Economies of the Commons / Report


“Given material abundance, scarcity must be a function of boundaries.”
— Lewis Hyde,The Gift:Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1979-83

I didn’t really notice untill Florian Schneider mentioned it: during the ‘Economies of the Commons’ conference in Amsterdam, the formal academic world was highly absent, especially in the audience. Not that anybody seemed to care: the conference prooved to be a quite dense and stimulating context where a compositum of archivists, media affaciondos, cinema buffs, cultural producers and thinkers delivered and discussed hands-on experiences and theoretical, out-of-the-box, at times spiritual charged and utopian musings on the (potential) value of audiovisual archives in the network society. The general threads were, on the one hand, the lookout for new business models, and, on the other hand, the exploration of the idea of the “commons” and the reconsideration of the current framework of intellectual property rights, which, as everyone seemed to agree, is an immense burden. “Fuck it”, screamed organiser Eric Kluitenberg euphorically at the end of the conference, “we can’t let ourself be hindered by legal or institutional absurdities (I’m paraphrasing here, sd). Let’s just do it”. Right on.

Looking back on the two days of talks (I didn’t go to the legal seminar on the first day), it’s not easy to find a focal point, now that I’m involved in a digitisation projecty myself, torn between the weight of concrete numbers and schedules, such as the ones that were mentioned during the numerous project presentations, and the enthrilling theoretical propositions, made by Florian Schneider and Anthony McCann, amongst others. Peter B. Kaufman, former political scientist (specialised in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as was made clear during his talk), documentary film producer and president of Intelligent Television, did struck a balance between theory and practice in his opening keynote speech, in which he drew on the work of Karim Lakhani (“principles of distributed innovation”), Yochai Benkler (who coined the term “Commons-based peer production” to describe a model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated into large, meaningful projects), and his own Intelligent Television (Their “Economics of Distribution” study is investigating current financing models for independent educational media; revenues that such film and video productions have realized from sales and licensing and other distribution; and the potential for new, alternative models of video and film distribution in the digital age). He started with the observations that we are all producing and consuming audiovisual content “in silico” (performed on computer or via computer simulation) nowadays, for one thing because the costs of the necessary tools and storage capacities are declining dramatically, and thanks to P2P networks the tresholds for distribution are down as well – he gave the anecdote that music distributed through iTunes can be downloaded for free in an average of 8 minutes after its release. The demand and usage statistics for online video are astounding. The engagement with video has changed from “read–only” to “read/write”: millions of original new videos, remixes and mashups are posted on MySpace, YouTube and Google Video, AOL Video, Facebook, and newer sites and platforms such as Revver. Indeed, according to one estimate, almost half of all video online today is user–generated. All this has unleached a fundamental problem for the current system of copyright. Kaufman quoted one of the researchers working on Tribler (P2P software for video file sharing) at Delft University of Technology and De Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, saying that if peer production continues to evolve at the current rate, it will be impossible to uphold the current legal framework much longer. It’s time to embrace these new paradigms and use them to our advantage when disclosing culture heritage. There are now several examples of business cases that support the economic wisdom of providing certain sectors of society, and sometimes the public as a whole, with materials and information for free (In another talk at the Creative Archive launch, Kauman said “It is not for nothing that Universal Music, the world’s largest online music company, hired Sean Fanning, the founder of Napster, to design its new business plan moving forward”). As Kaufman writes: “Librarians, curators, archivists, and the private sector have joined forces with the objective of ‘creating universal access to knowledge anywhere and everywhere'; librarians have begun speaking of building the ‘global digital library'; and, museum curators have spoken of ‘heading toward a kind of digital global museum’ — cultural and educational institutions are increasingly moving to embrace even more remarkable social media and the power of what the technology world calls Web 2.0″. Even private initiatives have made it clear which type of models could be used to distribute this kind of content. And now the recession in the U.S. has unmasked the market fundamentalism that has dominated the economics over the last three decades, as a sham, it should be clear that the regulation of markets should be reconsidered. Economic uncertainty is driving everybody to look for new models. For example, Harpers Collins recently announced a new “publishing studio” to test some new sales strategies. Basically, profit-sharing with authors will be substituted for cash advances and the costly practice of allowing booksellers to return unsold copies will be eliminated. The already mentioned Tribler is a great example of a new model in the world of video, for which the researchers envision an e-commerce model that connects users to a single global market, without any controlling company, network, or bank. They see bandwidth as the first true Internet “currency” for such a market. This paradigm empowers individuals or groups of users to run their own “marketplace” for any computer resource or service. The regulation, always an issue in a decentralized environment, is done by an internal “web of trust,” a network between friends used to evaluate the trustworthiness of fellow users and aimed at preventing content theft, counterfeiting, and cyber attacks. Other examples mentioned by Kaufman were NYPL Labs, which provides a window into the overall digital experience of The New York Public Library, WGBH Lab’s Sandbox, loaded with rights-free archival footage, CW channel’s “ Lab” where users can create video mashups and Conde Nast’s, an online forum for girls (millions of them) to create multimedia “flip books” full of video, photos, and other postings — mirroring the looks of their school lockers and MySpace pages. Now with the arrival of Joost — “infinite choice … combining the best of TV with the best of the Internet,” from the founders of Skype and Kazaa — it may well be “fair to say,” as one analyst put it, “that the democratization of video delivery is officially under way.” It is becoming clear that digitization initiatives for cultural materials are taking place in the context of a new, exhausting cultural expectation: people believe they have an access mandate, a new, almost inalienable right to work with video, as with text, online. They have come to expect it. With this paradigm as a basic assumption it’s just a matter of finding sustainable ways for commercial companies and noncommercial institutions active in culture, education, and media to make certain materials widely available (preferably for free), something for which we have to learn to develop balanced public-private partnerships (see also the Good Terms project of Intelligent Television).

Echoes from the broadcasting world
These challenges are now addresses by most broadcasting institutions. Some of these projects were discussed during the conference. Pelle Snickars of the SLBA (Swedish National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images) talked about the transition from network television to web based networked TV. The SLBA is currently developping some projects in which they are trying to redefine the idea of the “archive” (no longer a defined space with items on its shelves but a time based and networked storage system) and bridge the gap between the old broadcasting regime and the today’s participatory culture.
Poppy Simpson of BFI Screenonline decribed and contextualised the Creative Archive and Screenonline projects. The latter has made some BFI content available, but embedded in a “walled garden”, only for “educational” uses (defined by the National Educational network) in GB. They made use of the “public lending rights” arrangement (like the libraries), which is basically a system in which a vast amount of money is distributed to the rights holders. All content is categorised an contextualised, and they are now moving to hybrid models, lookin into models of tiered (layered) access and the use of EPG’s (Electronic programme Guides), platforms, media players and on-demand services such as Hulu, launched by NBC and Fox, and the BBC’s iPlayer and Kangaroo project, a commercial portal that would pool TV content from the major UK broadcasters. The Creative Archive project is all about re-purposing content, providing (in the near future) “online editing tools” that can be used by the users to remix stuff (some work will be commissioned to artists in residence as way to encourage use). Due to rights problems though all this will happen, once again, in a walled garden, which questions the definition of “public value”. In that context, Poppy also mentioned BBC Jam, an educaional project launched by the BBC in January 2006, offering multi-media educational resources for free. It was suspended in March 2007, after allegations from some competitors in the industry claming that the service was damaging their interests (a similar case happened in Germany).
Tobias Golodnoff of the Dansk kulturarv , who are working together with the Broadcasting corporation, the Film Institute, the National Museum, the Royal Library, the State Archives and the National Art Gallery, argued that the value of the archive is generated by its use. They developped several case studies in which they tried out a few interactive models, playing around with playlist and tagging systems etc. With the Bonanza project they invited the public to participate in the preservation project by voting which audiovisual material should be digitized in a first phase. The deal with the copyright owners is similar to the model used in GB, based on a lending agreement. In order to ensure the continuation of these projects (and not waste precious resources on the continuous refreshing of the service) they’d like to develop everything in open source.
Roei Amit presented the model used by INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel), which is based on a pretty conventional commercial logic, differentiating between B2C and B2B services. At the moment 2/3 is publically funded. They have been working on the digitalisation for about 6 years, and the total of 1,5 mil hours of radio and Tv programs should be done by 2015. INA provides a VOD platform, where content can be downloaded and streamed with the INA player (can be used on different platforms). It has an editorialised interface where current affairs are scooped with archival material. But Amit draws attantion to the fact that access is not enough to stabilise the model, it’s important to provide an “added value” to maintain the interest.
Later that day Beeld & Geluid director Edwin van Huis gave a brief overview of the Images of the Future project, which is supposedly “the biggest digitization project for moving images in Europe”, which is now researching different distribution models and services, for education used, the creative industry as well as the general public. The bottom line of this project was nicely synthesised in a report on their research blog: “They were able to get the massive sum needed for this kind of project by using not the cultural argument (”this is our heritage – please save it!”) but by making an economic equation which had to prove that the government would get a 20-60 mil euro return upon investment (total: 173 mil for 2007-2014). Or in other words by convincing them that the Dutch audiovisual heritage is valuable simply because it sells”.

The European avalanche
Several European projects were presented as well, such as Videoactive and the European Film Gateway. I couldn’t shake the impression though that most of these high-budget projects were just chasing their own tales and had a hard time to define (and communicate, not in the least among eachother) their goals and priorities, and especially, find balanced organisational models, that could work on a long term. Let’s hope the Europeana platform (“Connecting Cultural Heritage”) can create some kind of overview on the chaos of European heritage initiatives, ‘caus it’s damn hard to keep track (other projects in the past and present include: BRAVA (BRoadcast Archives trough Video Analysis), PRESTO (Preservation Technology for European Archives), PRESTOSPACE, ECHO (European Chronicles On Line), FIRST (Film Restoration and Conservation Strategies), TAPE (Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe) and many many more). According toEuropeana’s Jill Cousins it’s all about bridging the gaps, between users and content providers, content and copyright, the European, the national and institutial level, funding and goals (creating sustainibility and long-term vision), production and R&D. Apart from issues of interoperability, usability, governance and cross domain communication, it’s even more important, she implied, to understand the differences. This is something that is forgotten too often in these kind of cross-domain digitalisation projects, and it was also mentioned by Florian Schneider: we have to welcome the differences, not try to delete or synthesise them.

The Post Scarcity Paradigm
Other project presentations during the conference focussed on uncommon business models and open environments for the distribution and/or production of AV content. There were of course, the “anarchistic” projects like Ubuweb, represented by Kenneth Goldsmith, whos “fuck you” attitude on stage might have been refreshing for some, but always on the verge of arrogance. But Ubuweb is a wonderful and necessary initiative, one that hasn’t got any business plan at all, or an interest in creating a community or having user interactivity. This initiative is being run by volunteers only, supported by a few technical partners. Ubuweb never clears copyright on anything, selected content is just being drawn from a variety of sources on the net, with the only condition that it’s out of print (or “absurdly priced or insanely hard to procure”). Apparently they hardly get any cease and desist orders, and if they do, they just take the content offline. The “hall of shame“, where the names of people who sent a c&d are published, is a bit over the edge, especially because no explanation is given. I’m sure that quite some filmmakers just feel that the internet – or compressed video formats – are just diminishing their work, and in many cases, they are right. This is an ethical issue that borders on the visibility vs quality debate: of course, it’s (for most cultural producers, not all) important that their work is seen, but the way it is presented – the medium, the spatial conditions etc – is also PART of their work, as it can have an immense impact on the way it is experienced, don’t forget that. But anyways, apart from these issues, Ubuweb is a great propagator of the gift economy, while its contempt for the ubiquitious web 2.0 discourse is a stance in itself. As it says on their site: “essentially a gift economy, poetry is the perfect space to practice utopian politics. Freed from profit-making constraints or cumbersome fabrication considerations, information can literally ‘be free'”.
The positive utopy was also something Jamie King, one of the guys of League of Noble Peers is striving for. He mainly talked about their Steal This Film series (documenting movements against intellectual property), which, to their own surprise, turned out to be some kind of a hit on the net (see earlier post)- the first one was downloaded about 4 mil times in 1,2 years, while the second one, released in January, has already been downloaded by approximately 1 mil people, via Bittorrent networks only. All of this is financed through donations, a system the League of Noble Peers wants to develop further via VODO, which stands for “Voluntary Donations for the Post IP generation”. Basically VODO’s aim is to provide a revenue stream for creators of media content, shared through P2P networks. Via a series of technologies would-be donors can be smoothly connected to these creators wherever their works are shared. King forsees a 10-15% of the users giving donations, of which third parties (Pirate Bay, VLC) would recieve a cut – the service costs have to be paid of course (f.e Stage6 recently went bankrupt. Jon Philips refered to the piracy market in China, where the focus is now on streaming HD content via broadband, feasible because of this use of advertisements). VODO is in any case a promising initiative, looking forward to see how it works out.
Another interesting case was Blender, which was presented by Ton Roosendaal, who runs the Blender Institute. It’s an open source 3d modeling software package (with quite an intense community activity supporting it) that works with a pre-financed model, in which customers can preorder a work, which is distributed online for free, with a CC licence. It’s all about openess and freedom, for the producers themselves as well: they sell a concept, but the design and development is all theirs, without constraints. Other sources of funding include educational services and sponsoring – f.e. Blender Institute’s first open 3D-animation film, ‘Big Buck Bunny’, is made with the support of, the grid computing initiative of Sun Microsystems (Blender could use valuable CPU-hours to test the system).
These are all examples of the potential of the “post-scarcity” paradigm, as Richard Prelinger pointed out in his talk, refering to Kevin Kelley’s post ‘Better than Free. Kelley describes the Internet as a “super-distribution system” that has become the foundation of our economy and wealth”. The digital economy is run on a river of FREE copies. “Yet the previous round of wealth in this economy was built on selling precious copies, so the free flow of free copies tends to undermine the established order. (…) How does one make money selling free copies?” Prelinger had a question in return: who is paying for the gift economy and who controls the compounds, the net, the indexes etc? During his talk he reflected on the nature of the audiovisual archive, its changing significance and meaning and its implicit social contract (“public archives shouldn’t only speak for the rightsholders but for the society as a whole”), defined above all by access. “Access is a spectrum, openess is a practice” he stated, a tension he tried to explore with his own Prelinger archives, which holds about 60,000 “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 4,000 titles on videotape and a smaller collection of film materials acquired subsequent to the Library of Congress transaction. Getty Images represents the collection for stock footage sale, and almost 2,000 key titles are available for free via the Internet Archive, of which there were 8 million downloads in 7 years. So on one hand you have free content, downloadable in MPEG2 and usable with a CC licence, on the other hand you have the services offered by Getty, who can research the collection for specific topics and deliver highest-quality material in all formats. They warrant that footage is clear for your use and supply written license agreements. They charge license fees for use of footage. Amazingly, since the Prelinger archive is online, the revenue has gone up with 120%. So there’s an interesting dynamics going on here between “fee” and “free”, although Prelinger himself has some questions about the phenomenon: what if more and more content becomes available, will that model remain sustainable? And sure, there is a new interest in unedited archival footage, which is being remixed, reedited and recontextualized , but won’t the so-called “remix culture” dissolve in “style”, which comes and goes? He also stressed the importance of local, small-scale, DIY projects, as “new ideas originate in the periphery” and of course, there’s also the basic truth that lots of big-scale digitisation projects are already anachronistic as we speak.

Business models
One panel focussed on the search for sustainable business models. Harry Verwayen of Kennisland pointed out that that archival institutions have to look at the network culture for inspiration. He mentioned several possible “open” (as contrast to “closed”) business models: the suscription model, pay per view/ download (ODE), free + added quality (Prelinger Archives), freemium (+ service) (Flickr, Linkedin), advertisement (NY Times), sponsorships (Memory of the Netherlands, Google Books), and community engagement (Tribler).
Jan Velterop, CEO of Knewco discussed some of the open models used in scientific publishing. Information, says Velterop, is open, that’s its “natural state”, so how can the free flow of a certain kind of information, that used to be available only in closed environments, be made sustainable? The key is that the one who has the biggest interest, is the one who pays. Velterop sees three potential sources of funding: the reader (via suscriptions for example), the author (advertising) and third parties (sponsoring). Most business models seem to be moving to the author or the sponsor as source, instead of the reader. Of course, in the research publishing community, driven by a peer review process, the authors – and the universities – have a big interest in publishing as wide as possible. Some publishers, like Springer, make arrangements with the authors (or university departments), who can choose to make their articles freely available worldwide on the Internet, for a fee.
Jonas Woost talked about‘s model (now owned by CBS, by the way), based on a process of ‘scrobbling’, ‘collaborative filtering’ and user’s ‘discovery’. Recently they launched an on-demand service, so user’s can play full-length tracks and entire albums for free on the website, at least in the US, GB and Germany (not yet in Belgium). Each track can be played up to 3 times for free before a notice appears telling you about their subscription service, which will give unlimited plays and some other useful things. With the on-demand service, according to Woost, the transaction per user grew with 60 %. Besides the suscription model, revenue is made in two more ways: advertising and ‘affiliate links’ (directed to 3rd party retailers, this has gone up with 190%, thanks to the on-demand system). Artists and labels get paid every time someone streams a song. Music on is perpetually monetized, which means the rightsholders get paid based on how popular a song is, instead of a fixed amount. In the discussion afterwards, INA’s Amit remarked that it will be hard for AV archives to gain a sufficiant, or any, income with B2C side like LastFM. As there will be more and more content available, the value of the archives might be pushed further away into the Long Tail, which might be problematic for B2B too.

On the Commons
Finally, throughout the conference, there were some people who tried to grasp the concept of the “commons” in theoretical propositions. Joost Smiers, Professor of Political Science of the Arts who’s currently preparing a publication titled Imagine! No copyright. Better for artists, diversity and the economy (together with Marieke van Schijndel), gave a furious talk in which he questioned the philosophy backing our present copyright system and the agenda of commodification, driven by short-term economic interests. Smiers argued that we cannot go on with a system that favours huge cultural industries more than the public interest. He traced the coming into being of the modern tradition of the “author”, referencing Roland Barthes’ The Death of the Author in which he writes that “in ethnographic societies the responsibility for a narrative is never assumed by a person, but by a mediator, shaman or relator whose “performance” – the mastery of the narrative code – may possibly be admired but never his “genius”. The author is a modern figure, a product of our society insofar as, emerging from the Middle Ages with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it discovered the prestige of the individual, or as it is more nobly put, the ‘human person'”. In some non-Western societies, Smiers said, creating is, or was, an ongoing process of changing and adapting (this was also mentioned eralier on in a talk by Shubha Chaudhuri, Director of the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) of the American Institute of Indian Studies in New Delhi). But the private appropriation of cultural resources and the introduction of the notion of copyright has changed societies, Western and Non-Western, in a radical way. Expressions became “desocialised”. Now, with the introduction of global digital networks, there is ever more resistance against the hollowing of the public cultural domain. For, if ownership and decision-making concerning cultural life is being controlled in a substantial manner by just a few cultural industries worldwide, then fundamental human rights and democracy are in danger. We have to find a new balance between the commons in the cultural field and the right of artists to make a living from their work. Conglomerates should be cut down, copyright should be abolished, so there would be nor more “bestsellers” (product of falsified marketing), or stars. Countries should have the rights to regulate their cultural domain in favour of cultural diversity.
David Bollier from On the Commons tried to define the commons as a matrix where socially created value is generated and cultivated, as a macro-economic and cultural force in its own right. The public domain may once have been a wasteland for things unnecessary to all, but is now the place where creativity peeks, as we can see in community-based inventions such as open software, wikis (even the CIA uses one now: the Intellipedia ) and the likes. Referring to Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, Eric von Hippel’s Democratizing Innovation as well as Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue by Benkler & Nissenbaum, he drew out four strategies to sustain the commons: protecting the integrity of the commons, devising new models for understanding value, inventing new hybrids that blend the market economy with the commons, and finally the active support of the government (just as it supports the market).
In his thought-provoking talk Anthony McCann did however have some critiques on the narratives and rhetoric imbedded in the “commons” discourses, used by Bollier and others, suggesting that these often quite confused and confusing discourses tend to work more in the spirit of a Trojan horse than an analytic tool, and tend to be consistent with inadequate models of expansion and commodification, the primary features of the process and practices of “enclosure” (a term that is variously equated with privatization, commercialization, and the marketization of everyday life). McCan stated that much of the coherence in rhetorical deployments of “commons” discourses comes from narratives of “enclosure”, and that this poses a danger to the “commons” (and to democratic process). A lot of things seem to be put beyond debate, like the central assumptions of copyright, as well as the expansionary dynamic of enclosure (and capitalism). In a paper titeld Enclosure Without and Within the “Information Commons” McCan writes: “Rather than being about uncommodified spaces, uncommodifying, non-capitalist, non-propertized social relations, notions of “the commons” tend to refer to always-already commodified resources, always-already commodifying management of resources, or an always-already commodified space of propertized resources. The resources become “givens” of the discourse, and the focus shifts from things to the management of things”. The main problem is that the possibilities of conceiving of “the commons” in terms of uncommodifying social relations, or in terms of resistance to the dynamics of enclosure, are decidedly limited when resources are the focus of attention. McCan’s analysis of “enclosure” differs in significant ways from that offered by apologists of the “commons” (=enclosure as a vague threat, the commons as an unquestioned good). He came to understand enclosure as a broader social process, a social psychological and political process which operates in and through the very particular practices of very particular people in very particular circumstances. His greatest concern is the creeping commodification of everyday life, especially the technological, political, economic, and legislative enclosure, and this tends to happen because either we don’t realise that resistance is even an option or we don’t care to resist. His talk was basically a call for resistance and awareness, as he identified commodifying contradictions in ‘commons’. As an alternative he proposed a ‘politics of gentleness’ as a predominantly uncommodifying ethic, a possible and powerful politics in our lives, and a way to distantiate ourselves a bit form our current obsessions with digital technology. A quote from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series provided a nice backfrop for his musings: “Tools, of course, can be the subtlest of traps.
Florian Schneider provided some more food for thought with his talk on “imaginary property“, which was similar to the one he gave at the Video Vortex conference. His basic question is: what does it mean to own an image in an information society which has become an image economy, in the age of immateriality, characterised by a post-format condition? “While the bourgeois conception of property has been characterized by anonymity and pure objectivity, today it seems to be the opposite way around: In the age of immaterial production, digital reproduction, and networked distribution – property relations need to be made visible in order to be enforced. Property exists first of all as imagery and rapidly becomes a matter of imagination. A contrary way of reading “imaginary property” could also be understood as the expression of a certain form of possession or ownership of imagineries”. The aim of Schneider’s project is to “further complicate and increase complexity around property affairs rather than reducing them towards a level where one could fall back into the illusion of an alleged identity of “myself” and “my own” that may have characterized the era of possessive individualism. The project aims to demystify existing property relations and to trace the links with the emergent development of reproductive forces. And it tries to speculate on concepts of a worldwide redistribution of imaginary property” He argues: “beyond mere possession it seems to be a matter of imagination: an act of determining space and time, a rule of production. From invention, creation and distribution to recognition, exhibition and conservation, images are subject to an infinite variety of operations that are not only characterized by ongoing conflicts about the power of producing, possessing and processing them. In fact, images are the products of struggles for imagination. Images manage their violations rather than obviating them or preventing them from happening. In the era of digital reproduction and networked distribution ownership of images has turned into the challenge of implementing solutions that are executed in real-time. Ownership means assigning a set of permissions that specify an ever differentiated level of accessability or ‘access without access': Who has got, right in this moment, the permission to read, write and execute imaginary property?” Schneider proposes to turn the platonic world of image production on its head and try to think of the image as a storage unit for framed information. It is impossible to differentiate between an image that is “my own” and “not my own”, when we can’t even be sure if it’s “real” or not. Ownership can only be defined as a social relationship between an owner and another potential owner in reference to an object. Images are, after all, the products of the struggle of imagination and, in a way, all image constructions are a sort of pirate-copy of reality. When it comes to images, there’s no innocence.

(Image: fragment of a ‘Cinema Redux’ composition by Brendan Dawes, who explores the idea of distilling a whole film down to one single image. This image is made by processing Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ through a Java program written with the processing environment. This small piece of software samples a movie every second and generates an 8 x 6 pixel image of the frame at that moment in time. It does this for the entire film, with each row representing one minute of film time. The end result is a kind of unique fingerprint for that film.)