<CPOV> Welcome --> Conditions for the Possibility of CPOV?

Florian Cramer fcramer at pleintekst.nl
Mon Mar 15 12:34:45 CET 2010

On Monday, March 15 2010, 10:14 (+0100), Geert Lovink wrote:
> to be changed. We need better wiki software (a major update,
> please!), 

In the course of the German Wikipedia controversy, Chaos Computer Club
came up with some good suggestions in this regard. CCC members heavily
criticized the Mediawiki software for being a user-unfriendly relic of
the 1990s, and pointed to alternatives. Popular Open Source content
management systems like WordPress should give the MediaWiki developers
enough clues for improved usability. 

> better interfaces and more contemporary multimedia
> content. 

The latter is a can of worms. Wikipedia already supports audiovisual
content. But providing "more contemporary multimedia content" on an
openly licensed platform is easier said than done.  Video is one big
intellectual property minefield. First of all, there no
patent-/license-free video codecs except Ogg Theora. As a matter of
fact, Theora video can already be uploaded to Wikipedia and embedded in
articles, but non-Open Source browsers including Internet Explorer and
Safari do not play back the format, partly for political reasons. Apple
was the most active force in vetoing Ogg Theora to become an official
web standard for HTML5 web video, likely because it didn't want to
endanger its own QuickTime standard and iTunes business model. It's yet
another textbook example for the intrinsic interconnections between
economics, politics, engineering and culture on the Web that critical
media studies need to grasp.

Secondly, all existing video content of mass/professional media origin
is under copyright and likewise severe licensing restrictions, and
cannot be provided under Wikipedia's Creative Commons license. (Google,
for example, pays $240.9 million royalties per year to the media
industry and collecting societies to bail out the user-uploaded content
of YouTube.) This effectively limits video and multimedia content on
Wikipedia to either vintage material whose copyright has expired, such
as the videos from the Prelinger archive, or video that has been
recorded and edited by Wikipedia contributors themselves. This rules out
any found footage that isn't public domain or freely licensed. And even
if a video is the sole creation of a Wikipedia contributor, there remain
legal risks such as the violation of privacy rights of people who have
been recorded without their knowing or consent, and who can be
identified on the recording. 

If you combine all these factors, it's simply not feasible for Wikipedia
to ever become an advanced multimedia dictionary - unless there will be
a global legal reform to redefine fair use of audiovisual content.


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homepage: http://cramer.pleintekst.nl:70

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