Thursday, November 17, 2005

Open Source (Pajamas) Media

James Joyner blogged in Outside The Beltway The thing bloggers most like to blog about is blogging itself, especially the hypothesis that blogging will one day transform the global media--if it already hasn't. Thus, it's not surprising that yesterday's launch of Open Source (nee' Pajamas) Media is among the hottest topics in the blogosphere. Of course, if you just like to read blogs, it may be the most boring topic in the blogosphere.

Below is a lengthy collection of responses to a survey I sent out yesterday to several prominent bloggers associated with OSM/PJM supplemented with other blogger commentary on the subject

James mentions my response in his post:
Don Singleton was perhaps the most enthusiastic of the responders:

I believe that the blogosphere is the wave of the future, and am interested in participating in any endeavor that advances it.
He sees the organization as
A clearinghouse for advertisements, to allow me to focus my efforts strictly on blogging.


AFAIK, the only control they will apply is requiring me to insert some code to process their ads. They forbid me to take other ads, but I do not object to that. Getting ad revenue without having to solicit my own ads, deal with the advertiser, etc, was a big positive.

Christopher Lydon blogged In May we named our show “Open Source” and we named our non-profit production company “Open Source Media.” In fact, used to be our URL until we decide to scrap the “net” and look for an “org.” is a domain name owned by Jack Brighton in Champaign, Illinois, who is apparently affiliated with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but the website at that domain is just a parked page.
But here’s the actual legal-type description of what we are:
A joint production of Open Source Media Inc. and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Open Source is presented by WGBH Radio Boston and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).
What this means is that we are seven people in a rented office with, incidentally, a rather bold mouse who does not yet have a name. We make a radio show four times a week that uses bloggers as local and topical experts; this show is distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International, and to truckers and early adopters by XM satellite radio.

So this morning I got an email from a listener with the following subject header:
did someone steal your name?
Hm. A company that used to call itself Pajamas Media now calls itself Open Source Media, which is — scroll down to our legal notice — kind of exactly what we call ourselves. They’ve collected $3.5 million in venture capital, and, to celebrate their re-naming of our already-named name, they’re holding an event at the Rainbow Room.

So what to do. A couple of blogs —
Atrios, Stephen den Beste, Dennis the Peasant, Begging to Differ, Homocon — have picked up on this already, unprompted, perhaps because if you Google “open source media”, we’re the third result. Presumably the new “Open Source Media” Googled their new name before they settled on it?

Don’t get us wrong; we didn’t invent the idea of working with bloggers to make media, we certainly didn’t invent the concept “open source,” and there’s plenty of room for everyone to do what we’ve been doing. But they chose the same name that we established in May and, seeing as how we work in the same industry, people might find that a little confusing. And that has us puzzled.

Update 11/16, 4:33 pm
The Talent Show and Daily Kos point out that the original idea behind “open source” — the software concept, not the radio show — was that you borrow from the work of others, then release your own work back out to be borrowed in turn. To that end, we made a priority from the very beginning of putting a Creative Commons license on our site and all of the mp3 files of our broadcasts.

Whether the board at PM/OSM will stick with the OSM name, or be forced to select another one, is something for them to figure out, but I still think the concept is a good one.

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