Open Media Formats: An Introduction

This past semester, I had the immense pleasure of taking a class on new media, internet, copyright, open formats, etc. from internet-crusader extraordinaire, Cory Doctorow. One of our lectures spoke specifically to various obstacles in the battle for open media formats. Thankfully, it was podcasted for posterity and is available for free on the web.

Head here and get Podcast 4 to hear the lecture in its entirety. The first half is a discussion of our class blog — to get to the meat of the matter on open formats, skip ahead to about halfway through. The discussion about Project DReaM, Sun Microsystem’s Open-Source DRM, is of particular interest.

3 Responses to “Open Media Formats: An Introduction”


  1. 1 QPrime

    Downloading the audio archives now and looking forward to listening to them. Alas, they all appear to be in mp3 format! :P Oh well…

  2. 2 cameronparkins

    Ah indeed - Vorbis would obviously be preferable. I suppose the use of mp3 gets at one of the main obstacles open formats face - obscurity. For your average user, mp3 is a household name at this point, and as such, to reach as many people as possible, many people choose it as their content wrapper of choice.

    This isn’t to say this won’t/can’t change, but I think it is one of the bigger obstacles for Open Formats.

  3. 3 Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves

    Mr Internet Crusader doesn’t seem to understand the importance of Open Media formats, as he continously shoves MP3 over anyone that reads Boing Boing.

    Sigh. This is a battle against the whole world:

    Against the users who don’t care or don’t want to use OM formats.

    Against the corporations that either have veiled interests on not supporting OM formats (Microsoft, Apple, Creative) or that see no demand from their customers.

    Against the warez scene who sees no interest from both the users and the corporations, thus release nothing in OM.

    Against the artists who care about Free Culture and Creative Commons, but do not think even once that locking their content in proprietary formats makes their movement futile.

    And against free software developers themselves, who are all for open source and crap, but who won’t understand that without OM formats, there’s no free software.

    The situation is so fucked up, because it’s all a vicious cycle. All these groups above are connected. and they don’t even realize it. They all must work together to make OM formats ubiquitous. That’s where SOM comes in.

    Still, there’s little chances that we’ll succeed, but if we don’t try, I know that when we look back and see we did nothing to help make this world a better place that we’ll regret not having at least tried.

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