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Our Biggest Project Ever

This is a big day for us. A couple months ago, the Downhill Battle team started a new (funded) non-profit organization called the Participatory Culture Foundation . Today we’re announcing our first project, the biggest one we’ve ever undertaken– it’s not ready yet, but we’re releasing sourcecode and we want to start building a community around it. It’s an internet video publishing and watching software platform. We are super psyched about the possibilities for independent video.

The project is a a free, open source set of software tools for watching and distributing high quality, full screen videos over the internet at almost no cost to the publisher (BitTorrent, baby). For viewers, this means you can elegantly and simply subscribe to your friends’ channels, a channel for your zipcode, or organizations and watch a truckload of videos that you can’t get on regular TV. For videomakers, you’ll finally have a publishing tool for all your videos – it will be as easy as blogging– just upload your files and you have a channel. Anyone can find out about your channel and start subscribing to it, just like anyone can find out about your blog or your favorite blog.

We are releasing the video player’s pre-beta source code today because we’re really excited to be a part of a such a great open source project that will help independent video-makers and their audience put out bigger and better videos in a completely sustainable way. We want to help build a mass audience for independent videos as soon as possible and we hope that more developers will get involved on the software side. The code is very well designed and coded, and should be a nice cross-platform project to work on. We’re shooting for full release of the video player and and our easy-to-use publisher in June, along with some featured content to get the ball rolling. We’ve been doing a lot of outreach to get video channels lined up.

This all means that anyone with access to broadband and a videocamera can have their own channel with a real audience. We think people are ready to start including independent videos into their 3 or so hours of TV-watching and we think that simple tools can make all the difference between a few people making videos at the margins and everyone making and watching videos as part of an exciting new culture of sharing art, creative ideas, and knowledge. Building on open standards, like Bittorrent and RSS, makes it easy for everyone to have a channel. And the video player will download videos automatically from any RSS feed “Channel”. That means that anyone can subscribe to the “Downhill Battle” or “Tiffiniy Cheng” video channel and every video I want to let people know about is offered to my subscribers. All of a sudden my nieces’ punk video is playing on your screen, like a direct video delivery system from individual to individual. The video application is cross-platform and supports all video formats that play with VLC. So check out the announcement. And please join in! BTW, we want to get some independent music videos channels ready, interested in putting something together or have videos you want to submit? email tyc (at) ppolitics.org.

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