French Constitutional Council vs. Citizen Journalism

How backwards is this?


France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

Law could lead to imprisonment of amateur videographers and Web site operators who publish their images

By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

March 06, 2007

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday in the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

This is an amazing scenario. :/ According to the rest of the article, “the law targets the practice of ‘happy slapping,’ in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker’s friends.” In that case…… Why not target the practice of happy slapping? :/

Apparently they think that crime and bullying is dependent upon the ability to videotape said activities. People were getting attacked before videotape was created, and CERTAINLY before cell phones had the ability to record images and sound. There is going to be less effect on kids involved in happy slapping and more effect on people that just happen to be in the right place at the right time to record something that happened to someone.

Similar to the presence of police, the fact that “citizen journalists” have the ability to record something going on right here right now is a potential deterrent to crime. Making it so that anyone other than “professional journalists” might be prosecuted for taping something is making it EASIER for criminals to do what they do instead of tougher. Sometimes, it’s just AMAZING what people thing is a good idea. :/ You have to wonder if they’re thinking about their community or their own agendas.

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Joost for Mac build pulled

The Joost for Mac build was pulled today [link: 19/02/07: Mac build pulled]. Fortunately, I already have mine. 😀

Basically, the idea behind Joost is video on demand with extras like widgets for a clock, jabber chat, chat with others on the same channel you’re watching, the ability to rate the video you’re watching, a notice board and a news ticker.

With Joost, you can select and de-select channels. I currently have 31 channels. You can add or remove them via the “Channel Catalog”. Each channel is responsible for its own programming. There are some that specialize in short videos and others that have full documentaries or films reaching 90 minutes in length or more.

You choose “My Channels”, choose a channel from the list that appears as an overlay while your current video is still running, scroll that list to a show you’d like to check out and click on it. ~5 seconds later, you’re watching something completely different.

I wasn’t too familiar with Joost (formerly named “The Venice Project”) before I received my beta-tester invite from Jay Dedman [http://jaydedman.pbwiki.com/], so I can’t review at this point whether Joost IS what it’s creators wanted it to be. I’ll have to do more research on it.

What I can say is that the response is very quick for those of you that have ADD when it comes to television. 😀 You know those people that can’t watch a television channel for more than one second before hitting the “next station” button! 😀 The current video keeps playing while you channel-surf to your heart’s content with the mostly-transparent overlay. You can change the channels you have available and browse those channels as well without leaving the current video.

You can also search for videos with key words… like “chicks” (1 entry) or “cars” (9 entries). You can then save your search as a channel. That way, you don’t have to search a bunch of channels to find car videos or you can find videos not specifically on car channels.

It remains to be seen how many channels will be available to choose from. I’ll also be interested to see how often they change the material on each channel. If you’re a television enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the flexibility and video on demand of Joost.

Meanwhile…

There’s an issue amongst the videoblogging community as far as what groups are going to be allowed to present programming carried by Joost. The way Joost is set up, it’s the perfect opportunity to present independently produced content that’s already up and running on the web to a new audience. The question is what the criteria is going to be for consideration for acceptance as a channel. From what I’ve seen so far in the beta test, shows like Zadi Diaz & Steve Woolf’s JetSet Show [http://jetsetshow.com/] or Justin Kownacki’s Something to be desired [http://somethingtobedesired.com/] would blend in seamlessly to Joost’s current offerings, either as their own channels or individual shows on a designated “independent channel”.

We’ll see how it all shakes out. 🙂 Anyway… If you’re a MSM (Main Stream Media) television enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the Joost beta test, so see if you can get your hands on an invite when they open it back up! 😉

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

NATAS + MySpace = 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

National Television Academy press release

LOS ANGELES – January 8, 2007 – MySpace, the world’s leading lifestyle portal, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, presenters of the coveted Emmy® Awards, today announced they have joined forces to honor premium broadband content on the Internet. MySpace will serve as the exclusive online partner of the Broadband Emmy Award submissions, empowering video producers and filmmakers to submit self-generated content for consideration through the official MySpace Emmy profile at http://myspace.com/MyEmmy.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences debuted its first Emmy Award for content distributed via broadband and portable delivery last year and honored creators in four categories. This year, The Academy will triple the number, honoring creators in 12 categories in four content areas: Entertainment, Sports, News & Information, and Public & Community Service. In addition, high school students are eligible for the National Television Student Awards for Excellence for broadband-delivered content in all seven student categories. Read entire NTA press release…

Now THIS is going to be interesting. 😀

[Full Disclosure: I am a NATAS Emmy Judge as well as an International Emmy Judge]

There are several ongoing debates within the community of people and groups who make videos and post their created content on the Internet. One of them is “what is and what is _not_ a video blog”. There’s another debate about videos posted in “closed” environments vs those posted in ways that make them accessible to whomever happens to be searching the net for video content. A MAJOR debate is what aggregators should and should not be doing with RSS feeds from either content creators or hosting sites.

Yet another daily debate is “what is QUALITY content?” or perhaps “what makes a show popular” or “what makes a show _good_”. The problem, IMO, with making distinctions about what constitutes a popular show is that depending on where you look and how you look at it, shows that get similar amounts of hits can be spun to look like either one is more “successful”. There is no agreed-upon site that can actually track site date consistently and accurately.

This makes sense, because there’s no bottleneck… Meda that goes to the internet goes straight out. It doesn’t have to go through EPs, producers, editors, quality control, legal, studios, stations, channels, local distribution points, cable boxes, televisions. There’s nowhere you can go and say “this show delivered 80,000 units through here and that show delivered 50,000 units, so the first show has more viewership for this period.

On top of that, there are several ways to get data from a site. If someone goes to my web site, they might view a page and then not view the video. They might open the page but not read anything on it at all. They might bypass the main page because they linked to a permalink for one post. They might not hit my site’s pages at all if they subscribe to my videos in RSS. They might not hit the RSS more than once if they are downloading the videos and watching them offline. So… if one site uses page hits to judge popularity and another site uses video downloads, they’re going to see things completely differently, even looking at the exact same site. If you have to have a particular widget installed to count in the rankings, you can forget it entirely as far as accuracy. Anyone who hits the site without being “part of the program” doesn’t count in the stats.

Anyway, I doubt the 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards will have anything to do with page hits and downloads. The Emmys in general are about quality content and quality production values. That’s what makes this contest interesting. MSM (Main Stream Media) is now getting involved in putting clips on the internet in mass quantities. All of a sudden, there are videos on MySpace with laugh-tracks. :/ All of a sudden, a “new” show appears with 30 episodes uploaded on the same day! :/ Reading the eligibility requirements for the MySpace contest, “Repurposed material originally produced for traditional media is not eligible”. That’s good, because cutting three minutes out of a professionally produced, shot and edited piece shouldn’t put you in position to compete with someone that made their video specifically for the internet. That doesn’t mean the internet piece isn’t well done or professionally produced, but it’s apples vs. oranges.

The first category open for submissions is “Entertainment”. It’s open right now, and “News & Documentary” opens on Feb. 26th. They both close on March 26, and finalists will be notified in April.

As usual, make sure you read the fine print in contests or even when you choose a hosting service to upload your videos to. Check out these terms of service in The Rules of the MySpace My Emmy contest:

By entering the Contest, you grant Sponsors a perpetual, fully-paid, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, sub-license, exhibit, transmit, broadcast, televise, digitize, otherwise use, and permit others to use and perform throughout the universe the Material (including without limitation, the underlying intellectual property therein to the extent necessary to exploit Material) in any manner, form, or format now or hereinafter created, including, but not limited to, on the Internet, and for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising or promotion of Sponsors and their services, all without further consent from or payment to you. The completion, expiration and/or termination of the Contest shall not affect Sponsors’ rights regarding Materials or Sponsors’ other rights hereunder. Sponsors shall have, forever and throughout the universe, the right to use such Material in any manner as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, including without limitation, the right to make changes, alterations, cuts, edits, interpolations, deletions and eliminations into and from such Material and the right to package such Material with those rendered by other Entrants in connection with the exploitation of such Material, all without further consent from or payment to you.

That’s fantastic! Look how progressive those terms are! Throughout the universe! 😀 Wow! They must know something we don’t know about pending space travel. Anyway… here’s the link to the Broadband Rules from MyEmmy.TV. If you’re willing to pay the $400 entry fee, you can skip all the TOS shenanigans and soul-selling.

The MyEmmy.TV page also includes the Judging Procedures & Criteria:

JUDGING PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA:

Content, Creativity and Execution are the primary standards for judging. Each criterion is given equal weight.

Judges will focus on the clarity of presentation of information, as well as the visual impact of the entry. Judges can also give weight to the entrant’s utilization of “broadband” capabilities, (e.g., interactivity, and viewers’ choice of images). Although any entry originally produced for “broadband” transmission is eligible to compete, the more the web’s capabilities are demonstrated in the production, the better the chances may be for winning.

Advocacy and presentation of strong points of view are eligible for award consideration. “Self-published” work by individuals as well as production entities is also eligible for consideration.
All “Broadband” entries/URLs will be viewed at home and judged in one round to determine the nominees and winner. Judging panels will consist of content experts rather than technicians. There will be separate panels for each category, although there may be an overlap with some judges serving on more than one panel. Judges vote via secret ballot using a scale of 10 for the highest and 1 for the lowest rating in each area (Content, Creativity, and Execution), for a total of 30 possible points.

OK… So I see what’s going on now. 🙂 Myspace is holding a contest in which the winners will be sponsored to the official Emmy competition. There are going to be two levels of judging. You can skip one level altogether by paying the entry fee and going straight to http://www.myemmy.tv/ . If my understanding after skimming the official entry rules is correct, as long as you made your content specifically for the internet, any level of professional involvement, time or money spent on the project is fine.

I’ll be interested to see what MySpace promotes to entrance in the actual Broadband Emmy Awards. Let’s see if any of the “mom & pop” user-generated content gets the nod over studio-produced work. I’ll refrain from mentioning any shows that I think could compete favorably… VERY favorably in the competition, just in case my region is involved in the judging and asks me to participate.

Either way, I think both the MySpace contest and the official Broadband Emmy Awards are fantastic ways for content creators to gain exposure and/or accolades. It’s definitely worth considering entering… whether it’s a video that was already done (since March 2nd, 2006) or one that you’re planning up until April 2007.

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

The NY Video 2.0 Group

Last night, I attended the NY Video 2.0 Group “meetup”. The focus of the event wasn’t the _making_ of digital video, but the business surrounding putting video on the internet. I found the presentations to be interesting as well as informative.

The host was Yaron Samid, Founder, Pando.com.

The presenters were (in order of appearance):

1. dotSUB – Michael Smolens, Founder
http://www.dotsub.com

2. Network2 – Jeff Pulver, Founder (www.pulver.com)

http://www.network2.tv

3. NBBC.com – Marc Siry, VP, NBC Universal
http://www.nbbc.com

4. YouAre.TV – David Dundas, Founder
http://www.youare.tv

5. Bolt.com – Aaron Cohen, Founder

http://www.bolt.com

Also, Chris Brogan, Community Developer for network2.tv had special information for the NY Video 2.0 Group about the upcoming Video on the Net conference in San Jose, California.

It was interesting to hear about “the shell” surrounding creativity, or perhaps the vehicles by which content is presented to the world via the internet and hopefully monetized all the way back down to the content creator. I think I can say that I felt “behind the scenes”. That’s an odd way for me to feel, since as an editor, I’m _always_ “behind the scenes”, but they’re behind MY scenes, and I know exactly what’s going on and what I’m doing.

To the average person, sites, applications and widgets just magically appear one day and get reported on in a blog or a show. Now I know where these things come from. People “moonlight”, creating businesses during their time off from their day jobs. People solicit venture capital (VC). People count on what they learned in their last business to make decisions for their new startups.

If any of those topics are interest to you, the videos I made from the meeting are available on Network2.tv, tagged “nyvideo20group” [link]

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack