Miro Internet TV Blog

A Name Change

March 12th, 2007 by Nicholas Reville

This is some big news for us. We are planning to change the name of Democracy Player.

We chose the name ‘Democracy’ almost two years ago when we were first setting up PCF. We knew it was an ambitious name, but we thought that it made a clear statement about how important it is that an open internet TV platform is for our culture.

Our early Mac beta versions of Democracy Player were called ‘DTV’– we didn’t think that we could be ‘Democracy’ until we had something substantial to offer. When we released version 0.8 for Mac and Windows one year ago, we called it Democracy Player. In the weeks before that release, we agonized over the name. It was risky and unusual and we were both excited about it and worried. Cory Doctorow, who’s on our Board of Directors, tried to talk us out of it. And we take his advice very seriously. But we still felt compelled by the name and we decided to go for it.

And, even though I’m about to explain why we need to change it, I’m glad we’ve had this name for the past year. It’s funny that a name like ‘Democracy’ can become a name for software– I think it turned out to be less odd than we expected. When people hear a name, they tend to accept it. And it helped us assert our mission clearly: free, open, and dedicated to democratizing video online. I think conveying that mission so strongly was crucial for us.

But the name also confused a huge number of potential users. In all our debates about whether you could call something ‘Democracy’ and how people would react to the name, we hadn’t realized that so many people would simply assume that the software was for politicians and videos about politics. We hear this response over and over, and it’s a real limitation to our user base.

So we’re changing the name to Miro.

We’ll working on a new icon / logo and a new website, which will be at getmiro.com.

The name change will happen over the next month or two (now would be a good time to let us know if the word ‘miro’ means something bad in any languages). Our next release will probably still be called Democracy Player, but the one after that will be Miro. And the release after that will likely be Miro 1.0.

Also: TIME Magazine has a nice mention of us on p. 62 of their current issue (dated march 19).

93 Responses to “A Name Change”

  1. Alejo Becerra Díaz says:

    Miro is a beautiful name, but I prefer a meaningful one, moreover giving the fact that the current one is. I suggest “ChoicePlayer” or “ChoiceTV”: They seem not to be used for anything, they suggest the mission and main benefit of the program, and they don’t have the “politic” misinterpretation.(“YourPlayer” or “YourTV” came also to my mind, but they are in use)
    I really wait for “ChoicePlayer 1.0″ :-)

  2. Help. Is it just on my computer, or is this copy of the below comment from 5 days ago, number 51, the last one that I see listed, the same last one that everyone else sees? I ask this because I keep seeing the number of comments constantly increasing in a very big way on the other page, the one that I click on to get to this page, and which is now up to number 203. Is there a glitch on the Democracy web site here? Is it because all those unposted comments were trash spam?
    Alejo Becerra Díaz Says:
    March 18th, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Miro is a beautiful name, but I prefer a meaningful one, moreover giving the fact that the current one is. I suggest “ChoicePlayer” or “ChoiceTV”: They seem not to be used for anything, they suggest the mission and main benefit of the program, and they don’t have the “politic” misinterpretation.(”YourPlayer” or “YourTV” came also to my mind, but they are in use)
    I really wait for “ChoicePlayer 1.0″ :-)

  3. Nicholas Reville says:

    John– I’m not sure what’s going on. I think the total comments count might include trackbacks, which we aren’t displaying…

  4. james says:

    Personally I prefer Democracy. Kind of like Apple Computer — the familiar name grabs you and attaches new meaning.

    In Korean, ‘miro’ is the word for a maze or labyrinth.

  5. Joseph Q. Blowsky says:

    I really liked what these guys were doing. It was going to stick it to the media hogs that have lowered the quality of life and have totally subverted the news corner of the democratic checks and balances system.

    I don’t use democracy player to watch Democracy Now, but rather manually start the download with bitcomet (awesomely fast) which I can totally control rather than be stuck with some torrent client with its controls all hidden.

    And then later I just watch it with VLC, again where I have full control.

    I was going to subscribe just to support them and because they truely are asking for just chump-change. Skipping just a very few of the morning muffins (that my waist doesn’t need) with my coffee each month more than pays the subscription.

    But then I discovered their new “name”.

    Puke! I though that was the brand name of some inferior aluminum kitchenware sold when I was a child 60+ years ago.

    And NOT what I want on a t-shirt.

    A really well done Democracy Player shirt would still be of considerable interest.

    Also, I’m pretty sure they should NOT be suggesting deducting the WHOLE contribution if there is a T-SHIRT involved. At least the wholesale cost needs to be subtracted before declaring the “contribution”.

    If someone wants to be stupid on their own, that is on their head, but this organization should NOT be making such suggestions.

  6. pir says:

    hey guys, what does it say about your idea of democracy if you just make such a big decision about the name of your excellent software, and then ignore the protest of so many users?
    I think this is a huge mistake. It’s true that “Democracy” leads to lots of confusion. But why not just call it DTV or some abbreviation to avoid the confusion? To go from “Democracy” to “Miro” is really bad, because it’s not a natural evolution at all. You’re going from one extreme to another (i.e. “democracy”: co-opting a very common positively connotated word that expresses the main idea behind your software, to give it a new meaning ; Miro: taking a completely meaningless word and associating it with already existing software)…. why? are you scared that the likes of youtube are taking over too quickly and that you need to sell out to marketing culture? Just have a bit of patience and stick with your initial ideas, because they are right.

  7. Just thinking aloud here.

    Miro doesn’t make an impression on me. It is meaningless and people won’t know how to pronounce it.

    Just thinking about names that do grab me in the case of other software.

    1. Firefox. Why? Because fire conjures up an image of dynamism, speed and activism (fiery). And aliteration is always a good thing in a double-worded name. The name of the film company name Miramax is another example as is the audio editor Adobe Audition. Ditto rhymes.

    2. Nero. Because it is a good historic and graphic name for a CD-burning programme.

    3. A name that has some historic connection with the origins of film would be appropriate. Something Chaplinesque perhaps?

    4. In Spanish, the word “mira!” is the imperative mood of the verb “mirar” (meaning “to look”). A translation of mira! would be: look! This is not necessarily a command, but can express surprise, amazement and wonder also. You probably know that in Spanish there is an (upside down) exclamation mark before the word as well after. Mira might work better than miro because the final letter “a” sort of rhymes with -er in “player”. So, I’m thinking of any of the following:


    Mira Player

    Mira! Player




  8. One final thought. As I said earlier, the Spanish word imperative mood word “mira” should have an inverted exclamation mark before it and a non-inverted one after it. Thus in Spanish the word “look!” is ¡Mira!

    After I wrote the above post, I was reading an article about iPods and it occurred to me that the inverted initial Spanish exclamation mark looks a little like the English letter “i” and this similarity could be made use of. It could be used as a kind of punctuation pun. So, I give you “iMira!” :)

  9. Strypey says:

    Kia ora

    What has the world come to when people say democracy is for politicans and activists and not for them? It speaks of a culture where politics (as well as arts and culture) are products we passively consumer rather than processes we actively participate in. Is this not the very thing Democracy Player has set out to help change? Why are you giving up before even reaching your first stable milestone release?

    Personally I’d like to see people struggling to defend and realise the original meaning of the word ‘democracy’ – government of the people, by the people, for the people. I think it’s damn sad that the PCF too are willing to hand over the word to the neo-cons and let it mean ‘a system of government imposed by an elite, by military force if necessary’.

    I agree with the comments that Miro is meaningless. Even Mirror would be better (a reflection of people’s creativity?). Personally I’d be keen on AnarchyTV but there’s already a movie called that and I know the word anarchy and its proponents have their own PR issues ;)

    Either way keep up the great work on the application, I can’t wait for a stable 1.0 release.

    Kia kaha
    CreativeCommons Aotearoa

  10. Jaime says:

    I am troubled and have conflicting opinions on this move. On one side, I have seen the effects of the name myself (I tried telling of Democracy to a Swedish girl, who for our purposes is sufficiently named by the initials VM. The following was the echange):

    jaimeastorga2000: speaking of software
    jaimeastorga2000: did I ever tell you about Democracy?
    - VM. Go go go M: ^_^;
    jaimeastorga2000: It’s awesome
    - VM. Go go go M: god
    - VM. Go go go M: the politic place?
    - VM. Go go go M: No no no
    jaimeastorga2000: (that’s the only time you will ever hear me say democracy is awesome)
    jaimeastorga2000: …
    - VM. Go go go M: do not pull me into politics
    jaimeastorga2000: …
    jaimeastorga2000: GOD DAMN
    jaimeastorga2000: THEY WERE RIGHT
    jaimeastorga2000: THEY DO NEED TO CHANGE THE NAME
    - VM. Go go go M: XDD
    jaimeastorga2000: I was against it
    jaimeastorga2000: but after seeing your reaction
    jaimeastorga2000: that’s the same reason they are changing it
    jaimeastorga2000: ffs XD

    On the other hand, Miro is a word devoid of meaning. This in itself is not a problem; services such as Yahoo and Google have, with names which make little sense, have become immensely popular among the populace. However, I am worried about the compromising of Democracy’s values… specially when I believe no such compromise need take place.

    I am a practical person, and I would not oppose a name change necessary for to ensure the survival of the project. However, as mentioned above, products with names that didn’t sound so well have expanded to a user base of millions, through the offering of free, simple, good services (Yahoo being a web portal with several services and Google with a GREAT web and news searcher which would later expand to become much more) and word of mouth. So too, do I believe Democracy can rise above its name, and, with a sufficiently strong product, be able to one day, its fame already spread across the globe, take pride in its name and not hide it in shame as it does today.

    I urge the Participatory Culture Foundation to think about this. If after release 1.0 and massive advertisement the campaigns fail, one can always still change the name. At this rate, it is too early to tell if that is the problem. Remember that this is a change not easily reversible, and think that, while it may give you a temporary edge, if Democracy were to, in the end, achieve the same goal, in one scenario it shall have a name symbolic of what it has done, and in the other it shall merely achieve this goal minimally faster at the expense of a generic name to which it shall have sold, like a prostitute, its integrity.

    For to change the name would be to buy into what opponents of democracy oftentimes argue for; that democracy is a weak and pathetic system of government based on the fact the people, ignorant beasts, can easily be swayed by a mere twinkle of words and euphemisms, and therefore, in their inability to think, must, like sheep, be led by the elite who are smarter and more educated than they, even if it be to slaughter.

    I ask you, now, with the world as witness, is this the kind to convey? Or perhaps you assume, then, that the people, who have not had the wits about them to care about what’s behind the product’s name, shall also not be smart enough to care about that?

  11. Lily says:

    I’m glad you changed your name, Democracy (Miro).

    I always found the claiming of this space “Democracy” for yourselves to be an embarrassing American-style self-aggrandisement. For a US-based organisation to be bandying this word about reminds me of US presidents’ use of the word Freedom. Ewwww!

    Miro is ok, it will do fine. It doesn’t make me cringe. I hope you don’t have any trademark issues or conflicts with other “Miro”s as is perhaps indicated above.

    Of course, this name issue is separate to the software itself – which is truly wonderful, and indeed democratic. Small “d” democratic. Not “Democracy”, not “Democrat”, not a brand, but a concept.

    Keep up the good work, it is really appreciated. I hope this name problem goes away for you soon, but it doesn’t detract from the great software you have produced or make me want to use it any less.

  12. henrik says:

    There are a lot of pictures of Joan Miró (see wikipedia).

    but i also warn you about the display firm in germany http://www.miro.de


    whats about iPicture? or iNews (merde, Avid newsroom software)
    perhaps “iKnew”?

    also i want to ask, if there is a project for an democracy-box?
    in my opinion it is crucial to get all thet movies on to a Television screen! and watch them in the living room on the settee….

    berlin greeting…

    ps. how can we promote the word in europe?

  13. MIRO is definetly a great name…
    in so many language it has to do with lookin at sumthin or watching and furthermore everybody relates it to ARTS cáuse of the great painter joan miro.
    take it!

  14. [...] Die Mozilla Foundation, die auch hinter dem FireFox-Browser steckt, unterstützt das Projekt finanziell. Ferner soll der Democracy Player auch einen neuen Namen erhalten. Künftig wird der Democracy Player auf den Namen Miro hören. [...]

  15. [...] From Democracy to Giro: the video player change name. [source] [...]

  16. GK says:

    Why not democratically decide what the name has to be like using a survey or poll ?

    I liked democracy-player, and its the name that caught my attention, unlike the 100s of other software that come
    up with weird sounding names.

  17. [...] No, not democracy the concept. Democracy the video aggregator and player. While I do actually like the name, the developers will be rebranding their next iteration as Miro. Anyhow, CNET has posted a 2 minute video overview worth checking out. (Quicker and cleaner than an install.) [...]

  18. Sam says:

    I think miro is great name, espexially as I know now what it means in Spanish and French.

  19. [...] Die “Open Source Internet TV Platform” Democracy wird mit der Version 1.0 Ihren wunderbar bezeichnenden Namen gegen den unbezeichnenden Namen Miro tauschen. [...]

  20. Mark says:

    I hate the name change. Why not give democracy a chance and wait until the 1.0 release. I’ve installed it a few times only to rip it out of my system because it didn’t behave so very well, not because I was confused by the name. It was the name that got me interested in the first place. I was just waiting for a strong stable release.

    Democracy means something. Miro… just doesn’t. I’m concerned by two things. We’ve been told the name was changed because (a few) people were confused, but we were never told why they choose Miro… was it just a random decision, scrabble tiles drawn from a hat? Secondly, the user community was never consulted. Shouldn’t it have been? After all, you’re all so very interested in opening up media and giving users’ control.

    We need Democracy.

  21. sparks says:

    preferred the democracy name and logo.
    oh well, a rose by any other name.
    substance of the program is what matters.
    the new logo looks like a mutated m&m candy.
    liked baby.
    have democracy on one machine and miro on another.

  22. [...] it was called DTV, then Democracy Player, and now it is Miro. Whatever you call it, the Mozilla-based, cross-platform, open source video player is [...]

  23. [...] Aug, 2007  Newsforge First it was called DTV, then Democracy Player, and now it is Miro. Whatever you call it, the Mozilla-based, cross-platform, open source video player is [...]

  24. Alvaro says:

    Spanish is very important… take a look to this new Spanish beta project that applies artificial intelligence to video and TV content in order to provide a relevant media experience to users.. (DNAstre

    Those kind of projects will definitively change the way we consume television.

  25. Patron says:

    what a long article. I tired when I read this post. But your article had been effective. Thanks so much for this post.

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  28. I actually read a few posts on this blog and it was pretty good.

  29. dantel says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments– I think this is the most I've ever gotten so quickly on a post. I'm glad at a lot of you like the name and I totally understand those of you that think it's too boring / web 2.0. But I still think it's a good move for us– I have just talked to so many people that got confused by the name and didn't think the software was something that applied to them. That's a big problem– if we're going to change the way video is done online, we need to reach as many folks as we can.

  30. good luck with the change, guys!

  31. Jacquicrafton says:


  32. lojistik says:

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  33. Just grabbed the feed… thanks for posting this.

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  36. Games says:

    It's a good name change

  37. Don says:

    I think Miro's a great name change, its different and stands out, and I'm sure people will get familiar with it soon.

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