Before YouTube became ubiquitious, and long before they were snatched up by Google, Vice President Al Gore launched his own experiment to democratize television: Current TV
. Initially introduced to the public with a series of gatherings at bars and colleges as INdTV, the moniker Current TV was announced with great fan-fare in April of 2005 prior to the station's premiere that August. Although initial reviews
of the station were luke-warm at best, it was their initial submission terms
that led many of us video creators to stick to other distribution avenues. The good news is that Current TV now has terms
that are far more reasonable.
To understand the concept behind Current TV, simply imagine what'd happen if You Tube were to buy a cable television station and you're about 90% there. Add a studio space for the hosts to mingle with celebrities ala MTV and you've pretty much got Current TV. The content is all over the map, and a team of employees and contractors help supplement the material submitted to the site. Submissions are voted on, and the winning submission each week is automatically put into television rotation.
Originally, all content submitted to the station was provided under a six and then later a three month period of exclusivity. In other words, if I wanted to upload my documentary I had to choose between Current, my personal blog, and You Tube. This limitation discouraged those with their own audiences from posting to Current, and many of my fellow video makers expressed their dissatisfaction with these restrictions. Today, Current TV's terms allow you to post your video wherever you see fit provided that you don't use Current's music library. It's rare to be able to point to a company that finally listened to its well-reasoned critics and did something to remedy the situation, but from the rights perspective Current is one such company and deserves to be recognized for bucking with the lawyers and media 1.0 execs and finally doing what made the most sense.