This is a very high profile example of what can happen when one video host has a near monopoly. If this seems like an overstatement, think of how your friends search for videos on the internet; I bet that a good portion of them go directly to YouTube, make their search, find (or don’t find) what they wanted, and watch (or don’t watch) the video. It’s a very common cycle, and it’s not very good for creators or viewers; this cycle puts YouTube in a position to dictate who has access to the largest video viewing audience in the world.
Looking closer at this cycle, we see that it roots from a single entity controlling both the video hosting and aggregation. To put it another way, a single organization, when in control of the creator and the viewer, becomes a gatekeeper. Under these circumstances, no matter how well intentioned a corporation seems, it will eventually be compelled to use the position to its advantage; it’s something we see all the time in traditional media.
In order to sidestep this problem, the creator must be free to choose any video host, and still retain her viewing audience.The key lies in open standards; they’re what make the web (websites, blogs, home pages, etc) work so well. Video should be just the same — the viewer shouldn’t need to know which host a creator published her video to, in order to watch it.
Open platforms, such as blip.tv (for creators) and Miro (for viewers), are a critical piece of the solution. Because both of these examples are built on open standards, they inter-operate with everything else in the open ecosystem. YouTube seems intimidatingly large, until you compare it to all of the open alternatives on the web.
We, along with the folks at blip, have decided to reach out to Perez. We’ll do our best to convince him to publish in a fashion that puts him back in control of his videos.