When I was writing my critical thoughts about the Facebook streaming videon of the opening of the next session of Congress, I will admit I had Carl Malamud and his efforts to get the US government to include digitization and access as a built-in part of how they do business. The news that one of his many projects has launched couldn’t be better timed, to drive the point further home.

Today, we are announcing a new site, House.Resource.Org. This site contains today over 500 hearings we obtained from C-SPAN from the proceedings of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Under an agreement reached with Chairman Darrell Issa and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, we are now in receipt of several hundred more high-resolution files from 2009 and 2010 hearings that will be loaded on the site. In addition, the Committee has agreed to furnish us with high-resolution files from all hearings in 2011, which we will be posting on a weekly basis. Note that this is not a real-time service, we are posting big files after-the-fact.

Carl’s efforts are admittedly more focused on archiving and access than necessarily live broadcast but he does have a solid background in real time streaming. The efforts here also span YouTube, the Internet Archive and C-SPAN, clearly enough combined capacity to provide for live events as well as after the fact access.

I don’t want to further minimize Carl’s achievements by continuing to dwell on the inadequacies of the Facebook arrangement. Clearly what Carl has done is much more comprehensive, not just garnering support on both sides of the aisle but also tapping engineering talent at YouTube to make these congressional committee videos as valuable to librarians, archivists and the general public as possible.

The second hack is something we are doing that leverages some amazing work being done by the YouTube engineering team. In many cases, we’ve been able to take the video of a hearing and mash it up with the official GPO transcript.

Please read Carl’s announcement for an example of the transcription mashup and along with all the other details of this great project.

House.Resource.Org, Carl Malamud at O’Reilly Radar

feeds | grep links > More on CC and the CBC, the Public Domain Mark, and More

  • More information on why the CBC cannot use CC licensed music
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt has done a bit more digging, arriving at an explanation for why the CBC stopped using CC licensed music in its podcasts. The problem arises from the non-commercial clause which is quite common with these otherwise free licenses. Many of the radio programs are available through secondary and tertiary distribution platforms with arrangements, like pre-roll ads, that would violate the non-commercial requirement. Having run afoul of this same clause, I concur with Masnick that this explanation makes more sense than the ones offered earlier on as the story unfolded.
  • Creative Commons on CBC and non-commercial licenses, Creative Commons
  • Gait recognition for smart phones, Slashdot
  • Duke Nukem Forever public demo coming next year, Wired
  • CC launches the Public Domain Mark
    This new tool from the Creative Commons is distinct from CC-0, their public domain dedication. The mark is used to help clearly identify works already free of copyright. This is a timely release given the report from the Library of Congress about the problems around preserving audio recordings because of how long it takes for works to devolve into the public domain. Using the mark and its associated deed could greatly ease the job of archivists, and the software they use, where there is already certainty about the status of works.

feeds | grep links > Apple Collecting Location Data, Appeals Court Weakens Public Domain, and More

feeds | grep links > Hang Detector in Next Firefox, Improvements on Computing without Decrypting, WIPO Study on the Public Domain, and More

Apologies for the limited blogging yesterday. Work was hectic with a celebration of the team’s last successful public code release and preparations for a move to a new space over the weekend both falling on the same day.

The Public Domain Manifesto

I am currently reading James Boyle’s, “The Public Domain”, which is a thoroughly engaging and enlightening read. He tweeted a link to this public domain manifesto today. He didn’t have anything to do with its authoring but not surprisingly signed it, as did I.

I am of two minds. We shouldn’t need a manifesto in defense of the public domain. If we do not protest its enclosure, though, we may soon no longer have a public domain to defend. Ultimately, my decision to sign was fueled by the need to send a clear signal that the current default of permission when it comes to copyright is unacceptable with regards to so many aspects of a post-filter, post-net world.

TCLP 2010-01-24 News

This is news cast 204, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

This week’s security alert are an odd interaction between AT&T’s mobile network and Facebook with some clarification and a seventeen year old Windows flaw.

In this week’s news CBS keeps some public domain videos locked away in its vault though the status of the video seems clear but the situation may have been exaggerated, another proposal to re-write HTTP, consequences of Google’s map, reduce patent, and US secretary of state’s speech on censorship and the Chinese response.

Following up this week OGD deadline came for which the first data sets were released and you can track progress to the next deadline and warrant-less wiretapping case is dismissed though EFF says it will appeal.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Project for Making Public Domain Music Friendlier

It is hardly surprising that Boing Boing’s developer, Dean Putney, has been working on a project to make discovery within the immense collection of live music at the Internet Archive easier. The story of his work, and that of his collaborators, is almost as interesting as the end result.

I am a little disappointed that Dewey Music doesn’t appear to be an open source project. The fact that it is a school project may have some bearing on that. It does have what appears to be a pretty comprehensive, REST-ful API, though, so could be used in a further mash up with other web applications.

The interface it sports does indeed seem like a pretty natural way to sieve through the Internet Archive to find performances of interest. Some of the categorization issues of the archive unfortunately bleed through. The genre list, for one, is immense as a result of quite a few one of and spurious entries. Still, it is a start and definitely a huge improvement over trying to filter the archive directly.

Happy Public Domain Day!

This is a holiday I can really get behind. James Boyle explains that the first of the year is when we look forward to the next crop of works lapsing into the public domain and become free for re-mix and re-use. In Europe, there is much to celebrate but here in the US, not so much.

The fine folks at the Creative Commons are also observing the day with details on how others are also celebrating. CC has much to be glad of, not just improvements and expansion to the cultural commons. They also achieved their ambitious $500K year end fund raising goal. Exceeded it to be entirely accurate.

And lastly, Slashdot shares a nice bit of speculation, what would have entire the public domain today if not for term extensions.

Malamud’s Idea for Digitization as Public Works

I had the privilege of hearing about this notion from Carl himself when he was in DC a few weeks ago. It made great sense especially given the zeal with which Carl explained it. I was delighted to see him post a thoughtful write up of his suggestion to pursue digitization as a national effort, inspired by France’s disbursal of stimulus funds along a similar vein.

Carl makes a compelling case for a home grown digitization effort funded by also by stimulus money. He relates it back to the challenges faced by our first National Archivist and the inventiveness with which he approached considerable challenges.

The biggest challenge was the deluge of paperwork, a situation not very different from what our national institutions face today. Instead of simply moaning the impossibility of swallowing all the records Connor would need to establish the National Archives, he thought nonlinear. The result was the invention of several key technologies: the airbrush to clean paper, the laminator to protect it, and of course, the microphotograph (now known as microfilm or microfiche), a technology so successful it reduced incoming paper needs by 95%.

There is an implication to this idea that Carl just touches on in the write up. He discusses the lack of skilled labor available in the 1930’s. His use of the term public works is intentional, now as then there is a dividend that a modest amount of stimulus money could return in the form of new jobs and improving the lot of any number of workers who could acquire experience and training they could take back into the market.

The overshadowing of that element by his conclusion is forgivable. He lays a challenge at the feet of the Obama administration to step in and lead as is suggested by the very historical example Carl cites.

Update on Malamud’s Congressional Testimony

Cory has been following this story all along and shares the conclusion on Boing Boing. Carl figures that the material in question has been viewed maybe just over ten thousand times based on the for sale, proprietary system currently in place.

What did his call to act yield?

In less than a week, we did 14,664 views on just 46 videos, and I’m pretty sure if we put all 1,899 videos on-line for a while, the number of views would go up by a couple of decimal places!

I hope these numbers speak for themselves and that the key Congress critters decide to move forward on broadening access per Carl’s plea.