Grants/ - tracking the re-use of media across productions

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Applicants: MOD Productions
Affiliation: Rack&Pin
CC affiliated? Yes
Contact: Michela Ledwidge
Coordinator: Mish Sparks
Project Start: 2010/08/30
Project End: 2011/01/30,
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Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences. is proposed as an open source web database for publishing, distributing and promoting media metadata from productions that have chosen to use open digital asset libraries.

It will create for the first time a centrally accessible and purpose-built library (or hub) tracking relationships between titles (e.g. influences, media file remixes, data sequence edits, character references).

The key benefit is that it will reduce the cost of sharing professionally produced production assets with the wider community.

It therefore promotes open media data mash-ups and facilitates take-up of remix culture across Story productions (eg films, transmedia), parallel to game community sites like, which track game MODs.

The project supports all media types including non-narrative forms but will be seeded with data from open story productions (e.g Sanctuary from MOD Films, Big Buck Bunny from the Blender Consortium).

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).

The project output would be a new online database that provides access to remixable media titles and metadata. As part of the project the database will be populated with comprehensive data on two Creative Commons licensed films and cross-referenced to work derived from these productions.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

The project targets the media community, particularly film-makers (e.g. audio-visualists, live cinema practitioners) who look for high quality digital assets for use in their work and who seek to share their own work. The project will showcase popular open media projects and derived content to illustrate that the remix paradigm can apply to high quality work. It complements existing open media portals by providing a distinctive visualisation of remix trends and a greater focus on professionally produced narrative work.

The remixable media community relies on informal and non-structured repositories of content metadata as few businesses see the value of sharing professional content metadata with the public. Professional practitioners in the media space who use open licensing will benefit from being able to demonstrate the openness of their projects on an asset library level. It will help facilitate such individuals and organisations to be high profile evangelists for />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

MOD Productions (Australia) and MOD Films (UK) are media companies heavily invested in open media production and R&D.

MOD Productions co-founder Michela Ledwidge has over 6 years experience developing open media processes and prototypes. She was the first film-maker to use Creative Commons licenses on a 35mm film production, Sanctuary (2005) with union cast and crew. This unreleased 10min CC-licensed coming-of-age / sci-fi film has over 1 TB of cleared assets ranging from script, storyboards and concept art through to 35mm film rushes. This title is an exemplar of how CC-licensing can co-exist with professional media production and we are keen to make all of this material available to other media creators as part of the project.

In 2006 we built as a database prototype of the ideas to be extended in this proposed project. Lessons learned from the project, and the legacy database, will be applied to (2007) was our early prototype to test license-agnostic media publishing and distribution.

In 2008 Michela created the University of Sydney's Remixable Media post-graduate unit of study and she has an extensive global network of collaborators, media producer peers and graduate students interested in and receptive to CC principles.

Since 2007 Rack&Pin has provided cloud services for media productions based on the above research and development. This project will be partly supported by Rack&Pin ongoing.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

Key performance indicators of the project will be the Google Ranking of the term remixable media, the number of registered projects, the number of registered users and the number of 'remix' derived titles registered.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

In the first six months we expect at least 50 productions to be registered and over 300 active participants. We will use our existing network across All Rights Reserved, Some Rights Reserved content creators, and Public Domain contributors to promote the benefits of the system to track reversioning for creative and business purposes (e.g. promotional mashups).

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

The project will promote and showcase professional media projects that have contributed part or all of their media asset library to the commons. It will highlight the creative reuse of legally remixable media assets from larger team projects, as well as individual work. This will help legitimise Creative Commons as a tool for professional content creators and help tackle negative perceptions of CC licensing. The database will clearly associate project assets with their license terms to help raise awareness of CC mission and tools.

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? will be an open source application prototype built with off-the-shelf wiki and web content management python frameworks (e.g. django). Python is the de-facto standard language support by professional media software tools. All source code will be published on github. The database will be populated by users uploading their content metadata.

We are experienced digital content producers and architects, professionally employed in this sector since the earliest days of the web (1993). Source code from existing prototypes will be contributed to the new project. The grant will fund core web database development and online publishing of the Sanctuary and Big Buck Bunny asset library as sample metadata. We have extensive experience designing sustainable online systems (e.g. National Library of Australia, BBC, Department of Trade and Industry UK, Reuters) and will focus on core metadata provision so that other sites can easily mashup the contents of this database.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Many professional storytellers and storytelling businesses are opposed to CC licensing and will view any data (especially that involving narrative remixing) as a threat to their livelihood. Many remixers do not want to acknowledge their re-use of existing media fearing legal action or challenges to their authorship. We will use completed open film productions as seed content. We will target already identified early adopters of open licensing and prominent remixers who clearly attribute their sources. The platform will showcase the positive benefits of remix culture to both source and remix creators. The site will provide researchers with a new category of metrics to support CC case studies - i.e. re-use patterns across all media types, particularly with reference to emerging transmedia story universes.

The user-generated content of the database will be subject to spamming efforts. Verified users will be granted additional moderation privileges (like the Slashdot community) to de-centralise and crowdsource any moderation requirements. This will also help minimise administrative overheads.

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? will be an open source component provided through Rack&Pin - a software-as-a-service startup company that provides open source and proprietary cloud services for media productions. It will be skinnable by any other organisation. Remixable media is also core to the MOD Productions ongoing business. Michela Ledwidge is writing a book on remixable media which tracks the reuse of influences above and beyond actual assets through popular culture. This project will be incorporated into the curriculum of the Remixable Media postgraduate unity of study offered by the University of Sydney.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

Better appreciation of media interconnectivity can encourage more creators to pass on the benefits of remix culture to resource-poor peers. can be an exemplar for other communities. This database is designed for all media types including static images, moving images, music and text. This project is technically scalable as it only hosts media metadata not the actual media files (for which hosting will be available through Rack&Pin and other open media repositories) so the overheads of maintaining service are low. Furthermore the interface is wiki-based to allow privileged users to refine functionality without significant manual intervention.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

MOD Films has previously invested significantly in developing prototypes and collating data for this project. However we now require endorsement and investment from the CC network to enable development of this resource.

We would like Creative Commons to support the media strategy for the launch of the project by approving use of Creative Commons logo and representative's quotes in media releases (submitted for approval in advance) and by providing links to from CC's website.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

We use 'remixable' and 'remixable films' as hashtags to form groups and forums on most social networks to communicate with the community. We use Twitter and Facebook in tandem with blog postings to announce new developments. We maintain Friendfeed and aggregators (e.g. to automatically compile information across disparate sources.