Open Video Alliance 2009

2009-01-08 3-minute read

Here are some of my notes from attending the second day of the Open Video Conference in June 2009.

##Opening Remarks##

Jonathan Zittrain gave the opening address. Striking was the prediction (from the conference organizers) that by 2013 90% of all video traffic will be video. We can expect bandwidth costs for providers will go through the roof. Jonathan point’s is the the big content providers ultimately sign contracts with the big Internet service providers. The basis is: the content providers suddenly, once they become big enough, can approach the ISPs and say: your subscribers want our content - let’s strike a deal. And the deal is that they don’t have to have their costs sky rocket as their bandwidth goes up.

Where does that leave small providers? It’s an impossible to sustain growth model.

Makes me think a lot more about varnish - a web proxy server that allows you to create a network of servers proxying static content (like video) across many different servers on different providers. As DSL and cable providers are rolling out very high bandwidth personal packages - it could provide an opportunity for our members to contribute their own home bandwidth to the organization for distributing our video bandwidth.

##Free Editing Software##

A new one!! pitivi. Still doesn’t work for me - but the demo makes it look like the uber simple video editing software of my dreams.

##DMCA Take downs##

YouTomb reports that it seems like the number of YouTube videos being pulled down is going down, but in fact the truth is that they are coming down so quickly after going up that they can’t track it. The average is 8 days.

In one case, a YouTube user’s video was taken down after a big company used his video. YouTube assumed the big company’s work was the original.

We were also entertained by Scott Smitelli’s experiment with YouTube’s fingerprinter. YouTube maintains a digital fingerprint database of copyright works and automatically scans uploads against this database and automatically takes them down.

Some of the conclusions about how you can fool the fingerprinter:

  • Don’t bother changing metadata, title, description etc.
  • Altering pitch or speed works (as little as 3% slowdown or 4% speedup)
  • Volume changes don’t work
  • Removing parts of the song works in most cases.

As for video:

  • Inverting colors works
  • Removing initial a few seconds works
  • Speedup/slow down works

Chilling Effects was mentioned as an important resource in fighting DMCA take downs.

A striking point made on a few occasions is that copyright law is causing increasing numbers of people to build private networks - a terrible trend for a public network.

HTML 5 and the video tag

Yes - it’s coming! Support is coming soon in Opera, Safari, and of course Firefox. Soon, we’ll be able to include streaming video in our web page by using the <video> tag just like we use the <img> tag for an image file. And, it looks like there’s broad support for ogg/theora as the default encoding.

The problem, of course, is that Internet Explorer doesn’t support it. How are we going to make this transition given their (still) majority share of the browser sphere?

And one last tidbid on the topic of ogg: A web site that will convert your video to ogg.

Bittorrent and pirate bay

The closing drew a comparison between the seizure of Elite Torrents in the United States, in which network admins went to jail with little or no notice among the rest of the country. In comparison, when Pirate Bay came under pressure, there were demonstrations and even a political party that jumped in to support the freedom of sharing.