PeekVid

My absolute favourite project at library school last year was a presentation I did  for a class called “Shaping of News & Information Through Technology”.  The seminar-style course was offered jointly with the journalism department so we had about 16 LIS students and 6 or 8 journalism students. 

Given the title of the course and because the majority of the content was about the development of communications technology – from the alphabet to the printing press to the telegraph to television – I decided to do my final presentation on the future of broadcasting projecting forward from the point at which the course material basically ended. 

Relying heavily on YouTube clips for my presentation, I did a brief overview of the history of broadcasting in general, a bit more in-depth look at the history of online broadcasting and then a very in-depth (well, as in-depth as you can get in 20 minutes) look at some of the things happening with online broadcasting today (cancelled TV shows being resurrected online, amateurs producing shows that were as good as anything on TV, online viewership numbers that are competing with traditional television's numbers), the issues (copyright, clearance, English-speaking bias, media monopolies online that are worse than traditional media monopolies) and some of the things that will happen or continue to happen in the near future (many-to-many communication, increased citizen journalism, traditional broadcasters finally coming on board, YouTube rivals, ubiquitous media to be followed by omnipresent media.) 

Normally, I'd upload the presentation for anybody who wanted to see it but since I tend to use a fairly minimalist style for my presentations and since I did this presentation in a very ad-libbed fashion without a script, I think it might lose some of its impact seen without those elements. 

The other reason I don't want to upload it is that I haven't stopped working on it even though the presentation is over and the marks are in.  Part of the joy of doing this presentation was that every day brought a new development: Michael “Kramer” Richards goes on a racist tirade in a comedy club – is that citizen journalism or ubiquitous media?  Danny Devito shows up drunk on “The View” and attracts a bigger audience for the clip than the morning talk show normally does during its regular broadcast?  Let's add that to the section on “Audience Size”.)

Every day still brings new developments.  A couple weeks after I presented, a story got released about the Hamilton Police Force releasing surveillance video on YouTube to help capture criminals.  So I add a slide about “Official Use” in the current trends section and also incorporated info I had about the US DEA posting anti-drug messages on YouTube (which aren't very well received at all!) 
Even the fact that the unedited video clip of Saddam's hanging was online within a day fits into my topic in a variety of ways – the citizen journalism aspect, how online broadcasts demolish the space-constraints of traditional media, censorship issues, audience size issues.  (We'll leave the conspiracy theory debate about whether its release was “accidentally intentional” for another day.) 


So anyhow, that's a long way of saying the latest addition to my ever-expanding presentation is a web site called PeekVid that I just discovered tonight. 

People are already using the same technique to upload copyrighted materials that Napster users did when it first came under legal challenge.  If I remember (er, what my friends told me) correctly, you could search for the slightly altered name of the band (“EttalicaM”, “EatlesB”) that was issuing legal challenges and still find their stuff.

But if you didn't know the code, you couldn't find the music.  The same thing is being done today as people are uploading movies, TV shows and other types of videos to YouTube but giving them coded names so authorities can't find them.  The problem is that the codes are now a lot more complicated and so your chances of stumbling on all seven parts of “Borat” are mighty slim and if authorities find them, they get pulled extremely quickly. 

What PeekVid does is act as a double-blind key to help connect people looking for copyrighted material with the “hidden” content that is on YouTube and other video services.  They do this by adding an extra layer of hiding their own so authorities can't easily discover the “Eyk” by obscuring the direct links to the codenamed content but allowing you to easily see it as you would expect to see it (“Borat”, “Beatles”) via their web site. 

I am not a lawyer but technically, I don't think they're doing anything wrong (or at least their position would be that) because they're not hosting any of the infringing materials, similar to how a community bulletin board can't be responsible for the communications that may be facilitated between third parties using it. 

So anyhow, I have a feeling I didn't explain that very well.  But I'm going to sit here and watch “Kenny v. Spenny” episodes until I either fall asleep or die of laughter while I also enjoy seeing the future of broadcasting come alive before me (or something like that anyhow.)

(Slightly off-topic but how wrong is it that Wikipedia absolutely can't find “Kenny v. Spenny” as a search term but hits directly if you search for the proper show title, “Kenny vs. Spenny”?  They need to improve that area of their site pronto!)

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Damn you PeekVid! Now I have more reasons to procrastinate from doing my library homework…I'm never going to graduate.

    Posted 11 Jan 2007 at 5:27 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    “look at some of the things happening with online broadcasting today (cancelled TV shows being resurrected online, amateurs producing shows that were as good as anything on TV, online viewership numbers that are competing with traditional television's numbers),”
    Interestingly, I just recently heard about a new video-sharing site (the name escapes me) that promises to pay contributors for original content. The pay is tied to number of hits, so not a penny before 25K hits or somesuch. But if you make and submit a video that ends up generating milliions of hits in traffic for the site (and its advertisers) then you stand to get a decent kick-back. Probably not enough to make a living off of it, but still it is the first steps in a new model of media distribution.
    Cheers

    Posted 12 Jan 2007 at 2:01 am
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    It's pretty sweet, isn't it? So easy. Once they get the copyright issues worked out and they improve the resolution, I think this is getting close to what future broadcasting will be look like.

    Posted 12 Jan 2007 at 5:15 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    It's called Revver.com Most people probably aren't going to make much but I just saw an article about how the guys who made the “Coke and Mentos” viral video made $30 000 after millions of people watched it. That's not too shabby at all.
    http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/13/news/funny/mentos_dietcoke/index.htm

    Posted 12 Jan 2007 at 5:19 am

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