Case Studies/Revver Study
Revver is a video-sharing platform deploying an innovative business model with hyperdistribution as its core. Differentiating itself from competitor YouTube by offering per-view revenue, the platform takes advantage of peer-to-peer distribution mechanisms for sharing its hosted videos. When a user uploads a video to Revver, customised software inserts a brief, unobtrusive advertisement at the end of the video stream. At this point, the ‘Revverised’ video can be downloaded and distributed via any method – website, email, P2P, without losing the advertisement. Revver software reports back to the main website every time the embedded ad is clicked irrespective of location, prompting the advertiser to be charged a micropayment. The platform shares the associated revenue with the owner of the video on a 50/50 basis. Revver’s users are able to track their video’s performance, monitoring how many times the video has been viewed, and the amount of revenue accruing. Sharers are able to earn 20% of ad revenue for forwarding the videos. Revver is therefore founded on the ‘free and unlimited sharing of content online in an environment where the creator is rewarded for his/her work.’
- ‘Copyright is complicated stuff. Our position on it is pretty simple.’ http://www.revver.com/go/copyright/
Revver’s business model is particularly noteworthy as it aims to take the wide-spread sharing of copyright material that occurs online and turn it into an asset, rather than a reason for litigation. The site uses Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives licences to permit users to distribute their content (with embedded advertising) verbatim for non-commercial purposes. The only additional requirement is that the creator of the video is attributed alongside Revver as host. This revenue-raising strategy not only permits widespread distribution; it relies on it – the more people who see the video, the more money both the site and the creator earn.
Adherence to copyright law is an important issue for Revver. All uploaded videos are reviewed by a human before being made available online. Reviewers look for copyright violations, fraudulent tagging, and any inappropriate content which would violate the site’s member agreement, such as content deemed obscene or hateful. If the site’s reviewers detect possible copyright violations, the uploader is emailed, and asked to document their ownership of the item in question, be it the video footage, background music or other content. Revver’s copyright statement declares:
- ‘At Revver, we staunchly support copyright laws. Our mission and business is firmly rooted in the idea that artists deserve to control and be rewarded from their intellectual property. We also believe strongly in the protections provided by the doctrine of Fair Use, which is part of US copyright law, and to comparable protections provided under the copyright laws in other jurisdictions. While it is impossible to draw a hard and fast line between what is Fair Use and what is not, we understand that we are living in a remix culture and we support an open media environment that allows creators to lawfully build on the work of earlier creators.’
Recognised as an early adopter of next-generation business models, Revver is underpinned by the belief that ‘a free and open, democratized media environment is good for everyone. Our goal is to empower video makers and sharers to do what they do best.’
Support for the balance in copyright law, and alternative options including Creative Commons is further evidenced in Revver’s support for open source communities. Revver acknowledges that they have built their products with a number of open source software projects including Python, Twisted, mySQL, PostgreSQL, Xen, Java, PHP, Apache, Lighttpd, and Django. In return, Revver has made the ‘ActiveRevver‘ and ‘Sparkline’ pieces of software available for usage, modification, and distribution under the MIT licence. Revver’s Developer Centre provides access to the Application Programming Interface (API), involving software developers in the enhancement of the platform.
Given the sharing environment established by Revver, Creative Commons used the platform during its initial fall fundraising campaign in 2006 with the video Wanna Work Together, which they encouraged supporters to embed in their sites.