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Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository

Fred Benenson, January 13th, 2009

Al Jazeera Creative Commons RepositoryAl Jazeera is releasing 12 broadcast quality videos today shot in Gaza under Creative Commons’ least restrictive Attribution license. Each professionally recorded video has a detailed information page and is hosted on blip.tv allowing for easy downloads of the original files and integration into Miro. The value of this footage is best described by an International Herald Tribune/New York Times article describing the release:

In a conflict where the Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military, Al Jazeera has had a distinct advantage. It was already there.

More importantly, the permissive CC-BY license means that the footage can be used by anyone including, rival broadcasters, documentary makers, and bloggers, so long as Al Jazeera is credited.

There’s more information over at Al Jazeera’s CC repository, and in our press release. You can also add the Al Jazeera repository to your Miro feeds by clicking here.

4 Responses to “Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository”

Yitzchak Gale

Yes, even inflammatory political propaganda disguised as “reporting”, such as these clips posted by Al Jazeera, can be protected by CC license. It’s not the job of the CC to evaluate content, even when that content could contribute to widespread slaughter of innocent men, women, and children, caused directly or indirectly by extremist militants. But then, why does the CC need to take sides by declaring on its web site that this content is “valuable”?

Mike Linksvayer

Yitzchak, thanks for the comment.

A few things — “protected” is probably not the best way to think about what a CC license does, especially in this case where the most liberal CC license is being used. Unrestricted or freed would be more accurate ways to characterize what the license is doing.

Regarding the substance of your comment, first we’re quoting the NYT, but more importantly, one can acknowledge the value of something without making a moral judgement or taking sides. In this particular case, Al Jazeera has exclusive footage, whatever one thinks of its bent. More important than its exclusive nature though, is that this is the next step in a very long term trend of decentralization of media. I encourage you to check out CC CEO Joi Ito’s post contextualizing this, see http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2009/01/14/al-jazeera-laun.html

Finally, if another major news organization of whatever persuasion (say hypothetically Fox News) frees significant content in this manner, you can be sure that we’ll be saying it is important, valuable, and the like.

Jeff Ubois

Having this footage available this way means that those commenters who believe it is ‘inflammatory political propaganda disguised as “reporting”’ can challenge what Al Jazeera is saying and showing.

It would be good if western television news outlets were as willing to allow that level of scrutiny of and access to their broadcast footage.

Also, it’s worth watching some of the clips before deciding about the merits of this project.

Mike Linksvayer

Jeff, exactly and well said!

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