Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Larry's talk is on Google Video. Definitely worth watching. Standing ovation. There are some new ideas that I'd love people's feedback on.


It's time for online videos to get captioning. I'm tired of missing out on stuff.

If it were easier to subtitle, maybe people would do it more. They should make subtitling a feature in You Tube and Google Video...

Yes, some wiki form of subtitling would be great. Something ala the way you can add notes to flickr photos.

The difficulty of subtitling is marking the in/out points of putting the subtitles on the screen. I think you need something slightly more real-time interactive for someone to mark the video before it is ready for subtitles.

Would it be possible to have a "remixing" app that allowed for subtitling? Perhaps they wouldn't have to be embedded in the video, but could be in an outside plugin. Synchronization might be a problem - I don't know anything about the player plugin technologies and their APIs (if any)

This sort of "video annotating" could be really cool. Perhaps even applications outside of subtitling for language translation or hearing impairment.

As I listened, I tried to transcribe. I'm pretty fast, but not quite fast enough to transcribe real-time. At least one problem, then, is that the video controls for rewinding and repeating are very poor. (At least, on google video) I suppose I could do pretty well with just a simple hotkey to allow me to pause playback while my typing catches up.


and then there is india, where in almost the whole country, it is impossible to download videos, so as much as i like lessig, i need a link to the text, so i can read it, (the whole world aint broadband... and if you have a flash-based site, i will never see it.... design for the world, please)

I watched this after you first posted it, listening to it while riding an indoor bicycle and looking out the window at Mt Fuji, inspired I guess by your physical fitness blog.
I am not sure which were the "new ideas" but several things struck me.
First, the examples of "creativity" that he showed - mixing different music over Japanese anime and high production movie, struck me as providing very little value or creativity to something took a lot of time, creativity and money to produce originally. And the video getting George Bush to endlessly repeat "It's hard." got old fast.

But the rest of the lecture was more thought provoking. I certainly agree with the comment that any copyright rule that makes the potential creator or user of free stuff think for more than an hour just trying to figure out if something is legal, is a problem. There is a program available under GPL that I would like to pay to have extended but I cannot figure out if it would be a violation to use that extension and the original to make my money back. Hence no movement forward. Uncertainty sucks energy.

His comments about "most" US copyrights being extended to 95 years by some law struck me as a reasonable cause of concern. But I remember reading Mark Twain complaining about why he should only have the right to something he created for 17 years (I think), and could see his logic. Why should rights to creative content such as a movie, which costs a $100 million to create have a more limited ownership right than a building costing the same amount?

I worry less about "stifling" creativity by not allowing hackers to change the movie on a Matrix scene, than people with access to video mixing capabilities considering such an act to be a creative one. Lessig mentioned Sousa saying that recording would destroy the wide spread ability of the general populace to participate in making music, and I think he was right - most people pick up a CD instead of a guitar.

I his stand for limited rights as opposed to civil disobediance to free all rights, is the correct one.
And I agree with him that some people will continue to create and provide free software even if a "free ride" is available, while others may take the free ride. That is probably built into our characters, and can only be modified so far by building culture.

Not sure if I addressed the new ideas you were referring too, but I appreciate being pointed at the video. Thanks.
Maybe if you could list the new ideas, we could have a go at it. It is a long video to watch all over again. Harder to skim video than text.

I think the two new "ideas" for me and for most Lessig watchers is the ASCAP/BMI story and how it relates to CC.

Also, the part about the strategy to "win" not being civil disobedience is another.

BTW, one big problem with copyright extensions is the huge (I think over 90%) of works that are put into an "orphan work" or "out of print" category in order to protect a small minority. Lessig has suggested in the past that companies pay $1 to extend copyright each year. This would solve the problem one the mammoth investment being protected. (Surely it is worth 1 buck a year.) While those "forgotten works" would enter the public domain.

I see your point about the out of print category. It is like classifying every government documents top secret. If a book is not commercially viable enough to be put back into print, that doesn't mean the author would not want it too be read by the few interested.

The ASCAP/BMI story is interesting, but I wonder how well it applies to CC. Lessig says "… if this infrastructure (CC) that we have built is robust enough, the next BMI will pick it up, and when they pick it up, they will use it to clobber exactly those who are using copyright in the most destructive way.
The problem with that analogy is that ASCAP/BMI was a simple battle over pricing. A single point of inflection. But Lessig’s enemy seems to be the commercial/political forces targeting not only "illegal use", but also chocking off creativity with copyright extensions, and financial threats to the likes of YouTube and Grokster. That is not an easy target to be attacked by price.

Will Creative Commons accelerate natural creativity growth to the extent it undermines the financing of lawyers and politicians? Or is YouTube the BMI which lures us away from the TV and Movies with alternate content to the point that the bad guys need to join cause they can’t beat? I have no idea.

Lessig joked about lawyers not being able to explain fair use in an hour, but he had more than an hour and I think he still has not been able to define the issue as simply as the opposition when they say its all about stealing content. Framing that debate for the people outside of the 23C3 may be as important as copyright/left infrastructure.

As for "civil disobediance", I think it needs to be defined to discuss it. When I was a kid some idiots included bombs in that phrase. On the one hand, if it refers to unauthorized use of media (clips from TV, movies) which expands the tolerance for such kind of usage the way the tolerance for sex, violence and bad language has expanded on TV and movies, then that may be the natural cultural evolution path. I personally would rather see people spending their energy creating content that would displace the mega-bucks content. But when we are bombarded by such images, the need to comment and manipulate them is part of our need to digest all this flow of images and sounds that we have to swim in. So maybe there is needed creativity in re-mix.
But I distrust people who confuse civil disobedience with a moral high ground. Eventually they confuse jaywalking with going through red lights. Lessig mentioned that the people in that room were more than twice as smart as the people in rest of the world. I hope he was joking because he is wrong. But the rest of the people do need to understand what the fuss is about. Hopefully you guys are smart enough to teach them.
Sorry if this was a bit long. You didn’t ask about easy things.