[Imc-uk-network] article written for the mule newpaper about indymedia and transmission.
mickfuzz at rocketmail.com
Mon Jan 7 03:15:42 PST 2008
The following article is going to get edited for issue
2 of this newspaper in the uk
Thanks loads for the ScrewTube stuff everyone that
collaborated on that, it made it really easy to write.
The Old face of New media v. the New face of Old Media
Too much information? Web 2.0 getting a bit much?
Thinking about retiring from the electronic age and
pining for a time when it was enough to read a daily
paper and send your friends birthday and christmas
cards. You may be suffering from New Media burn out!
But don't worry! You're not alone.
Indymedia was a pioneer of 'user generated content'
websites. Indymedia was one of the first sites where
you could provide the news, and collaborate to create
reports. The focus of Indymedia is local and global
events ignored by corporate press.
If you go to the global site http://indymedia.org or
the UK site http://indymedia.org.uk you'll see a very
direct way of seeing the world through first hand
reports of those struggling for their rights, and
those of others.
The Indymedia network started to mushroom around 1999.
There was such a need for radical politics,
marginalised communities and direct action protest to
be covered in a non-mainstream way that it was almost
inevitable that something like Indymedia open posting
technologies should come along to server that
community. It's something that activists and media
activists can be legitimately proud of.
As Indymedia grew and groups started cropping up
everywhere including over 15 cities in the UK. The
momentum was huge, everyone was excited, starting new
projects within the network. Global days of actions
happened and new services were created. A mailbox
where phone messages were uploaded to the internet as
mp3 files. Cheap satellite technologies were used to
create Indymedia centres in rural camp locations.
Where are we now? 8 years on since the start of
Indymedia in the UK and the UK-based website and
extended family of volunteer news reporters to vital
work in the communication and recording of action and
protest for radical social change. However face to
face communication of the imc-uk collective are
increasingly sporadic. The last well attended
gatherings were in preparation for the 2005 G8.
New initiatives are hard to get off the ground, and
changes to established technology takes a long time
too. And while large parts of the network are falling
apart about without people seeming to notice, there
are a lot of spin-off projects happening which
hopefully will be reincorporated into the core of
Indymedia. The challenge is to keep new people coming
into the Indymedia process with new ideas and energy.
Newcomers need to be given the information to take on
the ongoing work or running local Indymedia sites and
take on a level of autonomy for how Indymedia
reorganises. Maybe a revolt against the inactivity of
the Indymedia old guard would be in order! Let's face
it they'd love it if it happened.
The practice of self publishing is has gone ballistic!
Everyone's got either a myspace, facebook, custom blog
etc. So if that means Indymedia is becoming redundant
is that something to worry about or to celebrate? How
should Indymedia react to bloging, and other self
Case Study Video Distribution and the Indymedia
Let's take the example of Video and see what's
happening with Global Indymedia networks. Here users
face a legitimate question, Why put video on UK
Indymedia or other Indymedia videos sites when it's
easier to watch and you're going to get loads more
hits on YouTube? There are currently very few
Indymedia websites where you can "click and play"
There are valiant attempts to restart and upgrade the
global Indymedia Video site, but it's slow work. And
you have to ask yourself, if all this content is
already out there, what purpose does it serve to put
it on Indymedia as well? Afer all what's wrong with
YouTube? Well there's a campaign by a network of
Indymedia related video collectives called
Transmission, that would like to let you know, with
their "No Screw Tube campaign.
Q: Why shouldn't I just use ScrewTube ?
1. Exploitation. ScrewTube exploits your free
videomaking labor to gain ad revenue for the empire of
2. Surveillance. Since ScrewTube records your IP
address, posting your videos there puts you at risk
for surveillance and IP tracking, both by corporations
and by law enforcement and the state. For example in
2004 Yahoo collaborated with Chinese authorities to
identify dissident blogger Shi Tao. He is now serving
10 years in jail. many sites record your IP address,
not just corp projects.
3. Censorship. Putting your videos on ScrewTube opens
the door to censorship since they will do takedowns
for copyright violations or at the request of the
4. When Sharing isn't really sharing Sites like
Youtube only allow you to share videos with other
members, or by embedding a YT video in your blog.
There is no re-distribution via p2p networks, or
availability of high-res downloads for use in
screenings, film festivals or compilations.
5. When Free isn't really free These sites are free to
use, they don't cost anything. However the platform is
closed - if you want to use ScrewTube technology you
have to use ScrewTube. We need free software platforms
so anyone has the freedom to create their own
6. When a community isn't really a community YouTube
was sold to Google for $1.65 billion in Google stock.
If a community can be bought and sold, is it really a
community (or is it a buzzword)? There is no community
control of ScrewTube sites, they are organised by the
profit motive, not the concerns of the people who
constitute those communities. Editorial control,
control of the software should be in the hands of the
7. Intellectual Property Sites like ScrewTube place
exploitative terms and conditions on your
contributions which allow them to re-sell and remix
your work. ScrewTube for example state...
by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you
hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive,
royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license
to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative
works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in
connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and
its successor's) business
in any media formats and
through any media channels.
If we use existing ethical and pirate technologies we
can do so much better. And if you're going to put a
bit of time into trying to distribute ethical, social
justice content you really have a duty to at least
make an effort. .
Projects like VisiononTv from Undercurrents,
Ifiwatch.tv, Engagemedia.org (Australia) and numerous
global Indymedia video spin-offs are linking up their
databases to create decentralised search tools that
will greatly increase the profile and possibilities of
social justice video online. This is being
co-ordinated by a rebel alliance of Indymedia related
groups called Transmission. http://tranmission.cc
Using open source tools like Miro the Video podcast
player, these video projects hope that once you start
watching video in this way you won't want to go back
to YouTube or it's evil cousins. Miro allows you to
subscribe to different channels of video content, some
are themed by subject and some are just the pick of
the channel editors. You can even subscribe to YouTube
channels in Miro as well and it sneakily downloads
those videos for you to keep if you want to.
There is so much going on with the Transmission
network to even begin to mention here so please do
your own research if you are interested. But what is
clear is that Indymedia is not stagnant, it's simply
mutating. We should start to see the fruits of this
mutation soon.... so stay tuned.
Find your local collective here
Transmission network :
A global network of video collectives working to use
and create tools for Video distribution for social
A Online TV project, a series of edited channels from
undercurrents.org the award winning activist video
A source of activist videos especially environmental
and culture jamming. Also experimenting with using
Media RSS feeds.
The Pirate Bay :
Download whole series for free with no adverts. Do it
and then teach your Gran!
Many tutorials and how to-guides for downloading
distributing Video online and pirating DVDs.
Sillicon Valley Insider:
Experts try work out if YouTube will ever make any
http://www.mutantmedia.org.uk - crazy freaks loverble geeks
http://www.basslinecircus.org - genetically modified circus
phone: 07913 882193
email : mick at mutantmedia.org.uk
More information about the Imc-uk-network