HTML5 Video - Introduction and Commentary on Video Codecs

There is a raging discussion out there on the web about the upcoming HTML5 standard and the inclusion of the video tag. Not about the tag itself but about the codec used by videos played inside that tag.
There is a firestorm by free software advocates that want the only codec to be used inside this tag to be the -largely- patent free open source Theora Codec - the other side wants the ubiquitously used high quality H264 video codec. I think I can weigh into that debate. If you donīt want to or know already about codecs, containers and its history jump below to "my take on the codec war".

I am a content producer have been following video on the web since the very very beginning, have advised firms how to handle video on the web, have struggled countless of hours trying to find the best solution to put video on the web and have so far refused to use flash to display video on the web. I always believed that the web should be fundamentally free of technology that is owned by one company that then can take the whole web hostage to their world domination plans. I have hoped that the video tag would be introduced much earlier in the game and have looked with horror to youtube & co. how they made adobe - a company who has basically stopped innovating 10 years ago - a ruler of the web when it comes to moving pixels.
Now this is finally about to change - or at least that is the intention by google, apple, mozilla and others who are pretty fed up with flash for very obvious reasons (its slow, development sucks, its proprietary, the source code of the creations is always closed, its slow, its slow as fuck, it eats energy from the processors like nothing else). It never really made any sense to put a container inside a container inside a container to display a video - the second most powerhungry thing you as a consumer can do on your computer (the first would be 3d/gaming).
Yet a video is not a video. A video to fit through the net needs to be compressed - heavely. Compression technology is nothing new but it evolves over years and years. Its always a tradeoff between size, quality and processing power. The "Video" codec by apple - probably the first "commercial" codec available to a wider audience looks rubbish but is insanely fast (it utilizes almost no processor on a modern machine) and the file size is pretty alright. It was capable to run video on an 8 Mhz processor mind you.
Over the years lots and lots of codecs have sprung up - some geared toward postproduction and some towards media delivery - there is a fine line - for the postproduction codecs you need full quality and try to save a bit of storage. Its videos that still need work and you want to work with a mostly uncompressed or losslessly compressed video. Processing power for decrompression is an issue because you need to scrub through the video - also compression porcessing power (to make the video) you donīt want to take ages because you like to work in realtime and not wait for your computer to re-encode a video just because you clicked on a pixel.

The other codecs are the "end of line" codecs - delivery codecs - made to compress the crap out of the video while "visually" loosing the least amount of quality and having the smallest possible file sizes. Here it doesnīt matter how long the compression side takes as long as the decompression is fast enough to work on low end computers to reach the largest available audience.

While production codecs are fairly fluid - people change as soon as a better becomes available - takes less then 5 month to have a new codec established (recently apple released the ProRes4444 codec - most postproduction companies are already using it (those that donīt use single pictures - but that a whole different story) - the delivery codecs are here to stay for a very very long time because in the time of the web people just donīt reencode their stuff and reupload it - if its there its there.

Now before I go into the format war and my take on it there is one more concept I need to explain shortly - containers. Flash is a container for a video with a certain codec displayed in it. So is quicktime, so is windows media so is Real Media. It gets confusing because MP4 can be a container and a codec at the same time. A container just hold the video and adds some metadata to the video itself - but the raw video could be ripped out of the container and put into another without re-encoding. This is what apple is doing with youtube on the iPhone. Adobes last "great" innovation (or best market move ever) was to enable the Flash container to play h264 (a codec) encoded videos. Since Apple (among everybody else who isnīt a flashy designer) thinks that flash sucks they pull out the video from inside the flash container and put it into the (now equally bad) quicktime container and so you can enjoy flash free youtube on your iPhone.
Now with the technicalities out of the way whats all the fuss about?
HTML5 promises - ones it becomes a standard - to advance the web into a media rich one without bolted on add ons and plugins that differ from platform to platform and browser to browser - its a pretty awesome development or most people ever developing anything on the web. Part of the process to make this the new standard is to involve everybody who has something to say and is a shaker and mover on the web to give the direction this standard is going. Its a tough rough ride - everybody and their mother wants to put in their tech their knowledge their thinking - I really would not want to be the decision maker in this process if you gave me a trillion.
The biggest and most awesome change in HTML5 - and the one the most abvious to the end user - will be the inclusion of media content without a freaking container that needs a plugin to display that content that only half or less of the internet population have. To make this happen at least all the big browser makers need to approve what can be played inside the new tags (video & audio).
This is where the debate heats up. I really donīt understand why audio doesnīt spurn the same debate publicly as does video - but its probably because google is involved with the video debate and can change the direction completely on their merit with whatever they choose to support on youtube.
The two competing codecs are Ogg Theora and H264. Now I am less familiar with the Ogg codec (but have tried it) but first a small history of H264. Back around 2000-2001 a company called Sorenson developed the first video codec that was actually usable on the web - there where different ones before but they all sucked balls in one of the departments for a great delivery codec. Sorenson made a lot of video people who wanted to present their work on the web very happy. Apple bought in and shipped quicktime with the Sorenson codec and the ability to encode (make) the video with this codec - albeit with a catch. To really get the full quality of Sorenson you had to buy a pro version - which costs a lot of money - the version that Apple included could play Sorenson (pro or non pro) just fine but the encoder was crippled to one pass encoding only. The real beauty and innovation was with two pass encoding - basically the computer looks at the video first and decides where it can get away with more compression and where with less.
Apple and the users where not really happy with this situation at all. So for a long time (in web terms) there was no real alternative to that codec. The situation was even worse because to play Sorenson you had to have Quicktime installed - before the advent of the iPod a loosing prospect - I think they had 15% installed user base on the web. It was the days of the video format wars - Microsoft hit with Winows Media (which sucked balls quality wise but had a huge installed user base) and on top Real Media (which was the only real viable solution for streaming video back then).
In the meantime another phenomenom happened on the audio side - mp3 became the defacto standard - a high quality one at that (back then) in the audio field. We the video people looked over with envy. When producing audio you could just encode it in mp3 pretty much for free on shareware apps and upload it to the web and everybody could listen to it. There was nothing even close happening on the video side. The irony is of course that its MPG1 layer3 (mp3) - part of a video codec - but the video codec side of MPG1 sucked really really really really bad. Quality shit, Size not really small only processor use was alrightish but not great.

Jumping forward a couple of years (and jumping over the creation of MPG2 - the codec used for media delivery on DVDs - totally unsuitable for web delivery) the Motion Picture Expert Group - a consortium of industry Companies and experts that developed (and bought in) MPEG1 and MPEG2 decided to do something for cross platform standard video delivery and created the MPEG4 standard (overjumping MPEG3 for various reasons - mostly because of the confusion with MP3 (MPEG1 layer 3). MPEG4 is a container format - mostly - but it had a possibility for reference codecs and the first one of these was H263 - this already was quality wise on par with Sorenson yet in a container that was playable by Quicktime and Windows Media - the two last standing titans of media playback (by this time Real Media mostly had already lost any format war). Great you think - well not quite - Microsoft wasnīt enourmously happy and created its own standard (as they do) based on MPG4 H263 called VC1 (I am not really familiar with this side of the story so I leave you to wikipedia to look that up yourself if you are so inclined). Web-video delivery was still not cross platform sadly and the format war became a codec war but there was now a standard underlying all of this and the quality - oh my the quality was getting good. Then the MPEGroup enhanced the h263 codec and called it h264 and oh my this codec with a pure godsend in the media delivery world - it was great looking scaled up to huge resolution could be used online, streaming and on HighDefDVDs and in the beginning it all was pretty much for free.
It looked like an Apple comeback in the webvideo delivery because Quicktime was for a while the only container that could play H264 without problems. Around that time flash started to include a function in its webplugin to play video - interestingly enough they choosed to include sorenson video as the only supported codec - word on the street was that Sorenson was very unhappy with Apples decision to ditch them as codec of choice and instead pushed H263/H264. Now the story could have ended with Apple winning the format war right there and all computers would have quicktime installed by default but it didnīt because out of nowhere Youtube emerged and Youtube used flash and Youtube scaled big time and made it - for the first time ever - really easy for Joe the Plumber and anybody else to upload a video to the web and share it with the rest of the world family. It changed the landscape in less then 6 month (I watched it it was crazy). Now you had a really good codec finally as a content producer to upload video in very good quality but the world choosed the worse quality inside a player that sucked up 90% processing power with the codec of choise needing another 90% and all that came out was shit looking video that everybody was happy to be over - but the user experience of hitting an upload button and have everybody watch your video was just unbeatable. Eventually just when people realised how bad these videos looked compared to some Hollywood trailers that still used quicktime and H264 Adobe included H264 into flash and prolonged their death by doing so again (without innovating at all it must be said).
Now fast forward to now - again a group of clever people, big companies and such have sat down to bring us HTML5 and the video tag. That tag as said is going to rid us from any plugins and containers and instead just plays pure video as fast as possible right inside the browser that supports HTML5. Now the problem is that people can not agree on the codec to be used. Why you ask if H264 is so great? Because H264 was developed by a for profit group of people and they want to make money and they have freaking patents on it - not that this has hampered web video to this day in any way - but for the future standard it seems lots of people have taking offense to that. There is in fact a whole ecosystem of alternative codecs (audio and video) in the open source world and the most prominent is Ogg and its video incarnation Theora. They are mostly patent free because the company who originally developed these codecs gave the patents to the open source community (yet its still not clear if that covers the whole codec). Now what happens when patents enter the WorldWideWeb could be seen with GIFs. The GIF graphics (moving or non moving) where once a cornerstone of the web - a more popular choice for graphics then anything else (small could be read by anything blahblah) then a company found out that they had the patents on that (luckily just shortly before they run out) and sued a lot of big websites for patent infringement and wanted to have royalties of $5000 from every website that used GIFs - they would have killed the web with that move (and they where in the right - law wise) if the big companies they sued first would have dragged out the court case until the patents run out - now the GIF file format is in public domain.
Now its understandable that this lesson should be learned BUT and here is

my take on the codec war:

Flash is a MUCH bigger threat then patents on the codecs used. Because not only does it use the patent infringed codec inside its container but the container is totally owned by one company and a company that has shown often (PDF) that it will do everything to take control of anybody using their technology - even if it is the whole world.
Now 95% of all web videos are delivered by flash these days and to change that a lot of things need to happen. First google needs to drop it on youtube - they just announced a beta which does just that - but even with googles might its just not enough - content producers need to hop on board as well. And here is where the chain breaks for the "free and open codecs of OGG". See from the history above H264 has been the industry standard on a wide range of devices including the web for years now. The whole backend has settled on this and there are really good workflows to create H264 video. With the video tag - Youtube is less relevant then it was at its beginning because all of the sudden its easy to incorporate video into your webpage. Now if google where to say "we use Theora only" high quality content producers would just say "fuck you" and post their videos on their own sites in a much better quality without the hassle to find any workflow to produce theora videos (for the non terminal using people there just isnīt an easy way to do that still that can be used in a professional non frickly environment - we like to create not code for a delivery sorry).
But thats not enough - almost ALL consumer cameras released over the last 2 years including the hot shit DSLRs with video functionality produce H264 that can be "just" uploaded to the web without reencoding - thats saves Youtube and vimeo a lot of processing capabilities - and with their lossy revenues they sure donīt want to add another server farm just to reencode every and all video they have to a codec that has worse quality. You know 90% of all videos on the web are already encoded in H264 as of now (and Theora maybe has 0.2% of the other 10% that are left over). Its uneconomical and not sensible to re-encode all of that any way you look at it - especially since the quality is not surpassed by any other codec out there - patent free or not.
I would say go H264 now and have a new consortioum of browser developers and other companies develop a new codec (or build upon theora) from scratch that is patent free AND high quality AND has a good workflow (means is supported by hardware vendors and OS vendors across the board). That can then take over H264 (just like PNG took over GIF in less then 2 years following the patent threat). Leave the codec question open for now and let the web sort it out for itself (for the moment) - like in the img tag - doesnīt matter if you put PNGs, GIFs or JPGs in it (or any of the other plethora of IMG formats) as long as the browsers support it its watchable and so far has shaken out a good road to take (see the switch to PNG with transparencies that also helped a lot to bring down IE5 in my opinion which didnīt fully support that - so the market sorted it out quickly (as in 5 years quickly)).
BTW the only browser that just does not want to go down that route (and rather wants to cripple itself with Flash in the meantime) is the oh so open minded Firefox. Sorry I fail to see your point dear Mozilla developers - you are not gonna make a lot of friends that way outside of the very very small open source community (and even here your approach is not liked universally by those who can not install a flash plugin for example because flash is not supported on their platform (ppc linux f.e.).

Get rid of Flash first then get rid of H264 later when you have something equally good on all accounts. Going backward with technology is just never the way forward - open source or not.


26c3 - Here be Dragons!

HereBeDragons.pngThe congress for the crazy ones the wild ones the good ones the ones defending freedom and digital liberties keep the information flowing unhindered without borders the last of their kind - the real dragons. Those who share and know will meet and talk and copy and paste and for so much knowledge brought to a boil the outcome is unknown.

There be Dragons! Dragons Everywhere. I will be one and so should you.

26c3 Official Website

And on the 28th around 23:00 in the smokers lounge the dragons will undertake a special journey through time:
Indian Timetravels - an audiovisual performance by Das Kraftfuttermischwerk & protobeamaz:fALK (hey thats me ;)


Censorship in Germany - The Rundown

Over at Spreeblick there is a good summary in english of where the current debate over censorship in germany is headed and what childpornography has to do with it.

Since there is a current and hot debate over a new law that’s about to be passed in Germany and a highly successful online petition against that law, I thought it might be a good idea to do a summary in english for non-german bloggers and journalists.

If you live in germany I encourage you to sign the petition (some fundamental german language skills are required to do so) - it has already helped to garner almost 80.000 signees and provided the german press with a reason to report about it instead of just printing the talking points of the clueless politicians - it actually feels like it is making a difference.
This is about the freedom of speech not a call to support child pornography - there are better ways to combat this then activating ineffective filters and monitoring the whole internet population and - worst of all - give the BKA (german CIA or equivalent to former Staatssicherheit (Stasi) in east germany) the power to censor and block all websites without public oversight (if the law passes it would be a crime to posses and distribute the list of blocked internet site).

More information in english as said in the Spreeblick article.

Update: Over 100.000 people have signed the petition by now creating a media storm and shifting the debate. As some commenters pointed out - even if you are not a german citizen you still can sign the petition - still some german language skills might be required to get through the petition signup form.
Please sign and help the german internet community get a respected voice.

Commenter M.A. has the following help to offer for non german speakers:

Hey everyone, you may knowing, that there is an online petition going on in Germany against this law. I just want to point out (or try to with my bad English) that EVERYONE in the whole world is allowed to support this petition, because german constitution grands everyone to write petitions to the german parliament (or any other public institution of germany). This right has the totality of a human right in germany (some might say, because we are a nation of complainers ;-)) - Even childern, foreigner ... may. Everyone means everyone. If you can read German, in this thread of the discussion site of the online-petition, you can read exactly the laws that grand you these rights: (starts with a discussion to fill out the registration correctly - later that foreigners are allowed to sign the petition also) So - why should foreigners sign a petition - THIS petetion - in germany:
1.) Even if you are a visitor in Germany, you have the right (again granted by german constitution) to get information by every (legal) public source you like - without censoring. Of course child porn illegal. But the mechanisms to block this content can easily exended to every content - and there are no general control mechanisms - the BKA (german FBI) decides by itself which sites should be blocked - the perfect mechanism for censoring.
2.) If you are in germany, and let’s say, go to an internet cáfe or use the connection of your hotel - and you reach a blocked website with bad luck, your IP is stored by the BKA. And the BKA has then officially thinks you are searching for cild porn - and because you are using internet not from home - there is the danger that it is not possible to find you the very next day. It might be not nice, if the police awaits you in the lobby of your hotel - only because some spambot or cyber-worm “helps” you to find illegal sites.
3.) The lists of blocked sites are secret. If you are not using a german provider, you will never know if YOUR homepage, blog, commercial website, ect. is blocked.
4.) This is an infrastructure for censoring - and we all know, if its installed, it will be used and extended. Do anyone in the world wants to have the germany Nation to be uninformed, wrong informed, censored? - AGAIN. History shows - we can do this quite effective and with uncontrolable consequences. sign the e-petition to show, that even foreigners don’t want Germany to be censored again.

1.) make an account on the petition portal of the german parliament: email (repeat email), password (repeat password) And then your name and adress: Frau/Mann = Mrs./Mr. Name = sirname Vorname = first name organisation = institution, company… (optional) Titel = academic title if any (optional) Straße und Hausnummer = street and house number Postleitzahl = postual code/zip code Wohnort = place of residence/city Land = country Bundesland = federal state of germany/foreign countries - choose the last one (AUSLAND) if you are not living in germany Telefonnummer = telefon-number (optional) then activate option “Ich bin einverstanden” - which says, you are ok with the privacy-policy of the portal. At last prove, not to be a bot with: “Visuelle Verifizierung” - type in the letters you see in the picture on the bottom of the site, Then push “Registrien”-Button. Your username is generated automatically: “NutzerXXX” - XXX is a number.
2.) sign in with the username and your password.
3.) Sign the e-petition: You find the right one at:;sa=details;petition=3860 click on: “Petition mitzeichnen” - sign petition Its in the field “Anzahl Mitzeichnungen” (number of signings) - the forth blue box. Congratulations: You have signed a e-petition to the german parliament - against censoring the internet. greetings, M.A.


E-Voting in germany was illegal

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) of Germany has made it clear that the use of electronic voting equipment currently in use is against the law. The last local election was also against the law. That means germans are going to cast their ballots on paper from here on out until e-voting machines comply with the law - which states that the transfer process of the votes and storage of the votes can be certified by EVERYONE not just an "expert" panel.

A big win for democracy and paper freedom fighters in germany - especially a big win for the Chaos Computer Club who has spearheaded the campaign and made sure that the court was well informed of the dangers e-voting poses. Thats the third judgment the court has cast in the last 12 month that is in favor of the people and showing the german government the boundaries of what they can do with their urge to overthrow the constitution and go straight to a police dictator state.

More at (de).


YouTube goes CC and Micropayment!

Google has announced that YouTube will let users include Creative Commons Licenses and make files available for download either free or for a "small" fee through GoogleCheckout. That is a killer move in a lot of ways. First its great publicity for CC of course - so they reallyreally have to figure out how to a) enforce their license better b) find a final solution to the pesky embed problem - especially with YouTube.
That it might finally make micropayments possible is the other side - not only possible but enforce them. Wonder if their will be "GoogleCredits" soon - where you buy a bunch for $10 and then pay with them - basically Google making its own currency - at the moment they canīt really make profit with sub $1 transactions (or they have figured out a way to do it). Interesting to watch progress on this front - even so its evil angel google.

Here is the official blogpost.


Media Embeds copyrighted in the USofA!

I have just stumbled over an article that was a link in a story about the GateHouse vs. NYT lawsuit. It is amazingly enough two years old but it explains the lawsuit of a motocross company SFX Motor Sports against someone called Robert Davis. Mr. Davis used embedded media from the SFX Motor Sports Company on his own site. SFX does need the people on their site because the few sponsors the motocross scene has (its a tiny teeny scene with way less revenue most people would think - I had short contact with it ages ago) want to be seen.
So SFX went to court in Texas - their home state - and won the case. What that means - is that I was totally correct when I said some moons ago in the discussion I had that embeds are links - this is legal precedence and is very unlikely to be ever overturned. That means that in Germany and in the US its definitive that all embeds fall under their applied copyright license (normal copyright, or Creative Commons or whatever there comes) - that means that people using embeds with a NonCommercial Attribution License on their blogs and having ads on their blogs are violating copyright law - of course only if the Creative Commons Foundation ever pulls their head out of their butt and clarifies what commercial means in the realm of the web - or adds an "advertisment free" license to its license collection - in the meantime I think all blogs with ads are commercial - lets see if I am correct in that assumption as well - lawsuit to follow in three month :)

Here is the (copyrighted) C|Net article about it. The missing link I was looking for such a long time.

Gatehouse vs. NYT Link Lawsuit - Creative Commons involved....

When I posted the article about the GateHouse vs. New York Times lawsuit and put out the thought argument that this lawsuit is really about copyright then constricting linking and that it would be a good thing for Creative Commons if GateHouse won - even so that most bloggers out there seem to disagree with that idea - I have been digging up some more dirt about the lawsuit and looked at the content of GateHouse that they want to protect
The surprise was apparent when I opened the site and has put me all the more in favor of a GateHouse win - they publish all their content under a Creative Commons Non Commercial Attribution License.
So the lawsuit - and that has not been made clear by big media - is about exact the same issue that not even 4 month ago I said needs solving in court at one point - namely that if you deep link to someone content - like make an embed of a video - or in the case of the lawsuit post and excerpt of the text with a headline - which is under a non commercial license and you have advertisement on your blog/newspaper aggregator site (like the new york times) you are violating copyright law. This lawsuit - if won by GateHouse - would dramatically shift the web into a commercial free zone as people who still want to have traffic either have to do it totally non profit and link only to creative common content that is under a NCA license promting in turn to basically force everyone to just publish NCA content or become totally unlinked and therefore unloved. That would be a huge boon to creative commons - it would also clear the original issue of embeds being links or not because either way CC license would have to be adhered to.
What it also means is that each and any site making money by just aggregating links and content without creating their own content and actually needing the money to operate is likely doomed - no loss here. There would still be the same content its just that you might have to actually go to the person who created it. Not a bad thing for those that create content rather then just spread it - or those endeavors would be purely driven by enthusiasts (not making money) and they would only link to NC licensed content - not to bad for Creative Commons and other free licenses.

John Duncan said in a comment on the Buzzmachine:

Fair use was not designed to allow companies to build businesses around copyrighted content by taking the most interesting stuff for free and then selling advertising next to it, even if that content does generate some traffic for the content originator itself. It was designed to allow content owners to reproduce small parts of each others’ work to avoid permission requests for everything.

The whole lawsuit court documents can be found here.


Facebook (& co) the new Microsoft

Lock-In - Megamassmarket - Proprietary - driven by advertisment. That are things that I connect straight to Microsofts Windows - which has no right on the digital planet by what it does - the only way it survives is because it has the successfully locked in a mega mass market with proprietary mechanisms and keeps itself alive through an advertising budget that is larger then the GDP in some African countries. Luckily its a slowly dying dinosaur. Yet we wouldnīt be humans if we wouldnīt fall for the same traps over and over again - not learning a thing about past mistakes and here we go into 2009 and I have recieved 20 facebook spams - ähm friendship requests - already. Now my take on the whole social networking has always been clear - I am not spending my time on something that makes other people rich while there is no apparent value to human kind or even worse it halts innovation and true progress.
I truly believe that facebook and myspace (and the german studiVZ) are clearly aiming to become the new microsoft and want to lock in their users and control the content the users see and make it hard for them to switch - and the most proprietory of them - facebook - the only one who did not join the open social endeavor - seems to be the winner of them all.
Now if you look at a facebook user page (my gf has one to my distress) it already mimics an operating system nicely with "webapps" and a task bar and such. Now what is it offering again? Basically what it is is a glorified chat system with some blogging functionality and a working RSS feed implementation. The only thing its good at is combining these tools and organize the output. It does so by making "friends" the upper category of organization. I donīt understand the concept of "friends" that you are unable to track through your live except with a digital tool - I do sincerely think people that you are unable to track with your own memory are not real friends and might be even too uninteresting in the first place to even be acquaintances. You know there are people I contact or they contact me after I have not "spoken" (in any sense of the word) to them in over 5 years and yet both sides tracked each other over the years because there was more then a hyperlink connecting us.
Now organizational tools are not bad per se. Indeed one could argue the popularity of the social network sites is because people need to organize their input stream somehow. I think its laziness to learn the underlying principles of the web and understand that all the tools to connect to your friends and make them aware of your output are there without facebook et all - the most often reason I hear when I challenge someone why they are using a social network site is "it makes it so easy". I think some of the 2nd tier (facebook becoming the Nr.1) sites going belly up in the next few month and the people see their "friends" disappearing because their content was locked in - all the time they spend on the site that they thought is theirs but isnīt and maybe even some of the content they put up goes into the "wrong" hands and is being used to make ridicule out of them (its not their content anymore anyway) might see an awakening. Until then maybe there is hope to make a decentralized open source open community out of the internet again and not a giant hub of advert sponsored data mining endeavor.

Meanwhile please to all my "friends" out there: Please donīt send me more facebook/mysapce/studiVZ spam - I have enough other spam problems already. I wonīt join even if 90% of the world is signed up.


All old Media is dying - nobody cares

…it was the kind of year in which circulation should have boomed. If you live for a story, this year was an embarrassment of riches.

And yet the decline didn’t just continue. It accelerated.

Andrew Sullivan about the newspaper industry.

I also subscribed to my third Twitter stream - I do not like Twitter that much for the personal stuff like game highscores and such but its kinda great if you want focused updates on something and themediaisdying is such a very focused channel bringing you up to date news on whats going on with the media - in just headlines. Well its been a rough rough week for the media let me tell you that. Every day there was at least one local newspaper ceasing publication, at least 200 people where layed off in some media company - even advertisers and ad agencies seem to start hurting badly - Digitas for example cuts 2.100 jobs in the US alone (big ad agency for print stuff). Now as the cries for a media bailout get louder (its the media with its own voice and while nobody has yet used the "b" word it is coming through in numerous articles around the web that this is indeed what "needs to happen") nobody seems to listen and that is something that should be exactly like that. The old media has done nothing in the past to distract the population, fed it with a lot of bullshit, sided with last century copyright laws and has been slower then a the biggest fattest dinosaur in adapting to the new reality that is realtime news, networked and linked news, crowd publication.
I am sorry for all the authors that are layed off and the content producers - but I am looking forward of seeing an uptick on original stories around the web. Stories that are wonderfully written and researched - stories from real journalists.
Now as for earning money - sorry there is no sound bussiness model (except maybe if it takes off). So maybe you the journalist side with those who are looking for an alternative monetary system? I am going to ask again in six month…


Heavy Day for Freedom and Big Brother

Seldom has there been a day with so many headlines about laws and lawcases and policy submissions and calls for boykott that all have to do with our Big Brother and Freedom of Culture. Just a short overview for you:

Danish Internet Provider has to cut off its customers from Pirate Bay Bit Torrent Tracker

The german Bundesrat (the federal assembly) has ruled AGAINST the new law that would allow video surveilliance in homes without court order and putting spy software on anybody also without court order - that is after the Bundestag (state assembly) has ruled in favor of the law. If until Christmas the law is not passed it will have failed - a BIG BIG hurray for civil liberties - lets see what our evil minister for interior Mr. Schäuble will cook up to force it through until then. (

Some internet providers in Germany are not adhering to the one year old "Vorratsdatenspeicherung" (data retention) law in germany despite the threat of hefty fines - guess it might be cheaper for them to pay the fines then to invest in the massive infrastructure that would be needed to make the data rentention possible - or maybe they do value their customers wishes in the end. This puts a lot of pressure on Mr. Schäuble to react - especially since there will be a final ruling on the legality of such law from the "Bundesgerichtshof" (federal court of justice) - the first round of the ruling already hinted that the law might be in breach with the german constitution. Manifest of Internet Providers Calling for Boykott of the law.

The Free Software Foundation has called for 35 days against DRM boykott - the first day marks an issue close to my heart - Apple. They are calling out Steve wonder Jobs on his statement claiming he does not like DRM and then only shortly after removing DRM from music he introduces drastic messearues on its prestigious macbook line that basically cripple the functionality of said computers just to include DRM. I fully support the boykott and will not buy a new Apple computer until that issue is resolved (good thing my current lappy and standalone machine are plenty good for a while). That means I will rock the current lappy again until it falls apart but its unacceptable for Apple to make such a move and I would really really like to see them bleed badly. I am very glad the issue has not died the media short attention span death yet. (Defective By Design 35 days against DRM)

Interesting developments for sure.