Grants/CC Uploader for Drupal
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
The Creative Commons Video Uploader for Drupal will allow organizations with basic broadband connections (cable modem or DSL) and thousands of hours of video in large archives to share this content with the rest of the world by pushing the video to Creative Commons friendly Content Distribution Networks (CDN) including Archive.org and Blip.tv. This project builds on existing work done for the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) as part of the Knight funded Open Media Project and Google Summer of Code funded Creative Commons module as well as APIs developed by Archive.org and Blip.tv. Building on Drupal gives the Uploader support for internationalization and all Creative Commons jurisdictions. This project will essentially fund the development of an updated server-side CC Publisher that will queue a large number of videos and transfer them to the CDN during an organization's off hours.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
Code - CC Uploader available for download with GPL license
Development and Support - Project on Drupal.org that handles source control, packaging releases for download, issue tracking. Direct support of the implementation of the Uploader in at least 3 locations
Documentation - Guidelines for dealing with licensing content in an existing archive and promoting Creative Commons licensing options to public access producers
Content - Upload at least 100 hours of video to Blip.tv, Archive.org, and/or other CDNs that support CC licenses
Promotion - Promote the use of the CC Uploader to organizations with large video archives at 2 conferences
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
The initial target audience for this project are public access television stations using digital playback servers. Public access stations sit on a wealth of content. Unfortunately, little of that content is Creative Commons licensed or available online. Public access stations are struggling to remain relevant to their local communities in a world where more people watch YouTube than cable television. A few public access organizations are reinventing themselves with less focus on programming television channels. Those groups are putting more effort into identifying groups in their local community with stories to tell and training members of the groups to use social networks and CDNs in additional to video to tell that story. The project would target stations that are creating great content, but lack the bandwidth, servers, and technical staff to support a full blown Open Media implementation or other video on demand (VOD) solution.br />
I have been actively contributing to open source solutions and fostering collaboration around those solutions for more than 10 years. I have been developing and implementing solutions within the public access community for the last 2 years. Dr. Lessig had some nice things to say about some code I wrote back in 2005 (http://lessig.org/blog/2005/02/new_code_good_code.html). More recently, I worked with Blaise Alleyn on his Google Summer of Code project to improve the Creative Commons support in Drupal (http://drupal.org/project/creativecommons). I continue to update, maintain, and promote the use of that module within the Drupal community. In addition to my work with public access, I have worked in academic environments with librarians and public broadcasters who could also leverage an Uploader with minimal technical requirements. Though the Knight Foundation funding used to start the Open Media Project has been exhausted, I continue to work with public access stations and organizations providing content to public television improving the Open Media modules as an independent contractor. I am one of very few people who understand the wealth of content public access has in their archive, the APIs of playback servers from several vendors, the technical aspects of Creative Commons licenses, AND the bandwidth limitations at existing stations.
I have presented about Creative Commons and video sharing solutions at Alliance for Community Media regional and national conferences, American Library Association Media Librarian Working Group, Open Video Alliance conference, and DrupalCon San Francisco.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
The primary measure of success will be the volume of content and number of implementations. The ideal outcome would be new videos being shared that remix older video from archives unlocked and distributed with a ShareAlike license because of this project.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
Many stations that want to get involved in the Open Media Project lacked the network, server, and/or staff the current Open Media modules require. The Uploader would be designed for implementation in these environments. The majority of public access stations have large digital archives, but limited bandwidth and staff. Once the Uploader has proven successful at a few stations, it could be adopted by hundreds of public access stations.
In the Open Media Project, the key to sustaining an organization's involvement has been providing a solution to a problem the organization had already identified as well as refraining from overselling the solution. The CC Uploader alone will not solve all the problems locally focused organizations face to remain relevant to their communities in a Web2.0 world. Once an organization decides sharing their archive is a priority, the Uploader will just be one tool they can leverage while making other changes within their organization.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
- Measurable increase the amount of video content with well structured CC license information
- Measurable increase the number of local organizations incorporating Creative Commons into their video production curriculum
- Measurable increase the number of content producers familiar with Creative Commons licensing options at each location that implements the CC Uploader
- Potential for new creative and/or educational work created from content distributed and CC licensed because of this project
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
The CC Uploader itself will be a stand alone PHP solution that can be easily configured using XAMP or MAMP. It will leverage the Archive.org and Blip.tv APIs. Metadata, licensing, and producer's authentication credentials will be stored in Drupal. That Drupal site can exist on a server within the orgnazation's facility or on an external, shared hosting environment. The XAMP or MAMP solution will be installed on the same network as the video archive on lower end hardware.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Public Access Producers - Eric Steuer helped answer producer questions during Open Media implementations at channelAustin and the Bay Area Video Coalition. Eric's responses to the occasionally hostile producers were brilliant. One challenge would be to create a virtual Eric. Failing that, creating a guide that helps each station relay information about Creative Commons licensing to producers almost as well as Eric would be required as part of the project's documentation.
Bandwidth - Limited bandwidth and network support is another issue. While a few well funded stations have fast, well managed networks, the vast majority of public access locations do not. The Uploader will need to queue files and transfer during hours that won't interfere with the organizations day to day operation.
Control of Content - Using the APIs provided by the CDNs to move video is actually the easy part. Getting the correct metadata associated to videos and maintaining the producer's permission to revise that information is much harder. Rather than upload the content to accounts 'owned' by an organization, the Uploader would require the producer attaching the Creative Commons license to their content to also authorize the CDN uploads. This puts the responsibility for dealing with any incorrectly licensed content or violations of the CDN's policies on the content producer, not an organization with very limited staff resources. A solution that met the technical challenge of moving 1s and 0s, but resulted in time consuming defense of take down notices would not see widespread adoption within public access.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
The Open Media Project and Creative Commons module both leverage the Drupal.org infrastructure for hosting code, managing issues, and bringing people together around shared needs. Like all Drupal modules, this solution would improve when any organization using it invests in an improvement. While the Uploader wouldn't be a Drupal module itself, it would leverage Drupal and be distributed with the Open Media Show module (http://drupal.org/project/om_show). Any organization that would like to improve the Uploader, could hire a developer or use existing staff to update the code and contribute a patch. If other Uploader users test and approve the patch, the improvements would become part of future releases. Drupal.org provides the structure for users with the same feature request to combine the minimal funding each individual organization can contribute into a larger bounty more likely to attract developer attention. There would be no specific plans to continue developing the Uploader beyond what locations using it fund themselves.
While leveraging Drupal, the Uploader itself will not require Drupal. I expect that additional funds will be raised to port this functionality to Joomla, Word Press, and other CMSes.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
Because the Uploader is designed to be distributed to individual public access stations, the burden of scaling really falls on Archive.org, Blip.tv, and other CDNs. In meetings with Brewster Kahle and Tracey Jaquith in April, they indicated Archive.org is prepared to drink from the fire hose of content a solution like this would generate. At the project level, scaling is really a question of replication. The Uploader developed with this funding will not require a background in development or system administration to install or manage. The Uploader will run on multiple operating systems and have minimal hardware requirements. It will be a Popeil inspired, set it and forget it solution.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
This project primarily builds on investments Creative Commons has already made. The most valuable contribution the Creative Commons organization could make would be connecting organizations with large archives of video contributed under a pre-CC agreements to legal advice on what they can and cannot do with the content.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
The Alliance for Community Media maintains an email list for public access stations where the project would be announced. More technical, Drupal related discussions take place on http://groups.drupal.org/open-media-project and the #drupal-openmedia IRC channel. The Alliance for Community Media has a national conference as well as several regional conferences each year.