April 25, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Netscape pioneers launch free content network

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Netscape pioneers Mike Homer and Marc Andreessen are back on the start-up scene, launching a TiVo-like online network for distributing and viewing public TV, radio and grassroots media.

The free service, called the Open Media Network, is aimed initially at letting traditional public broadcasters and independent filmmakers distribute their work on the Net. But it will also allow ordinary computer users to publish their files.

Part TiVo, part BitTorrent file swapping, the network puts publishers' content into a peer-to-peer distribution network that could help lower bandwidth costs substantially. The service then creates a TV-like program directory that potential viewers can use to find and subscribe to automatic downloads of individual shows.

In the process, it's also serving as an advertisement for Homer's main company, content distribution service Kontiki, which provides the network's technology.

"We're trying to create a free consumer service that would allow the viewing of public service content on the Internet," said Homer, who is chairman of the Open Media Foundation, which is backing the project, as well as Kontiki's chairman. "Right now there is no easy way for consumers to (publish and view) these things. It has not been a consumer phenomenon, it's been an early adopter phenomenon."

The Open Media Network is one of several tools that have recently emerged aimed at letting people publish or find large files online, while organizing content into a familiar TV-like format.

Podcasting has allowed radio stations and ordinary people to publish or subscribe to downloadable audio shows for months.

Peer-to-peer activists Downhill Battle recently released software called "BlogTorrent," aimed at helping people to post large files on their blogs or Web sites using the BitTorrent technology to help distribute files. A Canadian student has developed a program called Videora that lets people find and subscribe to video content online, including television shows.

Homer's new venture is being launched under the auspices of a nonprofit called the Open Media Foundation, which also counts Andreessen on its board of advisers. The foundation is licensing Kontiki's technology as an ordinary customer, Homer said.

Unlike the anarchic character of most peer-to-peer services, it will be centrally managed using Kontiki's technology, so that any copyright works being distributed without permission can be removed from the system.

It will support the delivery of content wrapped in digital-rights management and add a payment system so publishers can charge for their work. The foundation will take a small cut of transactions to pay for its operations.

For now, the service is free both for publishers and potential viewers. Early content available through the service will include shows from WYNC public radio in New York, Witness.org human rights-focused video alerts and independent films from Cinequest, among others.

A Kontiki rival, Red Swoosh, has also previously offered to let noncommercial Web publishers take advantage of its peer-to-peer-based content-delivery services for free.

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Paging RIAA, Paging MPAA. White Courtesy Telephone.
I'm all for it.

If this takes off though, and producers start using it to legally distribute their material, how long do you think it will be until the RIAA and MPAA will step in and try to find some loophole to stop it?
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open Media Network: Oh so Closed
Let's get this straight - proprietary P2P network, proprietary client, filtered results. ... Oh so Closed.

Such entertainment-engineered networks are not oriented to consumers or the real world. They still don't get that there is an entertainment glut, not scarcity. And the consumer is in control not Hollywood. Limited inventory, low value content, no incentives to share, software that you have to download, and content that likely will still be DRM'd. ... Sign me up!

See <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.p2p-weblog.com/archives/open_media_network_oh_so_closed.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.p2p-weblog.com/archives/open_media_network_oh_so_closed.html</a>
Posted by RazorPop (1 comment )
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Check out KnowItAllVideo.com then man
you will like it... see my post on the article's page. That's where I put my stuff..
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
WIndows Only, Useless Product
This is something to brag about???????????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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So Not Ready For Prime Time
Product hasn't really reached beta. IMHO it's an alpha.

Tried this product/service. Doesn't seem to like to
like Mozilla Firefox. Used IE instead. Screens and downloads so slooow. Gave up.

Call me when they get out of alpha.
Posted by RickyFr (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Prodigem Marketplace uses BitTorrent
The article doensn't mention it so I thought I'd chime in. Prodigem just recently launched its Marketplace which utilizes BitTorrent to allow its users to sell content or share it for free. See the press release: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/prweb/20050414/bs_prweb/prweb229020_1" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&#38;u=/prweb/20050414/bs_prweb/prweb229020_1</a>

Gary
prodigem.com
Posted by (1 comment )
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KnowItAllVideo.com - way ahead.
These guys are way ahead of the game. They have been taking user generated content (including mine) for over a year and have TONS of videos... all rateable, forums, etc.

Not only do they have their own slew of content, they just launched a PARTNER program that easily powers any web site with the ability to accept user generated video content... for free. Simple HTML is all the partner site needs to integrate. They keep adding new parnter features, so soon you could basically build one of these video portals all by your lonesome... and trump the crap out of all these "big" names... woohoo! Some of their videos have already been featured in the Frontier Airlines Film Fesitval.

So yeah these guys have had this game on for a while... watch them...

Besides there's no non-standard additional software to install. Videos are always super fast to buffer and view. Besides my own, Jason Klamm's INFORMNation (featured series) are my favorite.
Posted by (2 comments )
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