Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Current TV responds to my post... well, sorta.

Dan Gillmor recently made a post about my recent entry regarding Current TVs new submission policy. Robin Sloan over at Current TV has decided to respond to Gillmor's post and indirectly respond to my original post via the Current Blog.

Friday, June 24, 2005

House Approves Move to Outlaw Flag Burning

Yahoo News reports that the House has voted to approve a constitutional ammendment that would make the act of burning an American flag illegal.

It appears that the vote in the Senate will be close. Like the push for a gay marriage ammendment, if this were to pass, I believe it'd be the second time that the constititution was ammended to limit personal rights. The first being prohibition.

In protest against Congress' passage of the ammendment, I've decided to re-post a piece that I made a while ago... Now, the questions remains... would this video be illegal if the ammendment were to pass?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Current TV Announces New Submission Terms

Current TV
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Current TV, a new cable television station started by Joel Hyatt and Al Gore will soon be announcing the winner of their latest video contest, about the same time and probably with far less fanfare, Current will also release a new licensing agreement to govern all future Viewer Created Content.

Under Current TV's present terms, if you submit a video, you give Current the right to use your piece as they deem fit.
I irrevocably grant Current the non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, fully paid license and right to use and otherwise exploit the Submission, and the title thereof, in whole or in part, in any manner or medium now or hereafter known or devised (including, without limitation, film, television, videocassettes, interactive devices, Internet and on-line systems), throughout the world and in any and all languages, including, without limitation, the right to copy, edit, change, modify, add to, subtract from, re-title and adapt the same and to combine it with other material.

However, these are non-exclusive rights and you're free to try to get the video out through any other avenues that might be available to you. You do, however, still grant Current the "Rights of First Negotiation and Last Refusal" -- basically Current TV has first dibs should you try to go about selling the piece. Additionally, "the most consideration that Current will be required to provide [you] to acquire all available Retained Rights is... the Writer’s Guild of America minimum scale payment for five minute single news program script (currently $1,237)."

Under these old terms, you could still take your video (that you submitted to Current) and put it on your vlog, or submit your piece in an unrelated online film festival.

Well, that's all in the past now. Under the new new licensing agreement, by uploading a video to Current TV, you can't do anything with it for six months three months. Even if Current TV doesn't want to put your piece on television, you are contractually forbidden from putting the video on your videoblog, and from trying to get it out through almost any other avenue besides Current. In the event that Current TV decides they want to air your video, it is my understanding that they would obtain all rights to the piece in perpetuity; you would be compensated for your work according to Current's new incremental pay-scale.

Current TV Pay Scale

With this latest announcement, Current TV, a television station that promises to "democratize television," seems to be falling short of it's stated goal. While everyone that I've talked to at Current seems to really get the personal media revolution, this development runs against everything the network should be doing. If the network is really about helping young voices to be heard, then Current should be embracing the growing movement of videobloggers and encourage participants to put their submission videos up on their videoblogs. The videobloggers would, in turn, put a link to Current TV on their blog entry and this would help drive more content to Current's site.

JD Lasica, the author of Darknet, and the co-founder of ourmedia feels that Current's decision to pursue the new licensing terms "will seriously undercut the quality of the material that people make available to Current." He describes Current's new terms as "a holdover mindset from big media, where six-month exclusivity contracts are common. No doubt some percentage of users will consent to the restrictions, while others will say, No way."

While trying to figure out what prompted Current to pursue these new terms, I came across this interesting article about Current TV's Head-Of-Programming David Neuman regarding his days at the Digital Entertainment Network.
I pointed out that this much original content would be very expensive, and suggested that one thing kids (and other Internet users) sometimes like is to be given recommendations about other useful and interesting Web sites. Neuman cut me off with a laugh and condescending sweep of his little hand.

"I don't think we need to be sending people away from our site! I don't think that's how we make money!" ("No! Definitely not!" said the chorus, laughing with him at my stupidity.) "Look, as soon as we're as big as Macy's, then we'll tell people how to get to Gimble's! I'm concentrating on getting as big as Macy's!"

Just as this is simply not how the web works, the industry approved 6 month exclusivity option is not how new media will prove to work either. While I still have very high hopes for Current, it's dawned on me that some people at Current TV only wants to democratize televison as long as they can have a monopoly on democracy...

Technorati tag:

Note: I am the volunteer organizer for The San Francisco Current TV Meetup Group and obtained this information through a conference call with Current TV and the other meetup organizers. I was never instructed not to share any of the information that's contained in this blog entry and thus feel that it's acceptable for me to share and comment upon this information in my blog.

Friday, June 17, 2005

San Francisco Bloggers

San Francisco Bloggers
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Here is a map of San Francisco bloggers that have registered with GeoURL
. If you go to the Google Map in the link and click on the push-pins you can navigate SF blogs through virtual physical space.


Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Oh My god, just saw this over at onegoodmove. I've just included a funny little snippet of the clip, but you must yes, you must check thewhole thing over at onegoodmove.

Videobloggers SF Meetup

Videobloggers Meetup SF
Originally uploaded by renegade.
Hey everyone, Rene, who helped start the Rise Up! Network with myself and others, has put together a Videobloggers SF Meetup on June 30th at Club Deluxe. If you're thinking about coming, please drop a comment at the enclosed link. I'm curious to know how many people we've got in SF that are curious about videoblogging.

KRON 4 News - Blogger Meetup

KRON Meet-up
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
On June 11, 2005, KRON 4 News hosted it's inaugural bay area bloggers meet-up. About 100 people showed up including personal media revolutionaries, Craig Newmark, and JD Lasica whose book Darknet explores "hollywood's war against the digital generation" thoroughly and in a thought-proviking manner. Look for a video-review of Darknet in the next few days.

Additionally, i ran into a couple of guys from Technorati along with someone from Feedster.

Brain Shields, whose heading up KRON's exploration in blogging spoke along with KRON's president Mark Antonitis, as did Terry Heaton, a well respected blogger from Nashville who will be working on this endeavor.

As some of you may know, KRON recently announced that they would be pursuing a VJ or Video Journalist model for its newsgathering. While these two developments are not directly related, they certainly reveal a changing face for KRON TV here in San Francisco.

Of course, I'm sure almost all of you are aware of another San Francisco station exploring citizen journalism, Current TV. Here is the video from Current TV's inaugural event and their Meet the Producers booth. Clearly a different approach.

The KRON Meet-up video makes use of the David Rovics song After the Revolution.

(If you'd like to view the KRON Meet-up video in full screen. I'll be posting a link to an index page for the 50mb 640x480 h264 video.)

Technorati Tag:

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Richard BF's video "restored"

Zadi made a really great video to bring to light the federal government's move to drastically cut funding for public television.

Richard BF made a powerful remix.

In an update for his post he describes how he had originally intended to close the video out with the NOFX song, Murder the Government.

I wanted to see what that'd look like, so I put it together in iMovie in a quick rush and posted it up here.

I like it better this way, do you?

Missing Kitten & Flux Both Kick Ass!

Just added a couple new vloggers to my sidebar who seem to share my zest for political activism of the anti-authoritain flavor...

Check out VLOG ~ FLUX and Missing Kitten TV as soon as you get a chance!

I've got a bunch more videos to edit and upload in the next day or so; thanks again for tuning in!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Something a little lighter

Paean to the Unfed Light
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
After such a serious mini-series, I thought it'd be good to put up something a little lighter...

Here's Tito Abao performing Paean to the Unfed Light to promote his book, Seeds of Heaven

Mutant Street Party (Episode 12)

Episode 12
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
On June 10th, the prisoners doing jail solidarity were finally released. After speaking to the National Lawyers Guild, the prisoners consented to give their names in exchange for having the charges dropped.

This episode focuses on their release and includes a series of interviews detailing their experiences while in custody. While not quite as severe as the scandal in Abu Gharib, the way these young people were treated while in custody is completely reprehensible.

In the words of LBJ "Our safest guide to what we do abroad is a good look at what we are doing at home."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 11)

Episode 11
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Immediately after stopping by the jail, I headed over to the Police Commisioner's meeting at City Hall. The public comment period begins around 10:30PM on June 9th. This episode is a montage of the testimony given during the Commisioner's meeting. The prisoners doing jail solidarity have been held in custody for over 24 hours at this point.

At the end of the meeting, we're greeted by a surprise from San Francisco's "finest." Gotta love the power of police intimidation.

Mutant Street Party (Episode 10)

Episode 10
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
The next day: In this episode, I'm interviewed by the news about what happened when I was arrested. I'm also asked to explain the jail solidarity that's happening inside SF's jail. The lawyer representing the defendents still in jail is interviewed about the conditions in the jail.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 9)

Episode 9
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
In this episode of my vidcast, I suggest to my fellow arrestees, "If we get out by 2(AM), let's go to Noc Noc's," a bar in the Haight. The march started at 5PM, and lasted for about half an hour... It's now getting dark, it's getting cold and we're getting very hungry.

Some of us did get out by 2AM, and we met up with a few people at Noc Nocs. However, as you'll soon learn in the next few episodes, several of us remained in jail for quite a while.

My Birthday (Mutant Street Party)

My Birthday
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Here's a little bonus video from the footage from the Reclaim the Streets: Mutant Street Party, while we're waiting to be hauled off to jail, a Happy Birthday chorus erupts...

Reclaim the Streets (Episode 8)

Episode 8
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
The hours drone on as we wait and wait for the "arrest process" to begin. After they arrested a couple medics and took away our sound system, nothing really happened for a few hours. Eventually the KRON news van showed up on the scene; as you'll see, their side of the story was remarkably different from what you've seen thus far in my vidcast.

Please tell me if you feel the news coverage of the event seems accurate to you, I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Military Recruiters, how far will they go?

Just read this article about a young man in Washington who was essentially kidnapped from his work-place and held over night against the wishs of his mother. It's pretty unbelievable...

Mutant Street Party (Episode 7)

Episode 7
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
In this episode, the police become agitated by our choice of music, "Fuck tha Police," by NWA, and it isn't long before they take our music away.

Look for the special cameo appearance by Jesus. Warning: This video contains minor but graphic police brutality, viewer (not parent) discretion is advised.

Mutant Street Party (Episode 6)

Episode 6
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
In the sixth episode of my first hand-account of what happened on my 22nd birthday, the police attempt to define "chill," and the cops make their first arrest, a street medic.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 5)

Episode 5
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
This is the fifth episode of my first-hand account of what happened on my 22nd birthday. This episode begins with all of us very confused about why we're being arrested, if you've ever been to a protest in San Francisco, you're probably well aware of the customary order to disperse before anyone get's arrested. We never heard it...

Realizing that we're stuck in this small area, we decide to make the best of it.

How You Too Can Join the Videoblogging Revolution!

Since most of you probably are already well aware of these resources, I'll make this brief. I've been asked a couple times how to create a vlog and also how you can go about putting up screenshots on your vlog.

First off, if you want to make a vlog -- check out the amazing site that Ryanne Hodson and Michael Verdi recently put together, Freevlog! Freevlog will explain 95% of what I did and do to create my videoblog.

Here are a couple things that I do differently that you might want to think about. First off, when I take a screen-shot of my quicktime video, I use shift-command-4 and then hit the space bar rather than selecting the frame by hand.

I also use a Flickr account, rather than ourmedia.org to publish the photo with the Flickr uploader (Clicking on link will download file for OS X). I then use the flickr interface and I click the "post to blog" link. Once the post has been made, I change the link for the picture to that of the movie file location and like that, you've got yourself a videoblog.

Bush Pardon's Seven

From CNN:
Some pardons, like the one President Ford gave Richard Nixon in 1974, protect recipients from going to jail or cut short their sentences. But Bush has granted clemency mainly to allow people who committed relatively minor offenses and long ago served their sentences to clear their names

If you've ever been convicted of a crime, now's the time to write to George Bush and ask for a pardon -- look at it this way, if Bush says "No" then you can add your own name to a rant about how Bush has no heart; he refused to pardon you for the crime you didn't commit. If he says "Yes" then you can be part of the elite club that have recieved a Presidential pardon. Here's your chance to have something in common with Richard Nixon. Write now, only 1000 some-odd days until we get rid of the asshole...

Stop the war on the poor.

From an entry in Lorika's blog:

This Star Tribune story on aluminum can "poachers"appeared on the front page of Friday's paper. It took up a large portion of the page and warned readers to call 911 when they see the poachers.

So, let me get this strait, you want us to use an emergency number when we see a homeless person "stealing" our garbage? Don't the 911 operators have oh let's say EMERGENCIES to deal with? They also listed the losses to the city, but it doesn't appear in the linked article for some reason. I believe it was somewhere around $100,000-$200,000 annually. Not very much when you look at the big picture of the whole budget, and how do they know how much people are actually recycling anyway? How do they know the actual losses? The number is just a guess.

Here are my problems with this:

1. As far as I can tell, most people who "steal" cans are homeless and/or desperate enough to be digging through other people's garbage. Yet we want to fine them:

Stealing up to $250 in cans is a misdemeanor, $250 to $500 a gross misdemeanor, and more than $500 a felony, he said.

A FELONY. Also, there is jail time involved.

This whole thing is completely ludicrous, but what I really don't understand is the felony charge for "Stealing" $500 worth of cans. Let's think about this carefully:

I couldn't locate the redemption value for cans in MN, but 5 cents seems like a high-estimate. $500 is equal to 10,000 cans. If someone were to be apprehended "stealing" cans, any decent lawyer could demonstrate that they did not necessarily "steal" whatever other cans they had in possession at the time of arrest. Of course, these people can't afford an attorney or they wouldn't be out collecting cans.

So, that said, this means that they'd actually have to be caught stealing in excess of 10,000 cans in order to be charged with a felony. It'd take one hell of a private party to leave behind 10,000 empty cans. This means that the only possible places someone might encounter 10,000 aluminum cans would already be locked up and breaking and entering is most likely already a felony.

The article suggests that if you see a poacher you should call 911. Let's just say that on average it takes a cop 30 minutes worth of work to cite and process a "poacher." If the police in MN make $30 an hour, that's a minimum of $15 lost city revenue going after each "poacher," and probably a hell of a lot more than $15. Unless they stop the "theft" of at least 300 cans on each call then they are actually costing the city more money to enforce this so-called law.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 4)

Episode 4
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Here comes the fourth episode of my first-hand account of what happened on my 22nd birthday. In this episode, emcee lynx performs for the crowd as we suddenly discover that we're under arrest.

"This is a message from the San Francisco Police Department, all people within the police encirclement: be advised, you are under arrest. Do not attempt to break out of the police encirclement or you will be struck by police batons. The arrest process will start shortly."

Stay tuned to see just how long it takes for the "arrest process" to begin...

Mutant Street Party (Episode 3)

Episode 3
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
This is the third episode of my first-hand account of what happened on my 22nd birthday. In this episode, we take the party to the streets and all of the sudden we're surrounded by cops... what's gonna happen next? Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

My contribution to Music Videoblog Week

The Hand That Feeds
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
While I really loved the idea of using CC music to create a music video -- I thought I'd have more fun making a sort of video mash-up with the NIN song The Hand That Feeds. Check it out! Thanks to Jamie for alerting me to the fact that his videoblog is public domain. A more comprehensive entry with links to all the video I used in this piece coming soon -- I just wanted to finally get this online. Let me know what you think...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 2)

Episode 2
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
This is the second episode of my first-hand account of what happened on my 22nd birthday. In this episode, we begin our journey down the street dancing to "Fuck the Police" by NWA. It's gets much more interesting in a little bit so stay tuned...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

We all Live in a Fascist State, A Fascist State...

Just got an e-mail about a new bill making it's way through Congress right now, H.R. 1528. According to Downsize DC:
Congressman Sensenbrenner's (R-Wis.) draconian mandatory minimum sentencing bill will have serious consequences for our democracy, requiring you to spy on all your neighbors, including going undercover and wearing a wire if needed. Refusing to become a spy for the government would be punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of at least two years.

If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" that they took place you would have to report the offense to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance" in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory two year prison sentence.

While I'm pretty sure this law is unconstitutional for any number of reasons, and will probably be overturned immediately -- I find the mere suggestion of this law to be a very scary indicator of our political climate. I think that our political readers sat down one day to read 1984 and finished the book with dreams of Oceania and it's world of crimethink.

Sometimes I feel like I must be crazy, because if I'm sane then you have to be nuts not to be scared as shit about what's going on right now and so many people don't seem the least bit concerned...

Jon Stewart on Military Intelligence:

"Let me get this straight, the Army's best source of information on our enemy is their blog? Are you serious?"

Video obtained from onegoodmove.org.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mutant Street Party (Episode 1)

I was arrested on my 22nd birthday. Not for drunken shenanigans or unpaid parking tickets, but for exercising my right to peaceably assemble. On June 8th, 2004, Reclaim the Streets threw a Mutant Street Party in solidarity with those protesting the G8 in Sea Island, Georgia.

This is my first-hand account of what happened, a vidcast mini-series that originally aired as an hour-long documentary on Access SF.