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Close your eyes and imagine being a proud internet user with a DSL connection.
Now imagine being a videomaker: you enjoy your handy consumer camera and edit
short videos from your laptop. Now imagine being someone who cares about having
interesting films and videos to watch: wouldn't it be nice to be part of a
network that gives you the chance to upload your video productions, share your
visions and download video and films that you can't see anywhere else?

BBC will deliver part of this dream by giving access to their creative archive
to all UK citizens who have been paying their bills since the beginning. The
corporation is exploring ways to use P2P systems to "get users to share on our
behalf". P2P systems exploit each users surplus bandwidth and transform it into
a resource for the community. Meanwhile Transmissionfilm.com is already using
this method to offer downloading services to film retailers.

But maybe in your dream you seek a space to upload as well and to download
moving images for free.

Now open your eyes (and your browser) and type www.archive.org/movies,
www.ngvision.org, www.v2v.cc  These are the three principle examples of
independent media communities whose common aim is to archive and/or distribute
high quality videos (vhs/dvd quality) over the Internet. 

Archive.org (the pioneer project in the field of archiving and distribution)
states: we want to provide easy access to () films, to encourage widespread
use of moving images in new contexts by people who might not have used them
before.  It's not only about watching downloaded movies on your desktop but
also providing footage suitable for archiving, broadcasting, editing and
screenings for wider communities.

Screenings in independent cinemas and squatted centres are organised all over
Europe and usually the materials circulate on vhs or minidv tapes, but it would
be much easier to download the materials from the Internet. This is already a
practise in the newly-born Telestreet network (independent, pirate street TVs)
in Italy. Mechanisms such as V2V or NewGlobalVision facilitate the circulation
of contents between independent producers and ease the sustainability of
initiatives like Street Televisions. The creation and filling of a daily
palimpsest is actually the most expensive need of independent TV. The net
provides a perfect solution: you can share and download movies, fiction, spots
and information from all over the world and broadcast it to the local audience;
viceversa everyone can produce locally and distribute globally bypassing the
media mainstream and creating a new mediascape.

A new mediascape needs new rules on licenses and property to allow the virtuous
exchange of productions: Creative Commons proposes a set of licenses to
distribute or re-use moving images. The Creative Commons are now the most
commonly applied licenses for  online distributions networks.

The assembly of multiple edits from shared footage using digital exchange was
first experimented with on February 15th 2003, the day of the global antiwar
march. The Indymedia video network set up a number of FTP servers to collect
raw footage uploaded from demonstrations all over the world. The resulting
archive was available to all for download, edit and broadcast, as was done by
the NY based satellite channel "Free Speech TV". 

V2V was born in May 2003 as a development of the f15 initiative. It was born to
share footage ready not only for screening but also for further editing. The
f15 video project was organised over a number of FTP servers accessible for
upload and download. But the key problem to resolve was the server traffic, V2V
thought of addressing this by means of a distributed network and use of peer to
peer software. V2V defines itself as a network of dedicated servers and diffuse
clients whose object is to share and multiply existing bandwidth capacity. 

The idea to use p2p networks was already developed by NewGlobalVision back in
2001: NGV was born as an answer to the overwhelming power of mainstream media
after the tragic days of the G8 in Genoa: videos bearing witness to police
brutality were made available through the work of the New Global Vision crew
and P2P was the trojan horse to solve the problem of wide distribution.

V2V and NGV rely on an architecture of servers: video is uploaded via FTP to a
collection server, at the same time the user enters the relevant metadata using
a form on the website; the collector then transports the video and its related
metadata to the different publishing servers connected to P2P Networks such as
edonkey or BitTorrent. 

BitTorrent balances download "horizontally". It exploits the unused bandwidth
of all the users through the other BitTorrent clients; these clients often
become unavailable if a file declines in popularity. This is why Archive.org
prefers to use FreeCache system. The FreeCache system utilises permanent
FreeCaches that don't go away although particular files get flushed out
periodically. 

After uploading and updating processes is complete, videos are linked to an
RSS/RDF feed. RSS/RDF feeds are XML text files generated by web servers that
desktop clients - called RSS Readers - download on a set schedule, usually once
an hour.

The RSS/RDF feed is a core element because it guarantees decentralisation of
information. There is no longer any need for a central website. Any website can
integrate the RSS/RDF feed of each different archive/distributor. The ongoing
experiment between NewGlobalVision and the Oceania Newsreal provides a clear
example: the Oceania Newsreal crew sought a way to host and distribute their
productions online and encountered NGV who offered them the set of software and
the ftp server necessary to upload videos and create the RSS/RDF feed. Oceania
Newsreal it is now a category in NGV archive but is also a project on its own
which uses the RSS/RDF from NGV http://oceania.indymedia.org/newsreal: at this
address you find the NGV metadata form and after completion the video file is
uploaded via anonymous ftp. The same upload process is used by v2v, but to
access the v2v upload server you need a username and password. V2V in it's
current stage has been designed to run on small and medium-sized servers that
manage other serious traffic like email, http, so it is not ready to to
administer an anonymous ftp server.

V2V is intended to work as a clearing house based on the use of open video
standards and formats: if the dream of every videomaker is to use a video
compression algorithm (codec) within a format which may be used on every OS
(Linux, windows, Mac) and which is free software, then Ogg/theora video
container format developed by xiph.org, seems to be the near-term solution. A
solutions that the developers of V2V are faithfully awaiting.

NewGlobalVision and V2V develop technical solutions and softwares suits as
common goods that can be used by new distributing/archiving initiatives:

The IVDN (Indymedia Video Distributing Network) wants to bring the different
Indymedia and Alternative-Video Projects together on one site using content
syndication. The IVDN Project consider itself "just" another Node in the
Network of distributors and its ideas are based on the v2v project.  What the
video distributing network is facing is a great need for servers and bandwidth;
in addition to these mechanical resources they naturally require administrators
with the spare time to install and maintain the necessary set of software.
This is a network composed of coders and system administrators but also
producers, broadcasters and distributors, working together to reaccess the
cinematic heritage of other generations, broadcast multiple visions, empower
collective story-telling, facilitate the rapid sharing of contents, skills and
resources, to enable multiple connections between creative nodes and networks.
Production and distribution will finally merge into a process of sharing your
images with others.  "Images that everyone can edit, change, forward, rewind
and PLAY" (V2V manifesto)
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