So, we’re looking for people to work on some of the following:

* Reviewing the design of the site for accessibility and making improvements as necessary. We already know we have some issues in this area, particularly when it comes to ease of enlarging text, and we really want to get it right.
* Reviewing our coding standards and making sure that we have fully standards compliant code.
* Implementing cross-browser compatibility for the site, which is currently only Firefox compatible.
* Finetuning the styling for different parts of the Archive, especially in areas which have been built since the main body of work was done on the CSS.
* Lots of other smaller jobs – you can see some of these in our list of current frontend issues.

Estimated Time Involved: As much or as little as you are willing to give us! We understand real life means people are not always available and you may need to dip in and out at times.

Other Information: Ideally you will be working with the same setup as the Ruby Coders, in which case there will be a bit of a setup process to get all the software tools installed on your system and working. However, unlike with the Ruby on Rails coders, this is not as critical, because if this setup isn’t feasible for you, you can just create static html and CSS files and hand them over to the Ruby on Rails coders to be integrated into the application.

How to Volunteer: Use our contact form to send us the following information:

Your name (you may provide your real name or your fannish name–please consider what you feel comfortable using both inside and outside the organization):

Your email address:

Relevant experience and credentials (fannish and/or real life):

Computer system (hardware — CPU, RAM, disk space — and operating system with version):

Please put “XHTML/CSS Coder” in the subject line.

Send us your information by: Ongoing

All volunteers will receive an email confirming their information has been received; please give us up to five days to reply.

Anyone can contact the Volunteers & Recruiting committee at any time by using our contact form.